RealPagan- Paganism for the Real World

In hoodoo, the crossroads are a place of power. Hoodoo uses the four-way crossroads most often, those at (generally) right angles to one another. Another appropriate crossroads is a bridge that crosses directly over a straight run of water - working in the middle of the bridge is the same as working at a crossroads.

cat yronwode has a lot to say about crossroads in hoodoo here, including some interesting folklore and history.

The Dark Rider/Black Man at the Crossroads
Not unique to hoodoo, there are traditions of journeying to a crossroads to encounter a Black Man, Fetch, Dark Rider or Devil, to whom one sells one's soul in exchange for power or skill of some kind in many low magic traditions.

Appalachian hoodoo has a tradition of the Dark Rider. With this method, someone who is interested in learning conjure travels to the crossroads in the dead of night, with a talismanic item of some kind - a bone with meaningful associations, a High John the Conquerer root or something of the sort.

Once there, you wait for him, singing. There's no specific song to sing - you just sing whatever comes to mind, as long as you do so honestly. At some point, you'll be aware of either footsteps or hoofbeats behind you. At that moment, you stand stock still, not turning to look at him, and tell him what you want.

He doesn't say anything, but if you can feel him smile, he'll give you some of his mojo, putting it in that talisman you brought with you. It's sort of like the starter on a batch of sourdough - it's enough to get you started, but the real work of building it from there is all yours.

This practice - which is neither necessary nor even common among hoodoos - is a sort of initiation in hoodoo context. It is a beginning, and a declaration of intent.

Magic at the Crossroads
Lots of conjure is worked at a crossroads. Now, the ideal is the crossroads you encountered the Black Man at (assuming you did so). It's simply a place of power, with its own mojo that you can use as you need.

It isn't always possible to do work at a crossroads, however. Sometimes, you have to bring the crossroads to you. Many rootworkers will use a powder (sachet powders, or blowing powders) to lay down an X within a circle, and perform their magic on top of that.

Likewise, when laying a trick on a place with powders, it isn't uncommon for the powder to be applied in a quincux pattern - that is, four dots forming a square, with a fifth dot in the middle, like the 5-spot on a standard gambling die. Laying a hex on a business, blessing a house or any other trick that is laid on a place rather than a person is usually applied thusly.

Disposal of Tricks
A crossroads is also the ideal place for disposing of the materials left over after a trick has been worked all the way through. Bits of burnt paper, ash, candle stubs, jars of used honey and other similar ingredients should never be just thrown into the trash - you "throw away" the mojo you worked with them when you do so. Instead, bury them at a crossroads, so that the traffic at the crossroads "keeps the mojo traveling."

The Crossroads Keys
One trick that was shared with me was the creation of crossroads keys. These can be the talisman you bring to the crossroads when you meet the Black Man, if you like, or they can simply be something to provide you a connection when you've been working for a while.

Take two old skeleton keys, as alike in appearance as possible, and tie them together with a length of red ribbon. This ribbon should be measured from your heart to the outstretched wrist of your left hand. Tie the keys together, and carry them with you for a cycle of the moon.

Handle them often during this time, particularly if you journey to your crossroads during this time. Bits of your personal effects tied to them or dabbed on them are good, too - a bit of spittle before you sleep, or a lock of hair tied around both of them works perfectly.

Then, when you've carried them for long enough, take your keys (and a cutting instrument, like shears or a knife) down to the crossroads. Dig a hole in as exactly the middle of the crossroads as you can manage, and drop one of your keys down in there. Keeping the other key in your left hand, use your right hand to bury the key in the hole. Cut the ribbon that binds them, and then finish burying the key and ribbon in the hole, covering it well to prevent others from finding it.

Tie off the red ribbon on your key, and keep it. This is your "key to the crossroads." Think of it as the key that opens the door to that crossroads anywhere you are - when using it in your hoodoo work (even just kissing it and wearing it around your neck as you work), you are considered to be at that crossroads for the purpose of your mojo.

Best of luck!

Views: 2393

Replies to This Discussion

Oh, it just keeps getting better.

I have been fascinated with the idea of the 'Black Man' for ages. The mentioning of him through various traditions has always suggested to me that it is more than just lore. In Vodou, he is Kalfou (sometimes called Carrefour, kreyol for 'crossroads'), Papa Legba after the Sun has set, some say. It has something I have plotted to do for some time now, however, I admit as a believer in it, I have never quite got up the nerve. Yet. Although I have made a significant number of deposits at them.

The keys idea does seem fairly unique to hoodoo and, might I add, BRILLIANT. Oh, for a dirt country crossroads. But, as per the bridge over a river, could you drop the key into the water below?

So, I must ask, with the Man... Have you? :)
Another AMAZING post for my BOS.... I have a bridge crossroads about 30 yards from my house. And I know of another one on family land that is extremely secluded. It's quite a distance, but the Crossroads Keys would be perfect for it. Thanks again!!
Question:: In regards to the "Black Man," you mention being honest. How much does attitude play into the outcome? What attitude should one have?? and what if you do NOT sense him smile?? what is your move then?? Sorry... my mind is going 1000 miles a minute... :)
You know, I've never thought about the key used in the bridge crossroads. :) But yeah, I'm inclined to think that dropping it in the water below is about perfect.

And no, I haven't with the Man, not yet. :) The Black Man interests me, as well, especially with how fascinatingly well he corresponds with the Man in Black/Devil of medieval witchcraft stories, who travels from coven to coven, teaching them witchcraft. cat yronwode mentions that it's likely that the Black Man at the Crossroads came to African practice after the slave trade began, which would put its origins in European witchcraft.

As far as attitude, Strata - I think it plays a lot. :) Remember, there are no charges to be humble or anything like that when doing this sort of thing. Root doctors are basically the bastard love children of Moses and Mick Jagger - all kinds of spiritual rock star. I haven't had the experience myself, but I get the impression that the encounter with the Man in Black is a lot like those stories you hear about meeting Him at the Crossroads. Like "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." Make a good showing of yourself, without bullshitting. This is a chance to lay out your raw skill, talent and most of all determination. He's got to WANT to leave you with some of his mojo, because he knows you're going to do awesome things with it. Does that make sense?

And if he doesn't smile? Then he doesn't leave you some of his mojo. Fuck 'im. :D Work your mojo anyway, and make him regret not getting in "on the ground floor." :D
Oak... I loves you for this very reason... "Here's a cool way to get magical help... What? They won't help you? Well they can snod off, who needs them..." It's the absolute perfect attitude to have and I adores you!!



Oakthorne said:
You know, I've never thought about the key used in the bridge crossroads. :) But yeah, I'm inclined to think that dropping it in the water below is about perfect.

And no, I haven't with the Man, not yet. :) The Black Man interests me, as well, especially with how fascinatingly well he corresponds with the Man in Black/Devil of medieval witchcraft stories, who travels from coven to coven, teaching them witchcraft. cat yronwode mentions that it's likely that the Black Man at the Crossroads came to African practice after the slave trade began, which would put its origins in European witchcraft.

As far as attitude, Strata - I think it plays a lot. :) Remember, there are no charges to be humble or anything like that when doing this sort of thing. Root doctors are basically the bastard love children of Moses and Mick Jagger - all kinds of spiritual rock star. I haven't had the experience myself, but I get the impression that the encounter with the Man in Black is a lot like those stories you hear about meeting Him at the Crossroads. Like "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." Make a good showing of yourself, without bullshitting. This is a chance to lay out your raw skill, talent and most of all determination. He's got to WANT to leave you with some of his mojo, because he knows you're going to do awesome things with it. Does that make sense?

And if he doesn't smile? Then he doesn't leave you some of his mojo. Fuck 'im. :D Work your mojo anyway, and make him regret not getting in "on the ground floor." :D
I read that fantastic article of which you linked. Most of the personal accounts collected seems to relay the same story. The Man either through you or directly teaches you the skill as a reward for not getting scared and running away. Thus, I assess, fearlessness would certainly be a big part of the attitude.

This might be the only way I'll master my guitar here. Fortunately, I do live on a crossroads. Unfortunately, whereas I would be about guaranteed in meeting a man at midnight, I doubt skills or mojo would be what he has to offer. :P

The correlation between old European witchcraft and the ATR has always fascinated me. Whereas there are some areas where it's more obvious than others, such as the use of the cauldron and about 50% of Quimbanda, others, some may be simply a fascinating cross-cultural phenomenon. It's all good regardless of the case, and I have little doubt to the legitimacy of the experience.

Thanks again for all of this!
Quick technical question, Oak. For the 'portable crossroads', should the points be aligned with the directions? Or, is there no such instruction or need for them?
Another question, Oak. In Hoodoo, does the gate/entrance of a graveyard qualify as a crossroad?
Not that I know of, no; just like there'd be no need for the roads of an actual crossroads to be so aligned.

Sangraal said:
Quick technical question, Oak. For the 'portable crossroads', should the points be aligned with the directions? Or, is there no such instruction or need for them?
Not that I'm aware of, no. That said, it may very well, but I'm just not familiar with something like that. I know it's considered considerate to knock at the graveyard gate before entering to work hoodoo, but not necessary. It's polite if you're on good terms or using the mojo of any of the cemetery's residents.

Sangraal said:
Another question, Oak. In Hoodoo, does the gate/entrance of a graveyard qualify as a crossroad?
Well, yeah. I am uncertain why I did not think of it in context of am actual crossroad. One of those head-smacking moments. Thanks, Oak.


Not that I know of, no; just like there'd be no need for the roads of an actual crossroads to be so aligned.
Oak? You're magnificent.

RSS

CURRENT MOON

© 2014   Created by Sangraal.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

The Pagan Top Sites List