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Papa Legba
By Dawn Theard, Staff Writer


Aside from Bon Dye, the Lwa responsible for us having other Lwas present during rituals is Papa Legba (syncretized with Saint Anthony or with St. Lazarus in Haiti). Papa Legba is the Haitian voodoo god who acts as an intermediary between the Lwa and humans. He is also the god of the crossroads; he opens the road to the spirit world. He taught mankind the use of oracles and how to interpret them.


His feast day is the 13th of June, his color is brown, and he smokes large Cuban cigars. Its very rare that Papa Legba takes possession of a horse (another name for Vodoun devotees), yet when he does, give GRACIA A LA MISERICORDIA, (grace to the mercy), because all paths will be open for all other Lwas. When he does arrive, Papa Legba asks for his brown fula, his robe, also usually brown satin, and his baton (cane).


In Benin and Nigeria, Legba is viewed as young and virile, is often horned and ithyphallic, and his shrine is usually located at the gate of countryside villages. He is somewhat cognate to the Eleggua of the Yoruba pantheon, honored in Nigeria, Cuba, Brazil, and elsewhere in the Yoruba Diaspora.

Eleggua


Papa Legba is also commonly called Eleggua and is depicted as an old man sprinkling water or an old man with a crutch accompanied by dogs. He is also known as Legba or Legba Ati-Bon in other pantheons. In any vodoun ceremony, Legba is the first Lwa invoked, so that he may "open the gate" for communication between the worlds. The dog is his symbolic animal, moving with him between the worlds and across the waters of the Abyss.
Likened to St. Michael and St. Peter when it comes to protection of the domicile, Voodoo practitioners place representations of Papa Legba beside the back and front doors of their home in order protect: at the rear, similar to the function of St. Michael, Legba will keep evil from entering the home unchecked; at the front door, Legba is the keyholder, as is St. Peter, only admitting good fortune and visitors of honest intent.
Papa Legba is the intermediary between the lwa and humanity. He stands at a spiritual crossroads and gives (or denies) permission to speak with the spirits of Gine; he translates between the human and “angelic” and all other languages of the spheres.

Saint Lazarus

He usually appears as an old man on a crutch, sprinkling water. The dog is sacred to him. Because of his position as 'gate-keeper' between the worlds of the living and the mysteries he is often identified with Saint Peter who holds a comparable position in Catholic tradition.

Babalu Ayé

Lord of Pestilence and rightful owner of the earth, in the Santeria tradition Babalu is the Orisha who controls pestilence. He is also a special intercessor for thepoor and a god of healing. He will do his best when invoked against infections and epidemics. At the moment his most pressing problem is AIDS, which he is constantly being asked to cure. But like most doctors, Babalu Aye is often confounded in the face of man’s disregard for his own health and well-being; unlike human physician’s, one of Babalu’s strongest cures is to let karma take its course.


Like Papa Legba, Babalu is depicted walking on crutches, perhaps in sympathy with the sick and suffering he is so often called upon to help. He is also accompanied by dogs, who, in this instance, usually are depicted as washing his wounds by licking him; he favors the colors of bruising – brown, black an purple.

Hey Papa Legba

Music by Elton John
Lyrics by Bernie Taupin
Released as a UK B-side in 1982

He would recount the stories he had learned so well
Fourteen years is a long time in one cell
When the pipe is passed the opium does its rounds
Papa Legba sitting pretty in a chicken little town

His textured skin, like leather in the sun
Fingers beating hard upon a native drum
He picks his teeth with a splintered back rib bone
Papa Legba bears his fangs and lays alone

Hey Papa Legba, hoo-boo-be-do
Hey Papa Legba, no one gonna bother you
Hey Papa Legba, hoo-boo-be-do
Shake Papa Legba, no one's gonna bother you tonight, alright

He was free to dance alone where the spirits run
His almond eyes would twinkle on a hundred sons
His champagne toast and white meat on a spit
Papa Legba's drunken with a smile upon his lips


Like the god Hermes of the Greek pantheon, Legba is the messenger of the the gods; other Loas can only be contacted through him. His counterpart in Lukumi is Eleggua; although in Vodoun he is usually depicted in the aspect of an elderly man carrying a cane.

Also known as Eshu-Elegbara, Babalu-Aye, Papa Legaba and Eshu, Papa Legba is one of the orisha (loa of the West African Fon and Yoruba peoples). The youngest son of Mawu Liza (or Nana-Buluku, the creator), Papa Legba is one of the most important and most beloved of all the loa.

Eshu


In Yoruba mythology, Eshu is an Orisha, and one of the most respected deities of the tradition. He has a wide range of responsibilities: the protector of travelers, god of roads, particularly crossroads, the deity with the power over fortune and misfortune, and the personification of death, a psycho pomp. Every magical ceremony or ritual began with an offering to Eshu; failure to do so guarantees failure in the intent of the ceremony. Within the Orisa'Ifa - Santeria/Lukumi religion developed by the descendents of enslaved West African, Eshu was identified with Saint Anthony or Saint Michael, depending on the situation. He is identified by the colors red and black, or black and white and his caminos, or paths (compare: avatar) are often represented carrying a cane, shepherd's crook, as well as a pipe.
Eshu is a trickster-god, and plays frequently tempting choices for the purpose of causing maturation. He is a difficult teacher, but a good one. As an example, Eshu was walking down the road one day, wearing a hat that was red on one side and blue on the other. Sometime after he departed, the villagers who had seen him began arguing about whether the stranger's hat was blue or red. The villagers on one side of the road had only been capable of seeing the blue side, and the villagers on the other side had only been capable of seeing the red half. They nearly fought over the argument, until Eshu came back and cleared the mystery, teaching the villagers about how one's perspective can alter one's perception of reality, and can be easily fooled. (In many versions of this tale, the two tribes were not stopped short of violence; they actually annihilated each other, and Eshu laughed at the result, saying "Bringing strife is my greatest joy". Eshu is thus a prototype of the maltheistic view of God's nature.)

Papa Legba is first to be called in a service to open the gates of the spirit world. He controls crossing from one world to another, contact from the spirit world to the flesh world, delivery of the loa’s messages, is intermediary of loa in human language, and interprets their will. He is also the loa of destiny.

He has a polite, caring nature, and is the teacher of humility, compassion and responsibility to others.

Portrayed as a small crooked lovable old man at times , with a little food in his sack, white and yellow spots, sores on his body: a pitiful appearance who conceals terrific strength and power. He is the symbol of the sun, daylight, and all that is positive.

 

Papa Legba

 

Papa Legba Lyrics
Artist(Band):Talking Heads


You'll be, hmm-hmm-hmm-hmm, magnet for money
You'll be, mm-mm-mm-mm, magnet for love
You'll feel, hmm, light in your body
Now I'm gonna say, gonna say these words:

Rompiendo la monotonia del tiempo
Rompiendo la monotonia del tiempo

It might hmm-mmm-mm-mm...It might rain money
It might hm-hi-hi-hi...It might rain fire
Now I'm gonna call,
Gonna call on Legba.
Get yourself a sign
Get your love and desire.

Rompiendo la monotonia del tiempo
Rompiendo la monotonia del tiempou
Papa Legba,
Come and open the gate.
Papa Legba,
To the city of camps.
Now, we're your children
Come and ride your horse
In the night
In the night
Come and ride your horse

There is a queen
Of six sevens and nines
Dust in your garden
Poison in your mind
There is a king
That will steal your soul
Din't let him catch you,
Don't let him get control.

Rompiendo la monotonia del tiempo
Rompiendo la monotonia del tiempo

Papa Legba,
Come and open the gate
Papa Legba,
To the city of camps
Now, we're your children
Come and ride your horse

In the night
In the night, come and ride your horse
In the night
In the night, come and ride your horse
In the night
In the night, come and ride your horse

 

The term Voodoo (Vodun in Benin; also Vodou or other phonetically equivalent spellings in Haiti; Vudu in the Dominican Republic) is applied to the branches of a West African ancestor-based spirit-animist religious tradition.
Its roots are varied and include the Fon, Ewe, and Yoruba peoples of West Africa, from western Nigeria to eastern Ghana. In the country now known as Benin (formerly the Kingdom of Dahomey), Vodun is the national religion, and followed by some 4 million people. The word vodoun is the Fon-Ewe word for spirit. It also is highly influenced by Central African traditions. The Kongo rite, also known in the north of Haiti as Lemba (originally a cult practiced among the BaKongo people is as widespread as the West African elements, but has largely been overlooked by North Americans.


Until recently, many assumed that the admixture of such traditions with Catholicism occurred in the New World. There is significant evidence that the model for such syncretism can be found in the religious practices of the Kingdom of Kongo. Popular understandings of these details have not caught up with recent discoveries.


The Fon tradition in Cuba is known as La Regla Arara. In Brazil, the Fon tradition among former slaves has given rise to the tradition known as Jeje Vodun.

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The Seven African Powers

The Seven African powers are the most well-known and celebrated divinities of the Yoruba Pantheon, and are common to all Yoruba faiths, although they are not always considered to be the same deities. In Macumba traditions (Candomble, Umbanda), they are called Orixa; in Vodoun, they are called Lwas (Loas); in Palo, Nkisi. In all of these traditions, the Orishas have many aspects (Caminos), which are often quite diverse.

(For more Visit here about the Seven African Powers Visit Here Now)

 

 

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