Legba is one of the most important Lwa in Haitian voodoo. He is the first Lwa to be called in a service so that he can open the gates to the spirit world and let them communicate with other Lwa. No Lwa dares show itself without Legba's permission. Whoever has offended him finds himself unable to address his Lwa and is deprived of their protection. He is the origin and the male prototype of voodoo.
He controls the crossing over from one world to the other. He is the contact between the worlds of spirit and of flesh.
He is represented as an old man who guards the crossroads. He is the origin of life, so he must be saluted each time a service or any other activity with the Lwa will begin.
He can deliver messages of gods in human language and interpret their will. He is the god of destiny and is also the intermediary between human beings and divine gods.
Voodooists believe that if Legba grants their wishes, they can contact the forces of the universe.
He is the guardian of voodoo temples, courtyards, plantations and crossroads. He protects the home. If you are going on a trip, it is believed that you pray to Legba for protection from harm and a safe return home.
As "Master of Crossroads" he is the god of every parting of the way--a favorite haunt of evil spirits and propitious to magic devices; and it is at crossroads that he receives the homage of sorcerers and presides over their incantations and spells.
He is also the guardian of the poto mitan--the center post-a post in the
center of a peristyle regarded as a thoroughfare of the spirits. The poto-mitan is an extremely sacred object. Legba walks in his bare feet because he is in constant contact with the earth.
He is a small crooked lovable old man. Small pipe with little tobacco, a little food in his macoute sack. Sores on his body. His pitiful appearance has earned him the nickname of Legba of the Broken Foot but conceals the terrific strength which becomes apparent in the violence of possession
induced by him.
Because of his politeness and caring nature he is greeted as Papa Legba. He is a much loved Lwa.
When he mounts someone the person's limbs are twisted and horrible to see. The crutch is the symbol of Legba. The outward appearance of Legba hides a very powerful interior.
The interpreter to the gods can deliver the messages of the gods in human language and interpret their will. He is the god of destiny, honored first at every ceremony, receiving first offerings. He is represented by a wooden or iron phallus mounted in a little mound of earth in front of every house.
Legba is also known to hold the "key of the spiritual world", and for this reason is identified with the Christian St. Peter.
Legba's colors are red and white and red and black.
Contact Papa Legba for when you need doors to open in your life. Ask him for help when good communication is needed. Ask for his help for any divination or oracle work. Legba unifies opposites, enables communication between worlds: male and female, human and divine, older and younger generations, the living and the dead, the sacred and the secular, the universe and its origin. His nature is both generous and cruel. Kafou Legba is his dark aspect, the malevolent trickster who diverts humans from their true paths.
His favorite foods are vegetables, meat and tubules grilled on a fire. These foods will be offered to him so that he will open the gates. His symbol is the sun, of things positive, and all that is good. His sacred day is Monday.
His favorite tree is the medicinier-bebi.
Some offerings include: coconut candies, rum, popcorn, small toys are always good. Also most candy, smoked foods, black goats, green bananas, toys, rice, cassava, molasses, candles, roosters and chickens.
Symbols: Dogs are sacred to Legba. All doorways are sacred to him. His shrine is usually located at the gate of the village in the countryside.