Right, so due to an oversight on my part … we have missed the Hecatean Ides observance of mid-August.
We shall endeavour to make up for this with some ground-breaking theology in the directions of Hekate (and Artemis / Diana … and a most pertinent further Indo-European Devinity) very shortly, in a subsequent (A)Arti-cle for Her.
In the mean-time … a very cool Roman Three-Faced (of course) Hecate statuette (perhaps in the manner of a small ~30cm Hekataea – certainly recalling the archaic ‘Trimorphos’ (‘Three-Formed’) Greek sculptural perspective so famed by Alcmenes’ handiwork) accompanied by the Three Graces. Each side to the column has another Facing to Her, framed by Torches.
The number Three is, of course, particularly prominent for Her.
Three are the Realms wherein Hekate is to be honoured (Earth, Sea, and (Starry) Sky) per the Decree of Zeus (Who is also said, Himself, to honour (timise – τίμησε) Hekate ‘above all’), in Her rather impressive introduction into the Hellenic textual corpus in the Theogony of Hesiod.
Which also, we would note, states that these were Hekate’s dominions already (inferentially ‘since time immemorial’) – the quite literally ‘archaic’ (in the sense of ‘original’, ‘from the beginning’ – ἀρχῆς) state of affairs; which Zeus saw fit not to seek to disrupt.
Three are also the ‘Facings’ to the rather pertinently named ‘Diva Triformis’ understanding of the Romans – which connected Hecate to Diana and Luna (other iterations had Persephone as the Third and Underworld correlated member to the Trio – although we would personally suggest that the differential of nomenclature does not, strictly speaking, present us with a difference of Godly Essence in terms of Her Core Identity as She); and we intend to write once (or, perhaps, thrice) more upon the Triple Goddess conceptry in the very near future as well in earnest.
And not least because – as with Persephone (Proserpine , Libera) … there is rather more (and yet also ‘no more and no less’) to the Juno Inferna than has often been presumptively presumed.
A third axial for the Rule of Threes concerns these three Graces (Gratiae – or Kharites in Ancient Greek) … which, in at least one older source are seemingly substantively coterminous with the Horai; although more usually presented as a distinct clade … often appearing directly alongside the Horae and, in the latter’s dedicated Orphic Hymnal, in retinue about Persephone with the Moirae (‘Fates’).
All Three of Threes, as it should happen, also bear conceptual relation to the Three Erinyes (Furies) that we shall more closely examine in relation to Her in future.
And speaking to Her Retinues …
The Torches are particularly familiar from the ‘Mystery’ association for the Goddess – whether borne by human devotees (as famously seen with the Initiate Chorus in Aristophanes’ Frogs, encountered in the Underworld), the aptly named Lampades that the aforementioned human initiates may be thought of as ‘resonating’ with … and also, of course, by the Goddess Herself.
On the surface, the role of the Torches is quite logically direct – guidance within dark nights. Especially across the great darkness that is the Underworld. The Sepulchral Darkness. And out the other side.
We would also, here, draw a parallel with the Thiasos of Dionysus – not simply due to the presence of a retinue of nymphs that human devotees present as an ’embodiment’ or ’emulation thereof’; but also upon the basis of mytholinguistics.
To quote myself upon the subject:
“The likely root for ‘Thyiades’ is Ancient Greek ‘Thuo’ (θῡ́ω) – which has, as its effective shade of meaning, everything from ‘sacrificing’ through to ‘celebration’ … and, as we should perhaps expect given what sacrificing actually entails … setting things on fire, killing, and engagement with religious authorities.
Now this is where it gets interesting. Due to the breadth of its potential associations, it has proven somewhat difficult to pin down whence it came from afore that.
The two major proposals are, perhaps unsurprisingly, closely linked: PIE *dʰewh₂- or *dʰews-
What’s the difference? Well, the former term (*dʰewh₂-) effectively would produce a sense of ‘Smoke’ for the linkage between the PIE and ‘Thuo’ – obvious for the immolation required for the ‘burnt offering’ sacrifice. The latter, however, *could* be thought of as pertaining to the vocalization involved – as the PIE in question, *dʰews-, would link to ‘breath’, and perhaps the ‘hot breath’ of exertion is quite directly salient here.
Yet I think that in essence, the likely origin-point for it is somewhere between the two … the ‘Smoking Breath’, as we have earlier observed (see ‘The Mytholinguistics Of The Smoking Breath’) is co-expressed in both directions. The distinction between *dʰewh₂- and *dʰews- is a rather artificial one. As seen with Ancient Greek θῡμός (‘Thumos’) coming from the former (Sanskrit cognate ‘Dhuma’ (‘Smoke’) – which may have rather intriguing bearing when we consider a certain Dhumavati figure amidst the Matrika clade … ) yet bearing a sense of ‘Soul’, ‘Anger’, ‘Desire’, ‘Mind’, that actually reminded me rather overtly of Sanskrit ‘Manyu’, that we shall be (re-)meeting again shortly.
This would concord rather well with the potentially homophonic other Thuo … which may, in fact, be cognate with our own ‘Furor’, ‘Fury’ (and is certainly, if this is the case, equivalent to the term utilized to translate ‘Erinyes’ in Latin – a point of saliency considering the potential ‘whipping up’, ‘stirring up’ sense to that term as well), and most certainly means much the same thing … particularly in swift motion.
The situation of Thyone – perhaps better known as Semele – is also directly salient here … although it is interesting to note that there, as with Dionysus’ Own epithet of Thyoneus, we tend instead to find the rather ‘gentler’ ‘Inspired’, ‘Inspiration’ as the key term for what is being imparted.
So, in other words – attempts to explicate ‘Thyiades’ via recourse to sacral conduct in the sense of setting an offering alight, are only getting a very partial rendition of the picture. What instead appears likely (and I do not mean to discount the ‘illumination’ of immolation aspect entirely – certainly, the RudraGanikas are also cited as having a role with the fires for Temple offerings and rites in our Hindu texts), is that the ‘fire’ in question is the ‘spirit’ being ‘whipped up’ – it is the Furor quality of which we have so often spoken. Hence why it is expressed via the ‘Hot Breath’, the steam and visible phenomenon (especially in winter when various of these rites relevant to her were being undertaken) as her soul is in such a heightened state amidst the ecstasy of the dance.”
To endeavour to link all of that back to Hekate – we are, indeed, instantly reminded of the notion for those Torches as the essential ‘Force of Life’.
Which, in light of the rather marshy conditions associated with the liminal spaces proximate to the Stygian sphere – the Will o’Wisp [itself a term that etymologically declares a ‘Torch’, via ‘Wisp’] or ‘Ghost Light’ should seem pertinent.
Now there is quite a lot more that we endeavour to expand upon in subsequent efforts (including more in the direction of the Underworld Sun, the Solar Huntress, and, of course, a certain GHOST DIVISION thundering through in earnest) … but for now, I think, we may have made up somewhat for the fact that we are Three Days Late for the Three Nights of the Hekatean Ides of Nemoralia.
We Hail, indeed, as Zeus Does – None Higher than the Triple Goddess (TriDevi) of the Three Realms (Tripura) and Their Imperial Radiances (Sundari – and yes, yes I am translating a little figuratively here in attempting to get across the underlying etymological sense to the term).
We Hail Her Far-Reaching Might – that, with Magic (through Pious Rite and Calling Invocation) or with Her Bow (assumedly of) Yew is Inescapable and facilitates greatly the attainment of one’s Heart’s Desire in the Chase;
We Hail She Who Grants Victory Even To The Greatest of the Gods through Her Insight, Guidance, and Unstoppable, Implacable Force.
Jai Mata Di !