Lunar Mansions & The Polymorphous Hekate

by Nate

This post is a follow-up to the post “Where The Moon Rests”, a quick-start guide to lunar mansion magic. Consider reading that post first if you’re new to lunar mansions or want additional context on the topics discussed here…

A magical system of lunar orientation is of particular interest to me as I maintain a daily Hekate devotional practice and the majority of magic I work is either through, or at least blessed by, her in some way. Don’t get me wrong, Sarah and I do a lot of planetary magic; we create talismans and materia using more popular solar-oriented magical systems pretty regularly. But there is something very appealing to me personally about having a purely lunar magical system at my disposal -if it can be syncretized with my Hekate practice.

I believe this is mostly a question of compatible mythologies. Authentic Hekate lore is fairly sparse, but we can say for certain that her most notable attributes are her polymorphous (many-formed) nature and association with the Moon.

The lunar mansions divide the path, or the archetypal story, of the Moon as it travels around the zodiac, into day-sized chunks; which have an individual nature and together compose the breadth of the human experience and the magical possibilities therein. It seems like only a small stretch to imagine the 28 forms of the moon as individuated aspects of Hekate -the ultimate lunar Goddess.

This seems like fertile soil to till, so I have begun to experiment with invoking Hekate to conjure the individual lunar mansion spirits, borrowing liberally from Christopher Warnock’s book on lunar mansions and the mansion ritual within it, by Nigel Jackson.

Their traditional (angelic) format of the ritual is essentially a Picatrix-style invocation of the Moon followed by a conjuration of the spirit of the lunar mansion where the moon is currently “resting”.

Timing for the ritual operates on the same logic as typical planetary magic. The planet being petitioned (always the Moon) must be:

  • on the Ascendant
  • in a favorable position
  • not square or opposed to any planet, or conjunct a malefic, or combust, or otherwise maltreated

Any positive aspects, or beneficial placements of the Moon, improve the outcome of relevant magical workings performed during the configuration but these three conditions must all be met first.

Hekate art by Alex Maune (link at the bottom)

Syncretizing Lunar Mansions With Hekate

A traditional lunar mansion ritual is essentially just a lunar planetary invocation, followed by the conjuration of the angel of the moon (Gabriel), and of the spirit of the mansion, followed by a petition / spell / creation of a talisman.

In my own practice, I maintain a relationship with the Moon as Hekate; which makes the lunar mansion system of particular interest to me personally.  Hekate is, in my opinion, the ultimate lunar deity and her polymorphous nature feels particularly suited to contain the many forms of the lunar mansion spirits. 

The modern lunar mansion system is of Mesopotamian origin, long after the dissolution of the traditional Hekatean cults, and the original source was the Vedic nakshatra system of India, so I am not aware of any authentic ancient system of working the 28 lunar mansions within a Greco-Egyptian modality (i.e. without all the angelic stuff). However, it should be possible, using the medieval era lunar mansion rituals as a template, to pattern a ritual invocation and conjuration for Hekate (and her ministering spirits) to fit the lunar mansion timing system.

Mansion rituals are traditionally a form of renaissance-era Christian theurgy, e.g. calling upon angels. My gambit is to retrofit this approach (which is Nigel Jackson’s) to work with Hekate by hot-swapping angelic invocations for Greek and Greco-Egyptian ones from sources like Orpheus, the PGM (Greek Magical Papryi), and so on.

To that end, I have a relationship with the Moon via Hekate, a method of invocation, and a timing system; so all that remains is construct the ritual itself and plan a series of workings across different lunar mansions. That plan, and the details of the subsequent workings, will be the inspiration for a new series of posts in the New Magic section focused on making the lunar mansion system more accessible.

In the hopes that other practitioners are intrigued by this idea and want to participate, using either my syncretized Hekate ritual or the traditional angelic conjurations, I will be publishing a monthly guide to lunar mansion workings, along with all the ritual, spell theory, literary / historical context, and personal gnosis, I can muster in the process.

The full syncretized Hekate lunar mansion ritual is included below (compare to the traditional ritual in my guide to lunar mansion magic), including bits sourced from Christopher Warnock, Nigel Jackson, and Jason Miller:

Hekate Lunar Mansion Ritual

Hekas, Hekas, Este Bebeloi
In the name of Hekate
I call forth the winds and rivers

EUROS and COCYTUS in the East
NOTOS and PHELEGETON in the South
ZEPHYRUS and STYX in the West
and BOREAS and ACHERON in the North

Blow and flow into her stropholos
Empower this working with your presence

HEKATE OURANIA above
HEKATE CHTHONIA below
HEKATE PANOPAIA within & without
IO HEKATE! IO HEKATE! IO HEKATE!

Come to me, O beloved mistress, Three-faced
Selene; kindly hear my sacred chants;
Night’s ornament, young, bringing light to mortals,
O child of morn who ride upon fierce bulls,
O queen who drive your car on equal course
With Helios, who with the triple forms
Of triple Graces dance in revel with
The stars. You’re Justice and the Moira’s threads:
Klotho and Lachesis and Atropos
Three-headed, you’re Persephone, Megaira,
Allekto, many-formed, who arm your hands
With dreaded, murky lamps, who shake your locks
Of fearful serpents on your brow, who sound
The roar of bulls out from your mouths, whose womb
Is decked out with the scales of creeping things,
With pois’nous rows of serpents down the back,
Bound down your backs with horrifying chains
Night-Crier, bull-faced, loving solitude,
Bull-headed, you have eyes of bulls, the voice
Of dogs; you hide your forms in shanks of lions,
Your ankle is wolf-shaped, fierce dogs are dear
To you, wherefore they call you Hekate,
Many-named, Mene, cleaving air just like
Dart-shooter Artemis, Persephone,
Shooter of deer, night shining, triple-sounding,
Triple-headed, triple-voiced Selene
Triple-pointed, triple-faced, triple-necked,
And goddess of the triple ways, who hold
Untiring flaming fire in triple baskets,
And you who oft frequent the triple way
And rule the triple decades, unto me
Who’m calling you be gracious and with kindness
Give heed, you who protect the spacious world
At night, before whom daimons quake in fear
And gods immortal tremble, goddess who
Exalt men, you of many names, who bear
Fair offspring, bull-eyed, horned, mother of gods
And men, and Nature, Mother of all things,
For you frequent Olympos, and the broad
And boundless chasm you traverse. Beginning
And end are you, and you alone rule all.
For all things are from you, and in you do
All things, Eternal one, come to their end.
As everlasting band around your temples
You wear great Kronos’ chains, unbreakable
And unremovable, and you hold in
Your hands a golden scepter. Letters ‘round
Your scepter Kronos wrote himself and gave
To you to wear that all things stay steadfast:
Subduer and subdued, mankind’s subduer,
And force-subduer; Chaos, too, you rule.
ARARACHARARA ÊPHTHISIKÊRE.
Hail, goddess, and attend your epithets,
I burn for you this spice, O child of Zeus,
Dart-shooter, heav’nly one, goddess of harbors,
Who roam the mountains, goddess of crossroads,
O nether and nocturnal, and infernal,
Goddess of dark, quiet and frightful one,
O you who have your meal amid the graves,
Night, Darkness, broad Chaos: Necessity
Hard to escape are you; you’re Moira and
Erinys, torment, Justice and Destroyer,
And you keep Kerberos in chains, with scales
Of serpents are you dark, O you with hair
Of serpents, serpent-girded, who drink blood,
Who bring death and destruction, and who feast
On hearts, flesh eater, who devour those dead
Untimely, and you who make grief resound
And spread madness, come to my sacrifices,
And now for me do you fulfill this matter.

HEKATE DESPOINA
HEKATE EPHOROS
HEKATE KLÔTHAIE

I invoke you by your names:

HEKATE – ARTEMIS – SELENE

And by the old names:

AKTIOPHIS – ERISKIGAL – NABOUTOSOALETH

KLOTHO, LACHESIS, and ATROPOS, fair-armed daughters of Night, hear our prayers, you all-terrible deities of heaven and the lower world –weave our will into the world! 

Bring forth the spirit who governs the mansion of [MANSION DESCRIPTION e.g. “the seven sisters”] and make them hear our petitions and fulfill them swiftly.

By this rite of nigromantic art
In the supreme power of the Light of Lights
By the eternal forms of light, Masters of the Talismans
In the Name beyond all Names
Descend O [SPIRIT], Celestial Intelligence of [NAME OF MANSION]
Descend, we implore thee, from the perfumed Mandal of the Lamps of the Moon
Breathe thy power into this Talisman and ensoul it with thy pneumata

Hekate art by Alex Maune

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