Orisha Elegua: Favor and Wrath

Based on my study of African Diaspora Religions (ADR), Elegua is Orisha of the crossroads, keeper of the pathways that link mortals to the other Orisha and to Olodumare. He also guards the road to the Ancestors (Egun), among many other roles. I learned that worshipers must give him his due before messages will pass clearly and unencumbered between the supplicant and the Orishas. I knew this when I began working with Oya, however, I was unsure if this was a rule or a friendly guideline because in our initial contact, Oya and I had little trouble communicating. Nor did I have trouble connecting to my ancestors.

Orisha Elegua, Opener (and Closer) of the Way

Well, me thinks that was then and this is now. In the last few days, it has become increasingly difficult to connect with my Egun (Ancestors) or with Oya herself. I don’t think they are any less present in my life, we just have trouble linking up. My impression is that Elegua is protesting my lack of due sacrifice. It would seem that the first ride is free, but all others will cost a shot of good liquor (and he wants candy also, based on the divination I did a few days ago). In that divination, I was actually trying to get a clear sense of what Oya and my Ancestors would like in terms of offerings but I kept getting conflicting and downright wacky results. I was thoroughly confused for a full 3 minutes before I thought to ask Elegua what he wanted. Suddenly, messages were consistent and fairly easy to interpret. There was a playfulness in the way he dodged my questions, led me down dead-end roads, and generally forced me to double back on previously traveled paths to acknowledge the old man at the crossroads whom I had gently but troublesomely ignored.

Once I got vehicle righted and was heading down the proper road, I began to wonder if Elegua had tried to make his point a long while ago and I was just to dense to figure it out. Perhaps he was the one who Opened the Way between Oya and myself for some serious spiritual contact. I kept this in the back of my mind and then, while doing some research on Elegua, I found out that in some ADR traditions, he is sycretized with St. Michael

The Archangel Michael tramples Satan

(Archangel)! At that point, several prior months of minor obsession with Michael made sense to me. During those obsessed times, I would Google Michael’s image – the popular one where he is slaying the devil, and search Catholic and other databases for information and generally perplex the crap out of myself with my seemingly random preoccupation. I say it was random because I was not at all Catholic in my previous religious life, yet and still I was gobbling up all the information I could find on St. Michael. It was a little nuts and I raised a few of my Pagan friends’ eyebrows! Eventually the obsession subsided, about two months ago, only to flare up again shortly before I made contact with Oya at the cemetery.

It’s funny how a piece of a puzzle can make no sense in the grand scheme of things and then moments later fall into joyous union with the pieces around it. Praises to Elegua, Opener of the Way! Hekua Oya Yansa! Blessings upon my Egun!


2 thoughts on “Orisha Elegua: Favor and Wrath

  1. I’m walking a strange road and it has crossed with a confusing figure. I cannot tell which vantage point is best to see him coming from, perhaps as the lwa, perhaps as the orishas, or perhaps another. I am trying to understand him. He seems to closely resemble both Elegua and variants of Chango. His color is red. He carries two matching iron blades and he is wreathed with a chain of gold coins. As a crown he wears the angel with a spear, who I’ve been told is Michael. I don’t think he will let me pass until I know his name. If someone recognizes him please share.

  2. Thank you for your excellent contribution, Ellegua is a prankster and a trickster of great wisdom, the guardian of the crossroads and paths they hold. He will lead you with a sense of humor to the lessons you need to learn as he knows what each Orisha favors and dislikes.

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