Practitioners of the Lukumi religion, also known as Santeria, turn to Elegua in prayer to request the opening and closing of doors that need attention, embodying their deep trust and confidence in Elegua as the messenger of Olodumare. Legends say that Elegua was present at the dawn of time and may even predate it. The belief is that without Elegua, nothing is achievable. For instance, individuals seeking to find a future spouse can offer an Elegua prayer for love. One story recounts a man who sought Eshu’s advice about his upcoming marriage despite resistance from their families. Elegua used his ashe to amplify the man’s love for the couple, showing the families that Elegua blessed the union. Conversely, if one is considering divorce, they may turn to Elegba for guidance, as Elegba knows their predetermined destiny. Heeding his responses can cause wise decisions, protection from osogbo, and alignment with one’s fate.

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When you find yourself at a crossroads in life, you invoke Elegua. In a well-known story, Elegua sits at the crossroads, uncertain of which path to take. He performs divination to seek guidance from Olodumare and follows the advice, leading him to a fortunate path. This story highlights the importance of seeking Elegua’s counsel when making significant life decisions, from the moment you start your day to the end. There is a set of rituals to be performed when praying to Elegua, and we can invoke him at places where two streets cross, the threshold of a house, or at the physical representation of Elegua for practitioners. Before praying to Elegua, one must first prepare by clearing their mind and shifting attention to Elegua. This begins by approaching the sacred location, offering Elegua a candle on a plate or fruit, rubbing him with palm oil, blowing cigar smoke towards him, and spraying rum from your mouth as a symbol of devotion.

We then sprinkle water and say:

Omi tutu
Ona tutu
Ashe tutu
Tutu ile
Tutu Laroye
Tutu ariku babawa

Cool water (cool water, as we sprinkle the floor with water)
Cool road (cool the path, as we sprinkle more water)
Cool energy
Cool the house
Cool Laroye (path of Elegua)
Coolness so that I see longevity

What is Elegua Number?

Now that the path between us and Elegua is cool, we greet Elegua by crouching down to the floor and knocking three times. Each Orisha has a sacred number, and the sacred number for Elegua is 3. This number is a symbolic connection to Elegua’s divine energy that is used in various rituals and offerings to honor and connect with the divine. After knocking three times, we say the phrase:

Elegua ago

Elegua with your permission.

Then we pray to Elegua:

Elegbá osikan
Niko ma niko un loro
Baralayiki agbona
Okokoroi korolo

We ask for things that are good:

Elegua, ore mi nla
Ko si iku
Ko si arun
Ko si ofo
Ko si araye
Fun mi ire owo, ire oma, ire ariku babawa.

Elegua, my great friend
There is no death
There is no disease
There is no emptiness
There is no world (worldly problems, problems with sorcery)
Give me blessings of money, blessings of children, and blessings of longevity
Now you talk to Elegua as you would a friend.

Tell Elegua what is going on, say the situation that brings you to Elegba today, and ask his guidance and intercession to help align you with your destiny. To close the prayer, you thank Elegua:

Modupe Elegua

Thank you Elegua

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Elegua Orisha.
What is Elegua known for?
Which Orisha opens doors?

Elegua is a revered trickster known for his mischievousness. His children are also a playful bunch. The force of Elegua transforms our lives. So we say an Elegua prayer to invoke the Orisha that can create change that aligns us with our destiny. Elegba fills life with choices, and he represents the crossroads, the various decisions we can make. We sing, pray, and give offerings to ask that Elegua open and close doors of opportunity along our path. Elegua tests us,  watches the decisions we make, and punishes or prizes, depending on our behavior along the path of life. 

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Is Elegua good or bad?

Elegua’s reputation as a trickster has given outsiders the impression that Elegua is an Orisha that does bad things. Christian missionaries thought stories about Elegua were like biblical passages about the devil. But Elegua encompasses all possibilities of light and darkness. For example, you may ignore the advice Elegua gave you and later find the doors you try to walk through are closed. Then you make ebo (give a sacrifice) and positively transform your life. We invoke Elegua through prayer, speak to him through divination, and appease him through ebo to bring positive transformation.

What is Eshu the god of? Is Eshu and Elegua the same?

Eshu is the Orisha that brings revolution to life. During ritual, priests say to iban eshu … Asking Eshu to confirm what they said. We give Eshu priority; he opens and closes each ritual. He lives by the front door and we greet him first and last. The Orisha of the threshold. Pray to him for issues related to travel, commerce, and any divine message. Those who listen to Eshu consider him an ally.

Who do Santeria pray to? What are Santeria Orishas? Can you pray to Orisha?

Practitioners of Santeria pray to a pantheon of Orisha, African deities originally from a West African people now known as the Yoruba. They took the Yoruba as slaves and brought the Orisha with them to Cuba, Brazil, and Puerto Rico. Each Orisha has their own energy and rules a domain of our life and existence. We communicate with an Orisha through offerings and divination. You decide the Orisha selected for prayer based on the point in your life that has brought you to that Orisha. Praying to Catholic Saints is not the same as praying to the Orisha. They may represent similar energies, and ultimately the same one God, but are religious expressions from different traditions. Elegua is an Orisha associated with wisdom, communication, choices, and behavior. He is associated with our feet, the path along which we walk, and the fork in the road where we choose our path. We make Elegua’s physical manifestation with cement and he lives on the floor. Practitioners call Elegua to earth during prayer.

Elegua candle prayer. Color candle for Elegua. Elegua candle meaning.

People give Elegua a candle to illuminate their path. We ask Elegua because he opens the roads that need opening. The candle gives Elegua light and the ashe to illuminate your destiny. People seek Elegua’s help when they are ready to seek new opportunities or when life gives us lemons. The Yoruba did not originally use wax candles, but prepared lamps that burn palm oil on a cotton wick. But this type of candle creates black smoke and is best outside. As for wax candles, a white candle is fine, but so is a red and black candle. For lighting an Elegua candle, we perform prayer at the beginning with the omi tutu. We pray that Elegua, the messenger of the Orisha, carries your words to the Olodumare. We speak to Elegua and at the end we thank Elegua and say modupe.

How to Pray to Your Orisha

Prayer is an act of connection. Prayer can happen anywhere, whether in nature or inside your home. Prayers often include giving praise to the Orisha, asking the Orisha for protection and guidance, and giving thanks to the Orisha. You can bring offerings specific to that Orisha. Start with a libation of water and say a sacred prayer for that Orisha. You can sing songs for that Orisha to entice them further. All of this is to clear that path of communication between you and the Orisha. Talk to the Orisha about whatever has brought you to this point in your life. The Orisha may reveal the answers to you while talking about your problems. At the end of the prayer, it is important to thank the Orisha.