In folklore, crossroads may represent a location “between the worlds” and, as such, a site where supernatural spirits can be contacted and paranormal events can take place. In Greek mythology, crossroads were associated with both Hermes and Hecate, with shrines and ceremonies for both taking place there. The herm pillar associated with Hermes frequently marked these places due to the god’s association with travelers and role as a guide.

In nearly all countries, and at all times, special significance has been attached to the place where roads cross one another. In Christian times it was the spot chosen for the burial of suicides and condemned criminals. This practice seems to have arisen, not merely because the roads form the sign of the cross and so make the ground the next best burial-place to a properly consecrated churchyard, but because the ancient Teutons erected altars at cross-roads on which they sacrificed criminals. Thus cross-roads were of old regarded as execution-grounds. The chief fact prompting the choice of the special locality must be, I think, that just as a circle commands every direction, so cross-roads, pointing north, south, east and west, command every main direction, and the actual point of crossing is the only point where people coming from every direction must pass.

At the funeral of a Brāhman in India, five balls of wheat-flour and water are offered to various spirits. The third ball is offered to the spirit of the cross-roads of the village through which the corpse will be carried. Lamps are also placed at cross-roads. During the marriage rite among the Bharvāds in Gujarat, an eunuch flings balls of wheat-flour towards the four quarters of the heavens, as a charm to scare evil spirits; and in the same province, at the Holī festival, the fire is lighted at a quadrivium. In Mumbai seven pebbles, picked up from a place where three roads meet, are used as a charm against the evil eye. Some of the Gujarāt tribes, apparently with the intention of dispersing the evil or passing it on to some traveler, sweep their houses on the first day of the month Kārttik (November), and lay the refuse in a pot at the cross-roads.

In Africa cross-roads are largely used to effect cures. When a man is ill the native doctor takes him to a cross-road, where he prepares a medicine, part of which is given to the patient and part buried under an inverted pot at the juncture of the roads. It is hoped that someone will step over the pot, catch the disease, and so relieve the original sufferer. The use of cross-roads as a place for disease-transference is widespread: there exist examples of the custom from Japan, Bali (Indian Archipelago), Guatemala, Cochin-China, Bohemia and England.

Crossroads is a painting that symbolizes a metaphysical approach of the concept, using the five alchemistic elements to illustrate how our reality is a tissue made of constant interactions and choices. The element fire has been given a central place since it is the catalysator between the other four elements (water, earth, air , and ether). I´m rarely using figurative abstractionism in my works, so this painting deviates a little from my usual output.

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