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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Liminal and Universal: Changing Interpretations of Hekate


Hekate is considered one of the most enigmatic figures of Greek religion. In the Theogony, she is referred to as a universal goddess. Nevertheless, her figure transforms into that of a chthonic figure, associated with witchcraft and the restless dead. This paper examines how Hekate’s role in the Greek pantheon has changed over time, and with what figures she has been syncretized or associated with in order to bring about such changes. In doing so, three images of the same goddess emerge: Hekate the universal life-bringing deity, Hekate the liminal goddess of the crossroads, and Hekate the chthonic overseer of witchcraft and angry spirits.

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