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Elegua - God of the Crossroads
By Ire Aye | Submitted On February 11, 2010
Elegua is the orisha who opens and closes all paths to mankind. 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. Elegua is a child orisha in some aspects that loves to play tricks and tests the faith of man. He walks between night and day searching for mankind to test their faith for the great Olofi and the orishas. There is said to be 121 paths of Elegua. He ranges from a young child to an old man with lots of knowledge. There is also a path of Elegua where the essence is of a woman. In more than half of Elegua's paths, he is a young child that sits on corners, mountain tops, seashores, hospital entrances, cemetery gates and so on. He has many names as he has been called Elegba, Elegbara, Legba, Eshu or Exu. Elegua is seen all around the world. From continent to continent Elegua's presence is felt, praised and heard. Inseparable friend of Ogun and Ochosi who the trio makes up the "The Warriors" first set of orishas to receive in Santeria. Elegua is any and everywhere.
Elegua is the guardian of the dead also as through him he unlocks the door for the deceased to walk through to reach Olofi where they will rest. In this path he is called Eshu Alagwana. In other religions or beliefs you can associate him with the Egyptian god of the dead Osiris, who leads the dead through the underworld.
Elegua is the one that makes you play at your own risk. In that I mean, he is the one that if your stuck at a crossroad and you don't know which way to go, its him that testes you and watches you make your decision. If you make the wrong decision, Elegua will open the door with his garavato (hook stick made from the guava tree) to make you pay your consequence. While you are paying for your mistakes, he testes you again to see if you will continue to do wrong or take the right path. If you succeed and take the right path he will unlock the door to happiness and fortune. If you've heard of a maze then you can associate it with Elegua. Our lives are shaped into mazes to see which path we go. Elegua is the guardian that sits at every corner and turn of the maze. If you make the wrong move, he will open the path to the wrong outcome. If you take the correct path, he will open the path that you are seeking.
Elegua knows and sees all. There is nothing that Elegua doesn't know. He is the messenger of Olodumare and Olofi, alongside with the orishas. Which means, he is the one that takes the messages from humankind to the orishas and the messages from the orishas to Olofi. This is why he is the first and last orisha to be praised to in every ceremony done in Santeria.
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