"...For, by the sacred radiance of the sun, The mysteries of Hekate, and the nights; By all the operation of the orbs..."
"Hekate is a goddess like no other. Some describe her as a witch goddess who rises up from the dark depths of the underworld, while others tell of a bright shining goddess who holds her torches of illumination high, revealing the path through the mysteries, but only for those with the wisdom to follow her. Some say that she is the "Axis Mundi", the "Chaldean World Soul" and that that she brings soul fire, and light to humanity. Others tell of a powerful goddess who is crowned with the coils of wild serpents, and oak leaves. Appearing with three heads, often with three bodies, sometimes in forms which are part-human and part-beast. It is said that she holds sway in many worlds, bearing the keys to the thresholds between, guarding ,and blessing those who make suitable offerings to her, but feared by those who let injustice come upon the world. "
Ancient Greek deities had several roles, most of which were not unique to any particular God or Goddess, and which changed over time. More confusingly for us, these roles sometimes appear contradictory. Throughout Hellenistic and Roman times Hekate was worshipped as the regional mother goddess at her main Carian sanctuary at Lagina near Stratonicea. In Classical Greece (500 to 300 BCE), Hekate not only reigned over witchcraft, magic, and death, but also birth and renewal. She was a guardian against evil, and invoked in curses; She was a protective guide and light bringer, but also 'Dread Goddess of the Underworld'.
The Ancient Greeks understood that a deity can give as well as withhold: Hekate can protect you from evil spirits if She so chooses, but can also visit them upon you. There is evidence for an Archaic 'irrational' mode of thought which does not strive for one precise conclusion, but offers a medley of possibilities. But perhaps there is no contradiction here, for death inevitably goes hand in hand with fertility as a power of the earth.
Hekate not only had a role in the mysteries of Eleuis; mystery cults of Hekate existed on Aegina and Samothace. Beyond that, little is known, but my research shows intriguing clues remain: The tombstone of a Thracian woman initiate claims that she has been immortalized in death as the 'goddess Hekate'.