Crossroads are a heavily charged place of Magic. The Greek goddess of witchcraft, Hecate, was also goddess of the crossroads, and animals were sacrificed to her at such locations. It was believed that Hecate appeared at crossroads on clear nights, accompanied by spirits and howling dogs. Offerings were placed there to propitiate her and ask for her intercession in cases of madness, which was believed to be caused by departed souls. In Ireland and Wales, it was traditional on Samhain (All Hallow’s Eve), the Druidic new year, to sit at a crossroads and lis- ten for the howling of the wind, which would prophesy the year to come.
During the witch hunts, sorcerers (see Sorcery) and witches were said to frequent crossroads to conjure the Devil or his Demons or make sacrifices to them. In the sixth century, the sorcerer Salatin conjured the Devil for theophilus at a crossroads. In 1324 Dame Alice Kyteller, an accused Irish witch, was said to sacrifice COCKS to her familiar at a crossroads.
According to Carl G. Jung, a crossroads is a mother symbol; in that respect, it corresponds to the emphasis placed on the Mother Goddess in contemporary witchcraft. The crossroads also represents the intersection of positive, neutral and negative forces. It is a place of flux and of change.
- Baroja, Julio Caro. The World of the Witches. 1961. Reprint, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975.
- Leach, Maria, ed., and Jerome Fried, assoc. ed. Funk & Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.
A place of magical power especially for conjuring spirits and Demons. The junctions of roads, where forces of energy cross, have been considered to have magical significance since ancient times. Crossroads are haunted by Demons, Fairies, and evil spirits who lie in wait for unwary travelers and lead them astray. Crossroads are where witches and sorcerers gather for Sabbats, according to lore. Grass will not grow at crossroads where Demons have danced.
Some magical rituals are performed at crossroads, such as necromancy, the appearance of the GOLD-FINDING HEN, conjurations of spirits and Demons, and sacrifices of animals. Crossroads also are places of confusion, and lore holds that one can evade evil spirits by running into a crossroads.