A book review by Spirit Mountain Wilds:
Recently I was given the opportunity by Moon Books to review Vivenne Moss´ latest book, written under the Pagan Portals imprint, for and about her goddess Hekate. As someone who has come to goddess worship late in my life, this assignment was an opportunity for me to learn more about this goddess as well as providing some visibility for the book and author.
In 2012 Moon Books (http://moon-books.net) began publishing a line of books under the heading Pagan Portals. These books are designed to be short affordable introductions to very specific topics of pagan thought. It is an inspired idea as it enables those of us who are searchers to explore a particular topic more deeply, without committing a lot of money or time. But for newbies, it should be noted that the Pagan Portal books, in addressing the topic in some depth, presume the reader will have a certain familiarity with the subject. This is where matching the neophyte me with this book to review may not have had the desired result, but more on this toward the end.
Vivienne Moss is a Cottage Witch who is dedicated to the goddess Hekate. This book is titled as a devotional and, in truth, the first half of it reads like a love letter. These chapters follow a formula in which each chapter begins with a poetic recitation of the aspects of Hekate that are relied upon in order to explore the chapter´s particular topic. The topic is then explored in light of Moss´ experience and then the chapter closes with another poetic appreciation of Hekate´s presence and involvement in Moss´ life. This format is seen in devotional books across time, including a Christian form of prayer, the Collect, in which the attribute most needed to deliver the desired result for the supplication offered is ascribed to the deity .
Throughout the first part of the book Moss tells the story of her relationship with Hekate from her first encounter with the goddess in her dreams, through her various encounters over time, her experience of Hekate as psychopomp, guardian, and protector. These tales do not sugar-coat Hekate and provide instead ample evidence that those who will follow will need to be strong and resourceful in her service.
To work with Hekate means to work with the awareness of the Dark or Shadowside. Hekate´s land incorporates the crossroads between worlds and it is at the crossroads where her abode may be found. In following Hekate, one finds oneself in the proverbial “briarpatch”, and it is being lead through the briarpatch that one develops resilience and self confidence. Walking with Hekate may require sacrifice but it also rekindles one’s ability to experience enchantment.
Later Moss goes on to examine Hekate’s role with death. Hekate accompanies us, shows us the correspondence between death and life, and teaches us to live fully; that it is the faithfulness and power of Hekate that can be relied upon to aid us in the transition from life unto death.
Upon completion of the devotional section in the book, the part that follows differs in both tone and structure. It is a straight forward recitation of descriptors of the goddess and further amplification:
breath of life
mother of dragons
gardens of elysium
sun and moon
she who is all
This is followed by a bare listing of facts:parents, children, mystery cults etc. without amplification. Once this has been enumerated, the book ends with recipes for various substances to be used in casting spells and working with Hekate.
I have attempted here to show the variety of information included in this work as honestly as possible. As someone who is not a practitioner of the Craft and as one who has come to working with goddesses only recently, I have found the information difficult to follow and difficult to understand in the broader context. This clearly is a book written for those who are partakers in the Craft and familiar with the roles of the goddess in witchcraft.