To Hekate of the Black Sea

I call to you Hekate who was worshiped
with wild nocturnal rites on the shores of the Black Sea
by mixed populations of Greeks, Colchians, Persians
and even the horse-loving Skythians. It was here
that your priestess Medeia, whom you esteemed
as if she was your very own daughter, through your tutelage
learned all of the properties of plants and stones,
how to weave magical charms and cast spells,
the sacrifices that placate ghosts, purifications
and unbindings, mystery-rites and infernal evocations
which she passed on to Orpheus the Thracian bard,
whom she loved but could not marry. It was here, too,
that you experienced love and bore to Hermes the Guide of Souls
a fine child who reflected its parents in each of its heads,
and was given your mingled names to be known by.
And here also you watched the devastation of your beloved cities
which once had built temples, kept festivals, minted coins,
and every home maintained shrines in your honor
as wave after wave of nomadic populations from the central Asian steppes
crashed against their walls and overcame them.
Now it is happening again, as marauders rampage across Ukraine
leaving rubble and fire and scattered corpses in their wake.
Worse still, O Hekate Mistress of the Gallows,
the Muscovite horde are ripping children
from the arms of their mothers and stealing them from orphanages
so that they can carry them back to their snowy homeland
where they will be given a new name, a new language, and new customs
and made to forget the old and everything that once nourished them.
O grave Goddess with deep roots in the land of the Black Sea,
watch over and protect these children, I pray; go with them into exile
and guide them safely home with the light of your torches,
and do unending grievous harm to anyone who would hurt these innocents,
or in any way be involved in this atrocity,
from the soldier to the clerk to the false parents
who would take in what does not belong to them.
Return blood to blood and flesh to flesh, O merciful and wrathful One
who dwells at the crossroads, and help all Ukrainians be restored
to the moist soil that birthed them, and let them not lose hope along the way.

7 thoughts on “To Hekate of the Black Sea

    1. I put them in the request file until they’re paid for, then they get moved to commissioned pieces which bumps them to the top of the list. As it happens those are three of my favorite divinities, so not only are they already represented in the book but had a couple pieces in the works in addition to your requests. (Everyone on the list gets at least 1 hymn, but some will have considerably more – Dionysos is currently sitting at 5, Hekate at 7, Odin at 9, and so forth.)


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