The Crossroads Symbol in Art

Devette Lindsay
6 min readJul 9, 2022

From Hope to Eternal Damnation, It is a Potent Creative Symbol

Photo by Mike Enerio on Unsplash

The Many Messages of the Crossroads

Imagine yourself standing at a crossroads- two or so possible directions, each leading to an unknown future. As a figure of speech, “To be at a crossroads” is to face a major decision in one’s life. Nature leads you to this place as part of your development. Despite the direction you choose, you'll benefit by either elevating to the next level or learning lessons that will aid your development down the road.

“You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.” Glinda, The Good Witch, The Wizard of Oz

But in many artistic works, the Crossroads is not a welcoming place for entities like Glinda. It is a liminal space — an open, disturbing space of beginnings, transitions, and the spiritually unknown. If you bring yourself to the Crossroads, you know you don’t possess the talent you wish for, nor the work ethic to gain the skills you desire. You have come to willingly exchange your eternal peace for immediate attainment of knowledge, power, or status — despite the heavy cost. In liminal spaces, there is no protection or reliable guidance for you, the human; just your irrevocable deal and an unpredictable unfolding of a damned future.

Through folklore and mythology, the Crossroads symbol has developed a connection with the unknown. It has collected stories of musicians, scientists, and erudite men who naively sought its offering and lived to regret it.

As a creative symbol, the Crossroads can be a starting point of a hopeful, coming-of-age tale, or signify a person's desperate need for approval and success, no matter how detrimental it is to one’s well-being.

Below are some of my favorite examples of how the Crossroads is represented in art, music, and literature.

The Crossroads and Its Spiritual History

Devette Lindsay

I'm a writer, an avid reader, and a fan of magic found within the mundane. I publish articles on speculative fiction, literature and creativity.