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A Non-Nonsense Guide to Eleguá and the Warriors

Eleguá painted by Omimelli

If you have made the commitment to receive the Warriors from a Lukumí house proper training is important. I realize that from house to house there will be some variances as to how to do things, but the fundamentals remain the same.

There is no substitute to the direct relationship between godparents and godchildren, your first line of knowledge practice and instruction must come from them. Whatever you learn on the Internet, my words included, always take with the proverbial pinch of salt, particularly because I am not an ‘Internet Madrina’ nor I seek to substitute the guidance of any bonafide godparent.

However, I am concerned for those who have taken initiations and then do not know what to do with the warriors because either they are no longer in touch with their godparents and ilé or for a myriad of reasons. There is no excuse to slack on commitment to Eleguá, Osun, Ogún and Oshosi.

The Warriors at a Glance

Eleguá: The main orisha of the Warriors bunch. He is the doorkeeper, the one that opens and closes people’s roads, the teacher of children, master of perceptions, and trickster per excellence. Much more can be said about him, but in a nutshell Mr. Personality will be your guide on the roads of life from day one to the day you stop breathing. His colors are red and black, sometimes white is used to highlight some of his paths.

Ogún: The Blacksmith, the creator of tools, engine of civilization, craftsman and wise man for no one can master the art of metallurgy and of extracting ore out of the womb of the earth by being dumb. Ogún is an orisha of honor and rectitude of few words and much action. In my ilé Ogún has an honored role for he touches my life in many ways, particularly because he is the head orisha of my eldest son. His colors are green and black and sometimes white is used as well.

Oshosi: The hunter of the group. He is the straight arrow of justice, the balance in the heart of dispute. He lives with Ogún in his metal cauldron and walks on the paths of life with Eleguá taking care of those who seek to harm you and balancing out scores when you have been wrong. I do not pester this orisha much, only when absolutely needed. I prefer to err in the side of caution when asking for justice and to make sure that there are no flaws in my actions before I petition to Oshosi. Call me cautious, but if I can right the wrong, why bother him? His colors show an alliance with Yemayá and Oshún and are yellow, gold and blue; some people use a double strand of beads for his eleke.

Osun: The little cup with a rooster a top. This orisha is the representation of the union between earth and the Universe and its four bells represent the four cardinal points of the Universe. It is normally placed higher than the head of its owner as it represents a staff reaching out from heaven to earth as the axis of its owner. It is said that if this receptacle made with a lead base is tipped over on its own, problems will surely arise and the owner must take immediate action by seeking to get a reading. This orisha is always on guard to protect but seldom people bother him. We salute Osun by standing on our left leg. There is no eleke for Osun nor particular colors or paths associated with this orisha.

Taking Care of the Warriors

It is traditional to start the week dealing with this merry bunch. Monday morning is the preferred time as early as possible. I like to take care of my warriors in the open air because of the usage of cigars.

Basic Materials needed: Rum, cigars, toasted corn, smoked fish and jutía, a white candle, a gourd with fresh water, honey, coffee, anisette, and palm oil.

Begin with offering a moyugba, if you do not know the moyugba of your ilé I would suggest you contact your godparents and learn it from them. If this is not a possibility or if the moyugba is kept only for kariosha initiates (yes this is a case in some houses) then do not let this deter you from your duties. Simply state your purpose to the warriors which is to offer them respect and care for them, and start by cleaning out any leftover offering and dusting your tools. Then offer omí tutu (fresh water) and oil Eleguá with palm oil, blow on him rum, cigar, sprinkle some toasted corn on his receptacle, smoked fish and jutia and then proceed to Ogún. In the same manner clean his tools, oil them with corojo oil and offer cigar and rum. For Oshosi is the process but offer Anisette and cigar. Osun requires a simple dusting and a prayer as we rarely place offerings to him unless absolutely needed. Some offerings may be a bunch of white grapes or some plain uncooked rice sprinkled a top.

Finally, light up a candle and sit to meditate by them and enjoy your clean shrine. This is the barebones way to care for your warriors. If you have some orisha music, you can play it if it makes you happy, you can talk to them about your affairs, in essence this is private time for you to start the week in order and with your paths opened.

What if you can’t do this every Monday?

Trust me; the world will not come to an end. I have found that it is all about the relationship you establish with your orisha. If you can’t do it on a Monday, take a moment and state it and do it as soon as you can. The key here is being constant and keeping your word. The care you place in this relationship will be reflected on a lovely two way street. If you ignore them, do not complain later on that your life seems stuck; at a standstill and that you have bad luck and mischief all around you.

Let me state this again, dealing with the Warriors is a matter of establishing a relationship, a matter of heart and dedication, an establishing of patterns and an opportunity for you to set time to stop and think about what you want in your life and where you are heading. This after all is the role of these companions, to walk with you in your life’s journey.

Omimelli, Oní Yemayá Achagbá

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