Posted on

That Voodoo That You Do 1: Pulling my Legba

Okay, are voodoo loas demons? Personally, I have no clue. But they fulfill the roles of spiritual messengers between Bondye (“Good god”) and mere mortals, which means they do the job of the angels in the Christian tradition, and demons were originally angels… So let’s call them spirit people and include them in the blog. (Plus, they tend to be snappy dressers, which most demons aren’t, and we could use some fashion sense around here.)

Pulling my Legba

Papa Legba is absolutely the most important guy in the voodoo universe. He isn’t the most powerful by any stretch, but he definitely comes first because, well, he comes first!

Papa Legba, a natty dresser in his straw hat, using a cane and smoking his pipe–often with a dog at his heels–is the first guy to show up in any successful voodoo ritual. He fills an important place by being the guardian of doors, entries, paths, and crossroads. And that includes the crossroads between the worlds. If you want to talk to anyone on the Other Side, including another loa, you’ve got to go through Papa Legba. Legba is the guy who opens that gate so anyone can come through.

The Veve acts as a beacon for a spirit to come to the place of summoning

The Veve acts as a beacon for a spirit to come to the place of summoning

Legba is one of the Rada loa, which means he’s more on the serene, beneficial side of things. So long as you give him his pipe, he’s pretty much happy. A good thing since you can’t talk to the other spirits without his help.

Now voodoo is one of those religions that’s difficult to get your hands on. It’s kind of slippery, and meant to be that way. You see, voodoo developed in Haiti and other parts of the Caribbean during the times of slavery as a way for the people to worship their own African gods while seeming to follow Catholicism. So loa are usually associated with Catholic saints–“Stick a picture of the Virgin Mary up on that altar. Any outsider who comes will think the altar is for her, but we’ll all know it’s really for Erzulie…”

This is the slippery part: Rosemary Ellen Guiley and others say Legba is associated with St. Peter. There’s a case for that, since he has to lead things. But Zora Neale Hurston says he’s associated with St. John the Baptist. And there’s a case for that, too, since John had to come before things.

Hurston also records this incantation for Legba:

Papa Legba, ouvirier barrier pour moi agoe
Papa Legba, ouvirier barrier pour moi
Attibon Legba, ouvirier barrier pour moi passer
Passer Vrai, loa moi passer m’a remerci loa moin

Here’s my crappy French translation:

Father Legba, open the barrier for me [word I don’t know]
Father Legba, open the barrier for me
Attibon Legba, open the barrier for me to pass through
Truly pass, loa let me pass, I give thanks to you

Or something similar to that.

Now, considering that when a loa ‘passes’ through, he (or she) takes over someone’s body, I’d think twice before trying this one at home, kids.

Sources

Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft, and Wicca
The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft, and Wicca
(Paperback)
by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

About these ads

About teresawilde

Author of Young Adult Paranormals, Paranormal Romance, Historical Paranormal Romance, tragical- comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, and poem unlimited.

3 responses to “That Voodoo That You Do 1: Pulling my Legba

  1. Adam ⋅

    Did u know you can by papa legba coffee cups these days? Try neuromancer for a more relevant understanding.. and use your internets to do so while your at it : )

  2. Jerome POINSOT ⋅

    Wouldn’t the invocation to Legba rather be:

    Atibon Lgegba, open me the gate, agoe !
    Father-Legba open me the gate
    So that I go through it
    When I will go back, I will hail the loas
    Voodoo Legba, open me the gate
    So that I come in;
    When I will go back, I will hail the loas, Abobo.
    (Translated from MÉTRAUX, Alfred, Le vaudou haïtien, Paris, Gallimard, coll. « Tel », 1977, rééd. 2007.)

    • teresawilde ⋅

      Hey Jerome:

      I got my invocation from Zora Neil Hurston’s TELL MY HORSE, and I’m no professional translator.

      The way the Voudou religion is, I’d have to guess that there’s more than one way to talk to Legba. It’s a safe bet.

      If I wanted to summon Legba, I’d definitely check out Métreaux first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s