Monday, May 30, 2022

Hail Hekate: Walking the Forked Path - My Review of the Course

Hail Hekate: Walking the Forked Path is a practical course on how to work with Hekate, taught by Jack Grayle at the Blackthrone School. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of participating in it, and I’d like to take a closer look at what it includes and share my impressions from working with the material presented there.  

First of all, let’s introduce the author. Jack Grayle is the author of The Hekataeon, and a working sorcerer who teaches courses on Hekate and the PGM on a regular basis. His writings have been published by Ixaxaar, Aeon Sophia, Hadean Press, Anathema Publishing, and in the Sabbatica series. If you follow my work and the work of the Temple of Ascending Flame, you might also have read his article “Hekate: The Adversary,” which is a guest contribution to the anthology Hecate: Witchcraft, Death & Nocturnal Magic. His book The Hekataeon is a devotional grimoire full of songs, spells, chants, and invocations that constitute a complete system of self-initiation into the mysteries of the Lady of the Crossroads. It’s also one of my favorite books on Hekate, which I always refer to in my personal work with her. That’s why I was very excited to take the course and learn about her from the author himself.

The course itself includes 13 weeks, each of them dedicated to a different subject connected with the magic of Hekate. Each week consists of 60-minute video material discussing the particular subject, and some of them also include an assignment the participants are supposed to do on their own to consolidate what they have learned. Each lesson is accompanied by an extra material to read, which includes excerpts from the chosen source literature, such as the writings of Plato, Hesiod, Proclus, the Orphic Hymns, the Gnostic gospels, the Chaldean Oracles, the Greek Magical Papyri, as well as those of William Shakespeare, Milton, and Aleister Crowley. The course is approached over the span of three months. In the first one, you will get introduced to Hekate, her mythology, epithets, and methods to work with her. In the second month, you will learn about necromancy in the ancient world and necrosophic practices of Hekatean magic. The third month is dedicated to presentation of Hekate as the Divine Creatrix, which is based on the discussion of her role in the Chaldean Oracles and Platonic philosophy. Apart from all that, you are also given an opportunity to join a special Facebook group, which is created for all participants of the course. The group provides an exclusive chance to meet other like-minded practitioners, discuss the assignments, the contents of the course, and talk to the author himself if you have any questions about the particular lessons.

Hekate is a mythological figure that has gained an enormous popularity in the last few decades. She is worked with by the Pagan circles as well as practitioners of darker forms of magic and the Left Hand Path initiates, groups and solitary practitioners. We might even say that the interest in her as an initiatrix is a growing trend in modern occultism, and you can find books on her, depictions of her, statues, posters, and various ritual items dedicated to her practically everywhere. She is also featured in movies, TV shows and video games. Where there is popularity, there are many misconceptions, though. In this course, you will receive a unique chance to get familiar with the genuine view of her origins and mythology, clearing out a lot of popular misconceptions and getting to the very essence of Hecate and who she truly is. You will also be introduced to working methods based on technologies used by sorcerers for centuries, which have been forgotten or dismissed as outdated, but in fact, they can be just as useful to a modern practitioner as they were a thousand years ago. Moreover, they can be easily adjusted to modern times and successfully applied by any magician. The technologies presented in the course are based on numerous texts, selected from a huge amount of source materials, as well as on the author’s personal practice, which, in my opinion, makes the course one of the best works on practical application of the original principles and teachings in the modern paradigm.

Let’s take a look at the lessons included in the course. In Week 1 you will learn who Hekate is and get introduced to her mythology. In Week 2 you will find out about methods of “sorcerous devotion” and how to use them to work with Hekate in practice. Week 3 and 4 will provide you with the detailed overview of “sorcerous compulsion,” backed up with many examples and original texts where you can find the technique and learn how to adjust it to your own needs. Week 5 will introduce you to the necromantic powers of Hekate, which is followed by the material of the next weeks that include information on the underworld, afterlife and restless spirits and discuss numerous spells and methods of necromancy, focusing on written vs spoken techniques. In Week 9 you will learn about Platonism, followed by Sethian Gnosticism in Week 10, which lay the foundations for understanding Hekate’s presentation and role in the Chaldean Oracles, discussed in Week11. In Week 12 you will see how Hekate’s depiction was changing over the centuries, from the creatrix and embodiment of the world soul to the queen of witches and the guide to the underworld. And finally, the last part, Week 13, will give you a chance to review what you have learned and think of your personal connection with Hekate and walking her “forked path.”

What I have to say while discussing the contents of the course is that I’m not new to working with Hekate. I’ve dedicated a great part of my life to exploring her mysteries, and she is one of my personal matron goddesses. I’ve also read almost every book about her that has been released in the last few decades. For this reason, even though I was curious about the course, I didn’t expect to learn much about her that I wouldn’t already know. I must say that already the first lesson proved me wrong. The amount of material included in the course is amazing, and so is the author’s presentation of it. I especially liked the weeks explaining Hekate’s role in necromancy, which is a subject rarely discussed in such a great detail in any video material or even in books. What we usually learn is that Hekate is a psychopomp and that she guards the gates to the underworld. Here we are shown what exactly all this means and how we can work with her to commune with the dead, to appease a restless soul, and to summon the shades from the underworld to assist us in our magical operations. This is another thing I enjoyed in the course – the emphasis on the practical aspects of Hekatean magic. What is especially great about it is that the technologies presented in the course are explained in an easy and comprehensible way, and it doesn’t matter if you are an advanced practitioner of Hekatean magic or you have just got introduced to working with her – you can still use them in your practice successfully. The course gets to the very essence of Hekate and her magic, and what I like about it is that no matter what background you are coming from, you can profit from it and learn things about her you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

For me, personally, the work with the course was an amazing and life-changing experience. I’ve gained a better understanding of the roots of Hekate’s magic, got introduced to the traditional means of sorcery related to her cult, and  learned methods and tools that have already empowered my personal connection with her in many unexpected ways. I’m sure there is more to come when applying these technologies in practice, though, and I’m going to keep using what I’ve learned to take my work with Hekatean magic to the next level. So far it has been an extremely inspiring and empowering journey, and I recommend this course to everyone interested in deepening their personal connection with Hekate. No matter how far you have progressed on the path of the Lady of the Crossroads, it will certainly expand your understanding of the context, history, and practical aspects of her magic, both in the traditional teachings and in modern application of this work.