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Papa Legba

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Papa Legba at the crossroads with his two dogs
Papa Legba at the crossroads with his two dogs

Papa Legba is the Lwa of the gates, guardian of the crossroads and the opener of the ways. In any Voodoo ceremony Papa Legba is saluted first and he opens the path for communication between the devotees and Lwa. His "dark" counterpart among the lwa is Met Carrefour.

Within the African Traditional Religion of Voodoo, Vudu, Vodoun, or Vodun, Papa Legba is seen as an old man who acts as an intermediary between humans and Lwa. He rules over all communication, speech, and prophecy. He's a deeply revered Lwa who is the voice of Bondye, or God. While he's always saluted first, he does not often mount or possesses.

Papa Legba is a protector of children and can be called upon for protection, to open ways, and to bring prophecy. Other depictions of Papa Legba show him as a fertility spirit with a phallic statue. Legba is served in different colours in different areas of Haiti. His colors are yellow, purple, red, white and his offerings are alcohol, tobacco in a pipe, bread, hot chocolate, coffee, peanuts, and toasted corn.

In Catholic syncretic Voodoo practices, Papa Legba is associated with Saint Peter, Saint Lazarus, or Saint Anthony. Because he is a crossroads deity,Papa Legba sometimes associated with the orisha Eleggua from the Yoruban and Cuban Santeria or Lukumi tradition, though Eleggua is seen more of a trickster.

Hoodoo psychic readers, spirit workers, and root doctors who are adherents of the Voodoo Religion and who petition the Lwa on behalf of clients may work with Papa Legba call upon him for protection, to help with communication, especially with other spirits, and to open the roads.

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