Communication with the Orishas is of the utmost importance in Santeria. The sacred act of communing with and calling upon deity is one that has echoed throughout the ages. Having an open channel to the other-worldly is a crucial cornerstone to the Santeria faith practice. None of which is possible without the divine assistance of Elegua, the gatekeeper of the ones we seek.
Pleasing Elegua is a crucial beginning point to all ceremonies and rituals, as he is the owner of the paths and roads that lead to the realm of the spiritual. Without his approval, the ceremonies, prayers and rituals used to please and call upon the other Orishas will remain ineffective and unfulfilled. He is also said to have been given the keys to the past, present and future by Olodumare. Which means he not only possess our only access to the other deities, Elegua is also the one who can show us all of the wisdom that time itself has to offer. He is often seen as a representation of beginnings and endings, and is said to be the one responsible for opening and closing paths or roads in our lives. Making him a routine part of your practice is not only advised, it is necessary. Hoping to communicate spiritually and connect to the divine is futile without him granting you the access..
There are a variety ways that you can pay your respects to the Lord of Roads. There are also things you can do to keep yourself reminded of him throughout your day, or during a time in your life that you need a stronger connection to the spiritual realm. Whether your life is busy, you have limited space, or are simply struggling to revive your connection to your faith, there are things you can do and use to help you on your journey.
Constructing an altar to honor Elegua is one of the most straight-forward ways to deepen your connection to him. These can be highly personalized to fit his preferences and the configuration of your home. For example, an altar that is set up by the front door is a fantastic way to give the respect to Elegua that Santeria requires. It is a beautiful representaion of the concept that he is the one who controls the entrances to the spiritual, as well as helping to serve as a reminder the keys to then, now, and what is to come.
Even if setting up an altar by the door is not feasible in your living space, honoring Elegua with an altar in any space can be beneficial. It can be a huge focal point in a room, or a special spot on an empty shelf. Things you might want to include on your altar would be statuettes/figurines, candles, Orisha crowns, and any other trinkets or offerings you think might be useful or pleasing to Elegua.
Using your words to communicate with the divine is a holy practice that has been revered as intimate and personal. Prayer is a part of Santeria that can allow you to receive the healing, catharsis and wisdom of the gods. It only makes sense that the powerful Elegua Santeria depends on for connection would also require connection with the practitioners who call in his power. There are tools that you can use to transform your Elegua prayer from a stale routine into a meaningful practice that will strengthen the rest of your faith. Prayer cards and beads can be useful items to achieve deeper meditation during Elegua Santeria. Lighting incense can also create an atmosphere for meaningful communication during your Elegua prayer. The aromatic shift can help put you in a frame of mind for your prayers to Elegua. An Elegua prayer can be the beginning of a special connection to the spiritual realm and other deities, so it should be taken seriously and given great consideration.
Life can often times be busy and hectic. It can be difficult to keep your faith prioritized among all of life’s other responsibilities. Maintaining a workable relationship with Elegua takes effort, and time. When your energy is spread thin, it can be difficult to work an entire ritual into your day. Small reminders and tools for on-the-go can make maintaining your relationship with Elegua, along with other Orishas and deities, more easily accessible. These options are perfect for those whose professions or lifestyles require long hours or frequent travel.
Jewelry and clothing are the perfect example of things that can be worn as reminders of the importance of Elegua prayer and Elegua Santeria practices in general. Seeing wearable reminders every time you glance in a mirror can have a tremendous effect on reminding you of how important the Lord Of Roads is in your faith. Including elements of faith into your wardrobe can also help deepen your connection and strengthen your experiences. Necklaces and certain elements of clothing can also be utilized as part of ritual practices, where ever you happen to be.
Utilizing herbs and various botanical elements during Elegua Santeria can have a surprisingly resonating effect, as it can with other Orishas. These natural items can be used for a number of purposes. They can be placed on an altar, burned to sanctify or purify a space, or used to enhance your connection during prayer or ritual. Herbs and botanica are also religious elements that can be pared down to travel-sized for small altar kits and pocket-sized connections to the Lord Of Roads when you need a tie to the spiritual while out in the world.
Your connection to Owner of Paths is one of the most important in the Santeria faith, as he is your road to everything in the spiritual beyond. Cultivating and maintaining a genuine, meaningful relationship with him is your channel to the other side. Communicating with him and making him a very present part of your life is an important starting point to your many spiritual connections. There are a number of different ways in which to achieve this union, and a variety of tools with which to do it. Your faith is a highly individualized and extremely personal journey, that all begins with the keeper of the paths. Be certain you have what you need to create the paths to him that works for you.