Some months ago I had to leave my house (through my divorce) and moved from my village into a small town (30 km away from my old village). Through my move into the new area, I had to leave behind my crossroad shrine. I cared for this shrine for several years and the crossroad was on a very special place. The hill on which I created the shrine was on an old Germanic cult place and after Christianisation this place was used as gallows hill until the 19th century. You can see a picture of this shrine as first picture in this article.
In my house I had a separated ritual room, which I used for the group ceremonies of the Sanctuary of Hekate Pasikrateia, now I live in a 2 room flat. And to organise open group rituals in this flat is a challenge. So I searched for a place in which I could organise the sanctuary rituals outdoors.
I did long walks in my area and explored the forests and hills, the nature here is beautiful and the forests are deep, but I have not found a place that really draw me to erect there a ritual place. The same was true for the crossroads. Crossroads are everywhere and I looked for a crossroad that I could use for my Deipnon practices. Over the years I preferred crossroads that were outside of the villages I lived. When I began to honour Hekate as teenager, I began to use a small crossroad outside of the village on a small hill; the crossroad was nothing special, just a Y shaped intersection. But I felt the presence of Hekate there strongly and got signs on this place after I gave her offerings and did rituals on this place. I used this crossroad until I was 26 (and began to use it when I was 14 years old) so I used this spot for a long time. When my ex-husband and I bought our house in another village I had to leave this crossroad and found the crossroad that I spoke about already. I used this crossroad for 6 years and on this crossroad I felt Hekate much stronger than on the other crossroad. It felt like Hekate inhabited the complete hill and that the spirits were all around me, watching me and consuming the energy of the offerings. The hill felt alive and full of spirits and entities and after the rites I often heard dogs barking down in the village or owls screaming in the night.
Here in my new area I used several crossroads for my Hekate worship and the Deipnon practices in the last months. But no crossroad spoke to me, no signs, no barking of dogs in the night, no feeling of Hekate inhabiting the crossroad- everything felt disconnected for me. So as I have said crossroads are everywhere, but are not all crossroads the same? Are some crossroads more special than other ones? Or am I just petted that I had used this very special crossroads for so many years that normal crossroads are nothing special anymore? I don´t know. So I began to leave the offerings of my rites on the local cemetery and here I felt more connection again and felt the spirits around me interacting with the offerings again- this completely was missing on the crossroads that I used here in my rites.
Some weeks ago I found a hill in my area, called the Heiliger Berg (holy hill) and I explored this hill. There is a pagan ring wall and the remains of an old church (build in the 10th century and it was given up in the 17th century). I went several times to this hill, did walks through the woods and gave offerings to the nymphs and local spirits of the place. Through coincidence I found a very beautiful old quarry while I walked with my partner and my dogs through the forest. This place feels like a forsaken old temple, overgrown with honeysuckle, that builds a natural roof over the quarry. In the quarry there was already a stone pile that looked like an altar.
On the winter solstice I celebrated a ritual for Hekate in this place and used the stone pile as altar for her, when I gave her honey as offering, crows all around me began to scream and wind blew through the quarry that was wind still before. I plan to build a shrine for Hekate in this place and my partner already helped me to set up a huge rock and I will add more stones around this rock on my coming visits. I will use this place for the rituals of the Sanctuary of Hekate Pasikrateia and will start to organise open seasonal rituals throughout the coming year. Maybe a modern grove sanctuary will evolve out of this place with time- like the sacred grove of Hekate in Colchis or her sacred grove on the Avernean Lake at Cumae (the grove where the oracular priestess of Hekate opened the door to Hades for the hero Aeneas).
In Antiquity many Gods and Goddess were worshipped in sacred groves, these were special groves in which shrines and altars of the Deities were present and the cults were celebrated with rites and offerings. Sacred groves were common in ancient Greece, the roman Imperium and also very common as sacred places of the Germanic and Celtic regions. One of the most famous grove sanctuaries was the sacred grove of Diana Nemorensis near Rome. In this sacred grove Diana Trivia was worshipped and Hekate was connected to this place as well (maybe through syncretism). I think in modern paganism it would be a quite good way of worship, to dedicate shrines and altars for Gods and Goddesses and the local nymphs and spirits in the woods and forests, so that new sacred forests will grow and evolve with time. Sure the question is how these shrines and altars will be accepted if the groves are not private property. But I will see how this will evolve with the Hekate shrine in the forests of the Heiligen Berg in my area.