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Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Book Review: Hekate, Goddess of Witches by Courtney Weber

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It's spooky season and that means all things witch! And what better way to start off spooky season than a book on Hekate, the goddess of witches? Hekate, Goddess of Witches by Courtney Weber is an in-depth look into the mythos and magic behind this famous goddess and how to cultivate a meaningful relationship with her. While I myself do not "believe" in deities, at least in the traditional sense, I knew this would be a book that would appeal to many of my readers, and I am certainly glad I decided to read it. By the end of the book, I was left desiring to reach out to Hekate and start building a relationship with her!

Each chapter focuses on a specific aspect of Hekate, including Torchbearer, Goddess of the Crossroads, Keeper of Keys, Mother, and Spirit Intermediary, pulling in historical and modern-day rituals to help the reader better connect with each aspect. This book is full of historical information, all with citations to back it up. The sources are cited within the text, but a comprehensive bibliography is not found until the end of the book. Because the book is so well-referenced and uses valid, accurate sources, it is easy to spot what is the author's thoughts, opinions, and experiences and what isn't. If you are practicing your critical reading skills, this is a great book to start with as the sourced information versus the author's experiences and opinions are clearly distinguishable. This made the book such an easy read and allowed me to let some of my guard down while reading.

Each chapter ends with some spells and rituals, the variety of which leaves something for everyone to use. For example, there are three different ritual options to dedicate yourself to Hekate based on your needs. This makes the text extremely accessible, which is a breath of fresh air in capitalist society. I am a huge supporter of offering multiple spell and ritual options so that everyone can be included. The book concludes with a short grimoire which includes several spells and rituals involving Hekate for various needs. I normally don't intently read through every single spell in a book, but I did this time. They are beautifully written, well-researched, and accessible.

However, what I loved most about this book was how inclusive the author is in her writing. First, Weber mentions how the use of dark and light magic is problematic, and that even baneful magic has its place. The book is very curse positive, which I also fully support. She discusses how curses are growing in popularity because they have long been used by the marginalized and oppressed to defend against injustice and defeat their oppressors. I am 100% on board with this! Furthermore, she clearly states using the terms black and white magic and racist. This is one of very few witchcraft books I have read that have pointed this out. I gave a "Hell yeah!" when I read this part of book because it is so rare. Weber also makes sure to address how Hekate, despite being a mother goddess, is not just for those born with a womb. She makes mention of non-binary, transwomen, and cis men being able to connect and work with Hekate. This inclusivity is something we need more of in the witchcraft community.

Finally, I loved Weber's raw honestly. The book, while full of history, is also the story of Weber's journey with Hekate. She tells multiple stories about how the two of them have worked together, her successes and failures, and how there have been times when she too has questioned her practice. The honesty found in this book is authentic and builds trust with the reader. I love folklore and history, but I love personal stories so much more. Weber provides this authentic storytelling ripe with folklore I crave so much in a book. In her honesty, she makes profound revelations that spoke to my soul. For example, Weber discussed an event that occurred during a ritual she invited an ex-boyfriend to. She felt he was judging her coven's ritual and was ready to jump down his throat by the end, only to find that he was having a profound experience himself, just not in the way she thought he would. She goes on to say, "That night taught me that when I assume someone else is being critical of me, I should stop and ensure it isn't me tearing my own self down which is often the true face of the judgment we assume we're receiving." I am someone who needed to hear this. It brought tears to my eyes reading this portion of her journey with Hekate because it made me realize some of my own faults and face them head-on.

Overall, I loved this book. I have absolutely nothing negative to say other than I felt it was too short! If you are looking to develop a relationship with Hekate or continue growing it, Hekate, Goddess of Witches by Courtney Weber is the book for you. 



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