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Published on Jan 15, 2008

Eshu Beleke Ibanlaye
Alaroye Ibanlaye

Elegua is the most beloved and appeased of African deities. He is the one who stands at the crossroads. He is the Way Opener, the first one to be invoked for all rituals and undertakings, as it is believed that he removes, as well as places, obstacles in our paths. This is his service to creation. He is the mediator between the heavens and the Earth, between the spirit world and this world. There are many 'paths', aspects, or manifestations of Elegua's spirit. At times he is portrayed female, other times male, even phallic.

I was unable to place the end credits on the video, so here goes: the song is by Bayuba Cante, an international ensemble based in Spain. This is a group whose music, although rooted in Yoruba music from West Africa, is a fusion of a number of rhythms, from Africa, Cuba, Spain, and even the Middle East. Their music is truly world music, yet it is focused on the Yoruba deities, known in Latin America as the 'santos' or deities of the religion of Santeria.

When people receive Elegua in Santeria as part of the initiation known as 'los Guerreros' (the Warriors), he is bestowed along with three other Orisha (Ogun, Ochosi and Ozun) in the form of a ceramic head with cowrie shells in the shape of eyes, ears and mouth. He is a mighty protector and an important ally in the spirit world.

His equivalent is Ganesha in Hinduism.
He was Hermes or Mercury to the classical Pagans.
He was Odin to the Scandinavians.
He was Rafik in the Lion King, Daddy Midnight in the movie Constantine.


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