Legba is the first lwa called in the Vodou ceremonial order. Some houses do their Reglemen differently - I have a dear friend who hails from the Artibonite Valley and in his reglemen, they call the Marasa first. But by and large, you will find Legba called first in most houses. Legba is the lwa who opens the doorway between the spiritual and material worlds, and permits communication between human beings and the lwa. He is like Mercury and Janus all rolled into one. Legba is usually envisioned as an old, old man, so old that he is bent over. Sometimes he is said to have a broken leg. He is also called "Legba Do Miwa", Legba on the Back of the Mirror, and mirror symbology is important with Legba, so we will be talking about this more as we go along. Legba carries a stick, and a straw bag called a djakout. Sometimes people say he is accompanied by a dog. For this reason he is identified with Key 0, The Fool, in the Tarot. Legba is a tricky lwa, he will make things happen in unexpected ways. When he appears through possession, other lwa usually follow in short order.
Legba's number is three. Anything we do for Legba, we do three times, anything we give him, we give him in threes. Here is an invocation for Legba a lot of people already know:
Atibon Legba ouvri baye pou mwen.
Ouvri baye pou mwen, Papa, pou m pase,
Le m retounen, map remesi lwa yo.
Papa Legba open the gate for me, open!
Atibon Legba open the gate for me.
Open the gate for me, Papa, for me to pass,
When I return, I will thank the lwa.
Notice that Legba is asked three times to open the gate? There are echoes of the power of three in other traditions too - the Holy Trinity composed of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, for example. In European neo-pagan traditions, there is an invocation: By the power of three times three, As I will, so mote it be. I am sure that other people can come up with more examples. To represent "three" in our service for Legba we will do a variety of things. We sing all his songs in multiples of threes -- nine songs three, six or nine times. We pour water three times at all the important places in the temple. And we always make all his offerings in triplicate. (Think three huge cakes, triples of cookies, rum, coffee, everything!)
Legba in our house also loves coins. I keep a huge jar full of them, so when He comes in service, we can offer them to Him. He divines with them, gives them out as blessings and creates amazing pwen with them. I 'd like to offer you this short pwen, by teaching you how to charge three coins with power.
Our Legba loves pennies, so find or obtain three pennies with odd dates of minting. Leap year pennies are perfect. Cleanse them however you see fit (wash them, scrub with salt, clean with perfume...) Once a day, take them in your hand, blow on them, and then present them to the four cardinal directions -- East, West, North and South. Speak the invocation above daily. Keep them in a container of some kind, where they won't get lost. Do this for three days, ending on Monday. At the end of the day on Monday, instead of putting the coins in the container, place them with your money -- in your wallet, in your bank or in your pocket where you carry your money.
Money in the Bible was called "mammon" and Jason Miller has written some excellent articles on money magic. I suggest carrying "Mammon" on you. Mammon likes to move around, go in and out. It's a well know fact that money spent always returns in triple (Legba again). Ask any Wall Street trader and he will tell you that its magic, the way money going out always comes back over and over again. So don't let these little Mammons sit in your house. Cart them around on your person, allowing the moving energy of Legba to fly forth. Remember legba is the wandering Lwa moving about in the world. YOu have ensouled these coins with a little bit of Legba's magic. Allow them to roam and soon they will return to you ten fold.
Honor Legba this month with a triple candle, some black coffee and a handful of popped corn. He is humble and will thank you for the offer by bringing something to you. It is the Feast of the Epiphany, the gifts of the Magi being gold, frankincense and myrrh. Three kings, three gifts. Legba again. Ayibobo.