There is a community near me with the odd name of CROSSROADS. I had heard it so often growing up, the significance of the name was lost on me. (You know, when you hear a word so much that it loses its original meaning and becomes something else. For example, my mother had a brother named Bill. But their mother called him Son. And even though he wasn’t her son, my mother called her brother by that name, also. We all heard Son over and over again till it became his name instead of his relationship to his parents.) Crossroads was like that, even though it was definitely located at the juncture of two roads, I didn’t think of it that way. It even had a cemetery at the spot and that made it doubly significant. Now, for the rest of this article, I’m not referring to the little community in Texas, instead I’m talking about any crossroads.
For many years, I would hear the old folks talk about “the Crossroads” in hushed tones. Frankly, I never understood that. The Crossroads to me was just a better, bigger place to play. The dirt and gravel roads and lanes around our property were places to ride bikes and horses, play hopscotch, run races or just dance. I’ll tell you a silly memory and one that I really have no explanation for. But when I was probably seven or eight, I would walk arm in arm with my cousins and we would sing at the top of our lungs – “We’re getting married! Dum, dum, dum, dum. We’re getting married! Dum, dum, dum, dum.” Ha! Looking back on how we all turned out, our off-tune proclamation didn’t hold much water. Perhaps we didn’t make the right deal at the crossroads. . . . .
Now, I guess you might wonder what I meant by that remark. There is a legend about the crossroads. And legend might not be the best word. A Crossroads, or the meeting of two ways, is a powerful place. This is not a new belief. It is as old as time. In hoodoo, my family’s heritage, the crossroads is a place in between two worlds, a place where spirits meet – a place, as Nana used to say, that is neither here nor there, it is betwixt and between.
Things get done at the Crossroads. Now, I play piano. Quite well, in fact. But my talent came from 12 years of lessons and a smattering of natural ability. I did not gain the gift at the Crossroad. But some people claim you can. They say talent is available at the crossroad – musical, gambling – dancing. As I was told, you have to go at midnight. And there, at the Crossroad, you will meet a man. A man of a dark countenance. Nana always said the man was Papa Legba, her favorite go-to guy. If you ever saw the James Bond movie, Live and Let Die, and remember the villain that wore the skeleton suit – he was a representation of Papa Legba. Papa Legba is the gatekeeper to the other world. If you want to access anyone on the other side – man or power – you have to go through Papa Legba. And the old folks say – Papa Legba will cut you a deal.
I will tell you the deals we made at the Crossroads in a minute. But first, let me tell you about a famous one. Now, the legend has gotten all mixed up over time and Papa Legba became the Devil in some versions, but don’t let that fool you. In the Caribbean belief system, Papa Legba is more Santa Claus than Satan. Two different dudes. But let me tell you about Robert Johnson. He is a famous, famous blues singer who told his story in a song called Cross Road Blues. In the song he recounts how he got his talent.
The oldtimers say that once upon a time, Robert Johnson was just a mediocre musician. But he wanted fame and fortune, so he went to the Crossroads and some say, sold his soul to the devil. Afterwards, he was a phenomenal musician, some say the best guitar and blues player who ever lived. And he found success – mostly after he was dead, but that’s the way it goes.
Unfortunately, Robert was poisoned by a jealous husband at the tender age of 27. Maybe he needed to renegotiate his deal. I have given some serious thought about how I want to die – I don’t want to burn or drown or die in a car crash – I would rather be shot by a jealous wife or choke on a strawberry – I’m not picky.
Jess and I have done a couple of Crossroad works. He wanted a buff body, so he bathed, rubbed his body with an egg and we took the egg to the crossroads and left it there. He got his buff body – but it came from a lot of hard work and working out, too. Who knows? Me, I sometimes do protection work where I burn a candle and some parchment and throw up a ward around myself against a particular individual who has been known to hurt me. I take the remains of the candle and other things, and I leave them at the cross roads. When you do that – you walk away, and you don’t look back. Just in case the man with whom you’re making the deal is standing there watching you. Ha!
We all make deals at the Crossroads. We come to a place in our life where we have a choice. Or we going left or right? Forward or back? Do we take a chance or let opportunity pass us by? Do we have the courage to take a risk, or do we decide to be satisfied with the status quo? I have been at the Crossroads. I have done magick at the Crossroads. That is one reason I am where I am today, be it good or bad. I, like the old poem by Robert Frost, I took the road less traveled by – and that has made all the difference.
In Thunderbird, Kyle and Hannah both will stand at a crossroads and they will have to decide which way to turn and who to trust and they will have to make a deal. I’m excited about this book. Ryan wrote the sweetest sex scene for it the other day – it not only turned me on, it sorta made me cry. So – there’s more to come.
Thank you for listening at my ramblings.
Meet me at the crossroads – – – – – we’ll make a deal. Ha!
Thanks, Sable, for coming by with this fascinating post! Sometimes I wish I could go to a Crossroads. I had someone read my Tarot cards earlier this year. The news wasn’t good, so I guess the cards were right. I’m never sure if it’s worth knowing your future because it is what it is. You can’t run from it. You’re braver than I!
Readers – if you want to learn more about Sable Hunter, please visit her Amazon page. You’ll find great titles like these from the Cajun Spice series.