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Crossroad is a symbolic term denoting the union and joining of paths. The association of the crossroad with Witchcraft goes back to ancient Greek and Roman times. Classically the crossroad symbolizes a joining of three roads, the balance of opposites, and the meeting of time and space.
In the Aegean/Mediterranean region crossroads were sacred to Hecate, Triformis, and Diana . Ovid, an ancient Roman writer, speaks of Hecate as having three faces with which to guard the crossroads as they branched out. Verro, another ancient writer, equated Diana with Hecate and stated the images of Diana were stationed at the crossroads. Other writers of the period called this goddess Artemis-Hekate, and attributed the mother goddess aspect to her.
The crossroads are likewise associated with the ancestral spirits called Lasa or Lares. These beings were originally thought to be spirits of the forests and meadows, the fairy folk, and spirits of Nature. With development these spirits became associated with the cultivated fields, and eventually the Lara became protectors of the family and home, and associated with the hearth.
Also, in the archaic Roman religion small towers were constructed at crossroads, and an altar was placed before them upon which offerings were laid. Such towers were associated with Nature spirit worship and demarcation. Possibly this may be the foundation of the concept of Watchtowers within modern Witchcraft.
Since classical times the crossroad has been a favored place for Witches to gather because of its link to Nature spirits and the moon goddess. When the symbolic crossroads were Christianized they became symbols of dread. Crossroads become the construction sites for gallows, and suspended gages that contained bodies of criminals. Also, suicide victims, who were not permitted burial in hallowed churchyards, were frequently buried near a crossroad. Then too, the Judaic-Christian Devil was said to hover near crossroads. All of this, of course, helped to defile the sacred grounds where Witches gathered. A.G.H.