Other names: Legba, Papa Legba
Traditional Colors: Red and Black
Areas of Influence: Messages and all communications, crossroads, doorways (physical and spiritual), keys, sex, cemetery gates, children and protection
Entities associated with: St. Anthony & St. Martin
Symbols: Keys, anything to do with gambling (cards, dice, etc.), concrete heads, Neptune’s trident, a necklace with red and black beads.
Offerings: Liquor (Rum is excellent), tobacco, chili peppers, candy, anything hot and spicy, drugs.
Feast Days: June 13th
Astrology: the planet Mercury and the sign of Gemini
Tarot: Magician or Magus Card
Gemstones: Onyx, Jet, Mahogany Obsidian, Rubies
Animals: Coyote, raven, snakes and other trickster animals. Rottweilers and Doberman Pinchers.
Entities of Similar Energy: The god Mercury, Kokopelli, Odin, Coyote, all tricksters
Ellegua, Eshu and the Pomba Gira are either 3 separate but closely related individuals or 3 aspects of the same individual. I personally like to think of them as siblings but that’s just me. They control all doorways and thresholds, whether it is a physical doorway or a door into another plane (like death, hence the cemetery gates). They are messengers. They make sure that messages get to you or that your messages get where they are supposed to go. As tricksters, they can make you as lucky or unlucky as they choose. They are all highly sexual beings. They act as the go-betweens for the rest of the orishas and humans. They are very close to this plane and therefore they can usually move very quickly. Anytime you need quick help, they are normally who you go to.
Ellegua is traditionally “fed” first. He is always given a portion of an offering. A concrete head which is dedicated to him is used to protect people on their journeys. He stands behind every door so he sees almost everything that goes on. As a messenger, on of his jobs is to make sure offerings get to the right person. If you are trying to work with an Orisha that you haven’t worked with before, or if you are unsure whom you need to go to for help; involve Ellegua in your ritual.
As a trickster, Ellegua doesn’t like us to get too serious or too self-absorbed. If you suddenly find yourself the butt of an Ellegua joke, laugh!! He’s trying to tell you to lighten up. He loves music. He is a musician himself and loves the lifestyle. He is highly sexual. Traditional African statues of him will normally show him with his penis erect. He is also a warrior who will not hesitate to get into that ballroom brawl.
Properly Showing Respect to Ellegua
He likes to be fed on Mondays, especially a shot of rum and 3 cigarettes. Whenever I enter a cemetery, I leave an offering at the gate and say “hi” to Ellegua (and Oya but we’ll talk more about her later). When I leave the cemetery, I walk out of the gate backwards out of respect to him. If I am giving an offering to an Orisha that I'm well acquainted with, then I don’t usually include him but if I am giving an offering (or doing a ritual) to more than one Orisha or somebody I am unfamiliar with, then I include him. When I win anything, big or small, I try to always thank Ellegua. When I win money, I try to at least give away a small portion of it to keep the good luck flowing.
Where to find Ellegua
Bars, pool halls, casinos or anywhere people are playing games of chance for money, the internet or other communication centers, crossroads where 3 roads meet up (“T” intersection), concerts
The children of Ellegua are very lucky people. The just naturally seem to get away with things that the rest of us wouldn’t even dream about doing. They are usually talkative and can get along with almost anybody. Many times, they are social drinkers or occasional drug users. They are musical people and will either play music or be big fans of music. They are normally thinner people who can run well. They hate it when people lie to them. Generally, they are really happy and highly sexual people who also love children.
I had a student many years ago who was a child of Ellegua; we’ll call him “Chris”. He was an Army brat who had recently turned 18 and played guitar. Before I met him, he had been involved with a woman on post who was married, with a child, and was very promiscuous. Apparently, she was sleeping with a number of men when her husband went to the field. She was not happy when Chris ended their relationship. Sometime after his initiation, she got a hold of his Ellegua necklace that I had gotten for him and in a rage, set it on fire which melted it. When Chris told me about this, all I could do was shake my head. I just knew Ellegua would not be happy with that situation.
About 2 weeks later, her and her husband got into a huge fight (I don’t know if drugs or alcohol were involved but it wouldn’t surprise me). In the middle of this fight, she got so angry with him that she told him all about her numerous affairs. Out of her own mouth, she admitted everything. Needless to say, he went ballistic, the cops were called, he had to be hauled off to cool down in the mental ward. Within 2 weeks, she was on a bus back to Kansas.
Disclaimer: You may find that some of the information on this page differs from the traditional beliefs of some African Diaspora practices. The information on this page has been gathered from personal experiences and while we respect those who walk the more "Traditional" paths, we have some different beliefs concerning the Orishas and Loa.