THE CROSSROADS IN HOODOO MAGIC
THE RITUAL OF SELLING YOURSELF TO THE DEVIL
In India, the god Bhairava, an older version of great god Siva, is said to guard the crossroads at the outskirts of villages. Stone phalluses and statues of Bhairava's watchful eyes are erected to represent him as a guardian of the boundaries.
In Guatemala, the old Mayan underworld Lord Maam, under his Catholic Saint guise of Maximon or Saint Simon, is generally depicted seated at a crossroads in a chair, just outside a church.
In Africa, almost every cultural group has its own version of the crossroads god. Legba, Ellegua, Elegbara, Eshu, Exu, Nbumba Nzila, and Pomba Gira are African and African-diaspora names (in several languages) for the spirit who opens the way, guards the crossroads, and teaches wisdom.
European tales of, by, and about European musicians, dancers, and others who seek physical dexterity selling themselves to the Devil are legion, frequent, and commonplace. It could be argued, and HAS been argued (not by me) that all instances of this belief in African American culture are simply cultural borrowings from European sources. One of the things that gives traction to the idea that Black folks borrowed the concept from White folks is that we have evidences of such beliefs going back in Germanic cultures far earlier than we see them among enslaved Africans in the Americas. That doesn't prove much, though, as we have little early evidence of African beliefs in situ from those early peiods.
Regardless, we DO have European sources in early folklore, and, to put it bluntly, when a white musician like Charlie Daniels writes and performs a country-rock piece like "The Devil Came Down to Geogia," he need not be conceived as borrowing from African American sources, because he can just as simply have been using his own Anglo-Germanic roots-sources for the inspiration.
This old, pre-Christian, Germanic idea of becoming the Devil's bond-servant (and here we mean Der Teufel, the old pagan woods-devil, not Satan) remained strong in German folk tales long afer Christianity added the "soul" and "Satan" elements to the story. For an example, including musical talent, see "The Devil's Sooty brother," Grimm's Fairy Tale #100. It is given in full, in English, here:
Some modern anthropologists have given these crossroads gods a new collective name -- trickster gods. In my opinion this is a misnomer, for not all crossroads gods and spirits are tricksters (unreliable, clever, deceitful) and not all trickster gods or spirits are crossroads gods -- the water dwelling kapi of Japan, the shoemakers' elves of Germany, and the wide-ranging Coyote of Native Americas being prime examples of trickster gods and spirits who do not inhabit crossroads.
American beliefs about the crossroads are many and they come in numerous variations. There are two major themes regarding crossroads rituals in the African-American hoodoo tradition. While these customs may contain an admixture of European folklore, they are primarily derived from African antecedents.
This African-derived crossroads ritual is one of the most widely distributed beliefs in African-American folklore and is practiced throughout the South. It is the subject of the rest of this essay.
Thought i would share this with you guys. Basically do this ritual do become better at an instrument or (whatever any hobby). Passed down from black person to black person. Anyone going to try this with me? teehee. Also heres an owl i painted. Man havent posted anything in a while eh!