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The Prince of Roads

Published : 2016-06-15 12:29:47

The Prince of Roads


"Elegguá open my roads," how many times have we heard this expression? And that’s because Elegguá the child prince, the messenger of Oloffin, is the owner of the roads, with his machete and guava scrawl opens and closes the ways of the world and life, since he is their lord and master knows them all better no other Orisha, is respected by all and speaks for all the Orishas in the shells, he is invoked to clarify doubts and hesitancy and to break bad situations. He lives in the jungle, in the square and especially at intersections of roads best known as the four corners. He is one of the Warriors Saints along with Oggún, Ochosi and Osún of which we’ll talk more later on our blog. Elegguá always observed and is the guardian of the houses where practicing religious or not, has been living. He likes being in the entrances of the house behind the door to observe everyone who comes in, everything that happens inside and everyone who leaves. He is offered toys, candies, fresh fruits; especially guava that is his favorite fruit. In any ceremony is the first to eat and any invocation must be initiated through this powerful Orisha. Like everything also has a dark side, it is said to be the protector of thieves and likes to lie on occasion, not for evil but for being a child who likes to do tricks and games. But what is its history? Where it comes from? Today we will give some answers, although not for anyone but Oloffin, has the absolute truth available to you.


Eleggua, IKU BABA OCHA or "The dead gave birth to the Holy"


There was in a tribe an Obba, whose name was Oquiburu and his wife Añagui, they had a son whom they called Elegguá. As was prince, when he grew up he was appointed a royal entourage. One day Elegguá being a big boy went to make an expedition accompanied by his entourage. When they went through the jungle, he ordered to stop the march and then he goes deep into the jungle to check one thing he had seen. What had caught his eye was a bright light as if three dazzling eyes were on the floor. Elegguá picked it up and saw it was an Obbi (dried coconut). The boy was not afraid of anything or anyone, good or bad. He could be a friend as soon as an enemy. He was very emboldened by being a prince. Elegguá took that coconut to the palace and told his parents what he had seen and as they did not believe him, he threw the coconut behind the palace gate and leaves it there. But one day the whole family gathered being realized that the Obbi began to glow behind the door and to the surprise and horror of all Elegguá fell very ill and died three days later. Long after that the Obbi keep shining being respected and feared by all.

Past few years the Obbi was forget and the people began to spend great calamities. The Aguos (elderly) met and drew the conclusion of what was happening: it was due to the state of abandonment that had that Obbi left behind the door by the Prince. So they went there and saw the Obbi that was empty and eaten by bugs. Then they deliberated and drew the conclusion that he had to do something solid that will last through time and thought the OTA (stone) was the most appropriate and was accepted the agreement. They made Ota and put it behind the palace gate. (This is the stone that we use today when to do Santo). That was the birth of Elegguá and it is said: IKU BABA OCHA, which means, THE DEAD GAVE BIRTH TO THE HOLY, as if the prince had not died would not have abandoned that Obbi not knowing what to do with it. That's why  today we use the Ota to do Santo.


The first to eat, keeper of the keys, eternal sentry.


Elegguá opens and closes all roads and doors, he have the keys to the destination, is the spy and messenger of the Gods mainly Oloffin who has a special affection and confidence to him. For his genius unruly child (always ready to make some mischief) sometimes it is malicious in nature especially when it is Eshu. Luckily he is easily pleased because it is gluttonous and greedy.

Elegguá is lurking in all parts, he owns kites, balls, spinning tops, etc. The story goes that at a time Elegguá eat garbage and leftovers and this fed but not satisfied him. One day Oloffin get seriously ill, was sent to gather large smart heads but no one could cure him. Elegguá then donned a white cap, began to pray and make a brew with his herbs and heal Oloffin very soon. Then the old Oloffin said: "And with so many wise men I have, none served to cure me? Elegguá, ask what you want boy! Elegguá, who already knew the misery then replied: "I want to Eat before anybody else and put me at the door of each Ile (house), so they greet me before anybody else too." So be it, was the answer of the great Oloffin who also awarded him with the title of messenger of the Gods. This is why Elegguá will always eat first and the great prince of the roads is the first greeted on any religious ceremony.


See you next week, May Oloffin's blessing be with you all!!!

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