Monday, October 8, 2012

Elegua God of Crossroads

He's the guardian of the Crossroads of life  to the peoples of Nigeria, Benin and to Afro/Cuban practitioners of Santeria. Whenever there are decisions to be made, he provides opportunities and second chances if you're lucky. Elegua is in many places at the same time he could be nowhere and everywhere.  He is the ultimate embodiment of choice.  He knows every decision possible and every outcome possible born of each individual decision. Oftentimes, Elegua is depicted at a crossroads because in life we are always at a crossroads, In Haiti he is consider to be Papa Legba. Some decisions are harder to make than others, in those times we may feel we literally have no direction, no sense of where to turn.  He is also known as a “Trickster God” the childlike Elegua can sometimes make things even more complicated. At a whim he can turn a simple choice into a vast conundrum of paradox. There are many paths of Elegua, but the main ones are 21. In Lucumi, nothing can be done without Elegua’s help. Elegua owns all doors, he holds all keys, he sits at every crossroads, he knows every answer to every question.  If Elegua refuses to open the door to a decision or path, the success of an eventual outcome will be useless. He's also messenger to the higher Gods, he is the divider of heaven and earth. He travels between heaven and earth letting Olofi and Olodumare know what goes on in this realm, and he does like to be noticed. He's partial to cigars and rum, but he is very good with children. His day is monday so you can start the week well under his ministrations. Here are some name he goes by.

Synchronized Saint
Child of Atocha; Child of Padua; Saint Anthony (occasionally)

Celebration Day

March 8th and every Monday


Three (3)


Red and black

Necklace (Eleke) Colors

                                                          Red and Black beads alternating

                                            Candle offering
Nino d’Atocha (Child of Atocha) Elegua candle, Saint Anthony candle, or a plain red candle. 7-day candles are best (also known as tall boy candles).  Most candles are available for purchase at a Botanica, a large supermarket in the Ethnic food sections (sold as saints candles), or in most local Latin or Mexican food markets or even your local one dollar store. You can also make you own candles if you have the time. I would personally make my own candle that way I can put my own ashe to it

If you are thinking of constructing an altar or already have one to Elegua, here are some suggestions. This depends of the type of Elegua you have, if it’s an Orisha or a Santo nino d’ Atocha. If you have a Santo nino d’ Atocha I would hold the rum. Here is the idea

Red flowers are particularly nice, but it is not necessary to offer the specific color.  A mixed flower bouquet will do fine.  It is always what comes from your heart that makes the offering special.  Red carnations will do nicely and are available in most areas.

  • White Rum (Any type can be used depends on what you can buy)You can ask him for something and promise him a more cost rum as payback for for what you received.
  • Smoked fish or Jutia (similar to possum)
  • Toasted kernel corn
  • Coconut (whole)
  • Black coffee
  • All types of candy
  • Honey but only when he has been good ( Don’t over do it with the honey)
  • Fruits of all kinds, but green grapes are good when asking for money
  • Cigars ( You can smoke it for him and blow the smoke to him or just leave it on altar)
  • Remember Elegua is a child so anything a child would enjoy he would enjoy too. This includes foods and toys. So if you want to get him an xbox am sure he will enjoy it.
  • Sacrificed animals: Male goats, chickens, jutias, deer, turtles, mouse. (You have the choice to do this but don’t have to. I f you do decide to do this remember this can be done only to the orishas not to el Santo nino

Where to place Elegua Alter
Elegua sits at the threshold to the home, guarding the entry ( Basic behind the door)

"Omi tutu,
(Fresh water)
Axé tutu,
(The spirit of Eshu is fresh)
Onã tutu, ilê tutu,
(The way is fresh, the home is fresh)
Tutu Laroyê, tutu ariku babawá, Laroyê.
(Eshu is fresh in the manner of deciding disputes.)
Here are a few rezo, or prayer, to Eleguá, sung with or without drums:

Barasuayo omo ni Alaguana mama kenya irawo e

Barasuayo omo ni Alaguana mama kenya irawo e

O bara wayo, eke, Echu odara

Omo oni Alaguana mama kenya irawo e

Vital force that through length and breadth appears, child who separates fissures and

divides our pathway, do not cut the flow of kindness from me.

Two more prayers:

Ibarago moyuba, Ibarago moyuba, Ibarago moyuba Elegba Eshulona

O great one, I salute you         

O great one, I salute you

O great one, I salute Eleggua, Eshu on the road

Ago ago

Ago ago

Ago ile ago

Open up, open up

Open up, open up
Open up, ile, open up

Here are some songs

Stories of Elegua: 
According to the legend Elegguá is Okuboros son, king of Añagui.
One day, being still a child, he saw a brilliant light with three eyes on the floor. He came closer and checked out it was a coconut. He took it to palace, and told his parents what he had seen and then threw the coconut behind a door. After a while, all were surprised when seeing the light coming out of the fruit. After three days Elegguá died. Everybody began respecting the coconut that continued shining. But the time passed and people forgot about the coconut.
The town went gradually into difficulties, until it arrived to a desperate situation. In order to face the bad moment, the elders of the place got together to meditate on the causes of their misfortune and to find a solution.
The conclusion was that the misfortunes were due to the rejection of the coconut and when they looked it, they saw indeed that it was empty and eaten by the bugs.
The elders agreed to do something lasting and thought of placing a sacred stone where Elegguá died and that was his birth as orisha. Mondays are the days to assist him, and his party takes place on January 1st. This orisha is son of Obatalá and Yemú. In the yoruba religion is recognized as a child, for that reason is mischievous, mocking and kind of silly, but very hard-working for the ones who possess him and believes on him.

Another Pataki:

One day Olofi was greatly ill and depressed on situations among the universe. He was doing so much in the universe and here on Earth as in still creating life, giving orishas their ache (powers) and so on. He was so tired that he grew frail. All of the orishas were summoned to see if they can help cure Olofi from his dilemma. All of the orishas gathered in the great hall of Olofi where the supreme being sat on his throne with a lost look in his eye. You can tell his mind was going a mile a minute and due to this he wasn’t feeling very good. As he sat slumped on his throne, the orishas gathered around and were conversing amongst each other. Obatala tried to clean him with his white cloth, Olofi remained the same. Orula prepared him a tonic to drink, and Olofi remained the same. Ozain tried to rub a medical herb and the great Olofi stayed the same. Inle tried to clean Olofi with his staff and still the same action. Every orisha tried and tried but were unsuccessful.

Elegua was amongst the orishas but since he was a child the other orishas out stood him. He shrugged on Yemaya’s skirt to get her attention. He asked Yemaya if he could try, Yemaya told him to behave and be quiet. He then shrugged on Oya’s skirt and with the look that Oya gave him he ran under the legs of the other orishas that were standing nearby. He then shrugged on Agallu’s pants and Agallu told him to go outside and play that this was for the elder orishas and his presence is not needed here. Elegua grew upset and ran to Obatala and asked him why he couldn’t try to help and revive Olofi. Obatala looked at Elegua and began to tell him in a soft voice that the ache that Elegua contained had no match to heal Olofi. He went on to tell Elegua that all the other orishas are trying their best to do what they can for Olofi. Elegua looked at Obatala and asked him to please let him try. If he is also an orisha then he should be able to try as well. He said if the others are trying, why cant him. Obatala who contains the ashe of peace and knowledge raised his staff and ordered silence among the orishas. He told them to step aside and let Elegua try and revive Olofi. All the orishas began to whimper under their breath not to make Obatala hear them since he was the eldest and father figure to all the orishas.

Elegua walked slowly to Olofi’s throne and looked at him from head to toe. Olofi still with a weak look in his eyes didn’t even pay attention to Elegua’s presence. Elegua put his garavato on the floor, reached into his nap sack and pulled out 3 herbs. See Elegua was always roaming the woods and he has seen Ozain work with the different herbs of the forest. So with the herbs that he picked up he grabbed a leaf from each branch and placed it gently in the mouth of Olofi. Now all of the orishas are seeing this young child on the lap of Olofi and are wondering how long Obatala is going to make this mockery last. Elegua grabs the mouth of Olofi and manually moves it so the supreme being can chew and swallow what he has placed. After Olofi has swallowed the herbs, Elegua takes out a feather from his nap sack and passes it over the body of Olofi. After he is done he jumps off Olofi’s lap and starts to walk down from the throne. Obatala has grief in his eyes as Olofi is still the same.

All of the orishas start to talk again on how Elegua’s tactics was unforgivable and he should be reprimanded for it. While they are talking, there’s a slight glow from Olofi’s chest. The glow gets brighter and brighter until the great Olofi is standing tall and mighty on his throne with a light so powerful that all of the orishas fall to their knees in respect. A loud deep voice calls Elegua to the throne .Olofi thanks Elegua for what he has done. He tells him that all have come and tried to revive him, but they all have failed. He then asked Elegua how did he know what to use. Elegua looked at Olofi and told him that he studied every part of the forest and its secrets. He has seen how every orisha works differently with their elements. He went on and told Olofi how he wanted to try but none of the orishas would let him, only Obatala. Olofi smiled and told Elegua that from this day forward he would have the virtue to open all gates and doors and pathways. He gave Elegua a gold key that unlocked Olofi’s house and every door in the universe. He also blessed his feather and told him with this feather you are able to walk through time forward and backwards, through light and dark, through evil and good. Then Olofi proclaimed in front of the orishas and the universe that Elegua would be his personal messenger, since he knows and has seen all what the orishas are doing on Earth. He told them that they will always have to count first with Elegua in all that they do. If Elegua wasn’t appeased, then their work and messages would not reach his castle. He then went on and told him that Elegua would also be the first to eat in every ceremony. The first to be prayed to in every ceremony. With that said and done, Olofi touched Elegua’s head and a inner light shined from within Elegua.

The difference between Eshu and Elegua Eshu and Elegua are 2 different entities that form a bond. Eshu is the force that brings the trickster out and the negative energies. Eshu is consecrated through Ifa and he is used to send the different offerings to the orishas. The difference you can say between these 2 are simple. Elegua always resides inside of the house behind the door and Eshu resides outside of the house. And this is because Eshu is so complicated that every time he comes inside a house he brings torment and arguments. Elegua was an orisha and Eshu was not an orisha. Eshu would walk the streets to see what torment he could do to humans because they did not pay him any homage. Elegua who is always attended to would always be seen eating because that’s what he loves to do. He saw Eshu one day and gave him some of his offerings. Eshu and Elegua sat and ate and made fun of the people in the streets. It was time for Elegua to go inside and Eshu to continue to roam the streets. Eshu would always try to go inside the house of the humans but when he did he would cause havoc until one day Oshun saw him and devised a plan. She saw how Eshu would be controlled when he was fed so she made a pact with him. She told him that as long as us humans put a plate of food for him outside the house he promised he will not come in to cause havoc. Eshu agreed to the pact and they shook on it. Elegua who was there said that he would walk alongside Eshu and that’s where the bond grew in between them. Obatala came down and gave Eshu and Elegua a white bead so that they can wear together to overpower the havoc and torments Eshu had. From that day Eshu Elegua would walk together side by side as one. Eshu is given by babalows in Ifa and Eshu is not allowed on the head of an initiate in the Yoruba belief. You must receive Elegua who is allowed to go to the head of an initiate. Eshu will eat alongside Elegua and the table scraps will go outside by the front door or by a tree in the front yard for Eshu. You should place a wooden bowl (jicara) with the table scrappings, a tabacco or cigarette standing up in the center and place it for Eshu so he will be content and not come inside the house of the priest/ess.

Paths of Elegua:

There are said to be 256 roads or paths of Esu/Elegua. These paths correspond to the 256 Odu in Ifa. Many have not made it to the New World with the slaves. They remained in Nigeria. No priest or priestess in the Yoruba/Lucumi faith is without an Esu/Elegua. Each person who receives an Elegua receives one specific to their path and needs. Divination is done to determine what path of Elegua is to be given to the person. Elegua is one of the few orishas that you don't have to be fully initiated to receive. One can be an aleyo, outsider (literal translation) or not initiated and receive and Esu/Elegua if they have issues he can help with. This is one of the aspects that what makes Elegua so unique. Article Source:

1) Eshu Laroye – The eternal companion of Oshun, Eshu Laroye is the child of Oya. During one off her many wars, Oya left her child with Oshun, who raised him. Laroye is an Eleggua that adores and protects children, especially those that are orphaned and poor. Laroye is a very young aspect of Eleggua, and is propitiated with many candies and cakes and rum.

2) Eshu Alagwana – Driver of the dead, Alagwanna is considered an Eshu that deals very much with the spirits of the deceased. He is often times a rough and difficult force to contend with, putting his children through many trials and tribulations. He is the true owner of the garabato, and is associated with many chains. He is sometimes said to be closely allied with Yemaya, and at other times with Oggun.
This path is a very strong Elegua. This Eshu is said to be the overseer of the egungun which are the spirits of the dead. Alagwanna sits at the cemetery gates guarding and maintaining order of the dead that pass through the gates. Close friend and messenger to Oya. Chains are very essential to him When Alagwanna comes down to the earth, he is very stern and does not like foolishness. He enjoys to dance and loves to consult about family or ancestors that have passed on.

3) Eshu Baraliyiki – One of the youngest and one of the most gluttonous of the Eshu’s Baraliyiki is considered a great drunk and prankster. He must be appeased with copious amounts of liquor and cigar smoke, candies and fruits. He is an assurance against false friends and treason, for he abhors these actions and people. He will bring much joy to those he walks with if they spoil him as if they would a child (one with a drinking problem!).

4) Eshu Aye – An Eshu of indeterminate age, Eshu Aye is the Eshu that walks along the beach, and who holds the key to the treasure vaults of Olokun. Aye is his treasure keeper, and thus, is considered to be an Eshu that brings great wealth and is worked with for a person to become financially stable. Many offerings can be made to him to ensure financial success. He is found mounted in a conch shell that is from the ocean. He should always have coins and small, semi-precious stones around him.
Aye is the conch shell that lives in the salt waters accompanied by Yemaya. This Eshu knows all what we want. Aye also means mundo (world). So he is the one that knows and contains riches to all.

5) Eshu Afra – Eshu Afra is the Eshu that, when seeing Babalu-Aiye in distress as the villagers threw water on his blistesr, found two dogs to come and lick his wounds to help heal them. He is considered an older Eshu, and is found wandering the hospitals, hospices, and places where one can find the infirm. He is a lonely Eshu, and only accepts offerings of red wine, or in some houses, white wine.

6) Eshu Bara Kinkeno – This Eshu is a great trickster, and loves to put his children in the middle of a problem to make sure that they know how to get their ways out of it. He will often ask for something, only to put his children through difficulties in achieving it. However, this Eshu, in times of great need, will always extend his hand and heave his children towards Heaven, showering them with great blessings and fortune.

7) Eshu Ni Pakuo – This Eshu is our shadow, and is the Eshu that walks with us through life, holding our hands to make sure that we walk our destiny, and then, at our death, he flies to the feet of Orula, to tell the tales of our deeds so that Orunla may scribe them in the records of eternity, and God may judge us for our next reincarnation. He is witness to all we do, as it is he who sits at the back of our head, and who
answers when obi is thrown to a persons back.

8) Eshu Bi
This Eshu is known to be seen at crossroads. He is an Eshu that causes distruct and misfortune to those who deserve it. He gives painful and dangerous lessons in which if you don’t learn the lesson, he will instruct another one that would be more terrible. He can be best friend or your worst enemy. When Eshu Bi comes down he likes to talk stern to his followers. He gives good advices and expects you to listen to them.

9) Eshu Anaki

This path is said to be one of the paths that Elegua is represented as a female. It is said that Anaki is the one who keeps order among the Elegua’s. She is the one that sends each path out to do what is needed to be done among humans.

10) Eshu Aina/BaraAina

This Eshu is said to walk closely and the messenger of Chango. He is said to open the paths for Chango when he goes to battle. Eshu Aina wears a thunderstone on his head and alongside with his garavato, he holds a double axe like Chango. This Eshu is said to also cause fire as one of his punishments.

11) Eshu Arerebioko

This Eshu is said to be the path that walks alongside Ogun. When Ogun is in the forest its Eshu Arerebioko that accompanies him and keeps him company and he also sits at corners. It is said that when an accident happens at a corner, it is Arerebioko who caused it so he and Ogun can eat.

12) Eshu Elegbara

This path of Eshu is from the land of Ketu. He brings good fortune and blessings to his followers. One can attend him outside of your house by the dumpster. He loves to smoke and drink.

13) Eshu Alaketu

This Eshu sits on the outskirts of the town of Ketu in Africa where Eshu is praised. He is a wise man that brings fortune to the town.

14) Eshu Ana

This Eshu is the owner and path owner to the sacred drums. He is the one that opens the path for communication between the sacred drums and the orishas. When Eshu Ana comes down, he loves to dance.

15) Eshu Ashikuelu

This path lives at the entrance of the marketplace. He is a great negotiator and can be used for money resolutions. He loves a good bargain.

16) Eshu Bara Layiki

This Eshu loves to dance and party. He loves to drink and play just as Laroye. He is called to make the party happy and blissful.

17) Eshu Dako

This path is always in the forest. He knows the secrets to many herbs and the secret also to the hunt. He likes to dress in animal skin.

18) Eshu Alboni

This Eshu lives high in the moutains. Very close to the heavens and guards those doors. Close to the orishas of the white cloth.

20) Eshu Ayeru

This Eshu is the messenger of Ifa. He works closely and guards the Ifa and its babalows.

21) Eshu Beleke

He loves to play as a child. Loves to dance and brings good fortune to ones who deserves. If not he will bring the opposite and until you are ready, he will not bring you happiness.


Elegua is not the same as the catholic church El nino d’Antorcha so please don’t treat el nino d’Antorcha the same. Please don’t buy made Eshu or Elegua from the internet you will see lots of fake Santeros trying to sell you premade Elegua. Elegua is a part of you there for he has some of your personal thing inside of him. If you are thing of making one please consult with a Santero or a Babalawo he will ask you to bring some material and personal thing to that belong to you. There is also a ceremony that goes alone when you receive your Elegua. Make sure that the priest making you orisha know what he is doing and belongs to a casa de santos. Remember he is a child and will behave as a child so you need to trust the priest who made him in case you have question or Elegua is getting out of control.
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