A common belief amongst cultures around the world correlates hardship and growth in life with interaction with a higher force that brings about a better or worse outcome. One of these higher forces is in the person of Elugua, revered by the Yoruba religion, Santera, or Candomblé of Nigerian or Latin American descent.
Is Elegua evil? Elegua is known to be the god of chance, unpredictability, and chaos. He is a deity popular for his tricks and is considered cruel, but his trials are deemed to teach mankind valuable lessons to propel them into being a better version of themselves. He is known not to discriminate, carrying out both good and evil wishes, as he can be summoned by people who intend evil to cause tribulation to others. He is also an instrument of retaliation.
Elegua is the door between humanity and divinity and can be malevolent just as he can be forgiving, which is why most worshipers honor him first during rights and ceremonies. By the end of this expository, you are going to understand everything you need to know in regard to this topic.
Elegua’s role and attributes
In order to understand if Elegua is evil or not, let us explore his roles and common attitudes.
1. Opener of Doors and Ruler of Crossroads
Elegua is often referred to as the “Opener of Doors” and the “Ruler of Crossroads. This symbolic representation embodies his capacity to facilitate new beginnings, opportunities, and transitions in life. Crossroads are seen as points of decision-making and choice, where Elegua assists individuals in navigating their paths.
2. Messenger of the Orishas
Elegua serves as a messenger between humans and the Orishas, the spiritual beings worshipped in Afro-Caribbean religions. His role is to deliver prayers, offerings, and messages from devotees to the Orishas and convey blessings, guidance, and protection from the divine realm.
3. Guardian of Entrances
Elegua is also considered the guardian of physical and spiritual entrances. In this role, he safeguards homes, temples, and altars, ensuring that only positive energies and influences are allowed to enter. Rituals are performed to invoke Elegua’s protection and blessings at these entrances.
4. Trickster and Duality
Elegua’s character embodies a sense of duality and balance, as we will explore in the later part of the article.
While he is often depicted as mischievous and playful, this should not be mistaken for malevolence. Instead, his trickster attributes reflect the unpredictable nature of life’s transitions and the necessity for adaptability.
5. Caretaker of Crossroads Offerings
Devotees commonly leave offerings for Elegua at crossroads, believing that he will present these offerings to the other Orishas on their behalf. These offerings can include cigars, candies, coins, and other items that hold significance in their spiritual practices.
Elegua doesn’t have a priest dedicated to him and isn’t worshiped like other orishas, but because he is the one who will deliver the messages and offerings to other gods, he has to be appeased.
6. Protector of Children and Travelers
Elegua is revered as a protector of children and travelers. His watchful presence is believed to safeguard children from harm and ensure safe journeys for those embarking on trips. Devotees often place small statues or shrines dedicated to Elegua in their homes for these protective purposes.
7. Initiation and Ceremony
Elegua plays a crucial role in initiation ceremonies within Afro-Caribbean religions. Before any other orisha is invoked, Elegua is called upon to open the path and facilitate communication. This ritual acknowledges his pivotal role in connecting human beings with the divine.
Is Elegua evil?
Elegua is the mediator between the opposing forces of life, and he mediates between malevolent and benevolent orishas and restores balance in their relationship. Because of this exceptional interaction with both sides, he is thought to have the features of a benign and a malicious entity. This is why he thought he had the power to turn what was right into wrong and vice versa.
Elegua is a divine enforcer of law who is in charge of inflicting punishment on people who don’t offer their sacrifices as they should. He also investigates and reports on the correctness of sacrifices and worship.
For every sacrifice given to any orisha, Elegua’s portion should be offered in priority before any divinity or ancestor, as if he is not well appeased, he will ensure all other sacrifices fail, blocking the way of blessings and causing more tribulations and confusion by opening up the way of difficulties.
He may be represented as a protective or benevolent force, but that is just an aspect of his overall cunning nature. In Yoruba myths, he is feared for the evil he could cause, as he could sometimes cause people to carry out evil deeds. He could cause a person to behave abnormally, cause problems between parents and kids, and cause problems among the best of friends.
His nature of trickery and mischief can be further explained in a classic tale in which he creates confusion between two farmers considered to be unique best friends. One morning, Elegua went by the field separating their farm. He wore a cap that was half red and half black. He wore the cap in such a way that it appeared to be a single color depending on the direction it was being observed from.
He then stuck his pipe at the nape of his neck as if he were smoking from the back of his neck. His walking staff, which he usually carries on his chest, was then hung on his back. After he wished both farmers good morning, they returned in kind.
They were perplexed as to why he was walking backward (as it seemed), and soon after, a violent argument ensued as to whether his cap was red or black, as they could only see the side that faced them. They went to the local king to settle the issues, and then Elegant appeared and laughingly explained that if someone watched his pipe and stick instead of his feet, they would think he was going the other direction.
As for his cap, he explained that there are always two sides to an argument, as there is no argument that has a purely wrong or right submission, and warned them that being closed-minded can always make you wrong in the end. Just like the issues he caused between these two friends, he could cause problems for even the dearest of relationships.
Elegua confessed that it is in his nature to make people dispute in order to create strife amongst them, admitting that discord was his greatest delight.
Through the story, Elegua illustrates that he is a guide to the path of wisdom. Assuming his trickster nature, he is able to crack open shells that hide the truth about people’s true behaviors. He proved that there was no such thing as a perfect relationship, as he was able to get into the thin layer of conformity and uniformity that was initially presented by the farmers.
So, is Elegua evil? It is safe to say that Elegua can be good or evil; he is fluid and can be bent at any corner. Although he has displayed great deeds of wisdom and good, he is also capable of lots of evil, and he enjoys it, which makes him evil.