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Don’t Offer Coconut to Eleguá!

Elegua of Ayótomiwá painted by Omimelli, 2018.
Elegua painting by Omimelli, 2018

Living in the land of the aleyos can be challenging. Let me share with you a lesson I learned while living my best aleyo life, more than 25 years ago. It has to do with offering Eleguá one of the most basic offerings: obi omi tutu or coconut and cool water.

Who has not fallen for the allure of Eleguá? After all, he is the first Orisha that usually comes through the door of an aleyo and perches to reign silently over his new home and to enjoy the attentions of his new keeper.

I was getting ready to watch the season finale of X-Files with my ex-husband who is now an Olo Obatalá. My ex-husband and I had both recently received each a set of warriors and we were in the process of taking care of Eleguá with his weekly offering. I kept my offering simple, omi tutu, a nice cigar, and a generous rum spray. A quick throw of the coconuts let me know Mr. Personality was satisfied.

How does Eleguá feel about the X-Files?

I perched quietly on the couch, kicked my chancletas off, and turned on the TV.

Meanwhile, my ex decided that he wanted to be extra nice to Eleguá and offered babá obi omi tutu in addition to the habitual rum and cigar. Well, Eleguá was happy to accept the offering. My ex placed in front of Eleguá a nice dried coconut and a gourd filled with cool water and two white candles. He then proceeded to do divination to make sure Eleguá was happy.

Okana! The dreaded sign came down meaning NO came down. Mind it, he was well versed in the moyugba (ceremonial prayers used before doing obi divination) and had been taught how to read the coconuts as part of his training since he was preparing to do kariosha (initiation as a priest of the Orishas). His sole purpose was to confirm that the offerings were accepted.

He came to the living room out of sorts and with a quizzical expression. The show had started and I simply paid him no mind. He then quickly proceeded to ask Eleguá if something was missing. Eleguá responded eye ife, a solid yes. The orisha wanted his coconut cut in half, which was done at once. Again, my ex read to make sure the offering was accepted. I heard him call another Okana. I looked at the clock. The show was getting good, I was betting on having the Smoking Man make an appearance in this one. Mind it, back then we had no DVR nor a VHS recorder.

Coconut whole and split open.
Coconut can be offered whole or split.

This time Eleguá wanted more, his coconut needed to be out of the shell on a plate. Another reading to confirm was followed by an Okana. By now, I had the suspicion that Eleguá was in his teaching mode. I was enjoying the X-files in one room and listening to my ex sweating it out trying to please Eleguá.

Finally, with only 30 minutes left in the show, I heard my ex-husband head to the kitchen pull out the grater and proceed to grate the coconut. I really felt sorry for him. He was trying to grate that coconut as fast as his fingers allowed without grating his long elegant fingers in the process.

Atana melli (two candles), obi grated in a neat pile and the gourd of omi tutu and finally Eleguá blessed his efforts with a beautiful eye ife. He ran to the couch; the season finale of the X-Files had just ended minutes before.

Grating coconut for Eleguá.
Grating coconut takes skill and patience.

Eleguá is the master teacher. I learned that obi omi tutu is a very elegant offering, which can be presented in various ways. It can be the coconut whole, it can be the coconut cut in pieces with the husk on, it can be pulled out of the husk and presented on a platter or it can be neatly grated with or without the dark shaven off, depending on the mood of Eleguá, the ultimate Mr. Personality.

Maferefún babá mi Eleguá for all your lessons and your infinite wisdom. No matter how good your intentions are, never work with the Orishas in a hurry, they deserve all of your time, all of your focus and attention.

We are not born knowing it all. Thus, I would love to hear about your lessons learned, adventures, and mishaps with Eleguá, if you have any to share drop me a note on email ( or login to leave a comment.


Oní Yemayá Achagbá

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1 Comment

Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez
Jan 17, 2022

Wanted to order skeleton keys for him and he said no. Weeks later a stranger gave me a box telling me keep what you want and give the rest away to another. Inside where the skeleton keys.

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