The Orishas: Elegua
Who is Elegua?
Elegua is one of the four Orishas of the Santeria religion. He is also known to be the most important of the four. His importance among the Orishas is due primarily to him being the first of them to be created. The Orishas are warriors, with the other three being named Oggun, Ochosi and Osun. Elegua existed before creation and was witness to it after being created by Olodumare. He is the Orisha of the crossroads, which includes all other doors and roads. He is the very personification of destiny and fate and allows for the happiness of men. The number that symbolizes Elegua is 3, while his colors are black and red, displayed through a necklace. His partner is named Echu, who governs over all misfortune.
What Elegua Does
As touched upon previously, Elegua is the personification of destiny and fate among all of mankind. As he is the ruler of all crossroads, roads and doorways, it is said that he is present in all places at all times. All prayers are allowed to reach the other Orishas by Elegua. It is up to him whether the prayers or any religious practices reach the rest of the Orishas at all. Elegua has a wide variety of different roads at his disposal, each signifying a different and unique personality of his. In fact, it is said that Elegua has 101 roads in all, each of them found in different places of nature. He allows roads and doors to open from the spiritual world to the material world as a means of providing mankind with their destinies, allowing a persons fate to change at his will. He also has the ability to test a persons word and their integrity in order to find if that person is honest.
Prayers Associated With Elegua
While there are many different prayers associated with Elegua, there are two main orikis that are used the most. The first of these goes like this: "Eshu protect my family. Protect the initiates of the Temple and me also. Let me not be moved against the people. Let not the people be moved against me. Grant me long life. Grant me peace. Grant me elevation of my consciousness. Grant me the ability to use my own hands. Eshu I salute you." The second of these prayers is as follows: "Owner and Elder of the crossroads. My father, remover all evil, for us to walk in peace, loss is no more, tragedy is no more, sickness is no more, death is no more, unforeseen evil is no more, in the name of all children in this house. I give you thanks, my father Elegba." Prayers can be sung or spoken and can be done so with or without drums.
Types of Offerings For Elegua
Both standard food and sacrificed animals can be offered to Elegua at the alter. The one food that Elegua will outright not accept is pigeon. Any kinds of fish, yellow rice, toasted corn, tobacco, candies and liquor will be accepted by Elegua, as will nut oil and Chilean red pepper. As for sacrificed animals, Elegua is partial to chickens, turtles, mouse, deer and male goats. One of the primary foods that can be offered to Elegua is popcorn served in a bowl and topped with smoked fish. This offering can be laid next to the shrine of Elegua. Another cooked food that works well as an offering is what is known as Eko. This food is basically corn tamales and consists of a tamale, cornmeal, porridge and palm oil, all cooked together and placed on a plate that is meant to be placed beside the shrine of Elegua.
Standard Tools and Tools of Power of Elegua
Elegua dwells in a large variety of objects, ranging all the way from a stone with load to a dry coconut. A few of his other dwellings include a stone, stone of reef, stone of shell and a snail cobo with load. He is meant to be placed inside a pot. His tool of power is traditionally a basic stick. The attributes ascribed to him include all types of objects that are used within what are known as the infantile games. These include coins, bells, toys, a mouse trap, whistles, matracas, balls and a hat of straw.
Elegua is commonly dressed in a red hat with trousers and a frock coat. Much like the beads that adorn his neck, the colors of these clothes are red and black. While the frock coat is usually designed to be comprised of red and black stripes, there are times when the entirety of the outfit is ornamented with black and red shells or even small balls.
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