Leave It At The Crossroads
By Mambo Samantha Corfield
“…and take your offering and leave it at any crossroads.”
That one phrase in our Spellmaker’s product instructions has been the cause of confusion (and sometimes panic) for many years. No doubt some of the fear is borne out of movies, songs, and television shows where nothing good happens at the crossroads. But more than that, there seems to be some misunderstanding about where and what the crossroads are.
Simply put, for our purposes, the “crossroads” is an intersection, just like in the picture above. What?? I know!! For a magickally-minded person that might be a huge letdown. But it is the truth. All we are asking is that you to leave something at an intersection…any intersection, as long as it has four paths of travel. If you were to look at it from above, it should make an actual cross. This is valid for any kind of magickal work you are doing that asks you to go to, or leave something at, the crossroads, unless otherwise specified.
I have had people tell me that they couldn’t get a ride to the crossroads, there was no crossroads in their city or state, or that they don’t want to be out at midnight in the middle of nowhere. Nevermind our instructions don’t say at midnight nor do they say go to the middle of nowhere. But I completely understand our indoctrination to hear “crossroads” and expect that, in the middle of nowhere, at midnight, there be demons. Maybe. But probably not. (Not unless you are conjuring them, but why would you – they are aggravating, hard-to-handle creatures. I digress.)
People come by their trepidation of the crossroads quite honestly, though. The Crossroads has had mystical, spiritual connotations for a very long time. Those ideas existed long before blues singers started singing about them. And certainly existed long before a Mambo from New Orleans by way of Albuquerque asked you to go to them!
Remember, in magick, the crossroads are a representation of the path between two worlds, ours and the spiritual. While our dear Papa Legba is, for us, the keeper of the crossroads, he has some company. In Greek legends, Hermes and Hecate are honored at the crossroads. In Roman legends, Mercury is associated with the crossroads. In Germanic and Norse mythology, Odin is honored at the crossroads. So human fascination and attention to the crossroads is quite long-lived.
Of course, “the Devil” is associated with the crossroads and that is a much more interesting entity to bring into entertainment venues! (Full disclosure, I don’t believe in the devil, at least not the way s/he is portrayed in religion.) It makes sense, “the Devil” is one of those entities said to cross back and forth between our world and the spiritual world. So aligning him/her with the crossroads makes perfect sense. After all, of course, the crossroads is where you go to sell your soul to the devil so you can play that gee-tar real good!
Clarksdale, Mississippi’s claim to fame is what is considered the quintessential Devil’s Crossroads (Hwy 61 and Hwy 49). The site Is marked with a sign and three guitars on a pole – pretty cool place to visit, devil or not! This is where blues singer and writer, Robert Johnson, purportedly sold his soul to the devil. I don’t know about all that, but Spellmaker clients will recognize “Hwy 61” as being included in one of our oils “Hwy 61 Fast Buck Oil.” But that is actually for a different reason. Hwy 61 as it leads up to New Orleans used to be filled with gambling establishments! Hwy 61 came to be considered lucky in New Orleans history.
However, I am sure a case could be made for that crossroads and gambling, too, since the ability to play dice successfully is one of the things traditionally asked for at a crossroads. (People who I have told to put dice on their altar to Legba just went, click, OH!)
Okay, so, would it be great to get out to the country and find a crossroads and do your magick undisturbed? Yes. Amazing. I have done it many times. Even better if there is a train track at the crossroads! But that isn’t practical for many of us these days. We have to throw those pennies, leave that offering, make that wish, at whatever crossroads we can find and know that Papa Legba is there to hear us and appreciates our efforts.
Some of you might be in the concrete jungle most of the time, but go drop those 3 pennies at whatever crossroads you can. Don’t be frustrated at not being able to get to a more romantic crossroads. Papa Legba will open the gate for you. Your effort is not unnoticed. He is there.