The History of the Karen





The Egyptian origin of the name may be ḥqt or ḥqꜣt, an Egyptian goddess of fertility and childbirth, who, like Hecate, was also associated with ḥqꜣ, magic.

  1. She is also known as the Egyptian midwife goddess Hekat.

  2. Hecate may have been related to the Sumerian Goddess of Death and Magic.

  3. Hecate's three heads were sometimes envisioned as various animals including the serpent and the dog. She is considered a Lady of the Beasts.


The Greek origin of the name comes from Hecate, the goddess of magic, witchcraft, the night, moon, ghosts and necromancy. She was the only child of the Titanes Perses and Asteria from whom she received her power over heaven, earth, and sea.

  1. Whether or not Hecate's worship originated in Greece, some scholars have suggested that the name derives from a Greek root, and several potential source words have been identified. For example, ἑκών "willing" (thus, "she who works her will" or similar), may be related to the name Hecate.

  2. Hecate was one of the main deities worshiped in Athenian households as a protective goddess and one who bestowed prosperity and daily blessings on the family.

  3. Hecate was originally considered an aspect of Artemis prior to the latter's adoption into the Olympian pantheon.


The Anatolian origin of the name comes from the Carian Kingdom in Anatolia. It was ruled on several occasions by queens after the death of their husbands. Queen Appollonis, wife of Attalos I of Pergamum and Queen Sinope and Queen Amastris of the Black Sea region in the 3rd century B.C. were famous.

  1. Hecate was worshipped in the western Anatolian costal areas and the island of Samothrace, both areas associated with myths of the Amazons.

  2. Hecate was the Anatolian sun-goddess of the underworld also mediated interactions between the upper and lower worlds.

  3. The sophisticated Carian Goddess Hekate was nurturer of the young, a protector of cross roads, and was also worshipped in luminal places.


Karen has been a popular name among Danish speaking people since medieval times where it was considered a shortened version of Katherine.

The name Katherine, along with many other similar sounding names is derived from the goddess Hecate who was worshiped in the many ancient cultures noted above.


Karen is a relatively recent name in the US, in 1965 Karen was the third most popular female name.