*this is my favorite depiction of Papa Legba*
In Vodou there is one particular lwa who must be saluted (honored) in ceremony before anything can happen or any of the many other spirits can come in. If Papa Legba doesn't come, no one else can. He is the keeper of the crossroads, that pivotal point of transition or choice. He is also the one who facilitates communication between us and the spirit world. Some say he is to be honored on Monday, some say Wednesday. I choose to on Mondays. He is not a spirit I work closely with so I have a lot to learn still. He looks like a gentile elderly gentleman who walks with a cane and a limp, smoking his corncob pipe with his two trusted companions, his dogs beside him and his jakut on his shoulder (a woven straw bag). For me, he feels like a grandfather. He is very wise and feels like a gentle soul to me, but I know he is not to be taken lightly! He may look like a disheveled old beggar, but do not be fooled! He is a very important and powerful man since he is the the keeper of gate between Heaven and Earth.
*my alter to him in my house*
Things sacred to Papa are: pipes, tobacco, rum, yams cane syrup, cigars, palm oil, coconuts, plantains, gin, strong black coffee, starlight mints, two keys, and three pennies. Any of these things can be put on his alter as an offering. He is the one to go to when you are at a turning point in your life and need to know which path is the best for you to take. He is the remover of obstacles that keep you from reaching your goals. He is also known to help with any trade or hobby that involves dexterity in ones fingers. Ever heard of folks who gamble with dice or play guitar going to the crossroads in order to become exceptional at their craft? That's Papa Legba. Christianity vilified him and made him the Devil. Most likey because he can be a tricky one. He lets you exercise free will but teaches you a lesson about the choices you make. Depending upon the tradition, Legba is seen as St. Anthony, St. Lazarus, St. Christopher, St. Roch, or St. Jude. With regard to tarot, is associate him with The Hermit and i think the version in the Universal Goddess Tarot by Lo Scarabeo (who's decks I almost always love!) is perfect, even though it is actually Hecate on the card. I'm looking forward to working with Papa and understanding him better. And getting help with choosing the pathways that lead to my highest good.
* I could listen to Howlin' Wolf sing the blues all day long!*