museo chiaramonti

An Invocation of the Dark Goddess Hecate

Orphic Hymn 1 (author unknown; date perhaps ca. 200-250 CE)

I call upon Hecate of the roads, crossroads-guardian, lovely one,
   She who belongs to heaven, earth, and sea, she of the saffron mantle,
Tomb-haunter, who shares in Bacchic revels with the souls of the dead,
   Perses’ daughter, lover of solitude, she who delights in deer,
Nocturnal goddess, fond of dogs, irresistible queen,
  Attended by beasts’ roars, ungirded one, she whose appearance no man can withstand,
Bull-herder, mistress who holds the key to all the universe,
   Leader and nymph, child-rearer and mountain-dweller–
I entreat the maiden to attend our holy rites
   With ever-joyful spirit, showing good-will to the oxherd.

Εἰνοδίαν Ἑκάτην κλήιζω, τριοδῖτιν, ἐραννήν,
οὐρανίαν χθονίαν τε καὶ εἰναλίαν, κροκόπεπλον,
τυμβιδίαν, ψυχαῖς νεκύων μέτα βακχεύουσαν,
Περσείαν, φιλέρημον, ἀγαλλομένην ἐλάφοισι,
νυκτερίαν, σκυλακῖτιν, ἀμαιμάκετον βασίλειαν,
θηρόβρομον, ἄζωστον, ἀπρόσμαχον εἶδος ἔχουσαν,
ταυροπόλον, παντὸς κόσμου κληιδοῦχον ἄνασσαν,
ἡγεμόνην, νύμφην, κουροτρόφον, οὐρεσιφοῖτιν,
λισσόμενος κούρην τελεταῖς ὁσίαισι παρεῖναι
βουκόλωι εὐμενέουσαν ἀεὶ κεχαρηότι θυμῶι.

Marble statue of three-bodied Hecate, Roman period, after a lost Hellenistic original; now in the Museo Chiaramonti, Vatican City.