Hand drawn veve for Papa Legba
Papa Legba is the Loa of the crossroads, and is the one who holds the key to the spirit world, or heavens, and to the earth. He is the master communicator, and without Legba humans would not be able to communicate with any of the other Loa, and he is also the one who allows the other Loa to enter into ceremonies and interact with the people honoring them. For this reason, Papa Legba is regarded as one of the most important Loa, and is always the first and last one commemorated during a ritual or ceremony, so that he may open up and close the doors to the spirit realm appropriately. In Haitian Vodou, Papa Legba is depicted as an elderly man with a cane and straw hat, smoking pipe tobacco and usually seen walking slowly and unassumingly. This appearance is deceiving, however, as Papa Legba is very capable and can break down or build up anything as he chooses. In Benin and Nigeria, he is seen as Legba, young and virile with two horns on his head instead of the hat. Legba most likely received his characteristics from adaptations of Esu or Elegbara from the Yoruba traditions.
Papa Legba is often syncretized with Saint Peter, who holds the keys to Heaven, or sometimes images of Saint Lazarus or Saint Anthony are used. Being the
master communicator, Papa Legba has also been known to have qualities of the trickster, and will often deflate one's ego when it is carrying them in the wrong
direction. It is usually best to laugh at his jokes with a sense of humility, as they are meant to strengthen you. This break from seriousness also helps to
remember that life itself should be considered a gift, and sometimes observing oneself with a sense of humor is the best way to overcome heavy emotions or difficult
decisions. These decisions themselves are actually crossroads, for choosing one path in life takes you further from the other path, and it's these junctures
in life where you will always be working with Papa Legba.
- White with black print
- Black with white print