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The Goddess of the Crossroads

The Goddess of the Crossroads

Random ramblings...

Transformative images and concepts have always fascinated me. Shapeshifters, mermaids, the fringes, the boundararies... the places where where one thing transforms into another intrigues me.


I was born near the Canadian border, in a “twin city” which straddles the Minnesota/North Dakota border. I was raised in Nogales, Arizona/Sonora, a town which blurs the boundaries even more by having the same name for the same city, though it is located in two different countries.

We lived on top of a hill in Nogales. On the other side of the hill was a cliff, and at the bottom of the cliff was the border fence. The fence was not visible unless you walked across the street and looked down. So, every time I walked out of the house in the morning and looked "across the street" - i.e., to the houses on the next hill - I was looking into another country. But, since there was no visible boundary or border, the difference between the two was impossible to see. Same hills, same houses, same people. One world.

And now I live in Los Angeles County, where the cities now run into each other. Aside from the technicalities of city government, there truly aren't any real visible borders anywhere. The city I live in borders on four other communities, but aside from the "you are now entering the City of" signs, there's no way to tell the difference.

I was having a conversation with a friend about the practical and metaphysical implications of the fringe versus the center. I’ve never been in the “center” of anything. I’d rather be on the fringe – I like the view. I like the shoreline, where land and sea meet. “Either/or” is less interesting than “and/both”.

I decided to google "Nogales Arizona Sonora" and was amused to find the first link I clicked on, instead of having a lot of corporate BS like "come shop here!" and “great business opportunties here!” starts off with metaphysical, rather than literal, descriptions.

>>website: http://www.sonoranborderlands.com/nogales_az.html
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If there is a goddess for the journey through life and for the places which one encounters along the way, it is Hecate, the guardian of the crossroads, an ancient and powerful female deity who possesses the power to see in three directions at once.
Her favored child, then, must be Nogales who stands silently and sees it all-past, present, future-and has the intuitive power to understand and connect them, to recognize the patterns which unite the past and present of the many lives inside her boundary with the future for which we strive.
Nogales, the Spanish word for "walnuts," is a crossroads for an ancient trade route that ran from Guaymas and Hermosillo north into the interior of what is now the United States. Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora are really one city separated by a fence-the International Border-first erected by Nogales, Sonora to keep out the rowdy Americans.
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A virtual toast to the Goddess of the Crossroads!

Everything needs a center. Everything needs an edge. And everything needs a roadway to the other side.

Comments

This was a beautiful essay. I like the poetic concepts put in plain language and you gave me some new things to think about. ^_^
Thanks! I was just feeling philosophical yesterday, and gathered up some "mental threads" and put them together.
I loved reading that! What an interesting world you grew up in. In more ways than one, I know.

Borders are so subjective. Sometimes they bleed into one another, and sometimes they are sharp and unavoidable, like leaving the land on one side of a river and reaching the other side. But sometimes they're all in our heads. We cut things off, or we decide that "this" is different from "that," and therefore we've crossed a border. Interesting. I'd never thought of the goddess of the crossroads as related to borders, but obviously she is. And does she present a different face to each different direction?
Interesting indeed! The only way I could have lived closer to the border was if we'd lived in one of those houses on stilts on the other side of the street. As a kid, I got a lot of fun climbing around underneath them, scrambling up and down that hillside. As an adult, they freak me out even to look at that.

My mother had saved some of my childhood drawings. I found them in her effects after my folks passed away. One of them was a "street map" of Nogales - houses, streets, cars, etc. I'd made an attempt to show the town was two things by drawing the country flags. The US one was easy - a couple stars, a couple stripes, that's it. In my attempt to draw the eagle and snake of the Mexican flag, however, I wound up with something that looked a lot like a chicken and a worm.

The one element I didn't include in the drawing was the border fence. The town was both, indivisable.

And yes, borders are very subjective. Look at the checkerboard patterns of so many US states - long straight lines delineating one state from another, particularly in the west. Some arbitrary straight line, chosen by politics and surveyors a century or more ago.

Interesting thought, about the goddess presenting a different face in every direction. Many goddesses are presented "in triplicate", of course - maiden, mother, crone.

I like the idea that the Goddess of the Crossroads would present a different face in each direction. A nice symbolic representation of what one people thinks about another, versus its own self-image. And vice versa, with the chances these divergent views match being relatively small.
The concept of 'blurred borders' would seem to be akin to those 'shades of gray' that I'm always so fascinated by. I find gray a much more pleasing alternative to either black or white, for the most part.

“Either/or” is less interesting than “and/both”.

I so agree!

And lol, I never knew that Nogales meant 'walnuts' - why does that make me want to giggle?!