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Thread: The Crossroads

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    The Crossroads

    this is something that i've been thinking about lately, and Prophecy's thread about the Night of Hekate prompted me to post.

    Hekate is traditionally associated with the crossroads, and this usually means a three-way crossroad. this seems right, as She is strongly connected to the number three. also, it is likely that this sort of junction was most common in rural ancient Greece, prior to the advent of the Roman system of roads. and Her Roman name is Trivia, again suggesting the number three.
    but does it really make sense?

    a three-way junction isn't really a crossroad, is it? it is more of a 'Y', with no crossing involved. add to this the fact that one of Hekate's symbols is the equal armed cross (said to be representative of the crossroads), and i have to wonder whether the three-way crossroad is as accurate a symbol for Her as we've been led to believe. perhaps a four-way junction was what was meant by the term 'crossroads' all along. and as this would be a far more rare occurence in the Greek countryside, that might be more appropriate too. after all, She was not a very well known goddess even in those times.

    i don't know... just a thought.
    Last edited by Theres; December 30th, 2006 at 03:31 AM. Reason: horrendous spelling
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    Interesting thoughts!

    Our of curiosity I looked up the definition of "crossroad"--
    cross·road
    –noun
    1. a road that crosses another road, or one that runs transversely to main roads.
    2. a by-road.
    3. Often, crossroads. (used with a singular or plural verb)
    a. the place where roads intersect.
    b.a point at which a vital decision must be made.
    c. a main center of activity.
    dictionary.com
    When I think of a crossroad one that is literally a cross shape (4 lines) makes the most sense. Huh. Now I'm curious.

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    I know that Hekate and Hermes often had small shrines or statues at Crossroads... perhaps someone has done a study of the locations of their statues?

    If not, it might make an interesting study that could lend perspective.
    Each man performs his service to the Holy according to what he is, not according to what he is not; after all, the sacrifice must not surpass the proper measure of the worshiper. - Iamblichus




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    that's true. in fact Hermes name is derived from these shrines ('herms').

    and the ones dedicated to Hekate ('hekataia') often were three-sided, or (less frequently) had a three-faced mask hung from them. this was symbolic of Her rulership of Earth, Sea and Sky, or Her ability to see into the past, present and future.
    and all of this just goes to confirm that the three-way crossroads association is correct.

    but it's still nagging me, dammit!
    some people are like slinkies -
    not good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when they are pushed downs the stairs.

    True enlightenment comes from discovering principles which challenge your spiritual view, not from inventing principles to confirm it.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Theres View Post
    a three-way junction isn't really a crossroad, is it? it is more of a 'Y', with no crossing involved.
    You hit on something that I believe does cause confusion for many people. But in ancient times a crossroads was actually the place where three roads met and crossed into each other as well crossing away from each other (a fork in the road). In other words it refers to the action and not the shape.

    Here are some references:

    "Thou seest Hekate's faces turned in three directions that she may guard the crossroads where they branch three separate ways" - Ovid's Fausti 1: 141-42

    "[Hekate] The Trivan Titaness is Diana, called Trivia from the fact that her image is set up quite generally in Greek towns where three roads meet" - Varro, L.L. 7: 16


    Today when we think of a cross we think four branches, but the ancients were talking about roads crossing (not forming a cross). The formation of four roads referred to as a crossroads came at a later period.
    Last edited by raven grimassi; December 30th, 2006 at 03:43 PM.
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy...(from Hamlet).

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    thank you.
    and yes, i understand most of that... my original point was mostly rhetorical.

    but it has been nagging at me as i mentioned, and i think most of that comes from the reference to the equal-armed cross. however i'm not aware of this being an ancient reference, so perhaps that particular point is moot.

    so for now i think i will just wander off to my favorite spot in the park to ponder on Hekate, which happens to be a three-way crossroad!

    some people are like slinkies -
    not good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when they are pushed downs the stairs.

    True enlightenment comes from discovering principles which challenge your spiritual view, not from inventing principles to confirm it.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Theres View Post
    my original point was mostly rhetorical.
    Oh, ok, sorry, I was just trying to be helpful.
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy...(from Hamlet).

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    well i thank you again, and it's not often that you aren't helpful.
    some people are like slinkies -
    not good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when they are pushed downs the stairs.

    True enlightenment comes from discovering principles which challenge your spiritual view, not from inventing principles to confirm it.




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    Did you come to any resolution about what type of crossroads they refer to when talking about Hekate?

    I always just pictured one road going into 2. I guess you could also call it a fork in the road. And I never pictured the shrines to Hekate to be large, but I do understand that they were numberous because many were destroyed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lares View Post
    I always just pictured one road going into 2. I guess you could also call it a fork in the road.
    It is actually a Y formation, which has three branches, each one being a separate road.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lares View Post
    Did you come to any resolution about what type of crossroads they refer to when talking about Hekate?
    It seems clear that the references to Hecate depict three roads, as in this text I previously posted:

    "Thou seest Hekate's faces turned in three directions that she may guard the crossroads where they branch three separate ways" - Ovid's Fausti 1: 141-42

    The references to Hecate having three faces turned in three directions to guard the crossroads that branch in three separate ways makes it pretty clear that we are talking about a crossroads of three roads, and not four.

    This is also supported by the other reference I previously posted:

    "[Hekate] The Trivan Titaness is Diana, called Trivia from the fact that her image is set up quite generally in Greek towns where three roads meet" - Varro, L.L. 7: 16

    Again, three roads. So in this reference the goddess image is set where three roads meet - the crossroads.
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy...(from Hamlet).

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