Edited excerpt from 'Deliverance! Hoodoo Spells of Uncrossing, Healing, & Protection'
One of the primary goals in the cosmologies surrounding many folk magic and similar spiritual practices is to move through life in an uncrossed state, free from hindrances to good health, financial security, peace of mind, emotional fulfillment, and general success. To find oneself thwarted in any of these arenas is to be under crossed conditions.
Crossed conditions can be caused intentionally by an enemy who’s been laying tricks to cross you up, even leading you to being confused in your mind. A brush with bad luck can worsen over time if not remediated and a lack of optimal health in one’s surroundings can have an adverse affect on the wellbeing of those who live in or frequent such spaces.
Most easily preventable are the crossed conditions that are an outgrowth of the daily stresses, emotional wounds, and mental anxieties of life that have been left to fester unresolved. We shower and brush our teeth regularly, knowing that neglecting our physical hygiene will result in deterioration of our health and eventual social ostracization, but neglecting our emotional, mental, and spiritual needs leads to our ruin in these arenas and the parts of our lives they are connected to. Human beings are more than merely animated biology, and having access to bread, water, and a roof over one’s head does not necessarily constitute wellness.
We need emotional connection to others, a strong and healthy sense of personal and communal identity, pleasure of all kinds, a sense of purpose, and the ability to pursue goals and ambitions. Many folk magic traditions - including hoodoo rootwork - offer tools and techniques not only for removing crossed conditions, but for attracting and cultivating the favorable conditions we both need and desire.
This being said, crossed conditions can originate in realms not commonly considered, which is why many folk healers are also spiritual readers who consult divination and the wisdom of their helping spirits as to the cause of malaise in a client’s life. Many include the idea of generational and ancestral curses in their cosmology as magic has been known to be wielded against whole families, households, and lineages in most world cultures. These are sometimes the root of chronic crossed conditions, or why a client may say that they have always felt held back in life without a chance to pursue happiness unfettered by seemingly suffocating outside circumstances, or even the realization that bad luck in health, money, and love seems to follow a cyclical pattern.
There are still other factors that can be the cause of crossed conditions, from intrusive entities attached to one’s person to spirits of the dead occupying one’s home or work environment. This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list of factors that a spiritual practitioner may uncover as the source of spiritual illness, but a general overview of how crossed conditions, in their varying degrees of severity, are perceived, with tools of divination, spiritual insight, and the client’s subjective experience all being taken into account toward diagnosis and remediation.
Every spiritual modality has its strengths and weaknesses, and I believe that the most effective modality or healer for resolving a problem can be found with prayer and faith. Just as competent medical and legal counsel should be sought out alongside the practice of conjure when it is appropriate, so should the individual seeking a way out of severe crossed conditions remain open to the possibility that help will arrive from an unexpected avenue. Obsessive attachment to any single modality and blind faith in any one healer is both dangerous and a sure-fire way to relinquish one’s power. Such a perspective falls squarely in the realm of what old-time rootdoctors would call crossing yourself up, or self-sabotaging by engaging in harmful acts that limit one’s potential for growth, happiness, and success, including, but not limited to, entertaining bad thoughts and bad company.
There is something to be said for understanding crossed conditions, especially in their most severe and chronic manifestations, as having the potential to be initiatory. This is not the type of initiation that a priest or priestess in a religious tradition leads an adherent through, but the type that life itself is always presenting us. A time of financial destitution, the discovery of a lover’s betrayal, and finding oneself to be the target of spiritual attack are all opportunities for the human being to see what they are made of – to gather their resources on all planes and put them to use toward both self-preservation and personal growth. In the process, parts of the human will die and stronger parts previously unknown will be born. All time spent under crossed conditions and the process of remediation has the markings of the famed Hero’s Journey, landing the subject in the role of protagonist within their own myth. Every choice they make is crucial and not everything is what it seems. In the words of Joseph Campbell, famed mythologist and theorist regarding the Hero’s Journey, “Where you stumble and fall, there you will find gold.” These are the challenges that spur growth and if we are not growing, we are dying.
Crossed conditions are an unavoidable part of existence; they are the challenges that life presents to us by one avenue or another. By learning to humble ourselves and work with life as a teacher, we can discover how we, ourselves, need to change so that the circumstances around us can reflect our inner transformation. In seeing crossed conditions as opportunities for us to become wiser, stronger, and more whole, we shun the propensity toward victimhood and view every obstacle and catastrophe as a chance to step more fully into our personal power and sovereignty. Though seemingly easier said than done, the spiritual masters who’ve extolled such perspectives throughout the ages knew what they were talking about.
A near breakdown might mean you are ripe for a real breakthrough, and evil deeds committed by others might lead you to discover the path of your highest calling.