Hekate's Animals

But Hekate, when invoked by the names of a bull, a dog, and a lioness, is more propitious” Porphyry 3rd Century BCE

Hesiod’s Theogony gave Hekate a celestial parentage. We are told her father were the Titans Perses (“destroyer”) and her mother was Asteria (“starry one”), who’s mother was Phoebe, the moon 11. Hekate began to take on more lunar attributes and symbology as she became conflated with Artemis and Selene around 5th Century BCE. The bull, with its crescent shaped horns became equated with the moon’s waxing and waning phases. We see the emergence of references to Hekate crowned with bull like crescent horns and/or bull faced, most notably in the Greek Magical Papyri 12 and Orphic Hymns to Hekate:

“O Night bellower, Lover of Solitude, Bull faced and Bull-headed One You have the eyes of bulls and the voice of dogs” PGM IV 2785–2870
I come, a virgin of varied forms, wandering through the heavens, bull faced,…”

Chaldean Oracles, 2nd century CE, trans. Johnston

“Then the earth began to bellow, trees to dance, and howling dogs in glimmering light advance, ere Hecate came.”

In ancient hymns and writings, the Goddess Hekate’s arrival is heralded by the baying of hounds. She is flanked by dogs on ancient Greek pottery, stone carvings, and statues. Even in modern symbolism, dogs attend Her.

The first symbolism of the “black bitch” was the legend of the Trojan Queen Hekabe who leapt into the sea after the fall of Troy. Hekate took pity on her and transformed her into a black female dog, who joined her retinue. In certain towns in Ancient Greece, black female dogs were sacrificed to “Enodia of the Wayside [Hecate]…at night” – these rituals were possibly linked to purification or scape-goating type rituals.

The three-headed hound, Cerberus (Kerberos) who guarded the entranceway to the Underworld was also connected to Hekate.

Hecate’s association with fish is linked with her dominion over the ocean as stated by her genealogy in Hesiod’s Theogeny composed in the 7th century BCE, and her epithet in the Orphic Hymn composed between the 3rd century BC – 2nd century CE.

In the Theogeny, Hecate (with Poseidon) can both give and take away bounty to fishermen. In this way, Hecate can be seen as a source of sustenance, as seafood was one of the most important food sources for the people of the ancient Mediterranean and Aegean. An image of Hecate as Potnia Theron, the Goddess of nature and wild animals, is depicted on a Boeotian vase of the 8th century BC showing a goddess with an image of a fish on her skirt defining one of her three realms.

In the earliest writings where Hekate appears, Hesiod’s Theogony, goats are linked to Hekate.

“She is good in the byre with Hermes to increase the stock. The droves of kine and wide herds of goats and flocks of fleecy sheep, if she will, she increases from a few, or makes many to be less. So, then albeit her mother’s only child, she is honoured amongst all the deathless gods. And the son of Cronos made her a nurse of the young who after that day saw with their eyes the light of all-seeing Dawn. So from the beginning, she is a nurse of the young, and these are her honours.” (ll. 404-452)

In the Greek Magical Papyri) offerings of virgin goats are mentioned in many of the spells as offerings to the Goddess, such as the “Slander Spell to Selene” PGM IV. 2622-2707.


Hesiod said that Hekate “is good in the stable, with Hermes,” and she is “standing by horsemen, those whom she favors…”. This suggests that there is some connection between Hekate and horses from early on. By the Common Era, the Chaldean and Orphic Mysteries both describe Hekate as horse-headed. The Orphic Argonautika from the 4th century describes her as having “a horse with a long mane leaped from her left shoulder”.

Her epiphanies for the Chaldeans included “a horse flashing more brightly than light, or a child mounted on the swift back of a horse… or even a child shooting arrows, standing upon a horse’s back”. They further describe Hekate as “horse-faced”. Porphyry likewise mentions that the four-headed Hekate includes a horsehead. Images of Hekate with horses do survive the ages. In particular, there is a 4th-century relief of Her placing a wreath on a horse currently in the British Museum.
Hekate & Lions
The lion references with Hekate include a frieze at the Lagina temple, coins showing her with lions (4th century BCE from Pherae, Thessaly) and also later references from the Chaldean Oracles and the Greek Magical Papyri. At the archaeological site for Stratonicea (the city linked by a sacred road to the Temple of Hekate at Lagina) there is a beautiful modern mosaic greeting visitors to the site based on one of the ancient images showing Hekate riding a lion – look out for it if you are lucky enough to visit this site (about 2 hours from Bodrum, Turkey).


Hekate was frequently described and depicted either wearing or in the presence of serpents. Among these is Sophocles’ description in his play The Root Cutters: “She who is crowned with oak leaves and the coils of wild serpents.” Likewise, as she appeared to Jason in the Argonautica, there are serpents in her presence: “…round her horrible serpents twined themselves among the oak boughs” 94. The Chaldean Oracles also describe Hekate as “the snake-girdled and the three-headed” and “the She-serpent, and the snake-girdled”.

The association of serpents with Hekate refers to her chthonian powers as well as highlighting the fearsome nature of her manifestations. Hekate is also sometimes described as having the head of a serpent or snake.

The wolf (Gr. lykos) holds great significance in the cultures and religions of the nomadic peoples, including that of the Eurasian steppes. In proto-Indo-European mythology, the wolf was presumably associated with the warrior class who would “transform into wolves” (or dogs) upon their initiation. Aesop featured wolves in several of his fables playing on the concerns of Ancient Greece’s settled, sheep-herding world.

“Therefore we start seeing ideas manifest of wolves in company with Artemis and Hekate where never before have wolves been associated…

In Hellenic religion in which you have gods (such as Apollon, Pan, and Zeus) with very specific epithets that refer to wolves that generally speaking refer to a more wild/untamed and often solar destructive feature of a god, and goddesses (such as Artemis and Hekate) with very specific epithets that refer to dogs which seem to refer to their more liminal roles, as well as Ares”.

In the Magical Papyri of Ptolemaic Egypt, (whereupon Papyri were scribed under both Greek and Roman rule), Hecate is called the Bitch and the She-Wolf, and her presence is signified by the barking of dogs.

While almost every depiction of a canine when associated with Hekate deems to be a dog or black dog/s, the probability was that in Hecate’s era, there were few domesticated dogs thus it stands to logic it was likely to be wolves that accompanied her.


Fabulous thankyou. I’m learning alot about this beautiful goddess from you my sister :sparkling_heart:


@tracyS i love her my love :hearts: :hearts:


@AIRAM love love love all the work u put into this.


@Mistress_Of_Herbs :hearts: :hearts: :hearts: :hearts: :hearts: :hekate_wheel: