Images by Danilo Lejardi at Lejardi.com
Agallu is the orisha that represents the nature and wrath of the volcano. He is a very tall gigantic man who lives alongside the rivers. Agallu/Agayu, Bi Yaya or Agallu Sola which he is also known, is represented by earthquakes, the energy and core of the earth. The lava and magma is associated with him, due to his mother Oroiña. He is the heat that comes from within all and keeps the earth moving. Agallu is the cane that holds all of the orishas. In Santeria, priests of Agallu receive him in a wooden or terra cotta vessel where his mysteries are kept. It is said that the vessel should stay uncover because you can’t put a cover on top of a volcano. You place a cloth of multicolor or mariwo (grass skirt) on top of him to contain anyone seeing his secrets. Agallu is that strength that we all have inside that comes from deep in our soul. The core of our body.
Earthquakes are associated with the orisha Agallu because it is him that is changing the earth from deep within the core. Whether it’s because the orisha is upset or he is making room for change. When humankind disrespects the earth, he lets go and shakes the walls of the core which quakes the earth. He is very popular on the western part of the United Sates due to the high volume of earthquakes. But people forget to realize that earthquakes happen in all parts of the world. It happens deep under the ocean crust where Agallu and Yemaya are planning on changing the surface of the earth. When an earthquake happens it changes the way we live on earth. From the new crust that shows more and new roads are built and theirs new life and artifacts to explore.
Agallu is also seen to be near riverbanks. He is the one that transports and people across the rivers. He is our modern day ferryman. He learned how to soothe the rough river waters after having a relationship with the orisha Oshun. From then, he has transported humankind across the rivers so they can reach the other side. Agallu’s colors is a burgundy or dark wine colors. He also takes the 9 colors of Oya due to an exchange that Oya gave him. She gave him her multicolor skirt to wear out of thanks for a favor. When Agallu walks he takes big strides and has a heavy foot. He is said that he takes big steps because he is stepping over huge obstacles. He carries a staff and his oshè (double edge ax), in which he uses when he walking around overstepping obstacles. He is a silent warrior as he stays to himself. But when he is bothered he comes with great force, just as the lava and the earthquakes that shake our planet.
Pataki on Agallu
One day Agallu was working hard by the river. He was doing what he loves, helping people across the river waters. Day by day, people would come and ask the great gigantic orisha to take them to the other side of the river. After being fooled one day by non paying customers, Agallu vouched that he will demand payment of anyone who wanted to cross the river banks. So it was known that to cross the river Agallu would do it but you had to pay your fare and you would cross with no problem.
One mid day a woman approached his vessel and asked to be taken to the north side of the river. When Agallu glanced at this woman, he saw her as a beautiful woman. She was dressed all in white from head to toe and her head wrap glistened with purity. Agallu grabbed the women by her delicate hand and guided her onto his vessel. Being dumbfounded by her beauty he did not ask her for his fare not yet. He was kind of shy to even talk to her. This woman sat perched at the front edge of the vessel with every crease of her skirt in tact. He noticed how her skin was soft as cocoa butter and the silver from her bangles reflected against the river water. She did not say a word and kept her composure as the great ferryman took her to her destination.
Agallu was approaching the north river bank and he was reluctant to ask her for his payment. She started to rearrange her garments and fix her shawl to get off the boat. When Agallu pulled up the bank he grabbed her hand and asked her politely for his fee. The women walked off the boat, turned and looked at him. Agallu was wondering if she was going to pay him but he did not get loud because he was so entrapped in her beauty but he remembered the past he had with non paying customers. Before he could say something else, she took her big white shawl and laid it on the grassy area by the river banks. She slowly took off her garments and hung then neatly by a tree. Agallu was noticing all of this but he was lost for words. The women then laid herself on the white shawl in a seductive pose and called Agallu over to her. Agallu who was in heat for her since the beginning of the trip didn’t hesitate and walked up to her and the woman grabbed Agallu and started to kiss him. These two made passionate love by the river banks for hours. After it was all done, Agallu laid there while the woman bathed herself in the river water. Agallu was so in love with her but he still did not know who she was. The payment was forgotten as he just got paid. She came out of the river and proceeded to put on her garments. While she was getting dressed, Agallu took a dip in the river to wash up as well and the lady grabbed her shawl and started to wrap her head in her elegant way. She walked to the edge of the river and looked into Agallu’s eyes and told him that he just had the pleasure of making love to the great Yembo (a path of Obatala). Agallu stayed with a confused look while Yembo vanished right before his eyes.
Years passed and one day a young boy was walking thru the forest. He grew very tired and hungry and came across a door. He did not know where the door led him to but he was looking for somewhere to rest. He walked through the halls of the immense fortress. This place was the inside of a volcano which was the house of Agallu. The young boy saw that there was food abundant inside and proceeded to eat all he could put his hands on. After consuming a lot of food the young boy fell asleep on the bed of the great orisha.
Agallu coming home from another long day of work entered his house and smelled something fishy. He looked around and saw that there were food bits thrown on the floor. He immediately grabbed his oshé and went on the search for this intruder. He walked up to his where his bed was at and saw something under the covers. He quietly approached the bed and with his oshé in one hand he swiftly grabbed the covers back ready to strike the intruder. Once the covers where off he saw the body of a young boy who was scared to see this gigantic person standing over him. Agallu asked him who was he and why did he intrude into his house. Agallu grabbed him by the foot and began to drag him down to the middle of the fortress. All the while the young boy is shouting to release him He said his name was Chango, the son of the great Yembo. Agallu hearing this threw the young Chango near the pool of lava that was near the middle of his home. Agallu told Chango that he knew of Yembo and he was with her years ago. Chango remembered his mother talking about his father that he was a tall gigantic man who rode the currents of the river. He told this to Agallu and Agallu got into a range and told Chango that he was not his father. Chango said that yes he was because his mother told him so. Agallu’s rage grew bigger and bigger and he was determined to end this one way or the other. With one stomp of Agallu’s foot, Chango bounced into the boiling hot lava. Agallu’s rage was so intense that the pool of lava containing Chango rose to the top of the volcano. Once it reached the top, the volcano erupted and Chango was thrown miles upon miles until he was deposited in the ocean.
Chango frantically tried to reach the surface of the ocean. He did not know how to swim and he was sinking. Right then a beautiful mermaid came to Chango’s rescue and brought him to the surface. She took him to shore and cleaned him up. Chango explained to her what had happened with the great orisha Agallu. He told her that he was the son of Yembo and that Agallu denied being his father. Yembo appeared to her son and this beautiful mermaid and told her son that he shouldn’t have gone to look for his father but as a young warrior she knew this day would come when he wanted to know. Yembo told Chango that she was returning to the sky and that if he wanted to come with her. Chango said no that he wanted to see what the earth had in store for him Yembo turned to the mermaid and asked her to watch over and raise the young Chango. She agreed and Chango was introduced to Maselobi (an aspect of Yemaya) his adopted mother.
Maselobi took Chango to Agallu’s house. When Agallu saw Maselobi he bowed down to her as she is part of the kingdom of the ocean. Maselobi told Agallu that he was wrong for shooting not only a young boy but his own son out of the mouth of this volcano. Agallu looked at Chango and thought if it was possible. Maselobi showed Agallu that Chango was not even harmed from the hot lava. She told Agallu that he has his genes of being sustained to fire. Chango is the fire god, she told Agallu and he is your son that you had with the great Yembo years ago. Agallu with a tear from his eye picked up Chango and apologized. He gave him access to his fortress at any time and he gave him anything that he wanted. Chango was happy that his father recognized him. Masleobi was happy and told Agallu that she was going to raise Chango with the permission of Yembo and that he can come visit him whenever. Agallu agreed and he and Chango became inseparable.
Why are some fathers today like the great Agallu?
Agallu’s feast day is July 25. His sacrificial food is goats, roosters and guinea hens. His loves fruits and all things that his son Chango likes. He loves to be petitioned with 9 crackers with epo (palm oil) on it. Agallu’s children are very trustworthy, they love to be in charge and they are hot tempered as well. Their rages sometimes mimic the explosion of a volcano. Agallu was initiated on the heads of his children back in Africa but when it crossed the sea to the New World it didn’t quite make it over. Now his children are initiated through the secrets of Chango or Oshun. That initiation is called Chango oro Agallu or Oshun oro Agallu unless you can find someone with the correct knowledge of doing him directly on the head.
The family of Agallu
She is the orisha of lava and magma. She is the mother of Agallu who resides deep within the core of the earth. She is a very strong orisha who is received. Her ceremonies consists of offering that are dug deep to reach the core of the earth. With her son, she runs swiftly through anything and destroys everything in her path. She once had a battle with Ibu Ololodi (a path of Oshun), who lost the battle due to that Ololodi had the aide of Boito. Oroina is the heat at the center of the earth that heats our world heat up. She has ties with Olorun as her energy comes from him.