When I started to develop a relationship with my Eleguá at first I was very much buttoned up, then as time went by, I started to feel as though this mysterious orisha was pointing things out to me in subtle ways. Then I decide to just let go and listen, it is not like I became wildly experimental. Of course, as an aleyo I made sure to follow my godfather’s instructions to provide the basic service every Monday first thing in the morning.
However, there is a great deal of uncharted territory that aleyos must discover when it comes to managing their very first orisha, and having Eleguá is a trial by fire. I have not seen an aleyo yet that stays within set parameters of a traditional service and does not try to go overboard to please Eleguá. It is just part of the developmental process of that aleyo to learn to listen to its first set of orishas and to discover what is his or her own inspiration and what are clues placed out there by that particular Eleguá. It is also an important task to learn to differentiate between whimsical ideas and what is logical and reasonable. Aleyos are open to many influences as they are still trying to sort out spirit voices, inspiration from orishas and their internal voice.
That said, there are no two Eleguás alike. Along the way I have discovered that my Eleguás—I have four of them, and no, I did not get them all at once—accept with eagerness the following sugary treats:
1. Caramel popcorn balls drizzled with honey and palm oil
2. Fresh plums
3. Coca-Cola, yes some may cringe at this suggestion but think about it, it is dark, it fizzles and it is fun to drink 4. Chocolate cakes
5. Oreo Cookies
6. Candy corn
7. Crackers with guava marmalade
8. Honey cookies
9. Sugared fruits or glazed fruits
10. Gingerbread cookies
The first time I shared with my godfather Omí Oké my discovery of the fondness my Eleguá had of Coca-Colas he strongly criticized me, but once he saw how Eleguá accepted the offering with an Eye ife, the matter was dropped. It is not like my Mr. Personality gets to enjoy his fizzles regularly, it is a treat and so are all the others. Normally these treats have been offered with a purpose, such as thanking Eleguá for a favor or to celebrate an anniversary. Ultimately it is up to the Orisha to accept gifts, be it that they are traditional such as water and coconut or unorthodox.
For aleyos, I think it is important to always run things by your godparents. They can help you to sort out good ideas from the not so very good ones. Initiates have different mechanisms to figure out what is a good adimú adún or not, chiefly using obí divination, and that should always be used when offering things just to make sure if they are indeed needed or accepted, how long to leave them down for Eleguá and where to dispose of them once their usefulness is done.
If you are still in the process of sorting out your relationship with Eleguá, here are some hints. When you offer your normal service, take a moment to sit by your orisha and open up your mind and heart to it. How do you feel? Does everything feel settled and balanced? Do you get a feeling that something is missing? If you sense there is more to your weekly service, then ask at loud and wait. The response will materialize itself if there is a need, just be open to listen. Speaking about listening…sometimes the best adimú adún are the words of praise and love we share with our orisha, so by all means, talk to your Eleguá, that itself may open up more roads than a truckload of sugar laden treats.
Omimelli, Oní Yemayá Achagbá