Hecate’s Deipnon1, or Hecate’s Supper is a meal served to Hecate and her retinue of spirits on the dark of the moon or the last night of the lunar month. It is traditionally left at the crossroads, or in front of the home at the “crossroad” between public and private space.
The purpose of the Deipnon is to honor Hecate, to earn Her forgiveness for any slights against her that may have been committed during the month and to appease any vengeful spirits who may be traveling with Her.
Preparation for the Deipnon begins with the purification of the home. The floor is thoroughly swept and the sweepings are gathered and placed on Hecate’s shrine along with the food offerings that make up the feast. This symbolizes the “garbage” from the last month that you don’t want to bring into the next, including any “sins” and misfortunes.
Many modern worshippers of Hecate take this opportunity to clear out their closets and cupboards as well and pass on any physical items they no longer need by donating them to charity. This practice is inspired by the following quote for Aristophones2:
“Ask Hekate whether it is better to be rich or starving; she will tell you that the rich send her a meal every month and that the poor make it disappear before it is even served.”
Traditional food items for the Deipnon include eggs, leeks, garlic and fish (especially herring). Incense and candles are often included as well. Some prefer to present an offering of a portion of the meal prepared for the family or the bake special cakes or other items for the occasion. It is important to walk away quickly without looking back after the Deipnon has been served, so as not to catch sight of the dead in the act of consuming their offering. Indeed, I have been told that on the night of Hecate’s Supper, it is very bad luck to even look outside after the meal has been served.
Hecate’s Supper is the first of the monthly New Moon rituals, followed by Noumenia the next evening when the first sliver of the moon is visible in the sky, and Agathos Daimon the day after that.