According to Yoruba mythology, Aganju is the Orisha of volcanoes, the wilderness, and the earth. He is associated with Saint Christopher and is believed to be the third Orisha said to have come to earth and is an Orisha of great antiquity.
In the Yoruba areas of Nigeria and the Benin Republic, Aganju is known as a revered warrior king from Shaki town in the present-day Oyo State of Nigeria. Aganju was said to walk with a sword and to fight by shooting fire.
Characteristics of Aganju
Aganju is violent and destructive. That’s why tectonic plate movement is often attributed to him. He is also heavily associated with Shango; in some traditions, he is believed to be Shango’s brother, while some state that he is Shango’s father. It is also thought that Aganju used to be a ruler of the Oyo Empire who became deified.
According to Lukumi, followers of this religion, Aganjú is like the sun, also his symbol, essential for growth, and a cultivator of civilizations. Like the volcano he is also associated with, he forms the basis upon which societies are created and is the motivation for producing large amounts of wealth and commerce needed for advanced development. Lukumi practitioners most highly regard Aganju for assisting humans in overcoming great physical and psychological barriers. Additionally, Aganjú is known for his legendary strength and ability to bring about drastic change.
He was also said to have delivered the people of Cuba out of bondage and helped them carry the heaviest of burdens. The color red primarily identifies him.
Ritual offerings to Aganju are:
- Nine fruits.
- Nine crackers.
- Nine plantains with red palm oil.
- Nine handkerchiefs or silk pocket squares in different colors.