Hecate (pronounced in ancient times as He-caa-tay or He-caa-tee) was a powerful Greek Goddess who held various domains of power and was skilled in witchcraft. Her domains and associations included:-
1. Magick and Witchcraft
2. A portion of Earth, Sea, and Sky (having tricked Zeus into giving her such positions)
3. Herbalism(she could both heal and poison others)
4. The number three (offerings were given at three-way crossroads and she can see into the past, present and the future)
5. Spirits and other such entities (not to confused with Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld)
6. Reptiles such as lizards and snakes, along with canines and horses. Dragons too (not the European Fire-Breathers. Dragons in Greece were seen as large serpents, each having particular powers)
8. New and Dark Moons
9. Mortal wishes (could grant or withdraw)
10. Protection of women and children
11. Polecats (one of her familiars)
Hecate's birth has many stories attached to it. She was the child of Asteria, the Star Titan, and King Perses according to Hesiod. Others say she was born of Nyx and Erebus (thus her association with the night and the dead). Some stories say she was an angeland she had been fleeing from Hera when she had stolen the Goddess' beauty salve. She hid in a house where a child was being born. Than she ran to a cemetery and when she was finally found, Zeus cleansed her in a river deep within the underworld as she had been impure due to entering a house during birth.
2. Honey, water or milk
3. Unmixed Wine (for chthonic epithets)
4. Donations to causes and charities related to Hecate (if you can't spare any coin for any reason, consider visiting greatergood.com and use the click to give options. It's free and you help people! Examples could include breast cancer donations, stray dogs and cat donations, etc)
5. Pomegranate (fruit of the dead)
6. Raw eggs or egg-shells
7. Herbal tea
8. Red mullet
9. Lizard tails (curse-work)
Tips on giving offerings:
1. Before giving, think carefully about whether or not you can give this away. Also, note that you cannot give away what is not yours. And remember, "what falls to the ground is lost to this world, what is caught is gained". If you have given the offering, you cannot take it back unless your need is great. (this happened to me and resulted in bad luck. Not a lot and faded quick, but strong enough to send a message)
2. Try your best to not look at where you gave the offering (traditionally, this was done so as to not be driven mad when Hecate came, since she is often accompanied by dead spirits and entities which could drive a person mad).
3. Make sure that she likes it, and pay attention to bodily cues. If headaches or something happen when you give the offering, give it, but note that next time you should probably try giving something else. If you experience joy or a sense of silent, neutral peace (which is what I feel), know that the offering was accepted nicely. Hecate will speak less in words and more with signs, remember that.
4. Consider giving the offerings at cross-raods
She guides Persephone (known as Kore in Spring) to and from the underworld. In the Titanomachy, according to some myths, she sided with the gods against the titans. She was known as a virgin goddess, though some say she was the mother of Medea and Circe. This may be true as these two women were powerful witches and Hecate is the Queen or Mother of Witches. However, biologically speaking, I doubt this since Hecate was a virgin goddess as said already. She slew the Giant Clytus and her children also include Empousai (again, not biological). These are vampiric creatures created by magickal means. Perhaps they are egregores, perhaps they were actual physical beings. They were said to have the feet of donkeys but other than that they were human in appearance.
The Story of the Polecat:
The Polecat is one of Hecate's two familiars. It was commonly used by the Greek for catching vermin such as rats and mice but was thought to have an unnatural method of reproduction. They are mounted by the ears and their young come through the throat. According to myth, the mortal women Alkmene(I apologize if I butchered the spelling) was in labor. She was to give birth to Zeus' son Hercules. However, Hera, Zeus' wife, would not be passed over so easily and sent a childbirth deity to prevent Hercules' birth. The deity sat down cross-legged outside of the house, crossing her middle and index fingers and began muttering a spell to prevent the baby from coming. Alkmene wept and wailed in pain, but the goddess would not budge. Her handmaiden and friend Galinthias, then noticed the goddess seated outside the house. And so, she formulated a plan to end her friend's suffering.
Quietly, she came up to the goddess and smiled as joyfully as she could. "A child has been born!" she exclaimed in joy. The goddess, shocked at what she was hearing, for a moment uncrossed her fingers. And so Hercules came out from the womb, a strong and healthy child. Enraged at the mortal woman before her, the goddess transformed Galinthias into a polecat.
However, the kind hearted Hecate hears all, and so she appeared to Galinthias, taking the intelligent, cunning woman away and appointing her the honor of Her familiar.
Other myths however, claim that the polecat was actually a witch. Gale was her name, and she was punished by Hecate herself for her abnormal sexual desires. Though some doubt this, including me, as Hecate has been known to take in poor suffering ones. Not to mention that being a familiar of Hecate was seen more as a position of elevation that something of shame (if someone annoyed you, you would want to take them down a notch, not up. Would you?). I personally have never been transformed into a cat or frog just because I did some weird stuff or something that annoyed her (and I've done plenty in my first few days of working with her).
Also, note that Hecate will not hesitate to punish you if you warrant it. If you cheat on an exam, than she will likely punish you somehow (maybe through a minor cold, or cold rain or a few nightmares). If it's chronic cheating and lying however, she will punish you much more (the punishment will be fast and pass over quickly in most cases, but the message is still quite strong).
She demands a certain level of respect, but is still kind and compassionate. She can be funny too, sometimes, but still immensely powerful. If you're new to her, than she might let you off. But once you reach a level where you should know what and what not to do around her or to her, she will not hesitate to punish you.
On that simple note, may Hecate be with you if ever you walk the paths of magick, wherever your way will lead.