Elegua is an orisha of the Yoruba religion. He is responsible for dividing heaven and earth and all paths to mankind are controlled by him. He loves to test the faith of humans and play tricks on them and he has the ability to appear at almost any age. He also is responsible for guarding the dead and he unlocks the door for the deceased to move through to their final resting place. He knows everything that is going on and can see it all. When you see a ceremony in Santeria, he is the first and last orisha that they praise and this is why.

Elegua and Eshu form a bond although they are two separate entities. Eshu sends the orishas different offerings and he is the force behind negative energies and tricks. How he differs from Elegua is he lives outside of the home while Elegua lives within. When Eshu enters a home, torment and arguments ensue. Eshu looks to cause this chaos because humans do not give him the respect he feels he deserves while Elegua is treated kindly by others. When this bond was formed, the two began working together to overcome the problem of Eshu's havoc and torments.

Elegua offers many paths for mankind to choose from. Eshu Aye is a path that walks the seashores. Aye lives in the salt waters as a conch shell and is accompanied by Yemaya. Eshu Aye knows what it is that humans want. Eshu Dako, in contrast, is the forest path. He knows the secret of the hunt as well as the secrets of the herbs. You will often see him dressed in an animal skin. Eshu Beleke is a child version who loves to dance. He brings good fortune to those he feels deserves it. The opposite of Eshu Beleke is Eshu Eluufe. Eshu Eluufe is old and wise and does not take disrespect from anyone.

If you encounter a deity of the Yoruba mythology and he is dressed in white and black, chances are you are seeing Elegua. The same is true if the deity is dressed in red and black. The number three is often identified with him and you may see his paths are often represented by a shepherd's crook or cane or a smoking pipe. This is a basic overview of this deity. There is much more to learn about him and the Yoruba religion as it is very in-depth.

author : Hector Martinez