Hekate Brimo…hearing his words from the abyss, came up…She was garlanded by fearsome snakes that coiled themselves round twigs of oak; the twinkle of a thousand torches lit the scene;and hounds of the underworld barked shrilly all around her”
– Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3.1194
Brimo means ‘the angry’ or ‘the terrifying’, and seems to be an epithet most associated with Hekate, but I have heard of Demeter, Persephone, the Erinyes, Rhea and Kybele being given this epithet as well (which really wouldn’t surprise me). For this post, I just want to focus on Hekate since she’s been on my mind quite a bit recently.
From what I’ve gathered, Brimo-Hekate was very much associated with Pharai, Thessalia, where she was worshipped as a Queen of the Underworld. If one takes a moment to look at the coinage from that place, Hekate seems to have been quite important.
Hekate is associated with witchcraft, ghouls and the like. Indeed, I thought these were her primary associations until I educated myself. When I came to know about her roles as a nurser of children and a protective deity, I became more comfortable with honouring her, whereas before I was quite hesitant.
With her role as a protective deity, it’s natural to think of dogs as her sacred animal, since dogs were and are frequently used to protect property. Dogs can, obviously, be fierce when protecting property, which is how I’ve come to interpret the epithet ‘Brimo’ when concerning Hekate.
But…I must also say that ‘Brimo’ seems to be an epithet associated with the Underworld and I’ve always thought that offerings to khthonic deities are not meant to be shared, at all. This is why I’m not comfortable with the idea of giving food to charity, in the name of Hekate, in place of offering to the goddess.