We stand at a cultural crossroads, a moment of profound historical magnitude brought about by the new millennium. Two thousand years of Western culture have transformed the world into a global village, characterized not only by economic interdependency and computerized communication, but also by overpopulation, industrialization, and pollution, which are provoking both a natural sense of anxiety and an urgent call for solutions.

As many indigenous religions prophesied, millions are finding answers in the remarkable rebirth of an ancient spirituality: that of the Goddess. Though long obscured by Western patriarchal monotheism, Goddesses have been revered by every culture of the world, throughout every period of history. Today, one particularly remarkable and potent aspect of the Divine Feminine--Hecate, the Greek Goddess who presides over the sacred convergence of time and space, destiny and choice, spirit and nature--stands watch.

Hecate, one of humanity’s oldest deities, is often described as the Threefold Goddess--the Maiden, Mother, and Crone--who represents three phases of women’s spiritual power: independence, creativity, and wisdom. Frequently depicted as a woman with the totemic animal faces--a serpent, horse, and dog--Hecate was worshipped where three roads crossed, for it was Her Divine guidance that was invoked when life-altering decisions were to be made. Hecate is the archetypal Divine Feminine wisdom of the past brought into the present to direct and manifest the future.

The birth of a new religion is a profound event in any culture, arising when old religious models no longer explain reality or satisfy people's spiritual needs. During the last 20 years, a spiritual movement known as Wicca, (the old Anglo-Saxon term meaning "wise one" or "shaman"), led largely by women, has emerged like Persephone from the Underworld and it is now the fastest growing religious movement in the United States.

In the dominant Western religions--Christianity, Judaism, and Islam--the Divine is exclusively male, served by male prophets and clergy who interpret the will of a Father/Son God. And biblical dogma is both source of and reinforcement for the exploitation of the earth and the oppression of women--from Eve’s responsibility for the "downfall" of humanity to the murderous Witch craze ordered by Pope Innocent VIII in the Malleus Malifacraum, which condemns women as tools of the Devil, liars, filled with carnal lust, and in constant need of male supervision because "When a woman thinks alone, she thinks evil."

The three biblical religions also share a common transcendental theology in which God created the world, but is not present in it. Two thousand years of Western civilization have been built on the conviction that the Divine is absent from the world in which we live. This existential separation of humanity from divinity is the most profound condition of alienation imaginable. It is a deep wound at the heart of Western culture and it is precisely why our social crises so precisely parallel the self-destructive behavior of neglected children, particularly in terms of violence and addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, and rampant materialism--all intended but unable to fill our spiritual emptiness.

But a new vision is emerging, springing from feminism’s challenge to patriarchal religions. As Simone De Beauvoir observed in "The Second Sex," women will never be completely free as long as a culture's image of the Divine is exclusively male. At the crossroads, women have found a home in the ancient religions of the Goddess.

Retrieving and recreating the spirituality of their foremothers, women have rediscovered Hecate. The only surviving Titan (divinities of pre-patriarchal Greece), Hecate remained all-powerful even in the new age of Olympian patriarchy, sharing with Zeus the ultimate power to grant the longings of the human heart.

Perhaps Her greatest gift to us at this crucial moment is Her role as a shamanic guide through the three realms of divine reality--the "underworld" of ancestors and spirits (the past or unconscious), the "middle world" of daily life (the present moment of choice or ego), and the "upper world" of divinity (our future and our spirituality). Only Hecate has the power to travel between all three realms of being, and it is She who guides our collective journey from an underworld of greed, destruction, and death, to a world of rebirth and divine revelation.

Ancient and modern Goddess religions--particularly that of Hecate--incorporate shamanic practices that enable us to experience direct, personal, ecstatic communion with the Divine, to discover the sacred within ourselves and to see it manifest in the world around us. All of the practices, the magical arts of Hecate, are varieties of active meditations conducted in the presence of nature, enabling us to transform and empower ourselves through our connection to this sacred source of being. Among these techniques are ritual, meditation, spell-casting (similar to prayer), energy raising, invocations of the Goddess and God, trance, chanting, dancing, visualization, and journeying. These are all means of enabling us to experience all aspects of creation as embodiments of Divine energy, and to experience the interconnection and oneness of life created by that energy.

The world is a paradise that we have never left. With the shamanic practices and insights of Old Europe, we can transform our culture by restoring the lost feminine. Hecate is the magic of the moment--the infinite made visible in the miracle of life--the Divine presence whose wisdom and magic await us at the crossroads, guiding our choice.

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