Friday, February 27, 2015

An Introduction to Crossroads Altars

An Introduction to Crossroads Altars

Historically Hecate is a goddess of luminal spaces and is said to wander the crossroads.  Often offerings are left for her there.  This document will serve as an introduction to creating an altar at a crossroads.
You will need:
v  Location
v  Image
v  Incense  & dish
v  Torch
v  Offerings

Location –Traditionally Hecate is a goddess of the three ways or three directions.  The crossroad would be a Y intersection.  A spot where there are three directions to take.  Choose a spot away from the main part of the road where it is safe to set up the space and where it will not be a nuisance to passersby.

Image
An image for Hecate – Depending on the size of the altar set up, the image can be a simple statue or a large pole with masks (faces) mounted on it to gaze into three directions. 

Incense & Dish
Types of incense can vary based on accessibility and preference.  Many use frankincense and myrrh for Hecate.  I prefer to use white sage simply because I like the clean smell it gives my ritual space.  There are formal recipes that can be used to create incense specifically for Hecate.  If you wish to do this by all means take the time and add this to your altar.  Be mindful that this will be left outside. In fire prone areas, it makes sense to bring the incense back inside with you and not leave it outside unattended.

Torch
Candles, garden torches or other items can be used to represent a torch in this setting.  Again be mindful of the natural surroundings.  If fire is a concern refrain from leaving unattended flames outdoors.  An alternative to a live fire may be to pick up a few solar powered drive way or garden path lights and use those instead.

Offerings
Typically the offerings left at the crossroads altar would consist of the elements of the Deipna or supper.  These include mullet, garlic, eggs, leeks and other items.  The sweepings of the house are often dropped at the crossroads as well.  This is said to remove the negative energy or any energy that may have displeased Hecate from the house.  The offerings should be taken out to the crossroads as part of the entire ritual and left without turning back.   Be mindful of the offerings if the crossroads chosen is not one’s own property.  Leaving food will of course attract animals. 


Using the Crossroads Altar
Generally the crossroads altar is used for leaving offerings to Hecate.  As mentioned in the offerings section, be mindful of what items are left behind.  Fire hazards, dangerous foods and any type of items that could cause a distraction to traffic should be avoided.

Each individual rite may vary.  This is a simple way to use a crossroads altar.

The day prior to Hecate’s Supper, sage the entire house and complete a ritual cleaning.  Use the sage smoke to cleanse the air and pick up a broom and sweep around the ritual space as well as the entire house.  The sweepings should be tied up in a small bag and placed next to the inside working altar.

At the working altar on the night of the supper, cleanse the area and create a sacred space.  Use the means that best fits your practice to create this space.  Ask for blessings and prosperity over the next moon and display the offerings on the altar. 

After the ritual is complete collect the bag, the offerings and walk to the crossroads altar.  Recite any spells, chats or incantations that are desired here.  Leave the offerings along with the bag at the crossroads and return to the house without looking back.


Summary
Every persona will set up an altar a different way.  Take the time to think about the purpose the altar and what needs should be addressed.  If it is to be a public altar where rituals will be held, be mindful of neighbors and traffic that could be impacted.