At the Crossroads
I have reached the crossroads of November 30. This day honors Hecate in the pagan calendar. Hecate is/was the embodiment of the “triple goddess:” Maiden, Mother, Crone. She was a goddess of great power, having an influence throughout life, both assisting at birth and guiding into death. Hecate is associated with black dogs, keys, the spinning wheel and the crossroads. Her story interested me because of the crossroads, and the intersection where two or more roads meet. But mostly Hecate’s crossroads are metaphorical and abstract.
Crossroads play a key role in the religious, folkloric, and magic traditions of many cultures. A crossroads can be seen as a no-man’s land, not owned by anyone, and, as such, a perfect place to conduct a ritual, cast a spell, or create a makeshift altar. The crossroads is a location “between the worlds,” a site where supernatural spirits can be contacted and paranormal events can take place. Symbolically, it can be a locality where two realms touch and therefore represents liminality, a place literally “neither here nor there.” (from www.compassrose.org)
So here I am at the end of 30 days of practiced writing. This is a crossroads, a “dark night” where I have a choice to make. Where do I go from here?
In rural folklore, the blues guitarist Robert Johnson is said to have met with the devil at a crossroad in Alabama or Mississippi and traded his soul for virtuoso guitar skills. Tonight the moon is almost dark, arriving at total darkness over Monday night. So it would be a suitable night to find a crossroads and invoke Hecate and the devil and make a deal. Unlike the mythical Robert Johnson, however, I have nothing that I want to trade my soul for. At all of the crossroads of my life now, I have everything I have ever wanted. I have done everything I can imagine myself doing.
I make plans for things, but nothing out there is necessary enough for my happiness to trade off immortality for momentary gain. If there’s anything I really want, I can go out into that space between the worlds and dream myself a new reality, even if only for a moment. And with that dreaming, all wants are fulfilled. That is the great power of living in the moment, in the now. Not mourning the past, nor worrying about the future, just loving the now, the moment in which I stand.
If it were a stormy night tonight, I might consider seeking out a crossroads, maybe one on Heathcliff’s moors, and hide in the gorse and be watchful to see what goes down there. Maybe Tam Lin will be rescued by his beloved. Maybe Ichabod Crane will meet the Headless Horseman. Maybe the Buddha is sitting under the Bodhi tree waiting for enlightenment. Perhaps Cinderella will ride past in her great carriage pulled by mice. Crazy Horse might be leading his warriors on the way to the Little Big Horn. Perhaps Robert Frost pulls up his horse in the snow. Maybe the Tardis materializes and a guy in a mile long scarf steps out. So many things might I see at the crossroads on a moonless night.
Perhaps there is a portal through the mists to worlds that might have been. Perhaps my sister would be alive mellowing into old age and sharing grand quiet times with me. Perhaps the Holocaust would not have happened and my father would have found happiness in life and lived in it old age. Perhaps Einstein’s work would not have been given practical application. Perhaps I always had great self-esteem and did not spend half of my life swallowed by depression. Perhaps I would have kept my portfolio of poems and been published as a ‘60’s Emily Dickinson. Sweet dreams, but that’s all, just dreams to be dreamed at the crossroads.
Every day is a crossroad. Every day we choose which route to take. Some are paved by goodness, some by the devil. Some with wealth, some in want. Some in joy, some in pain. All are beautiful in their own way. What do I do tomorrow, as I stand at the crossroads of my writing? What do any of us do? I think I will do this magical practice and see how the world looks through these eyes. Why don’t you try it, too?
I will go on a drive with my camera. I will stop and take a picture of anything that calls to me, that says “I am Significant.” Text. Bridges. Signs. The river. Boats going by. People. Whatever calls. I will then go home and print out the pictures. I will not edit or fix them. I will shuffle them until the order feels right. I will think of them as a graphic book story, panel by panel by panel. I will see what the rearranged pictures have to say. Maybe I will learn a different way to look at my world, or a way to listen, or touch. And then I will choose what road to take.
(Today is November 30 – the challenge is finished, but I missed two days, and I wish to make those up. So look for writing tomorrow and Monday to finish the 30 pieces.)
To read about Robert Johnson’s mythology, try this site: http://crossroads.stormloader.com or this one: http://st-james.hubpages.com/hub/Robert-Johnson-the-Legend–the-Devil–the-Crossroads–and-27
And if you have all day and then some, check out the wiki for “Tardis”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TARDIS