crossroads

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crossroads

an area or the point at which two or more roads cross each other

Crossroads

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A crossroads was originally described as a place "where three roads meet," rather than the crossing of two roads. Three is considered a magical number in many ways (e.g. three Fates, three aspects of the goddess, threefold law of return, etc.), and the meeting of three roads was therefore a mystical spot, often the site of magical rituals and religious rites. Dame Alice Kyteler was accused of sacrificing cockerels at a crossroads at her trial in 1324.

Jean-Paul Clébert suggests that Gypsies were frequently confused with witches through the then-popular conception of witches' sabbats. It was common knowledge that such sabbats were held in the woods or at a crossroads. Occasionally villagers traveling late at night might stumble upon a group of Gypsies camped at a crossroads, playing music and eating and drinking after a day of traveling the highways. The villager, hurrying along in fear of witches, believed he had seen witch's sabbat.

As a goddess of magical charms and enchantments, Hecate frequented crossroads where her image could be found, either as columns or as statues of the goddess, with three faces called Triple Hecates. Offerings were left there for her on the eve of the full moon. These were usually in the form of food, known as "Hecate's Supper."

In Voodoo, the god Legba is the "Guardian of the Crossroads." The Japanese built phallic symbols at crossroads to protect travelers. Criminals were frequently hanged at crossroads and their bodies buried there, in the belief that since it was a sacred site their ghosts therefore would remain underground.