I do not practice Vodun or voodoo. People in my life have/do and I have been introduced to the Lwa. I have danced with them and honored them. When we moved into our home we celebrated our first halloween and we honored our ancestors and drew Veves on the driveway and honored the Gede and the Baron. We sat out rum, chocolate and tobacco. The next day when I came home from work I was greeted at the front door by a snake on our stoop. It was the only time I have ever seen a snake on our property and I took it as a good sign.
So on and off I would feel a calling to Papa Legba and in our the work I did with ADF and that druid style of ritual when we would do the opening and closing of the gates he would whisper and laugh at me. He would say “ you call on who you want but we both know I am the gatekeeper.”
As I began working more and more in magic and conjure I began to work more with Papa Legba at our altar.
When we opened our first store location we have a stoop and I asked my friend Crystal to paint a Papa Legba Veve on the front stoop as a salute to him and as a reminder that the gates are open. That we would strive to be a spiritual community center for all seeking fellowship and knowledge. Papa would often say “don’t forget anyone” and it was really important that we strike a balance in being eclectic and open to all paths. It is why our tagline has always been “All Paths Lead to the Sacred Center” and there at the center is the crossroads.
When we moved around the corner to our newer location the new store painted over the Veve and we no longer had a stoop so it wasn’t something I worried to much about. And then he showed up…
There is a old black man (I’m sure some homeless guy) but he came into the store one day. Did not speak. Held out his hand and when I went to shake his hand he grabbed it and placed it on his check very tenderly and then left with no words spoken.
A few weeks go by and he shows up again. Still no words but he grabs one our business cards and points to the tag line. Takes the card and leaves.
Then later again a couple of weeks he comes in (someone was here with me but I don’t remember who) and he has like peaches or something from Nancy’s Home Cooking and he opens the carry out box and hands me a spoon. I tell him oh no thanks and he shakes his head no and raises his hand to his mouth as a feed me gesture. So I was like this is surreal but OK so I take a piece of the food and feed him a bite. He smiles, takes his spoon and cups my hand to his cheek and turns and leaves.
Later that day I am sitting with one our readers and a couple customers come in and we are talking and one of the customers looks at the front door and says “what the hell is that” and the other says “is that a cat at your front door.” So we all get up and look at the front door and there right at the door is a white dress hat. The door that these guys just came in. I open the door and look around and there is no one around. It is not a windy day and one of the customers says “I think Papa Legba just arrived.” Now he has no reason to say that, had never been in the store before and knew nothing of of old Veve etc…
So I grab Papa Legba’s hat and sat it in the corner window in the front or the store. Give him three pennies and walk down to carry out and buy him a cigar. Later my friend James gives me a cane to put there and someone showed up with a kids toy, someone else had a deck of cards…and people started coming in a leaving offerings and pennies…so a shrine was built and I in earnest starting working with Papa Legba. I never saw the homeless guy again. I had someone make a custom door sticker of his Veve so he once again opens the ways for everyone to come into our sacred center.
In ritual I open and close the gates with his help. I never know what I am saying and doing and often begin using an accent that I do not know. But it flows and it is powerful.It works.
I see Papa as a kind, old, grey, black man with a glint in his eyes and smile that confesses his quick wit and trickster heart. He opens the way to me to perform my magic.
“As gatekeeper, Papa Legba opens and closes all ceremonies. Communication with the other Gods can’t even occur until He is consulted because Papa Legba is the Hoodoo Man who holds the keys to the doors between the physical and spiritual realms. Papa Legba is the knowledgeable sorcerer with keys to understanding the secrets of astral travel, banishing and dealing effectively with beings of the unseen. Papa Legba is found at any crossroads. This is where two roads meet and also a place where the physical realm and spiritual realm meet. He directs the traffic flow at this place. He is the alchemist taking what is left at his feet and transmuting it into something useful. You can come to him at the crossroads and leave sorrow, ritual remains, left over spiritual bath water, a haunted object, or anything and he will send it where it needs to go. There are also tales of people going to the crossroads to receive gifts and talents such as dance ability, more luck in gambling and better skill on guitar.”
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