Elegun is the Yoruba word for those who are spiritually possessed by Orisa ( Not to be confused with Eleegun which is masqurade.)They are also known as Ojise. However there are three ways of attaining priesthood for both men and woman;
* Through inheritance
* Through vocation or possession
* Through Age i.e been the senior wife or head of the family.
In some cases some people become priestess of Orisa in the palace or in the town when they are chosen by divination. After this divination process, they will have to undertake an oath and go through initiation ceremonies.
In the case of Elegun, the initiation ceremony and power that are transmitted to each individual spiritually differs. The message they bear are usually accurate and true. Each times their prediction comes to pass, they must give thanks to Orisa who is the owner of the Ase and message.
Trance/ Possession/ Orisa Mounting.
Possession/trance comes in different forms, there are some Elegun whose spirit descends on them in the course of singing, chanting, listening to drums and dancing to tense Orisa music. The spirit can mount during long recitation of Oriki, which is why it is essential to learn and master Oriki for our individual Orisa.
Elegun must not hear the sound of snail shell being used to wash, scratch the bottom of the pot because the vibrating sound can make the spirit to mount them and it can take several hours for the person to return to normalcy. For some it is a taboo for them to come near anyone who is cutting wood. When ever the spirit come upon them, they must propitiate the Orisa in order to calm them down. They use element such as water, palm oil, cam-wood, white chalk as ingredient of propitiation.
I was once asked why people are refrain from mounting sometimes in Nigeria, this is because when the spirit of Orisa possess a person, it uses the whole body. Some may inadvertently lose control of the physical body and hit the ground and sustain injury. Some may expose themselves to the people and some may start revealing personal secret to the people.
In a nutshell, Elegun of Orisa must abide by all taboo related to that Orisa. For example, in Yoruba land Elegun of Sango is forbidden from smoking tobacco. They must endeavor to practice honestly at all times so that people can take the message sent by the Orisa through them seriously.
The Adventure of Obatala ( Revised Edition) by Chief Priest Ifayemi Elebuibon. The Araba Of Osogbo Land.
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