Elekes are necklaces crafted in the colors and numerical patterns of the Orishas, Vodun, Lwa, African Deities, and syncretized Spirits. Our standard elekes are made with 6/0 (4mm.) ”E-beads” and waxed cotton thread. They are all at least 20 inches long so they can be put on over the head. Some are longer so that the pattern can be continuous.
Each one is made by hand on the day of the week that is most auspicious for that Spirit. It is then blessed and given the initial artists’ consecration at our altar. We make them for any Spirit that you like, including your ancestors. If you have an ancestor or favorite person who has passed on that you would like to honor, please let us know their favorite color and number, or tell us a bit about them so we can design something for you.
Product name: Eshu-Exu-Elegua Eleke (oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo)
Product name: Obatala Eleke (transparent and white, pattern of 9′s)
Product name: Yemaya Eleke (approximately 30 inches, blue and white, pattern of 7′s)
Product name: Ogun Eleke (green and black, patterns of 7)
Product name: Shango Eleke (red and white, pattern of 6′s)
Product name: Oba Eleke (pink and blue, pattern of 8′s)
Product name: Oshun Eleke (red and green, pattern of 5′s)
Product name: Oshun the Prosperous Eleke (golden and silver, pattern of 5′s)
Product name: Oya Eleke (brown and red, pattern of 9′s)
Product name: Oya Storm Eleke (purple and rainbow, pattern of 9′s)
Product name: Ochosi Eleke (blue and gold, pattern of 7′s)
Product name: Aje Shaluga Eleke (blue, green, and gold, patterns of 5′s)
Product name: Babalu Aye Eleke (purple, white, and brown, patterns of 17)
Product name: Seven African Powers Eleke (one multicolor necklace)
Product name: Seven African Powers Eleke Set + Oba (set of 8 necklaces for Eshu, Obatala, Yemaya, Ogun, Shango, Oba, Oshun, and Oya)
Product name: Custom Eleke (Tell us which spirit and any relevant information in the text area of the order form)
What is an eleke?
An eleke (also spelled ileke) is essentially a string of beads. In Hispanic communities, they are often called collares. There are eleke for the neck, and eleke ide for the waist. They are also sometimes referred to as one’s pearls even when they are not actually made of pearl.
In the context of Vodun and related belief systems, it is a necklace that is made in colors and a numeric pattern of one or more Spirits. They can serve as amulets, talismans, ceremonial costume, just to honor a particular Spirit, or to identify children or followers of a particular Spirit.
In some systems, the ones worn for general ceremonial purposes are beaded differently than the ones worn by children of a particular Vodun, Orisha, or Lwa. For instance, some may wear a white and transparent beaded eleke for Obatala for ceremony, but those who have a particular affinity for him may also wear one that is green and dark red in their daily lives.
Elekes are considered standard equipment, especially in most diaspora systems wherein we didn’t often get to keep much else.
How do I receive an eleke?
You may buy or make your own if you are a solitary practitioner and certain of who the Spirit of your head is. If you are not sure, then you should request a reading or consult your local priest/ess.
Those who request a reading from me for the purpose of finding the Spirit of their head will receive two free elekes with their reading: one for Eshu (Elegua, Exu), and one for the Spirit of their head. This is because Eshu is the gatekeeper, and for ceremonial purposes, you should put on the Eshu eleke first, and then the one for the Spirit of your head.
Do not attempt to consecrate or wear an eleke that was mass produced in a sweatshop or factory. They have bad energy because they are made using de facto slave labor. Elekes/collares should be made with care and with joy by spiritual people who do it of their own free will. To wear something made in a sweatshop for ceremonial purposes will bring some serious wrath from Mama Tchamba.
How do I wear and care for my eleke?
You should consecrate your elekes when you receive them, if you bought them or made them for yourself. You should wear them with care. If you like to wear them in normal life, you should have a set you wear for ceremony, and a separate one or set that you wear for normal purposes. The one you wear for ceremonial purposes should never be worn to the bathroom or when you are doing anything other than participating in ritual or ceremony.
If it needs to be cleaned, you should do this only with natural cleaners that are pleasant to the Spirit it is dedicated to. If you’re not sure, just use plain water.
You have a couple of options for storage of your elekes. You may hang them up together (Eshu first) or you may keep each one in the space of your altar or sacred spaces that correspond to them.
What about rope collares?
There are rope and cord collares. We don’t have them at this time, though we do plan to. They are somewhat difficult to find made by mystics, but you can consecrate one that was made by a crafter of another faith. We are all children of Yemaya.