Ecate era una dea ctonia (termine con il quale si definisce quelle divinità legate ai culti del mondo sotterraneo) di origine indo-europea; apparteneva alla religione greca e romana.

Le sue origini sono incerte. Per alcuni era figlia di Ceo e di Febe, a volte suo padre era Perse oppure lo stesso Zeus. Secondo altri la madre era la sorella di Latone, Asteria, anche se a volte era chiamata figlia di Demetra o di Ferea.

La sua associazione con Demetra derivava dal fatto che entrambe le dee proteggevano la fertilità della terra.

Esiodo narra che Ecate (il cui nome significa colei che lancia le frecce) fu onorata da Zeus più di altre divinità ed ebbe potere su terra, mare e cielo.

Come dea della terra Ecate fu associata al mondo dei morti ed era spesso raffigurata con delle torce nella mano proprio per la sua capacità di accompagnare i vivi nel regno dei morti.

Da Ecate la Sibilla Cumana (una profetessa sacerdotessa di Apollo) traeva la capacità di dare responsi dagli spiriti o dagli dei.

Tutte le maghe, come Medea e Circe, la invocavano nella preparazione di filtri e incantesimi. Ecate, insieme con altre divinità, veniva a volte associata ai cicli lunari; con Diana o Artemide rappresentava la luna crescente e con Selene la luna piena.

Era inoltre la dea delle arti magiche ed era raffigurata come triplice: giovane, adulta-madre e vecchia, il numero tre la rappresentava e le sue statue erano poste negli incroci (trivi) a protezione dei viandanti.

Aristofane indicava la dea come un nume tutelare di porte e accessi con l’epiteto di Propylaya: pare che le fosse stato consacrato un culto sull’Acropoli di Atene dove, all’ingresso, era collocata a protezione della rocca una statua della Dea.

Il più noto santuario dedicato ad Ecate si trova a Lagina, in Turchia sud occidentale.

Inno orfico a Ecate

175 pensiero su “ECATE”
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