On Hekate and Keys

So as part of our SoK work, we were asked to write something for the community. I thought long and hard about what to write, and didn’t really know for a long time. I don’t feel like much of a scholar where Hekate is concerned. I feel I’m better at creative things than academic work. Hekate brings out my creativity, not my inner research nerd. There’s still a part of me that wants to write a piece of fiction to try to explain all the things I’ve experienced since beginning the SoK practice back in July, and maybe I might do that some day when I feel like I know how that would work.

Then again, most of my scholarly energy goes into Sobek work, if I’ll be honest, if only because who else is doing it? There’s plenty of others who are doing a much better job of researching Hekate than I would do. So, this left me with no real idea of what to write to give back to the community.

I spent some time in meditation with Hekate, but our conversations were less than helpful, and all I settled on was keys. I don’t know if this is the kind of thing we’re meant to write, but this is all I feel compelled to write. So much of my response to this work is personal. I can talk about keys and locks and thresholds and their place in history, but to be honest, none of that feels like what I need to write about right now, so this is what you’re getting.

Keys are one of Hekate’s more prominent symbols, and She is often shown holding one, or represented by one. This guardianship of locked places and liminal spaces is one of Her ruling aspects, and keys are intimately tied into that. Crossing a threshold, whether through a doorway or a gate or even something more mystical or important, it is an act of going somewhere else. Whether you can cross back, that depends on the threshold.

There was a point, as I was beginning this work, where She gave me a key. It was a physical key as much as a metaphysical one. It took the form of an ornate key charm I picked up in Tasmania a year ago. It is bronze finished, and currently sits on the waist of a statue of Isis I own, bound by a red knotted cord. This statue of Isis holds a serpent on Her left arm, which I connect to both Hekate, and Renenutet.

I have a fair idea of what I need to do with this key, when the right moment comes. Keys, of course, open and close things. They can reveal, or conceal. It is permission to access that which was previously barred, or the power to limit what can be accessed until sufficient experience or knowledge is gained. That liminality, of being a threshold that can’t be crossed without aid, is one of Hekate’s more well-known aspects. She is often depicted with keys, and I have had keys on my altar to Her for a long time now.

For a long time, I avoided thinking of myself as Her priestess, that this wasn’t something She wanted or needed from me. There were plenty of others. I already had Sobek and Heru and Isis and Wesir. I had enough responsibilities. To add Hekate to the mix… I had no idea how to balance all of that.

I still don’t, to be honest. With Hekate’s stuff veering off into witchcraft territory, and my Kemetic practice diving into monasticism, it’s changed a lot of what I thought things were going to be like. I suspect I will spend a lot of time path-building this year.

And yet, I still keep coming back to Hekate and keys. It seems logical it should be involved in any initiations with Her, and reading two self-dedication/initiation rites where a key was used in the space of about a week seemed to confirm to me that this was what I need to do with mine.

I think a lot of it comes down to accepting it, and then taking it to the crossroads to go through with it. I know there’ll be no turning back once it’s done. Once I’ve taken up the key and unlocked the door, that’s it. Keep walking forward. And that’s not something I take lightly.

There is no set time or date I have for this. It’s one of those beginnings, where I know the key is important, and it is a thing I need to do. The specifics are still to be decided. From past experience, I’ll know when it’s time to do it. Until then, I have keys and Hekate and a lot of pondering to do before I take the plunge with Her, and take our work to a higher level.

Maybe one day I’ll write about the key symbol I keep drawing all over Her things, which I showed in the ritual book post. It’s the only symbol I use for Her consistently. And it is a key, at the heart of it. It is a key. This is a symbol that seems to resonate deep in my psyche for many different reasons, known and unknown, and its meaning to me is difficult to articulate. But again, it’s the key thing I keep coming back to. There’s just something about keys and Hekate that seems incredibly important to my work with Her, and delving into the whys of that will, I’m sure, bring some interesting experiences along the way.


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