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Hecate (hĕkˈətē, hĕkˈĭt) [key], in Greek religion and mythology, goddess of ghosts and witchcraft. Originally she seems to have been an extremely powerful and benevolent goddess, identified with three other goddesses—Selene (in heaven), Artemis (on earth), and Persephone (in the underworld). From the three supposedly came her image in Greek art as a figure with three bodies or three heads. Generally she is identified as a spirit of black magic, Persephone's attendant, with the power to conjure up dreams, phantoms, and the spirits of the dead. In the upper world she haunted graveyards and crossroads and was invisible to all eyes except those of the hounds who attended her.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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