I don’t mention it much but I live at the intersection of several crossroads and some of those roads are corpse roads. My house sits on the corner of four streets, which may sound like a regular crossroad but isn’t.
Corpse roads are roads used to transport the dead to their final resting place. Traditionally they’re old dirt roads or paths. Sometimes these roads were only used for transporting the dead, depending on local tradition and superstition. Most of the traditional corpse roads have been lost to time but new ones are around. I live behind a funeral home and one of the streets my home is situated on is a shortcut to and from the highway.
Legends surrounding these corpse roads are numerous among a lot of different cultures. I recently read several Russian fairy tales along the same vein but it is common in cultures that transport their dead, especially for burial. Vigils next to the dead are also very common, usually so spirits won’t possess the deceased’s body.
In the past I served as a medium to spirits and deities. I don’t do this much anymore for a wide variety of reasons but I still have the knowledge and capability to do so. However, I thoroughly enjoyed doing the works so I continue it privately now and my family home is perfectly situated for this.
Since I live at crossroads and corpse roads, it’s pretty spiritually active around here. There’s a lot of energy given our proximity to running water (two blocks away), the ocean (.8 miles), schools (three of them within two blocks), a main thoroughfare (top of the street), plus the funeral home (in front of my house) and a social club (end of the street). There’s a huge sewer network under my house (which is why it floods so much), plus we’re on the top of a hill. In fact, the roads are so ridiculous around my house, to back out of my driveway you need to back into an intersection. It’s a busy road for not being a major road, both spiritually and physically. Spiritually, we get a lot of paranormal events from ghosts to non-human spirits. These beings are always transients and I guess we’re something of an inn. I tend to deal with the non-humans and my brother, the Necromancer, takes on the humans.
However, the crossroads and corpse roads are also a place for beings to linger. Lost or simply unwilling to move on, these spirits hang around and drain at the energy. Children, already more susceptible to possession and influences by spirits (however rare it may be), are especially fine targets. To protect and preserve the clarity of the energy and land, I hold vigils at the crossroads every so often.
There’s typically four or five a year on various dates (often in the spring where funerals are most common as burying the dead was not feasible in the winter in ye days of old). During the vigils I put myself into a state of being that allows for easier spiritual communication. Sometimes that’s fasting, other times it’s using entheogens, or hours of meditation. The method depends on my mood at the moment so it’s not something that’s specific. I meet with the spirits that linger and attempt to get them to move on – whether that’s to pass from this land into the next to just to go haunt some other location depends on the spirit themselves. I’m not one to force a spirit, human or otherwise, to do something they don’t want. If a human spirit understands that they are dead and they’re still not ready to move on, I’m not going to force the issue unless they start hurting people or other spirits. Then I turn into a dragon and start destroying things, so to speak. I’m protective, what can I say?
These vigils last typically twenty-four hours and can be very boring. Bound to not leave the area, I tend to amuse myself (and those I’m keeping vigil for) by singing, dancing, reading out loud, or telling stories. Most often, I listen, pour drinks of purified water and clear alcohol, and lay out offerings of coins and snacks. Divination is also incredibly common, since some spirits have difficulties in speaking through a medium.
At the end of the vigil, I “reset” the area, not exactly cleansing the area but more of dispersing negative energy clumps or untangling clogged energy to get it moving better. It makes the area feel better, safer, and more exhilarating for the spirit.
I really enjoy these vigils not only as a service to my community but also as a way of connecting to spirits around me. It’s one of the rituals I’ve developed that I intend to continue no matter where I live or what the future may hold for me.