The path of destiny is large, large like a large penis. ~ Papa Legba

The notorious legend of the “Black Man at the Crossroads” ignites much curiosity across cultures. References to making deals with devils at dusty four-way crossroads are found as early as the fifth century in the writings of St. Jerome. In the sixth century, we see the legend of Theofilus, who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for a position as bishop. Numerous instructions for conjuring demons exist in the old grimoires. Of course, we cannot ignore the infamous deal with the devil allegedly made by renowned bluesman Robert Johnson. According to legend, Johnson went to a crossroads at midnight and summoned Satan, who appeared as a large black man. Johnson gave his guitar to him, and the “Devil” tuned it, played a few songs, and gave the guitar back to him. In exchange for Johnson’s soul, the devil gave him the skill to play the legendary blues for which he is famous.

But who is that black man at the crossroads? Some say he is Satan. Others say he is Papa Legba, the Voudou spirit everyone nowadays confuses with Baron Samedi, the Voudou Spirit of Death. Still, others say it’s neither Legba nor Baron Samedi; instead, he is an aspect of Legba called Met Kalfu. Historically, it was the habit of early missionaries to liken Legba to the Christian Devil, whose evil nature must be feared. However, Legba is neither demon nor devil, nor is he Satan himself. In fact, he is arguably the most important and beloved spirit in the New Orleans Voudou pantheon. He serves as the guardian of the Poto Mitan, the center of power and support in the sacred temples. All ceremonies begin and end with him, and there can be no communication with any of the other spirits without consulting him first. Papa Legba is the cunning, celestial trickster, master linguist, warrior, guardian of crossroads and entrances, and destiny's personal messenger. His gift for linguistics enables him to translate the requests of humans into the languages of the Spirits. In Legba’s vévé – his ritual symbol - is the crossroads. He is known by several names in New Orleans: Papa Legba, Papa Alegba, Papa Labas, and Papa Limba. During Mardi Gras season, a popular shout by revelers is “A Labas!” This is a reference to St. Peter, who has functioned for over a hundred years as the Catholic cloak for Legba in New Orleans Voudou.

If you want to learn more about New Orleans Voudou, you will want to know Papa Legba. Anyone can work with Legba - initiation is not required. Guidance, however, is highly recommended as he is a trickster spirit. In this course you will learn who Papa Legba is and who he isn't, how he is served in the context of New Orleans Voudou, how to set up an altar to him and a variety of ways of working with him. This course is for anyone who wishes to broaden their knowledge base about this most important spirit in the New Orleans Voudou pantheon. Without Legba, all efforts to communicate with the other spirits is for naught.

Course curriculum

All lessons are not visible.

    1. Welcome to Class!

    2. Copyright Agreement

    3. How to use this course

    4. Create a Learning Ritual

    5. Questions?

    6. Before we begin...

    1. Module 1 Objectives

    2. Introducing Papa Legba

    3. Gatekeeper and Guardian of the Crossroads

    4. Legba's African Origins

    5. Location of African Cultural Groups

    6. Video: Once You Meet Him at the Crossroads, You Ain't Never the Same Again

    7. Legba's Invocation

    8. Song: Invocation to Legba

    9. Areas of Influence

    10. Attributes

    11. Papa Legba's Attributes

    12. Drum Rhythm of Papa Legba

    13. Papa Legba Cleansing Ritual

    14. Test Your Knowledge

    1. Module 2 Objectives

    2. Sacred Herbs and Plants

    3. Papa Legba's Feast Days

    4. Food Offerings

    5. Video: Papa Legba Haitian Vodou Ritual Music

    6. Akasan, Legba's Corn Drank

    7. Offering Papa Legba Incense

    8. Papa Legba Incense Recipe

    9. Video: Yanvalou Rhythm for Legba

    10. Prayer to Open Roads

    11. Experiential Assignment: Take a Legba Cleansing Bath

    12. Test your learning

    1. Module 3 Objectives

    2. Module 3 Overview

    3. Video: American Horror Story Coven, Marie Laveau and Papa Legba

    4. Assignment: American Horror Story: Coven

    5. Papa Legba in American Horror Story: Coven

    6. Test Your Learning

    7. Article: The Viral Death of Kat Restin

    8. The Death of Kat Restin, the 19-Year-Old Girl Who Died Suddenly Two Days After Reportedly Summoning Papa Legba

    9. Discussion: Did Legba Really Kill That Girl?

    10. The Voodoo Drums 1950

    11. Discussion: Voodoo Drums

    12. Legba, Open Wide the Gates!

    13. Test Your Learning

    14. Video: True Stories: Papa Legba

    15. Legba's Ghetto Sculpture

    16. Ghetto Sculpture Quiz

    1. Module 4 Objectives

    2. Outdoor Shrine

    3. West African Legba Shrines

    4. Creating an Outdoor Legba Shrine

    5. Indoor Altar for Legba

    6. How to Petition Papa Legba

    7. Road Opener Prayer

    8. Simple Weekly Service for Legba

    9. Experiential Exercise: House Cleansing with Legba

    10. Test your knowledge

    1. Module 5 Objectives

    2. What is a Vévé?

    3. Papa Legba's Vévé

    4. Examples of Legba's Vévés

    5. The Science of Legba's Vévé

    6. Spirit Lays His Hand

    7. Powders Used for Drawing Vévés

    8. Presentation: How to Make Blessed Chalk

    9. Psalm 23

    10. Experiential Exercise: A Simple Vévé Ritual for Papa Legba

About this course

  • $225.00
  • Community forum
  • Certificate of completion
  • Payment plans available

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Social proof: testimonials

“A wonderful opportunity for self-paced immersive exploration, expanded awareness, and meaningful experience with Papa Legba in the tradition of New Orleans Voudou, as presented by Denise Alvarado. Bravo!”

Mitch B.

“This is an excellent class to take about Papa Legba. She has many years of practice and research. She is very knowledgeable on the subject. Denise goes into detail that cannot be found from an Internet search. She makes the uninitiated student feel comfortable talking to Papa Legba. ”

Nikki K.

“Denise has created an amazing course dealing with Papa Legba. It will not only show you means of contact but was to keep your connections strong with rituals that are in depth or more simplistic allowing you to decide which methods are best for your own individual practice.”

Alex M.

“Denise is a wonderful teacher. Will be taking more of her classes in near future. This was my second class with her. Check her classes out won’t be disappointed.”

Louise Melvin

“At first I was hesitant to take an online class because you never know. I am so glad I did though. All the information was approachable and enlightening. Denise is an absolute gem and wonderful teacher. She answered all questions so that we can start/continue our practice in a safe and respectful way. I feel this makes the practice more rewarding. This might have been my first class but I'm signing up for more.”

Corrina M.

“I am very pleased that I took this course. The information was in-depth and knowledgeable. Denise, the instructor, was available for any questions students had and offered clarity. She guided all students to a good understanding of the subject matter and corrected any misconceptions.”

Nolan W.

“One of the best courses I have ever taken I am so excited for the next course the format and material are presented in way that makes it workable I love the Facebook approach and the freedom to work at your own pace.”

Colleen L.

“I highly recommend this course to those looking to learn about New Orleans Voudou spiritual teachings straight from its historical roots, and all the way to up to the "how to" make it your own, and develop your own harmonized practice at your practice. Denise Alvarado's knowledge and caring for each participant understanding of the course's context and requirements is second to none. I guarantee you that at the end of the course you will end with a feeling of wanting to learn and do more!”


“Loved this course. The pacing was very well done and I was able to keep up with the material. The course also gives some background into the Yoruba influences on Haitian and New Orleans Voudou and the importance of the cosmogram. I would definitely recommend this class to anyone interested in learning about Papa Legba. Thank you Mama D!”

Julian D.