Elegua (Eleggua, Elegba) is sometimes represented as a child, and sometimes as an old man. He represents the beginning and end and the opening and closing of paths in life. Sometimes known as the trickster, he likes to play jokes on people.

He is the repository of ashé. In particular, Eleguá stands at the crossroads of the human and the divine, as he is the messenger between the two worlds. Nothing can be done in either world without his permission; for without Elegua’s blessings nothing can proceed, transpire nor succeed in the world.

Eleguá is always mentioned first in any ceremony, because without his permission, the doors to communication with the other Orishas stay closed. Eleggua is the owner of all roads, crossroads, and doors. He is the power that allows all of the ache in the universe to move from point A to point B. Elegba allows our prayers to reach the other Orishas.

Eshu is not the same as Eleguá; they’re like two sides of the same coin, with separate but very closely connected identities. Think of Eshu as Eleguá’s shadow, or his reflection from the other side of the mirror. In many ways, they’re opposites. Eshu is wilder and more unpredictable than Eleguá, so we don’t keep him inside the house.

  • Number: 3 and 21
  • Color: red and black or white and black
  • Offerings: keys, coins, candy, cigars, toasted corn, jutia, pescado
  • Sacred Place in Nature: wild places, the crossroads, the garbage