Loa Legba: The God of Crossroads

Legba, the youngest son of Lisa and Mawu is the guardian and trickster of the crossroads and entrances. The veneration of this deity has its origin in Fon Dahomey and is one of the most venerated gods in Africa.

In the Haitian voodoo, he is a young and radiant god, often represented by the cosmic phallus, a symbol of the donors of life. Legba is today venerated in two contradictory forms: the shape of a child, or the shape of an old man holding a crutch or cane, smoking and wearing a broad brimmed straw hat. Sometimes he is seen sparkling water. In some myths, he is regarded as a thief who stole the secrets of the gods just to reveal them to men.

He is the first spirit summoned during a ceremony to grant or deny permission to speak with the spirits and he is also the last spirit to leave after the ritual. He is believed to speak and understand all human languages and helps in translating the languages to the spirits summoned.

The Characteristics of Legba

Description: God of crossroads, singer, warrior, jester, guardian of the threshold of the kingdom of spirits.

Day: Monday.

Colors: black and red.

Favorite sacrifices: sweets, corn, rum, cigars, oil and tobacco.

Location: Crossroads.

Associated number: Three.

Planet : Mercury.

Ritual place in the house: Behind the front door.

 

How to invoke Papa Legba

To invoke him it is customary to offer him sweets, toys, coconut, or anything children can enjoy. Dogs are sacred to him.

Steps to invoke him:

  • Set up your altar.
  • Place offerings of sweets, toys, coconut, oil, etc.
  • Draw his veve or use any of his symbols.
  • Light your candles.
  • Place an offering of rum on the ground in front of your altar.
  • Call upon him by reciting:

“Papa Legba, open the doors for me

Papa Legba, open the doors for me

Papa Legba, open the doors for me

Upon my return I shall greet the Loa

Open the door, Papa, so that I may pass

Papa Legba, open the doors for me”

 

  • At the end of the ritual, ensure to ask him to close the door then thank him for his kindness.

Traditionally, Papa Legba is treated with great respect and affection because of his ability to eliminate obstacles and offer solutions to life challenges.  They also revere him for his key position as a guardian, as well as for his wisdom and power in general. He can also be referred as the son of god as he creates a connection between human and gods.

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