He’s Misrepresented As A Blood-thirsty Villain But This Spirit Demands Respect

He’s misrepresented throughout Western culture as a blood-thirsty spirit tricking people into making “deals with the devil.” But this is NOT what this West African spirit is about. He’s actually important to all spiritual work we do.

He’s Misrepresented As A Blood-thirsty Villain But This Spirit Demands Respect
Via Wikimedia Commons

Legba is a commonly known Vodou spirit. Originating in the historic West African kingdom of Dahomey, now Benin, myths and rituals for Legba traveled with enslaved Africans forcibly dislocated to the Americas and Caribbean.

Legba has many names, but most common is Haiti’s “Papa Legba.”

Legba is "a bridge to the spirit world.” He speaks every language and appears in many forms, although an old man with a cane is the most common one.

He’s described as a trickster, but his most important role is being the spirit, or loa, that arranges communication between the living and spirit realms.

Vodou practitioners summon Legba at the beginning and end of each ritual, requesting him to open the gates to the spirit world so they can convene with ancestors. A chant to call Legba is: “Papa Legba, open the gate for me that I may pass. When I return I will thank the loa.”

But only call Legba if you’re prepared to pay him.

Offerings for Legba include cane syrup, white rum, tobacco, candy, boiled peanuts, coffee, bananas, and plantains.

Legba represents a bridge at a crossroads. Whether you’re communicating with ancestors or struggling to move forward, Legba will help guide you along your journey.

Like all spirit work, you should reach out to trained practitioners for guidance before summoning Legba.

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