When I attended a lecture that Ivo Dominguez Jr. gave on “Karma” at Paganicon, he touched briefly on a condition or situation where the goal that someone is seeking to realize can be rendered impossible simply because they are at crossed purposes. This condition of being crossed could occur because someone close to the one who is seeking that objective is secretly working against it, that the objective is desired by others and there is competition, or that one’s own mind or desires are at cross-purposes with one’s external objective. Ivo compared this situation to a wagon being pulled by different people in different directions, and in some cases the handle that one person is pulling would have more than one branch attached to it, and each branch was getting tugged in still another direction by forces within. The net result is either that the wagon is stubbornly stationary or it can go in a direction that we consciously don’t want it to. Regardless, the outcome is not what is expected nor desired, and the reason is called being at cross-purposes, or being “crossed.”
In the lore of Hoodoo magic this is a typical malady that a conjure man or woman has to deal with in order to help a client. Usually, it takes the form that someone has jinxed or even cursed another person so that their luck and good fortune evaporates. From that moment on, everything that they do or try is thwarted by some unseen or unknown adversary. Such a person has been cursed and crossed so that they will remain locked in a downward spiral of bad luck, missed opportunities and the constant occurrence of maladies, catastrophes and suffering. The conjure man or woman has to break the jinx or curse afflicting their client, reverse its affects and then clear and open the way for forward progress, so that their client might retrieve the accumulation of blessings denied them. It is a rigorous process and it typically assumes that clients so afflicted are being crossed by someone outside of themselves, whether that individual is close to them or not. Therefore, one who is crossed has been jinxed or cursed deliberately or even unwittingly by someone who is envious or covetous, thereby ensuring that the source of misfortune is always external to the victim.
The Hoodoo world is full of negative and positive magic wielded by conjure men and women or unsuspecting spiteful individuals, all of them warring against each other for the sake of third party clients, and that anyone’s hold of good fortune and luck is highly precarious. In the privileged world of the ritual or ceremonial magician, such drama is usually absent. As a ritual magician and religious celebrant I have had very few opportunities to counter curses or jinxes cast by other people. This means that most of time I am free to work magic on any objective I desire and should expect a reasonable return for my work. Thus I live in a world that is peaceful, free of the dynamic exchanges of negative and positive forces, and placid with the boring expectations and occurrences of a happy mundane existence. I have no recourse to blame outsiders for anything that might happen to me. Whatever happens is either my responsibility or accidental and totally beyond my control.
Even so, crossed aspirations can and do happen even if no one is behind them except our own hidden selves. We often see ourselves as singular unified beings with typically singular aspirations, but this, of course, is an illusion. We are actually a conglomeration of different and even conflicting personal desires, self-images, identities, and each of these different personalities has a somewhat different and distinct set of aspirations, emotions and desires. If we seem to be acting as a single being with a single purpose, then that is just the mask that we wear at the moment. We are multiple beings where perhaps one or two attributes rule over the rest, but those dominate traits can and do change over time. When someone that we haven’t seen in a long time tells us (whether pleasantly or as an insult) that we haven’t changed a bit, they are obviously and completely wrong. Different people might actually see different masks on the same person and think that they are actually seeing that person for who they are. Yet human nature is very complex, and people are of more than one mind, opinion or feelings about nearly everything. We work hard to create a mental fiction of ourselves so that we are somehow singular and unified in purpose, but it is in fact a fiction. If you don’t believe what I am saying, then just examine your own Astrological natal chart and you will see how internally conflicted and contradictory you truly are. And all of us are so collectively blessed and cursed by this malady.
With this little and disturbing fact in mind, you can see how easy it is for anyone to be at cross-purposes with themselves. In fact, when the magic fails to produce the outcome that we expect it should, or that the opposite occurs, or perhaps even something catastrophic happens, then we should use our expertise with divinatory tools to determine if we are at cross-purposes with ourselves. Such divination may reveal that the performing of magic had little or no bearing on the issue, or that the probability was so small that a slight bending would make no difference. It could be that the magician failed to perform the most important corresponding mundane actions or that the target was faulty or lacked clarity. As Chief Dan George famously said in the movie “Little Big Man,” to his adopted son, “Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Still, if a magician has been attempting to achieve a specific goal and has failed to do so over a period of time, even when it appeared that the odds were very much in her favor, then it’s time to look at the possibility of crossed purposes. When a magician is crossed regarding a specific material objective, whether it is money, a good job, a stable home or a relationship partner, then any attempt to achieve that objective will fail.
How do we know when we are being crossed? What are the indicators? The key to discovering this situation is a combination of divination and meditation. Divination will show you if your objective can be achieved in a reasonable amount of time. A big clue that one is crossed is if the divination that the magician has performed results in a confusing or inconclusive reading. For instance, if you do a Tarot card reading on the desired objective and it shows no conclusive outcome or produces a reading that makes little sense, then you should consider the possibility that you are crossed. Further Tarot card readings might help to identify what is crossing you or give you additional information; but it can just as easily continue to show you nothing.
At this stage, the magician uses a combination of contemplation and meditation to perform a process that I call “self-scan.” This is done by emptying the mind of everything, especially that specific issue that is vexing one, and then over a period of time when the mind is at rest, begin to ask questions about the nature of the objective. What I have discovered is that the outcome from performing a self-scan can reveal if one has conflicting desires that render the overall objective null and void. That’s when questions such as “Do I really want this outcome?” or “Do I want to assume the responsibility for following this path?” should be asked, and the answers carefully examined. The revelations produced from a self-scan session can be used to spearhead further divination on the subject matter. Over time, the magician will find out what is really going on inside of him and whether or not the objective is worth pursuing.
If the magician decides to pursue the objective even though he or she is not fully aligned internally in order to make it possible then a process of uncrossing must be engaged. Here is where the Hoodoo conjure folk can show ritual or ceremonial magicians a thing or two about overcoming obstacles and achieving goals regardless of adversity.
Much to my regret I can say without embarrassment that I experienced just such a crossed purposes situation that lasted for decades. I just couldn’t figure out what was going on and whatever divination or magical ritual workings that attempted to perform just never seemed to produce any results. Had I known about this potential issue of crossing that plagues nearly everyone at some time then I would have been able to resolve it much more quickly than I did. As it turns out, I fumbled along for many years until I intuitively determined what was going on and managed to rectify it. What was that crossed purposes situation that bedeviled me? It had to do with successfully finding a lover and lifetime partner for a long term relationship. Allow me to briefly describe what I went through.
Many years ago I fell in love with a woman that despite all my desires, intentions and attempts otherwise was never meant to be successful. We all have had these kinds of thwarted desires and deflected amorous objectives, and most of us get over them and continue to successfully find that one person who does love us and want to form a long term relationship. However, for me it was an unhealthy obsession that lasted far longer than it should have. I am not completely at fault here, but I should have been able to see the wisdom of the moment and disengage myself from this woman to look elsewhere.
Even when I had completely resigned myself to the true futility of such an objective, my obsession had created an internal process that had a life of its own. While I sought for the companionship of other women around me, part of me was still pining for this woman even though I knew she was impossible to achieve. I had unwittingly created for myself a powerful crossed-purposes type situation, and this marred and handicapped me completely regarding finding a relationship. The obsession had to be starved over a long period of time before I had any luck at finding a potential mate. Whatever magic I worked to resolve this situation did nothing to alleviate it, and in fact there were plenty of clues written in my magical diaries from that time, both from a magical and divinatory perspective, that I had compromised myself. I was in a trap of my own making, so it required me to understand this fact before I could find an exit.
Only after a long period of time did I finally realize what had happened to me, and only then, was I able to resolve my issue. Still, I could have resolved it so many years ago had I understood the pernicious nature of being at crossed purposes, and that uncrossing is an important tool and technique even for the practitioner of high magick.
Hoodoo techniques for uncrossing vary considerably amongst different conjuring doctors and their various traditions, mentors and personal tastes. However, an archetypal Hoodoo methodology for uncrossing consists of the following steps, although there are many variations.
1. Divination to identify nature and source of crossing.
2. Bathing, foot washing, blue baths (Reckitts Crown Blue), vigil candles, prayers and psalms
3. Curse/Jynx Reversing - reverse candle burnt upside down, enemy binding, mirror magic (reflecting and returning the curse), mirror box/coffin with charged and bound enemy doll, further bathing and cleansing (removing jynx/curse).
4. Road Opening - vigil lights (road opening candles), use of Van-van or road opening oils for final cleansing and preparation to retrieve lost blessings. Prayers, psalm reading, receiving blessings from root doctor or church, or both.
5. Lucky spells to activate and achieve lost/stolen/blocked objective.
A magician could, if they have a facility for Hoodoo, develop their own low magic technique using the above five steps. Still, what can the ritual or ceremonial magician do to counter a situation where they are at crossed purposes with themselves? How can they use the tools already at their disposal? I feel that I can apply the knowledge that I have of high magic and Hoodoo uncrossing and therefore propose a series of steps and magical actions that magicians can use to uncross themselves.
The following nine steps can be performed if magicians suspect that they (or their clients) are at crossed purposes with themselves. These nine steps can be grouped into three major magical workings, to be performed at different times but in close proximity to each other.
1. Self-scan - determine through a combination of divination and meditation sessions the nature of the crossed-purpose issue. Meditation should consist of emptying the mind (contemplation) and then focusing on specific questions about the nature of the problem. The results from this step are used to assist and facilitate the next step. The magician can also discover if there really is a crossed purpose issue producing a blockage or thwarted objective. (1 step combined/alternating)
2. Cross-roads divination session: During the dark of the moon, the magician will, in her temple, erect a cross-roads tying together the four circle angles within sacred space. In the center where the four angular directions meet, the magician will use a black mirror (peering through an image darkly) to retrieve an image, name and phrase associated with the specifically identified obstruction found in step 1. Once this image and name/phrase is discovered, the magician will produce a sigil symbolizing that obstruction on parchment with the pen and ink of the art, and then consecrate and charge it. (3 steps)
3. Validate crossed-roads divination results with another self-scan session. Make certain that the charged sigil resonates with the energy of the obstruction. It is possible that more than one obstruction may exist, and the magician may have only identified the dominate one. It might be necessary to repeat step 2 if other issues are uncovered in this step. Once all of the issues are identified and symbolized by blessed and charged sigils, then the magician may continue with the next step, which will be performed just before the moon is full. (1 step combined/alternating)
4. Perform cleansing exercises, a meditation vigil and a ritual bath prior to performing the main rite for Opening the Way, which is to be done that evening. (1 step)
5. Cross-roads Opening the Way rite: Magician erects a cross-roads tying together the four circle angles within sacred space. A small cauldron is placed in the center of the circle, and the magician takes the sigil(s) in hand and focuses intently on them, discussing and reviewing the nature of the crossing associated with each one, tearing up the sigil, and then when all of the pieces are in the cauldron, burning them together. Take the resultant ashes and use them draw an equal arm cross on the forehead with the left index finger (sign of the Lenten abnegation), then proceed to the Northern Watchtower and perform the “opening of the portal gesture” therein. Proceed into the Northern Watchtower and turn to face the south, reading off a series of affirmations and intended objectives that are now free to be acquired. Then seal all of the nodes and the working is done. As an additional empowerment, the magician can place one or more (metal) talismans for the appropriate planetary intelligence or godhead in the Northern Watchtower prior to the working in order to facilitate and charge the affirmations at the end. (These should be touched and focused on when entering in the Northern Watchtower. (3 overall steps)
Once the above workings are completed, and after the moon has passed full, the magician should perform some divination to check on the efficacy of the working. He should notice a profound alteration in consciousness and feel completely resolved as if the obstruction was overcome and nothing further can thwart his intentions and objectives in this matter.
Five of the most dramatic parts of this overall uncrossing working are the black mirror scrying, the blessing and charging of the sigil, and the burning of the sigil, wearing the ashes on the forehead and then performing the opening portal in the North, representing the opening of the place of darkness to the light of one’s renewed aspirations. These five ritual actions will symbolically destroy the sigil of the blockage, mark one’s self for their passing, and then open the gateway of material achievement and thereby remove the obscuring darkness of the crossed purpose that has been blocking the desired achievement. The magician can also perform specific workings after a successful uncrossing to assist in the acquisition of the objective, and this time there won’t be a possibility for crossed purposes blocking the outcome.
Variations on this working can be performed without altering its overall impact, but I believe that this high magic technique of uncrossing should give the ritual or ceremonial magician the mechanism to remove and eliminate obstructions. May you always be uncrossed and unobstructed when pursing your objectives, but if not, then you can uncross yourself.