By Regina Schwartz |
Submitted On June 30, 2007
Elegua is also known as Esu in the Yoruba Pantheon
of Orisha. Orisha are the deities of the Yoruba tradition. He was brought to the
Diaspora via slavery to the Caribbean in places like Cuba where the
Lucumi/Santeria tradition continued the Yoruba worship of orisha in the New
World. He is the messenger who takes one's prayers and sacrifices to the foot of
God in heaven.
Elegua opens and closes the road or way for us in
life. He stands in the crossroads and 4 corners. No ceremony is started without
paying tribute to him first. He takes many forms and has many names. He is
considered a trickster and can be a difficult teacher when there is a lesson
needed to be learned.
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.
He is a very complicated
deity. He is known as one that can create confusion very easily. So he always
has to be pampered and treated with reverence to avoid hassles created on his
behalf. Anytime there is a sacrifice or ceremony he has to be given something
first. He is the appropriator of ceremonies. Without Elegua being acknowledged
first chances are the outcome desired in a ceremony will not come to fruition.
He is considered one of the primary Warriors given in the Ibora or set of
Warriors given by a Babalawo. A Babalawo is an Ifa priest initiated in the
secrets of Ifa. He gives the set of Warriors to those who need it. The warriors
in the Diaspora consist of Elegua, Ogun, Ochosi and Osun. In Nigeria Osun is not
given with the warriors. Priests and Priestesses of Orisha may give Elegua to
their godchildren but not the whole set of warriors. It is with this Elegua the
godchild is initiated to Orisha with when they decide to get initiated.
Contrary to what most people
believe not all roads of Elegua like children or want to play. Some can be very
serious and dangerous if annoyed or played with. One has to know the road of
their Elegua and his particular characteristics. They are not all the same.
Regina has done it again with
her site on Santeria. Being initiated in both Yoruba and Bantu religion she is
very knowledgeable on the subject of African Religions in the Diaspora. This is
definitely the site to check out if you are interested in Santeria-Lucumi and
related topics. santeria-lucumi [http://www.santeria-lucumi.com]