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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Crossroads Ritual

The Crossroads - a place where two roads meet at right angles to make a "+" shape - is considered a very powerful magical place. Often times, the remains of spells or tricks are disposed of in a crossroads in order for the energy of the spell to be dispersed to the four quarters of the earth. Bath water from cleansing baths is often tossed into the crossroads toward the rising sun in order to dispel and dissipate the influence that was taken off of the person. Other spells will require a portion of the spell's remains to be deposited at sequential crossroads leading either toward or away from the home to either attract or repel a person or an influence from a person's life.

The crossroads is a unique place in that it is a place that is between places (neither this way nor that way), and it is also a directional point from which decisions or directions must be made. Consequently, there is common association of crossroads to special deities or spirits found in many cultures - including West African cultures.

The Black Man at the Crossroads
In hoodoo, there is a traditional ritual performed in order to gain mastery over some manual skill - typically playing guitar, playing dice or singing/dancing. The most famous example of this is typically attributed to Robert Johnson who is said to have "sold his soul" at the crossroads to learn mastery at writing songs and playing the guitar. This attribution is a mistake, however, and it was actually his contemporary Tommy Johnson (no relation) who said this and performed this ritual. When asked, Tommy Johnson stated,

"If you want to learn how to play anything you want to play and learn how to make songs yourself, you take your guitar and you go to where a road crosses that way, where a crossroad is. Get there, be sure to get there just a little 'fore 12:00 that night so you'll know you'll be there. You have your guitar and be playing a piece there by yourself.... A big black man will walk up there and take your guitar, and he'll tune it. And then he'll play a piece and hand it back to you. That's the way I learned to play anything I want." (As told by LeDell Johnson to David Evans and quoted from Peter Guralnick's Searching for Robert Johnson, copyright © 1982, 1989.)


It is also important to note that the man encountered at the crossroads is black - as in the color black - not of African descent. This can be interpreted to be dressed completely in black, or that his skin is all black in color, etc.

The Crossroads Ritual
Accounts on this ritual vary a bit. Some folks say to go for 9 consecutive nights, others say 3. Some say to go before dawn and wait for the sun to come up. Here is my personal suggestion:

Perform this act for 9 consecutive nights. Take the item you wish you master with you to a crossroads (where two streets intersect at right angles to make a "+" shape) arriving about 15 minutes before midnight. When you arrive, sit on the corner and use your item (toss your dice trying to get a 7, play your guitar, etc.) the entire time you are there. Continue until about half an hour past midnight. While you are there, take note of black animals that might approach you, people dressed in black, etc. There is absolutely no need to do anything aside from showing up and doing your skill that you wish to master. The effort of showing up every night IS your offering to the spirit of the black man at the crossroads.

On the final night, a black man will approach you, take the object from your hand, show you how to use it, and hand it back to you. You've just made your pact with the Black Man at the Crossroads to become a master in your skill.

Some folks say that you are selling your soul to the Devil. Others say that you're making an alliance with him. My own personal experience has shown me that the spirit of the Black Man comes with you and inspires you in your work from that point forward, but your experience may vary.

83 comments:

Carolina Dean said...

That's a great suggestion/interpretation of the crossroads ritual.

Have you performed it yourself? What skill were you seeking? Just curious.

dean

Dr. E. said...

Yes, I've done it myself. And I went to acquire skill with conjure. ;-)

Carolina Dean said...

I would not have thought to have done the ritual for that purpose.

Mind if I ask what item you carried to the crossroad to work with while waiting for the black man?

dean

Dr. E. said...

I took my herbs, a pouch and constructed a mojo bag from start to finish

avalon76 said...

I discovered your blog today and it's terrific!

Regards,
Jen ^_^

woolymammothk said...

Hello i discovered this blog today
im 14 and i play guitar but im really tryin to get my hands on some mojo to aid my quest for mastery of the guitar along with everyday practice
where is this crossroads you speak of?
thank you
keenan

woolymammothk said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dr. E. said...

Hey Keenan,

The Crossroads ritual is done at any 4-way crossroads near you. Some folks prefer to go to one on the edge of town, other prefer to do it at one that has actual stop signs at it. Mine was a 4-way stop crossroad on residential streets in the middle of the city.

nicolettew said...

Hi I'm a new reader of your blog - this post is really helpful. I'm a writer and i've been writing what i should bring - now i'd follow your example and sit down to write on those nights. You think that sounds okay?

Dr. E. said...

Nicolettew - that would be a perfect example of what to do when you go to the crossroads if you seek to be a better writer.

Rainbow said...

what if i want to learn to make money and be successful in my love life? what if its a skill that i cant figure out what to bring there. i also read somewhere that you give offerings like silver coins. anyone tried and didnt see the black man?

Dr. E. said...

Rainbow: The Crossroads Ritual is something you do to gain mastery at a manual skill - not for esoteric life skills like making a love relationship work or "how to make money". It's for learning how to be a damn good guitar player, or an expert at shooting dice, etc.

And there is no need to leave a coin or any such thing at the crossroads. The sacrifice of taking the time every day to go there in the dead of night IS the offering you make.

Pavan said...

Hi, nice interpretation, but curious does it work for anyone and everyone.....

Dr. E. said...

Pavan: The same question can be asked of any magical ritual. There's only one way to find out.

squeekirie said...

Well, this is very late, but can the ritual be used for something like math or physics too? To be an expert in solving and understanding equations?

And can it be used more than once?

Dr. E. said...

Squeekirie: The ritual is for gaining mastery with a physical skill. I don't know that math would fit into that, but hey, give it a shot and see what your results are.

And I don't see why you can't go back to the Crossroads to do the ceremony again.

TheDevilYouKnow said...

This may very well be a dumb question but here goes! What if you don't know how to do the skill in question at all? For example, I'd love to become a great poker/card player but my skills are limited to say the very least. Is it advisable to try to master something you really haven't even got a basic grasp on? lol

Also, you stated you performed this ceremony on a residential street in the city. That's about the only place I can do that as well. Did you get any funny looks or did you have problems with cars passing by?

Dr. E. said...

Devil: I recommend having at least a basic knowledge in that craft before going to the crossroads to do this working. After all, you're supposed to be doing that very thing while you sit there and wait. If you don't know how to do it at all then you can't do it while you wait! LOL.

And as for funny looks or anything - ask me if I care?

TheDevilYouKnow said...

Thanks Dr. E. I'll try to at least learn a bit about playing poker before I go there.

The reason I asked about the funny looks is because I've gone to the crossroad I have in mind to dispose bath water and I think people thought I was a hooker! LOL

Thanks again :)

Robert said...

Hey Dr. E.

Thanks for a great informative site, you have answered many question for me.

Just a few more.

1. You mentioned that you performed the crossroads ritual yourself, I was wondering how long ago?

2. The reason I ask this is I was wondering if the Black shuck comes into play. i.e, if i perform the cross roads ritual am I going to be hunted in ten years for the harvest of my soul? or is this just a good story to ward off too many people?

Thanks again for a great site hope to hear from you soon.

Dr. E. said...

Robert: I performed this ritual about a year ago. And regarding your question about the "Black Shuck" - that's not part of this ritual nor is it part of hoodoo ritual. The only Black Shuck I know of is from British lore and that doesn't have anything to do with this crossroads ritual.

Carolina Dean said...

I think he's been watching too much Supernatural.

test said...

My only concern is being seen. How would I overcome this? You'd look and feel silly playing your guitar with people walking by, or even if it's out in the country and someone drives by...they might think you're doing something illegal. What would you advise?

Dr. E. said...

Get Test:

If you can't get over your own embarrassment or concern then you aren't ready for any kind of crossroad ritual.

test said...

But it's a personal thing no? I would think privacy is key to this operation, not something for public consumption. Just throwing ideas out there :)

Dr. E. said...

The whole effort and risk is part of the working. Are you willing to face the black man at the crossroads in the dead of the night? The whole public/private argument is irrelevant to this ritual.

This is hoodoo - southern folk magic - it has a fixed tradition and practices. The ritual is followed correctly, otherwise it isn't hoodoo any more.

test said...

Well put. I thought it about some more and figured I needn't worry about what else is going on, just the operation. Thanks for clarifying that.

test said...

I started driving around looking for the right one. It's funny how on paper it sounds easy, but not quite so in reality.

HUGJIM said...

Can I do this ritual to gain better boxing skills? Maybe like taking boxing gloves

Dr. E. said...

I wouldn't recommend it for boxing because you're supposed to be doing the actual manual skill while you're waiting there. So unless you're going to beat someone up on the corner (which I'm sure will draw attention, and the only "men in black" you'll see are cops coming to arrest you) I don't recommend that.

HUGJIM said...

Dr.E I meant like shadowboxing.

Dr. E. said...

Well you could give it a shot. Let us know what your results are like. :-)

J said...

Dr. E,

I'm currently an aspiring musical producer and I'm hoping to get help with that side of things. Small problem though, I'm in another country at the moment. I'm not comfortable enough to go out to a crossroads alone here, nor find a deserted one.

Any tips or should I wait until I get back home?

alis volat propriis said...

So say that I wanted to become a better singer, what item would i bring with me?
or would i just sit there singing?

Dave said...

I'm trying to join the military, what would I take with me if I wanted to become physically stronger?

Lesley. S. Munyuki said...

hi there.. my first ever magickal ritual was a form of the crossroad ritual, the one in reference to Legba, it is a quick money ritual. its done at 12:00 Monday, i took 16 pennies and dropped 4 pennies at each of the four points, then i waited 7 days and on the seventh day, i got my reward, i was not sure it would work but it did, so i know that the crossroads rituals work, i wish to try this one you put up, thank you.

angelicalachae said...

I have a crossroad in mind but its a three way road. What I mean is that going down the road to get there the road ends then goes left or right. Do you think this road will work?

kcentralflsun said...

Hi

Dr E, thanks for sharing. I have used Voodoo successfully many years ago. And recently decided to try again but this time not for love, but for my career. I have had a few bites but nothing serious yet :)
However, during 2009 after completing a 9 day spell for success and Papa Legba was addressed with Damballa. I did have a few experiences I want to share...the first one I recall was a dream. I was in an open field of grass and blue skies and sun shining. Then out of no where a old man in all white (about 65-70 years old) came and motioned me to come. happy and full of energy he led me to others in all white (ladies) with white clothes from hat to shoes. And they told me to come on. I felt safe, unsure and strange all at the same time.
A few weeks later a rooster appeared at my front door and stayed for 9 days then disappeared. Then I had a dream of colorful lights dancing over me bouncing off the walls in my bedroom where I slept right above my head I looked at them and had a huge rush. Then I saw a woman get out of a coffin rising up in a tan long dress of of the 1800's and a bonnet wrapped around her head. I smelled death of hundreds of years but it was like a perfume not funk. Anyway I in my research I found a picture of Marie Leveau and bam! There she was! I had never seen her picture or knew of her before this dream/vision!!

Now, just 2 days ago a black dog followed my oldest son home from school and did not leave and we are feeding him...do you think this is a sign for Legba (any of this stuff?) I must admit it has sparked my interest but I do not know what to do with all this stuff..any advice?

Dr. E. said...

kcentralflsun: Hoodoo isn't Voodoo. Hoodoo is southern folk magic. Voodoo - that is Voudoun - is actually a Haitian religion with all of the aspects you are describing. I do not practice Voudoun and can't help you there.

August said...

Hi , I play guitar, but i really want to master it , don´t care how , I found a crossroad near a church in my city, I wonder if its worth to me to go there with the guitar and try to find the black man ? You said that I have to go there for 9 nights around midnight, should the 9th day be a sunday?

Dr. E. said...

Hi August. Taking a guitar there and doing this ritual is EXACTLY what you should do. It's the original account of the ritual in fact - to master the guitar. Go for it and let me know how it goes. The last day doesn't have to be a Sunday.

August said...

So I should just go there with the guitar and play between 11:30 PM and 1:30 AM in 9 days? Do i need something more like sand from a graveyard or just sit down and play?

August said...

I ment : Play around 11:45 PM and 12:30 AM in my last post

Dr. E. said...

August: Just follow the ritual as it is written. You just take your guitar to the crossroads and play from 11:30pm to 12:30am. Nothing else is needed.

Sean said...

Dr. E,

If you are trying to cure something would the crossroads help in that affect or no. If not, would you be able to point me in the right direction as to what I should be looking for.

CA2 PROJECT said...

Hi. The skill I want to acquire is playing in a band with two of my friends. Can the three of us sit there and play the guitar together or should it be done one by one?

Dr. E. said...

Everyone is over-thinking this ritual. Use some logic and you'll figure it out.

CA2 PROJECT said...

What do you mean by over thinking? I'm sorry I really don't understand.

Dr. E. said...

What I mean is that people are trying to make this into a more complex ritual than it actually is. They are thinking too much about it. Just grab your instrument, go out to the crossroad at midnight and play over the course of several days.

This is an individual ritual. It is a deal you are making with the Black Man at the Crossroads, not a group contract.

CA2 PROJECT said...

Thank you so much Dr E.

Tharenii said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
organica said...

Dr. E,

When you say that a pact, an alliance is being made, what are the terms of the alliance? Does the deal solely consist of presenting yourself for 9 consecutive nights at the crossroads and in turn one is granted the aptitude for the mastery of a skill?

Thanks,
OM

compositore said...

Hi,
I'm a pianist and I would like to go to the crossroad, but I cannot carry out my piano with me because it's too heavy. Is there any method of doing this ritual without the instrument or without going phisically to the crossroad?
Thanks

Dr. E. said...

Hi Compositore,

Nope, the instrument must be taken to the crossroads. In your case, I don't know what to tell you. You're right, you can't lug a piano to the crossroads, but perhaps you can take a little electronic keyboard? Or maybe practice on a paper keyboard?

TUSIIME said...

Thanks for this site doctor.If iam singer and i would like a very sweet and attractive voice plus singing talent ,can this ritual help me

TUSIIME said...

Also doctor ,if i wanted to be the most talented music producer,would this ritual help because currently am just an upcoming music producer
if i carry a small electronic keyboard will it make me become what i wish

Ryder said...

Dr.E my husband and I were wondering can we perform this ritual together asking for different things of course but do it as a couple do u think that would b a problem??

bon3z said...

hello I just found your site after dowing reserch on the crossroads and honestl6 want to know does it work and can I become a great rapper and song writer or a great artist what would I need to bring

sunbakedsword said...

Hey Dr. E.

I have a question and i was hoping you might be able to help me with it.
Obviously, I've been thinking about performing the crossroads ritual.
The problem is that I want to use it to help my eyes get stronger. But since i need to have a physical item while i wait, i don't know what to use. Or does it even apply since they're my eyes?
I can't use glasses since i don't need them. If you can help, then thanks! If not, Thanks anyways! :D

~ Christopher

thewolf12345 said...

May i ask when you preformed this ritual could you please give me the details on your expiernce :) Like what animals/people did you see how did it feel what did the black man do or say. Ive been meaning to try this but im unsure about it its not fear its more umm.... Like a confidence to atually face something that's unexplainable you know :) this would be my first ever type of ritual :) so as you say I just goto the crossroads (i have a rossroads at the end of my road i dunno if it would work becuase the roads do cross like + but if u look at it down from my house window the rods dont look perfectly straight_ anyway so i just goto the rossroads at 11:30 and play my Guitar to 12:30 and each night i will get approached or see some sort of animal? and my other question is do i have to stay for an exactly an hour? could i not get there for say 11:55 and stay till like 12:05? sorry for the question's if this works i will forever be in debt to you :)

thewolf12345 said...

and i read on other sites that i have to trim my fingernails down till they bleed becuase of the guitar skill? again sorry for my questions :) thank you :)

Scarlet Starr said...

Hi. I was on le interwebs looking for the exact how-to of the crossroads deal... most sources seem to agree that you need to be doing the skill you wish to acquire. I model for a living. I want a boost in my career. I've been in Hustler, so I suppose I'm not that bad already, but I'm looking for... beauty. More, to boost my career. I don't intend to live an incredibly long life and I'm not opposed to selling my soul for it. What would you suggest?

Scarlet Starr said...

Lol @ my double phrasing. Sorry. But, yes, what would you suggest?

lifeahead said...

Is this ritual possible for a drummer? I can't take my whole set, but maybe just my sticks and a pad though?

Skylar Warren said...

Dr. E,

I'm just curious. Would it still work for say someone who doesn't practice hoodoo, I do, but I'm new and just curious. And also, would there be a ritual for the esoteric stuff like love and luck?

AmyB. said...

Dr. E, I'm an aspiring magician (not the whole tricks on a stage, but the summoning-spirits sort) and I've been trying to learn the secrets to summoning spirits properly. Now, If I were to want to work the crossroads ritual for this particular aim, what item would I bring to the crossroads? Would I go through the motions of an evocation rite? Or maybe try summoning the Black Man himself?

Carolina Dean said...

Dr. E is on vacation for the holiday, however I would suggest that you take one of the tools that you will use to summon spirits in your practice.

For example, if you are a ceremonial magician you might want to bring your scrying stone or ritual blade.

Hope this helps.

AmyB. said...

Dean, Thank you for your reply. I actually ended it up taking a candle, incense, and my wand to the crossroads. I spoke a conjuration I wrote to the Black Man asking for his appearence, using names of divinity associated with the crossroads (Hecate, Papa Legba, etc.), which is basically an evocation ritual in a nutshell. I did get many curious stares from cars passing by, and nearly froze my hands off, but I think I'm doing well. I am, after all, "doing" the skill I wish to master.

Chaz Allee said...

I have minor cerebral palsy and I was wondering if he could help me control my right arm and what should I do at the crossroads if so

Gwendolyn Hancroft said...

Would this possibly help me become a better writer? I write fiction. That's why I'm wondering. I've heard that he works with manual skills but isn't writing a mental skill? Can he still help? Also does the ritual work? Have you or anyone you know done it? Thank you for taking the time to read this!

AllisonElizabeth said...

Do you have to go alone? For example, say I drove to said crossraods and had someone waiting in the car for me, would that ruin? I just dont want to be killed and kidnapped so having someone standing by watching out for me would put me at ease. Also, I have always wanted to model or act. What exactly would I need to do at the crossraods. And, did you actually see this black man that is said to appear? Was it a frightening experience?

Joey Beck said...

hey dr. e, i was wondering if the skill you attain could be chronokinesis, or the ability to pause or stop time, and walk around?

DJ West said...

I have been reading most of the posts and you guys are over complicating things. The only way to find out is to go out and do the ritual yourself. If you are too scared of the magick, then you won't do it - problem solved.

I always wanted someone to tell me their exact experiences until I had my own. Now I know why people keep it secret - it's a personal pact. Once it's made, you do not feel the need to tell or share it directly.

My advice is for you to go to the crossroads for yourself. If you don't know what to take, take nothing. You will not find answers on line, you will only find your answers at the crossroads.

nishaal reddy said...

hey dr.e can u please help me can you please tell me if i want to become a singer what do i take to the crossroad and will a roundabout work cause in my city its really hard to find crossroads and one more thing does it have to be a road can it be a street ? thanks

Tomi Bracken said...

Hey Doc. Great blog. Heaps of wonderful info here! I am just getting into American Hoodoo although I have been practicing European Witchcraft for a few years now. Thanks again for making this info so easy to find. It's hard to get much good Hoodoo stuff in Australia, where I am.


NOTE TO OTHER POSTERS: Hoodoo is both a complex, AND extremely simple form of magical practice. Like all folk magic, you need to get in and do it, and see if it works for you. Sometimes it won't and you will need another approach (like practice), and then come back another time.
This ritual is for "Mastering a SKILL", nothing more. There are many more spells and workings that you can do for love or money or health, but this isn't it, and this won't work for those purposes.

If you have a love for a skill you are trying to perfect, from painting to poetry to guitar to spellwork, try this ritual out.

The only way you will know if it works is by trying it, and at worst, you get in 9 hours of practice, so you are bound to get a little better. ;)

If you are looking to use magic in another way, or for another reason, check out other parts of Dr. E's blog. There is a lot of great stuff here, just make the effort to find it.

jesse metzger said...

Hi dr. e my names jesse I want to bargin with the man in black I play guitar I want to know if this will really work I dont mean to be rude but you can understand my reserves im not scared I just want to know it works... But im starting my 9 days tonight

Spencer Petterson said...

hi i am an aspiring rapper what instrument should i take with me to the crossroads?

deadlytemptation1 said...

Hello...I was wondering...can this ritual be performed to become a ink god, a master tattoo artist...I can bring one of my machines, but I can't plug it or use it ^_^

brenton perkins said...

Dr. E in your ritual were you approached by "Black" animals of any kind? I have done some research and what i have come up with is that he test you for these 9 nights. Tries to scare you away but if you stay and be strong then he grants you the skills. Can you shed any light on this? I just want too know what should be ready for.

Angel Siren said...

Does it matter how old or how frequented the crossroads is? I have several small and large paths that create crossroads on family property that I could use if they were acceptable.

Rafael Fabiani said...

I am on my third night performing this ritual. But I must know. I chose a cross road in the forest its more of a trail like two trails intersecting to create a crossroads. Will this location be appropriate? I have chosen to persue the guitar and I have played It while there and been there before midnight until after midnight every night. I have herd steps and felt an odd presence among the trees, its a serene setting as if somewhere I was being watched and every time I traveled to the location I would see butterflies cross my path but never any black animal well not yet please email me at JeffersonIndian gmail.com I need insight and advice from some one who has performed this ritual

CeeCee said...

Hi I understand what your saying about learning a physical skill but according to old folk tradition you can also go to the crossroad once make a wish and leave an offering. In my case I will not go their for nine days I will go once and leave an offering or throw three shining pennies which is me paying papa legba and do not look back. What is your thoughts remember I want to make a wish not learn a skill. CeeCee

CeeCee said...

Hi I want to make a wish and according to old folk tradition and as outlayed by Catherine yrondwe I can go to a crossroad leave an offering make a wish. In my case three pennies throw it over my left shoulder as I cross and do not look back. This is for a wish that y o u say out loud asking papa legba to open the door and answer your wish. You must not look back. Going for nine days is the offering but going once and leaving an offering for papa legba is just as good. So although it aS originally f o r learning a physical thing you can use the crossroad for any wish. An offering will open the way. What are your thoughts doc. Kindest regards, Cee Cee.