The thing I got from this visit is that now it’s just like another town. I don’t even remember the names of the streets. Most of the people I know have moved away. I don’t know most of the people that hang out. I think that the less people I know, the better. I’m not going here to visit anymore, only to play. I don’t need any time among friends. When I open my mouth, I waste my time when I do those things. I lie to myself. There’s no use in that. When I’m in the room with them, I feel uneasy, they feel uneasy. It’s a lie, it doesn’t work. It doesn’t have to work. People games tangle me up. Get me caught in games with myself.
-Henry Rollins, Do I come here often? Black Coffee Blues Part 2, Pages 9-10
This time of the year (I am writing this blog post at the beginning of November), we often find ourselves encountering the energy of Hecate and the space of the legendary, sacred crossroads.
What exactly do the crossroads represent for us historically?
In myth we often see the crossroads as representing a location between worlds and realms, a space where magick can be worked, entities encountered, and connections made, sacred journeys undertaken.
As we descend through the wheel of the year, as many of us move into the season of winter, it is only natural that we find ourselves at such a place of pause, a true Seven of Skulls (Pentacles) moment.
The real question, in interacting with the sacred space of crossroads and the deities associated with it, is who are we? What choice will we make? What will we leave behind? What will we carry with us? What messages does our tribe carry for us?
Sometimes the crossroads themselves, with their four directions, can grant us clues into the experience, and the choice for us at this time. Lying before us, the dark path barely illuminated, the direction North on our personal medicine wheel, is infinite potential, as well as fear and hope. It requires a leap of faith to step onto this path, for nothing is certain in the unformed energy of what we perceive as future.
If nothing is certain, than who are we now? What has brought us to this particular space? This is the direction directly behind us, the South. In this case, she is the past. What have we created that has brought us here? Has a relationship ended? Are we unsatisfied with a career? Uncertain of our purpose and potential? Are we lost, lonely, bored, exhausted? Have we just lost a loved one in death? Have we forgotten what passion and faith feel like?
What do we believe to be true about ourselves? That we are afraid to be alone? Unable to trust? Damaged goods due to painful, traumatic experiences? Incapable of heading in the direction of our dreams unless success and the path forward are certain, mapped out clearly and safely for us?
Here we encounter the visage of Hecate. She stands in the center of the crossroads, her face lined and wizened, but strong and secure, her long hair tangled in the gray cloak around her shoulders. She is certain of herself and her work. She raises her left arm which holds a lamp and with it she shines a light on the path behind us. The warm glow allows us to see all of ourselves. Not just wounds, but strengths as well.
What we are is alive. We have gathered wisdom as well as knowledge. And here in the center of the wheel we find we are connected, and not alone. Our choices and lessons serve not just our own personal soul’s growth, but the growth of all beings. We are, as Campbell tells us, the “hero of our own journey”.
The lamp moves now to the left. We see a rainy path exposed here in the western portion of the cross. We feel our stomach tie itself in knots. Here lies all of our emotion, our inner pathway. The truths inside of ourselves we do not always wish to acknowledge. After all, what is truth anyway? With which perspective will we choose to view our life’s experiences? How do we really feel about the change, the stasis, or the pain that has brought us to the center of this sacred space? Have we ever really even acknowledged how we actually feel, deep down inside? What do we already know that we do not wish to acknowledge? We see a shadowy visage beckon to us from down this particular pathway. We know it is our self.
Now Hecate nods her head at us. She knows, and we know that we are not ready quite yet, there is one more direction to look at first.
She motions with the lamp to the right of the cross. Here is the east. The mind. What will we talk ourselves out of, or into as we stare at the light glowing warmly, cheerily from a cabin down this wider, paved path to our right? What makes sense? What constricts; confines? Are we choosing the safe, secure box that does not inspire change, shift, evolution, yet keeps us comatose, safe? Where does fear convince us that to be alone is not okay? That light must always equal acceptance and warmth? Why is the darker path to be feared at all costs, to be run from? Can the mind be an ally and not an enemy?
Questions. At every direction, the gods, and indeed our higher self, have asked us questions. This is the purpose of the crossroads, the pause at the end of the world, where we must decide our future course of action. Yet, before deciding, we are given an opportunity for understanding.
So the crossroads to me hold ultimately, the holy energy of Death. The call for getting to know who we have now become, what matters to us, what we are prepared to allow die, and how we will allow ourselves to be reborn before moving forward.
If you find yourself here, take the time to feel into and work with this sacred marker. You are ready to grow.