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When you have an Oshun and/or Aje Shaluga working in progress…

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love workingOshun is the west African Orisha/Goddess of joy, prosperity, romantic love, and the sweetness of life.  Aje Shaluga is one of her husbands (or wives, depending on your tradition), and the owner of all material wealth and currency.  Many if not most workings or spells for love and prosperity call upon Oshun, and if material wealth is involved, Aje Shaluga as well.

When you go to a priest/ess or root worker for assistance in these matters, sometimes they will give you a nkisi that you are supposed to attend to or just keep safely, and sometimes they keep it with them.  Most of the time, these don’t require too much maintenance, but sometimes they do.  Sometimes this is unknown, and one has to wait and see whether or not Oshun will require more than the initial offerings.

With matters of the heart and with market forces, there are ups and downs though.  From time to time, there is a weird year or out of the ordinary weather or astronomical phenomena which mean that the relay between the root worker and the seeker will need to be strengthened.  More will need to be done by both in order for workings to be more effective and in a timely manner.

Generally, workings done with a female beneficiary or target take three lunar months to come to fruition.  Workings with a male beneficiary or target take a season (6 to 7 months).  What a season is depends on their local weather patterns.  Even though they take awhile to finish, something should move within a week or two of the offerings to Oshun and/or Aje Shaluga.  Various incidents should also indicate that the Spirits are on the move and have actively put their hands to the matter.

If things are exceptionally weird or there is stagnation for too long, this could be an indication of a blockage or too much chaos.  Although this has no effect on the final outcome, they can cause way too much anxiety that could lead to a blockage where there wasn’t one initially.  In order to smooth things out, the seeker should give small offerings to increase their own personal bond with the Spirits.

Because of privacy concerns, you may not be able to make an altar at home.  The good news is that most Vodun/Obeah/Santeria types are masters of stealth.  There were times in history when if we were caught, we’d be tortured and executed in horrible ways.  So we learned well how to give observances to our Orishas/Gods secretively.

In order to open the way to give offerings to other Orishas, you must give some to Eshu.  Fortunately, Eshu does not require more ceremony than directed thoughts and speaking one of his names or titles three times.  You can leave or bury offerings for Eshu at any crossroads/intersection, the inside corner of forked roads, or between two houses or buildings, in the doorway or entrance of a gateway, or believe it or not, your home trash can so long as it is to the left of a doorway or in a corner.  You can also give a small portion of your meals to Eshu first by tossing it to the left or out the front door or entrance to the left.

You will often see people from Brazil setting aside a portion of their food on a separate plate before they eat when they are having something that Eshu or another Orisha likes.  Quite often, when they have coffee, they will pour some in a corner if they are outside.  Eshu loves coffee.  Some will even blow some of the first puff of smoke from their cigarette or cigar to their left side for Eshu.  Here is a list of things Eshu likes:

  • chicken legs and thighs
  • caramel, toffee, cinnamon, and honey candy
  • coffee
  • tobacco
  • rum, or sweet “grog” (recipe later in this article)
  • coffee liquor or coffee vodka
  • spice cake
  • cinnamon and sugar toast
  • raisins and other dried fruits
  • peanuts, peanut butter, peanut butter ice cream, Snickers bars, and other peanut candies
  • spice cake, especially heavy fruit cakes and honey cakes or black cake

He likes many other things, but these are the best known standards.  Offerings to him should be in multiples of threes.  Meaning 3 chicken leg and thigh quarters, three pieces of cake, 12 peanuts, etc.  The best days to give offerings to him are Mondays and Fridays.

Then on Saturdays, you should give offerings to Oshun and Aje Shaluga.  These can be given at a body of fresh water such as a fountain, lake, or river.  If you have nowhere else, they can be given at the ocean/sea (give a little to Yemaya too if you do this) or your bathtub or shower.

Things Oshun likes are:

  • sweets, especially golden, yellow, and green ones
  • honey, honey cake, and honey candy
  • pumpkins, yellow squash, butternut squash
  • wild lettuce, Roman lettuce
  • mustard greens, mustard flowers, mustard seeds, foods made with these
  • a handfull of sugar, five sugar cubes or rocks, sugar candy
  • stevia, stevia tea
  • honey grog
  • oubli berries
  • chamomile tea with honey
  • yellow roses or other pretty yellow flowers
  • gold leaf
  • pearls

Again, she likes many other things, but these are the standards.

Whenever you give offerings, tell your root worker.  It will make them feel better to know that you are taking an active role in your working.  They can also help you work through weird times with more patience.

Now here is the recipe for honey grog that both Eshu and Oshun like.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 liter of water
  • 1/2 liter of rum
  • 1 cup/glass of honey
  • 3-5 bags/6-10 grams of black tea
  • the juice of one lemon

Instructions:

Brew the tea in the water, and then add the honey while it is still hot.  When it is cool, add the rum and lemon juice.

Pour this into the ground at a crossroads or between two buildings for Eshu, or into a body of fresh water for Oshun.

Be the Hands

Not everyone can give offerings the same way, but you can raise energy by being the hands of the Orishas in humanity.  When you feed an Orisha’s children, you feed that Orisha.  When you do works that an Orisha would do on Earth, you praise that Orisha.

So, being kind and doing kind things for children and the elderly praises Eshu.  Giving gifts to a child of Eshu or to a child or old person feeds Eshu.  Joking, laughing, playing games, helping people get justice, and other positive Eshu-like activities all help to bring that energy to you in a positive way.

Making yourself and people and the world around you more beautiful glorifies Oshun.  Supporting local markets, business, fashion, artists, and others in the beauty industries…looking good and smelling good and cleaning your home…these all glorify Oshun.

So really, you don’t have time to ruminate.  You need to be busy.

Relating to Your Root Worker

Romantic and financial matters can be frustrating and very stressful, but please try not to project this stress and frustration onto your root worker.  In order to do their job properly, they have to remain optimistic and free of too much negative energy related to your case.  If it is still within the three lunar months for a female or full season for a male, then complaining to the root worker each and every time things don’t seem to be moving the way you want them to, will not help your case come to fruition sooner.  It causes blockages and delays that don’t need to be there because then you are applying negative energy to the work.

Some root workers are used to this and don’t mind it so much, but even the ones who don’t mind too many complaints and venting of frustrations will often ignore these messages or take their time answering because they want to sift through all the negativity to get to what might be some actual news.  So just know that if you have nothing to say but, “He hasn’t called me yet,” then save it.  This is not something your root worker needs to know unless or until at least a month has passed.  Even then, simply state it as a progress report, and do not gush about how sad and dejected you are, or threaten your root worker.

Threatening your root worker with destroying their work is very bad, to say the least.  You may have put money into it, but they have put time, energy, and their reputation into it.  Nobody wants to see something they worked hard on go to hell.  If you have not paid for it, or got it for a big discount because they were doing well and had extra time and supplies, and the work was done on good faith, then it is even more important that you not dump a lot of negativity on or threaten your root worker.  You and they have made a commitment, and they have spent their time and money and energy on you for free.  If it doesn’t work they know that they won’t get paid unless you are one of those super honorable and observant practitioners of Vodun who is thankful to the Orishas even when you don’t get what you want…and there are very few of those.

If you ask for a work, whether you paid for it or not, then you should follow through.  If you are a woman and asked for the Orishas to give you the love of a particular man, you should avoid having sex with someone else until the season has passed.  If you have asked for a reconciliation then whatever you do, do NOT allow yourself to get dragged into an argument with the person while the Orishas are working on rekindling their emotions.

Follow the instructions of your root worker.  I don’t care if it seems like it will break your ego to pieces to do so.

Helping the Orishas to Help You

When it comes to money, it is very important that when the Orishas bring you opportunities when the work is active, take them.  If you’re not sure about a particular one, get a reading to see if it’s okay.  Generally though, opportunities should be taken as they come.  Sometimes you may have to step a bit outside your comfort zone or do something you’re good at whether or not it’s what you want to do at the moment.

In love as well, it’s very hard for the Orishas to help you if you won’t help yourself.  If they bring someone you love to you or back to you and you mistreat them or settle for a less than positive situation, then it is your fault, not the root worker or the Orishas’ fault that the working goes south.

Don’t behave as if you’re okay in the friend zone when you’re not.  If you’re a man, be territorial and stake your claim.  “My way or the highway,” is the proper male attitude.  If you’re a woman, then your attitude should be submissive but in a hard core way.  Make it clear that you want a relationship in which you can trust a man enough to be a good girlfriend or wife, not a “friend with benefits”.  FWB, unless it happens naturally between people who are already long term friends with a history of “ride or die” trust, is not a natural situation so the Orishas aren’t going to help sustain that.

In summary, to help your love and/or money spell to work well, you should:

  1. give offerings
  2. stay positive
  3. don’t pester your root worker with your negative feelings, but DO give them actual news about the situation
  4. follow the root worker’s instructions for your conduct
  5. take opportunities the Orishas give you

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask them.

Eshu Summer Festival 2011

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Here at SoulMindBody.net, we’re celebrating the summer festival of Eshu.  We have some special package deals at Sheloya Mystical, but those are for people who can afford them.  Many in the world are having a tough time financially, some because of  evil politicians, and some because of evil bankers.  This time of year, our doors and our hearts open to all, regardless of income.

Making Eshu ElekesEshu will be at the forefront of our altar for the whole week through next Monday.  So please send us your requests and concerns that you would like us to bring to Eshu on your behalf.  For those who may not be too familiar with Eshu, he is the gatekeeper between the spiritual and physical realms.  He is a guide and protector, but also a trickster who sends obstacles to teach us important life lessons.

At this time of year, we give him special focus, and show him appreciation for both his blessings and the lessons we’ve learned.

The schedule for this week is fairly standard.  Yesterday evening was a private ceremony to ask Eshu to open the gates and bless the festival.  Afterwards, we began to make the special elekes and macutos for the festival week.

Monday evening, we are having a food offering and feast of chicken, black eyed peas, rice, and cornbread.  Tuesday through Thursday, we’ll be doing readings and specific ceremonies for those who have ordered them.  Friday night, we are having the Warriors’ ceremony for soldiers in combat and sensitive assignments, and war veterans.  If you or a relative fits the bill, please send us their first name or nickname.

On Saturday and Sunday, we will be working hard to finish the elekes and macutos, and on Monday we’ll be having the closing ceremony.

This week we ask that those of you who may not be able to afford a donation or specific ceremony, give respect to Eshu in your own way that is within your means.  Even if it is just to take some peanuts to a crossroads and meditate awhile, Eshu knows your situation, and will help you if you listen to him.

Feel free to comment and share your Eshu stories and words of gratitude in the comments.

Happy Eshu Holiday!

Esu, Exu, Elegua, Legba

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Elegua

Oh Great Exu, Keeper of the Gate!
Between life and death,
The physical and spiritual realm,
The seen and the unseen,
The known and the unknown,
Please accept our humble invitation,
To join in this feast.
We ask your permission,
To commune with our Ancestors,
And with the Lwa who came before.
Oh Great Exu, Keeper of the Gate!
Please open the gate for us.

Disclaimer: Different sects, families, and groups have different beliefs. This article is not a full picture of how Eshu or similar forces are perceived by all practitioners of Vodun or other ATRs. Please consult an initiate or long term practitioner before adopting any of the rituals or even wearing any related paraphenalia. This article and all on this site are just for general information and introduction.

About Elegua.

Sacred numbers: 3 and 4.

Colors: black and red, black and white.

Necklace (Ileke) patterns:

  • 3 black, 3 red (or white)
  • 3 black, 3 red (or white)
  • 3x alternating.
  • some also do alternating black and red or black and white in a multiple of 3.

Day of the week: Monday for normal purposes, Friday for battle.

Eshu Elegbara, also known as Eshu, Exu, Elegua, or Legba, is one of the most popular and yet most misunderstood of the Orishas.  He is well known for being extremely powerful and working very fast.  Some view him as an evil trickster, and equate him with the Christian or Muslim concept of Satan, or the Jewish Samael, who is both good and evil.

What many don’t know is that as powerful as he is, and as wild as he may seem, he is very honorable and extremely just.  He is the embodiment of divine or “karmic” justice or universal balance. The only reason some view him as evil is because of their own guilt.  Of course he will seem bad to bad people and hypocrites. He assures that all actions will have consequences.

Elegua as the gatekeeper is important for a few reasons.  One of the most important in metaphysics is that one must approach spirituality in the right mind.  It is crucial to respect nature and the spirits of nature, and not treat them like our servants.  They are not obligated to us.  We are obligated to them.  In the case of key ancestors whose fame led them to be honored as Orishas because they exemplified a particular energy, they did not come from us.  We came from them.  It is their genes, inventions, or cultural legacy that enhances our lives.

So before one asks anything of another Orisha or attempts to communicate with them, one asks permission from Elegua, which is symbolic of getting into the proper Elegua mindset.  This allows us to understand what we are being told.

Think about it: whenever a person in authority spreads a harmful idea, it is usually because they have forgotten that they are subject to nature, and this blinds them to any true messages from it or from God who created all nature.  They come to believe that they are not subject to natural law, and then that they can hide from God.  It is more than a slippery slope.  It’s a cliff.

Elegua is there to represent right thinking.  He is on the one hand pure logic, and on the other, pure wisdom.  So in every Vodun ritual or ceremony, approach Elegua (or whatever gatekeeping entity serves this function) first.  When you get the message that you’re allowed entry, then you may pass. In some cultures, the Ancestors, be it a particular group of them or a collective of them serve the gatekeeping purpose in ceremony, but there is usually someone managing the border between at least the living and the dead or physical and spiritual realms or particle and extradimensional reality.

Baron Samedi.

In the new world, for a variety of reasons, the Esu of the Yoruba was divided in Haiti into Papa Legba and Baron Samedi.  The gatekeeper and dispenser of divine justice seemed contrasted to the embodiment of death.  However, the energy is what it is, and Baron Samedi is a face of Esu. He is also however, an ancestor specific to the Haitian/Ayitian people. Remember that Vodun is a living belief system and evolves according to the history and ecology of the area in which it is practiced. Just because a spirit is a face of another does not mean that they are all interchangeable. The reason the differences are recognized is to keep awareness of the historical and cultural roots of it, not just because of incidental shifts. Though he does allow some exchange and adoration from people of other cultures in practice, be aware that there are lines that if you cross, you invite Death.

The force of Death itself however, is called Iku in Africa. It doesn’t have a persona as much as a presence, though she is recognized as a being.  So Death is related to by humans through Esu as the gatekeeper of Death.

The Many Eshus.

A big deal was made by some Santeros about the fact that there are many Eshus, and that Eshu in Yorubaland is different from Exu in Umbanda or other Eleguas, Eshus, Exus, Legbas, Edjus etc.

In Quimbanda, an Afro Brazilian belief system, the Exu are said to not be the same as Eshu/Exu in other west African diaspora systems, though the original Vodun systems can contain what he/they are said to be because Eshu multiplies himself.  Since many insist that they are not the same though, I concede to their insistence.  I was not born into Quimbanda, so I can’t be the one to say.

I’d like to remind people though, of the story of Eshu with the multicolored hat.

When those of you who have been engaging in the useless debates are done being sick of yourselves for arguing over a deity well known for this exact sort of trick, let me know.  Or better, don’t let me know anything, and just determine in the future not to be so worried about the angles and details that you forget the basics.

Just because we say that a type of spirits are related or cascade or grow from one another does not mean that we’re saying it’s okay to just make stuff up or mix things up the wrong way. I do however, understand because of recent events involving people being unmindful and unwise, the fact that it’s not okay needs to be said a little louder and more frequently, especially with regards to gatekeeper deities.

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