Hecate, Goddess of the Crossroads

 

In the Greek tradition of Hecate, the “Queen of the Night,” before the modern interpretation of the dark goddess, her purposes also included wilderness. From her affinity with the wilderness and untamed areas (which were synonymous with the “Underworld”) came the practice of sacrifice (i.e., Hecate’s food offerings called Deipnon, or “Hekate’s Dinner”) to be assured of safe travel through these areas. This, as well as her connection with the Roman goddess Trivia, led to her being associated with crossroads.

 

In the West African Hoodoo tradition of folk magic, the stories usually go that a person goes to a crossroad, which is often seen as a place between the worlds due to being owned by no one and symbolically joining places together. The person would then play a musical instrument, dance, or used whatever skill they wanted to get better at. If they continuously did this, for a certain number of days at a certain time, a “spirit of the crossroads,” usually represented as a figure as dark as night, would appear and give them the desired skill. It’s interesting that there are many a blues songs that deal with the crossroads (like “Crossroads,” from Robert Johnson’s to Eric Clapton’s). Maybe, a long time ago, some African musician got his desired skill at the guitar from the “spirit of the crossroads,” who was the African equivalent of Hecate.

 

In the Neopagan tradition of today, the crossroads itself has been said to be a powerful magickal tool, a way to move through the veil between planes of existence. This is due to a few things, the obvious being that there are quite a few paranormal events reported at crossroads. The other would be that, technically, it's not one place or the other—it’s a liminal place—and thus is symbolically a place between two or more touching realms. It is believed that divination, spells, and rituals at crossroads can be very powerful, especially on nights of the dark and new moon when Hecate is night-wandering. It is also believed that those who dare to welcome the “Queen of the Night” in desolate areas at the crossroads will receive creative inspiration and nocturnal vision.