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It's #MythologyMonday and today's theme is WITCHES!
There are two Greek gods who are commonly associated with witchcraft and magic. Most of you will know Hekate as the goddess of witchcraft but Hermes has his sticky fingers in everything, so obviously he dabbles in magic as well.
Illustration of #Hekate by Victoria Francés

#Hekate is a titan goddess with power over heaven, earth, and sea. Her name means "worker from afar" implying the workings of magic, but her name is also an epithet of #Artemis as one who shoots from afar. In Roman times, Hekate formed the lunar triad of Hekate-Artemis-Selene.
Both Hekate and Hermes can establish a connection to the spirits of the dead. Hermes usually does so by allowing them to appear in the dreams of their living loved ones but Hekate summons them from the underworld to the world of the living in an act of necromancy.
Pictured above: 450-425 BCE vase painting of Hermes, helping Odysseus meet the shade of his deceased comrade Elpenor. The presence of Hermes may suggest that this depiction is drawn from a different telling of the story to Homer's, where Hermes does not appear in this scene.
Ancient Greek witches were also practitioners of necromancy and many of their spells were worked in necromantic-like rites. Medea is a witch who draws her powers from Hekate in nocturnal and necromantic rites:
"She [Medea] meant to reach the temple [of Hekate]. She knew the road
well enough, having often roamed in that direction searching for corpses [for necromantic rites] or for noxious roots, as witches do."
For the ancient Greeks, magic involved spells and evil prayers, curse tablets, amulets, as well as drugs, potions and deadly poisons (pharmaka).
Of these, curse tablets were probably the most popular form of magic in the ancient Mediterranean world. You can find many examples of curse tablets used for sex magic in this article:

Greek amulets could be made of wood, bone, stone, or gemstones. They could be written on small pieces of papyrus or a metal sheet or merely consist of a small bag of mixed herbs. They often invoked a god and should bring the wearers good luck or protect them from evil things.
Pictured above: an ancient Greek amulet of the 6th century BCE invoking Phoibos Apollon, asking him to raise his arms against someone or something.

Schøyen Collection, Norway

More on the amulet:
There were also particular shapes which were seen as lucky to carry around as an amulet: a phallus, eye, vulva, knots, Egyptian scarab, or a hand making an obscene gesture. These symbols could also be used to protect buildings & objects. The winged phallus was a favourite:
Spells survive in a body of papyri from Graeco-Roman Egypt dating from the 100s BCE to the 400s CE. The formulaic words and phrases of spells are often strikingly similar to those found in curse tablets and amulets. Instructions accompany the words and incantations:
Take up the water in which the drowning took place and sprinkle it in the place where you are performing [the rite].

I call upon you, Entrapper, Mistress of corpses, Hermes, Hekate, [Hermes?], Hermekate, LETH AMOUMAMOUTERMYOR I conjure you, the daimon that has been aroused here.
This is obviously just an abbreviated sample of a spell. Find more spells from the Greek Magical Papyri here:

A masterful witch of pharmaka, meaning drugs, potions and deadly poisons, was Circe. She was renowned for her vast knowledge of potions and herbs. She was either a daughter of Hekate or Helios, the sun god. Her sister Pasiphaë was also skilled in magical herbal arts:
After he had slept with many women, Pasiphaë put her husband Minos under a spell whereby, whenever he went to bed with another woman, he would ejaculate snakes, scorpions and millipedes into her vagina, thus killing her. Pasiphaë herself was immortal, so she survived her curse.
Art of Pasiphaë, Minos and his lover by Rejected Princesses:

Medea, the witch I mentioned above, is actually the niece of both Circe and Pasiphaë: she's the daughter of their brother Aiëtes. She prepared an unguent that made her lover Iason resistant to fire and used narcotic herbs to put the dragon guarding the golden Fleece to sleep.
Medea's broad skill set includes driving people mad with drugs as well as curing madness, deadly contact poisons, and rejuvenation: when Iason's dad was too old & infirm to celebrate his son's return, she drew blood from his body, infused it with certain herbs, and returned it.
Pictured above: Medea rejuvenates Aeson, the father of Iason, so he can celebrate with them.

by Bartolomeo Guidobono (ca. 1700)
A treasure trove of magical objects was recently found in Pompeii.

A glass bead shaped to represent Dionysos has been found among objects that had been fashioned into amulets, dolls, bells, fists, a tiny skull, miniature penises and some tiny bells.

You can learn even more about #Hekate and ancient Greek #magic in episode 80 of @greekhistorypod:

@greekhistorypod I can't cast a spell on you but if you enjoy my mythology threads or my writing, enchant this starving artist's heart by joining her Patreon:


You'll unlock a sexy flash fic in which Hekate seduces the young god Hermes...
@greekhistorypod Today is the #NewMoon with means it's the last day of the #ancientGreek month Pyanepsion. On each last day of the month, the ancient Greeks celebrated Hekate's Deipnon: a meal served to the goddess Hekate and the restless dead at the crossroads - a time of purification.
@greekhistorypod It's an opportunity to clean out your home, yourself and your affairs. Something I utterly neglected because I rather put together this thread 😜

May Hekate ward off the harmful influences of witchcraft and the power of the evil eye.

/end thread
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