Where One is not a separation but neither is it balanced; it is too young to be integrated. Two is a harmony of sorts, the first numeric balance in the world. For One to have come into existence, something must have taken place to distance it from 0, for zero is not yet inertia but prehistory /pre-analytic. Two then resembles the first balance and three, the first integral imbalance and to the Pythagorean, three was the first true number.
Said a philosopher.
I wanted to write a little something about a very recent event. I always have these doubts about sharing experiences but I have gotten into the routine of taking them as lessons and sometimes sharing them anyhow. The questions posed here may remain as such or they may be disregarded or given further food for thought. This is no dogmatic spout but it does concern the Goddess/archetype that is Hekate and the number 3.
Anyway, I recently made a ritual tool which started life as two separate wooden handled kitchen pieces. I’m a dab hand in the kitchen, I love food and preparation so that was a good start along with what is often a hedge-witch approach, but you must forgive my exclusion of a photo as this is my trade-off.
Months before I had painstakingly removed the blade from this knife and replaced it with a quartz crystal into the hole, making for a short stubby wand, then months later with me pondering precisely what more was it for…? Well, I found the other piece and had the crazy idea to marry them both.
So, I ended up with a double-handled tool with a quartz crystal at one end and a two-pronged fork on t’other. It was a hassle conjoining them and a lot of patience as drying invariably led me to question whether or not it was straight or, more importantly, what it actually was?
The experience was completed with a very strong urge (an instruction perhaps) to tie a piece of cord around the middle of the piece (which not only covered where the two were conjoined) but allowed me to wrap around my wrists whilst holding in the air. It seemed obvious that it was for devotional poems and/or the evocation stage but I reckon the lesson may be an implicit one.
Anyway, some days later it suddenly occurred to me that the two-pronged fork seemed wrong, as a trident needed three prongs, right? But, on the other hand, there were overall three sides, two prongs and a crystal at the other end…a ratio of 2:1. And it got me thinking.
If we start from the position that magick involves a cause and then later an effect that manifests – then something has to be unbalanced in order to combat the inertia and stagnancy that nullifies magickal action.
Newton’s First Law of Motion states that, ‘An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.’ I have always seen the ratio of perfect, primary balance as 1:1 however you might see that equity, or polarity.
In regards to Hekate however it got me wondering…one of the things I always felt ‘uncomfortable’ about if that is the right term, being as I was a true lover of the Titans, was her supposed role in aiding the Olympians during the Gigantomachy. Now, I have nothing against the Olympians – in fact – I see them as a natural progression and perhaps the first incarnation of the truly isolate human, a part of but also separate from the objective universe. This will have to wait for another article but as above, so below. This depth for the Titans giving way to a further understanding of the Olympians is the way it’s meant to be.
But, have never seen Hekate as an Olympian in deed or nature aside the fact she is hailed as a great for her involvement in the death of Clytius during the Gigantomachy. And this led into all sorts of food for thought having just finished the tool and pondering further as I was on its meaning; its place. Three is the original imbalance.
Hekate in many respects, as I came to understand during this learning curve is (also) a herald, guiding through the liminal period like a ghost in the shade suspended with her actors to a certain outcome. Yes, she is between; the guidance that the torch affords but also, I believe increasingly, of Fate itself – the result of a natural order not unlike that of the Furies. The ratio stacks against its own inferior number. The simplest expression of this imbalance is 2:1, or 3 understood in an entirely different context. A truth if you like about to manifest in reality, an imbalance of forces leading to an outcome reflecting those unequal forces. That feeling of inevitability. The mother on the battlefield who knows that her son is a player in a ruined army. Any improvement at all, comes much later.
In this sense, She resembles a coup de grace on the battlefield of the Gigantomachy, essentially bringing forth that which was to manifest anyway – in this case the inevitable progression of Hellenistic society in an Olympian victory. And with this in order it is ultimately up to the practitioner to understand the true possibility of that ratio. Oh, and how many torches did she use to slay Clytius? Two. Of course, one could argue that in human form she has only two hands but a polycephalic deity like Hekate might have wielded more? If this seems ridiculousness what is the significance of two?
This, I thought goes some way to explaining Her exalted status, as a bearer and bringer of Truth to the Olympians. She is of unalterable reality; She is Fate’s own midwife, easing the transition but also, also the merciful end…the terminal itself.
As with everything this is pure conjecture and of course if I went to the betting shop today and put my money on a football match (it isn’t unknown) which was given odds of 2:1 there is no guarantee that this would reap a reward. But as time moved on inexorably with this article left unpublished, there have since arrived many more insights and to keep the original chronology of the piece, will now talk about these additions.
So, as opposed to being a ratio understood as 2: 1 in an overpowering sense, as if the scales are tipped to a certain advantage as with the example above, the ratio can also be understood as 2:1 as two leading into just one outcome. As a Goddess of the triple crossroads whether we are dealing metaphorically or physically, travellers always have a choice or a predestined route that essentially dismisses two options in adopting just one. In this sense, two becomes streamlined into one as opposed overpowering it. Two are sacrificed toward the favour of the one. So, this ratio reversed 1:2, although essentially the same, offers an embodiment, or victory of the one over two opposed its own sacrifice the other way around.
In what are the more famous myths regarding Hekate then, she is found with torches scouring the countryside looking for the abducted Persephone, two Goddesses – Hekate and Demeter – looking for one, Persephone. As the gravity of the situation and the seasonal implications for her abduction emerge, it is decreed that Persephone should spend just one third of the year in the kingdom of Hades and be released for the other two-thirds…2:1. There is also an argument that as her role as Propolos, that Hekate and Persephone (2) are delivered to either Hades, or back to Demeter (1) although there are so many other characters involved in the later events of this myth where reconciliation is insisted by Demeter, as to make this more of a tenuous link.
I hope I have shared some worthwhile words regarding the number three which may make some of us think differently about this number, much like one society is made up of its constituents, so too is number itself borne of its own inherent properties. I also hope then that these musings lead to an understanding of the number 3 as a working dynamic, however you word your intent, as opposed just being a sacred number with no relationship to itself or the world of myth, and reality.
How each practitioner interprets the meaning of these numbers is and should be up to the practitioner. It remains to be seen how I will use the new tool and perhaps these musings are the end itself…
© Sam R Geraghty July 2018