"If you want to learn how to make songs yourself, you take your guitar and your go to where the road crosses that way, where a crossroads is. Get there be sure to get there just a little ' fore 12 that night so you know you'll be there. You have your guitar and be playing a piece there by yourself ... A big black man will walk up there and take your guitar and he'll tune it. And then he'll play a piece and hand it back to you. That's the way I learned to play anything I want."
A deal with the Devil, pact with the Devil, or Faustian bargain is a cultural motif widespread wherever the Devil is vividly present, most familiar in the legend of Faust and the figure of Mephistopheles, but elemental to many Christian folktales. According to traditional Christian belief in witchcraft, the pact is between a person and Satan or any other demon (or demons); the person offers his or her soul in exchange for diabolical favours. Those favours vary by the tale, but tend to include youth, knowledge, wealth, or power. It was also believed that some persons made this type of pact just as a sign of recognizing the Devil as their master, in exchange for nothing. Regardless, the bargain is a dangerous one, for the price of the Fiend's service is the wagerer's soul. The tale may have a moralizing end, with eternal damnation for the foolhardy venturer. Conversely it may have a comic twist, in which a wily peasant outwits the Devil, characteristically on a technical point.
Well, that's the Christian version of the crossroads legend. In Voodoo, the legend involves the Guardian of the Crossroads, Papa Legba who is petitioned for favors. Papa Legba is not the devil.
There are many versions of the Crossroads legend. Crossroads magic is particularly pronounced in conjure, rootwork, and hoodoo. In conjure practice, it is said that in order to acquire talent in a particular skill such as playing a musical instrument, throwing dice, or dancing, one may go to a crossroads a certain number of times, either at midnight or just before dawn, and one will meet a "black man," presumably Legba though often mistaken for the Devil, who will bestow upon one the desired skills.
In the folk magic of many cultures, the crossroads is a location where two realms touch and thus represent a place "between worlds" or “neither her nor there” As such, the crossroads is a site where supernatural spirits can be contacted and paranormal events can take place.
In the African-derived traditions, Papa Legba, Ellegua, Elegba, Eshu, Pomba Gira and Exu are the spirits of the crossroads. All of these manifestations of the crossroads spirits serve a similar role in that they act as intermediaries between the divine spirits and humans. They stand at the spiritual crossroads and give or deny permission to speak with the spirits of Guinee, and are believed to speak all human languages.
The crossroads play a prominent role in Voodoo and hoodoo. Not only is it the place where one can petition Legba and interact with the various loas, it is the place where ritual remains are left, the place where leftover water from spiritual baths are disposed of, the place where cursed objects can be nullified, and where any number of spells can be performed. In the Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook, I have provided a few of these spells where you can see some common characteristics between them and eventually create your own crossroads magick. Here is one of those spells.
Get three shiny pennies. Hold them in your right hand and tell them (Legba) your problem. Put them in your left hand and vision the solutions you have to your problems. Now cup both hands together, placing the pennies on the seam line between them and ask Legba to help you decide.
Walk three blocks from your house in either direction. Stop at a crossroads; walk in a square, stopping at each corner. Then, walk diagonally through the crossroads. When you reach the center, toss the pennies over your left shoulder.
Go home and do not worry about your problem anymore. Legba will influence people and situations in such a way that the best option will become clear to you (Teish, 1985).
You can learn more about Crossroads Legends from a variety of cultures here.