The picture above is an actual photograph of an Echu danse staff from Nigeria. The priest or priestess of Eleggua holds this staff in their hands when sacred danses are held for Echu or Eleggua. Eleggua is the owner of all the roads in the world. There are many caminos or paths or encarnations of Eleggua. Some live on the street corners, some live in the woods, some live on the banks of the river or the shores of the oceans, some live at garbage dumps, some live at the door of the cemetery. Eleggua is just as important to the Orishas as he is to human kind. He is like Mercury, the messenger of the gods in Greek mythology. Since he lives on the street corners, he knows what is going on with everyone. Sometimes he tells Orunla about a person's life even before a person comes to consult with the Oracle of IFA. He is one of the first Orishas that new entrants to the afro-cuban system of Orisha worship receive. You have to have Eleggua before you can receive any other Orisha. Eleggua is the first to eat before any other Orisha. He must always be fed first, when sacrificial offerings are made. The reason for that is explained in the following story. The Creator, or Olofi, became sick. None of the powerful Orishas could cure him. Finally, Olofi sent for Eleggua. Eleggua left his home in the woods where he gathered medicinal herbs and went to Olofi with his bag of medicine on his shoulder. He made all the other Orishas leave him alone with Olofi. He then opened his bag, and using his knowledge of medicinal herbs was able to cure the Creator, Olofi. Olofi, to show his appreciation, told Eleggua that from now on, he would be the first to eat when the other Orishas were going to be fed. This made Eleggua very happy, since living in the woods, he sometimes did not have enough to eat. To this day, Eleggua must be fed before any Orisha can eat. This is how one of the smallest of the Orishas became one of the most important and poweful Orishas.
Above you see an actual picture of an Eshu. There is much confusion at times in believers minds about Eshu and Eleggua. Echu or Echu or Exu is really a much older entity than Eleggua. Eshu was here at the beginning of the world before the other Orishas. He has a malignant side and is a Trickster diety. For that reason, in Brazil, he is associated with the Devil. In Brazil and Africa, Eshu lives outside the house, to protect the home. His energy is considered too strong to have in the house. Eleggua, on the other hand is Echu working under the direction of Obatala to do good and serve the other Orisha and human kind. Eleggua's day is Monday and devotees usually give him simple offerings, to insure that he protect the home and open the ways. Everyone tries to stay on his good side, since he can turn things around in a minute. Even the other Orisha try to stay on his good side, so that plans that are made can come to pass.