Hekate is the goddess of witches, mother of the witch Circe and aunt of the witch Medea (depending on sources). Many witches work with Hekate, and while I currently don’t work with her, I do find her to be an amazing source of inspiration when it comes to plants. You could say plants are a passion of mine, especially the poisonous ones that Hekate herself is so fond of. Truly, her garden would have been quite a sight to behold!
Concerning her garden, the Orphic Songs of the Argonauts says:
There is a grove in the innermost room of the enclosure,
Where lush green wood ascends with shadowy tips,
Laurel trees and cornelian cherry and slender platanos aloft.
There are also many herbs in this place, arching over the deep roots;
Klymenos, complete with the noble asfoldelos, and adiantos
Aristereon, most tender of plants, and kypeiros with thyron,
Kyklaminos, like the violet, and erysimon, complete with hormion,
Stoichas, then paionia, surrounded by thickets of polyknemon.
Then polion, mandragoras also, and pale diktamnon,
Krokoa with sweet scent, and kardamom, next to kemos,
Smilax, dark poppy, and low chamaemelon,
Panakes and alkeja, with karpason and akoniton …
And many others more poisonous rose up from the ground.
According to translations in Rätsch’s sections of the book Witchcraft Medicine, these historical plants of the Witch Goddess included Aconite (Monkshood), Mandrakes, Belladonna, Black Nightshade, Juniper, Dittany of Crete, and Lavender, to name a few. It was a garden filled both with healing herbs and deadly poisons (which in trained hands and at low enough doses can still be used as powerful healing herbs). He also makes the connection of Henbane being connected with her. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in working with plants, by the way.
I began growing a lot of these historical witching plants (especially the deadly ones and the Solanaceae family plants) a year ago, so when I bought this book a few months back and read about Hekate’s garden I was instantly a fan her for her wortcunning and brilliantly wide selection of plants.
Artwork by William Blake