Libations and Liquid Offerings.
Spiced rum, absinthe, Ouzo, Sambuca Noir, and Red Chile Vodka, and coffee liquor are good for libations to Elegua. Most of us medicine folk make our own. Each usually has their own recipe.
You can find a good recipe for Eshu coffee here. He is also said in some places, to enjoy “Ataya” or gunpowder tea. The tea ritual for Eshu in this case is like someone is serving tea to an honored guest. It is for those occasions when you would like to talk with him and not just to him.
So you would boil 3 cups of water, then add 1 cup of gunpowder tea. Bring it to a boil again, and then pour some tea into 2 glasses, filling each of them a little less than halfway.
Then add a cup and a half of sugar, and bring it back to a boil. Do not stir it at any time. Some also like to add spices and herbs at this point too.
While you wait for it to return to a boil, pour the left glass into the right, and then the contents of the right glass into the left. Do this as many times as it takes to form a thick froth, but make sure to end it at a multiple of 3 or 4 pours, ending with the left cup. Take the pot off the heat, and then pour this froth back into the tea pot. Then it is done. Let the tea settle so the solid bits sink to the bottom.
Clean the glasses you used with clear water. Sweep the area where Eshu is to sit. Pour his tea first, and then yours.
You don’t need to be super fancy for Eshu, but you should use glasses or cups that are a bit special, as you would for an honored but familiar guest. I like to use Japanese tea cups such as one would use for matcha, a big man sized one for him, and a smaller woman sized one for me.
You can also do this tea ritual with a child of Eshu, or someone who he is riding. Definitely serve sweets or compatible snacks with this.
If you are petitioning the Reaper or Baron Samedi face of Elegua in order to honor your ancestors or fallen comrades, or someone has done something to you that made you want to kill them, you need special offerings.
Spicy fruitcakes in the shape of skulls, candy frosting skulls, black mice, a syrup made with absinthe with extra artemisia steeped in it, lots of candies, tobacco, and strong coffee are good offerings. Burn some incense with funeral type flowers and myrrh.
Remember that many if not most of these warrior Esus and Esu-like spirits were shaped in their relation to humanity through war, particularly against colonialism. Please consult a serious adherent before attempting contact with them.
Things Elegua Doesn’t Like
If you are working with Elegua, you must be very careful to be a fair and just person. He appreciates cunning and craftiness, but draws the line at malicious fraud. For instance, it would be okay for you to pose as a beggar to make some extra cash to support your family, or dress as a flamboyant fortune teller in order to make more money or open the way to teach people positive things or make them feel magnanimous.
It is not okay to cheat in gambling or to defraud people out of their money for totally selfish reasons. Elegua loves children and old people. If you harm them, you will pay. You will pay especially hard if you attempt to use Elegua to do your dirty deeds. As much as he gives you to trick you into thinking your evil plans are working, he will take away three times.
So if you want to get on Elegua’s good side, you will be generous to children, the elderly, and the poor. You should defend them and help them at every opportunity that is presented to you.
Another thing Elegua hates is cheapness. If you are bargaining or bidding, your first offer should be a fair one. If they try to con you, that is on their karma. You can feel free to refuse a bad deal. However, do not cheap out and take advantage of someone else’s desperation.
For this reason, you should also be fair and just in matters of the heart. This does not mean you have to tell people what they want to hear. This means that you should be honest and up front about your intentions. You should also use Elegua’s guidance to determine whether the person is even capable of dealing with you and your desires.
For instance, for a child of Elegua or someone who wants to stay on his good side, it is as bad to guilt someone into a romantic relationship if they don’t really want one as it is to trick someone into sex by pretending you want a romantic relationship. If you stay aware, then it shouldn’t be a problem to sort people.
Basically, don’t be a con artist, don’t steal from the poor, kids, or the elderly, and don’t be a sick manipulator, and you’re cool.
Again, the reason for this is not morality but the the sustaining of life. Eshu stands with one foot in the Orun and one in the Aye, and spans all in between. So if you are a crappy person and approach Eshu with your over entitled to harm people mentality, he will not save you from this unless you want to be, and as soon as you do, one of your first steps to recovery will be accountability and making amends. You can’t undo the past, but you will have to make amends for it to become a life sustaining person. Once you are on that path because it was your destiny in the first place to care about these things, he will punish you for deviating from that. This is one reason why to approach him with total honesty. Don’t listen to anyone who recommends you approach any Eshu with any kind of deception. The moment you do, you open yourself to all sorts of harsh lessons.
Eshu is not “Jesus”. Forgiveness is not in his nature. Only balance.