Papa Legba, the Gatekeeper

papa painted watermark

Papa Legba is the voodoo spirit of the crossroads.

He acts as the intermediary between the Loa (African spirits/deities) and humans. Papa Legba is always the first and last spirit to be invoked during any ceremony because he opens and closes the doors between worlds.

Papa Legba is known as a trickster deity and a master linguist.

He is said to speak every language on the planet. This allows him to translate messages from the human world to the deities of the divine world. There can be no communication with any of the other Loa’s without consulting him first.

He’s known by many names throughout the world.

In Santerian tradition he’s called Elegua and in Brazil he’s known as Exu. He’s often depicted wearing a straw hat and walks with a cane. He has dogs by his side as well as a black chicken. In this painting of him I wanted to portray him in his most traditional sense. Some newer versions of Papa show him with a top hat and skull-like makeup on his face. Although this is not his traditional portrayal.

In this painting of Papa Legba, he’s standing at a crossroads holding onto his skull-topped cane and smoking his pipe.

He has a straw hat upon his head and he’s holding a ring of keys. Since he’s also known as the gatekeeper, keys are also associated with him. His loyal dog companion is ever by his side while a black chicken scurries by in the background. Papa Legba has many similarities to the Greek Goddess Hekate and in my opinion can almost be seen as a male, voodoo version of her.

This original painting will be for sale and prints will be made very soon for those who are interested!

How do you view Papa Legba?


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