Awo Study Center
What Really is Esu?
by Ebun-Oluwa Kumuyi
Due to Christian syncretism in Nigeria, the Deity or Orisa Esu has become synonymous with the Christian devil. There are many different reasons why and how this came to be so. Let us examine those reasons, and allow us to come to a better understanding of Olorun's messenger, aka Esu!
Esu has many different personalities and can do many things, as most Orisa. He is most popularly known as the trickster, the guarder of the crossroads, the gatekeeper of Heaven, the choice giver and justice maker. The latter task, in my scholarly opinion, is the main reason why the European decided to mask Esu as the "bad one."
This verse tells the story of two best friends who visited a Babalawo for a consultation. It was told by Olodumare through Ifá to the Babalawo that the friends needed to make a sacrifice in order to preserve their friendship. They had enough faith in their relationship that they refused to perform the sacrifice. Esu heard of this, and decided to put on a hat that was half white and half black and walked past the friends where one stood on the right, and the other at Esu's left. They both commented on the same man, but argued over the color of his hat; one seeing only the white side, and the other seeing only the black. It turns out that through this disagreement their friendship ended. Had they performed the prescribed sacrifice to God, they would have died best friends instead of having lived as enemies.
This is an example of Esu being the trickster, as well as him being a dealer of justice. Not performing a sacrifice is a slight to God, a suggestion that you have more power than He to control your own destiny and deny His advise. Neither God, Orunmila nor Esu appreciate this type of arrogant behaviour. When this happens, humans are punished. Esu's role as the "punisher" is what lead the Europeans to convince our own people that God's messenger is really the devil!
Let us now compare Esu and the devil according to the Bible and verses of Ifá. The Bible says that the devil was cast out of Heaven for competing with God. This is not true of Esu, nor is there any historical/mythical evidence through Yoruba text to back this assertion.
The devil makes his home in hell-fire and is the antithesis of anything Heavenly. Esu resides between Heaven and Earth, serving as God's messenger to man and carrying sacrifices from Earth to Heaven. He is also the gatekeeper of Heaven, which the devil certainly is not!
Esu does not wait for humans to die so that he may carry them off to hell. Esu does not encourage evil, nor is he the father of evil. These are attributes of the Christian devil that are non-existent in traditional Yoruba culture.
Many times Esu will force us to look at the ugliness within ourselves so that we may see who we are in true light, recognise the wrong and change it so that we are better able to please God. It is Esu that makes us remember:
S'otito, s'ododo, ma s'ika - Orisa gbe iwa pele O!
This basically means to do good, and perform well without doing harm - the Orisa support good character!
This is not to say that the Yoruba are naive enough to have a disbelief in evil and evil forces. That would be foolish - especially of a culture that strongly believes in a balance of nature. Where there exists good, there must also exist evil and our ancestors understood this clearly. It has been misunderstood, however, that Esu is the master of this evil when in fact he is not. The Yoruba do have a belief in evil forces that parade around during the dark hours and cause harm to humans and nature. These forces work with those with iwa buruku (bad character) and help them achieve evil goals on earth; it should be noted that those forces are not Orisa. It is strongly believed that Olodumare ni idajo - meaning that God is the owner of ALL judgement. Those who intentionally perform evil acts on Earth will eventually be judged by God and will have to answer for their acts.
Consider this an acknowledgement that I have read your thoughts on what you deem to be a fall out between two people of opposing beliefs. An erronous conclusion, particularly since this chastisement of "hubris" comes from the stance that I did it from a position of superiority (though personally I see it as triumph of the underdog), but nonetheless, I acknowledge it.
I see you have already realised your other error; that of thinking 'Baba Darkside Magick' is a phrase I 'sarcastically' 'coined' and not the alias of a Destee member. It would appear that I am not the only one who is guilty of ignorance.
You have much to teach it seems, and you will no doubt find an audience here, so I wish you all the best with that; and your future partnership with the good Brother Clyde.
I'm going to assume, that you are asking if the above is correct? It is only a half truth. Humans make the choices and Humans pay the consequence, Justice is not dispensed by Echu. We have no heaven. this is a eurocentric notion. We have no Hell. There is no Judgement by any god after we die. The judgement is made by us Humans, here on earth. Evil forces are create by Humans Evil intents.
I'm not soppose to say even this much, for it may cause disharmony among other practitinors of similar believes. We don't debate believe systems in public. We listen closely to the Mai or Pai of our house,as to what is going on, and how to address it. Each house does things differently.
The person that you got this information from is in buisnes. He lives in his own world. Each of our paths is different. our spiritual paths are very personal. Not to be discussed in a public forums.
I hope this helps your understandings.
With love, Corvo
I have no malice towards you, and am not judging you; I don't know you at all. My post that you are referring to was not directed at you at all. It was about the "infiltrating" of threads by those who only want to badmouth another's religion. I'm not sure if it was you or Cherryblossom who had mentioned that. So I was writing down my thoughts regarding that situation. I was talking about the ignorance of people in general from both sides who critisize other religions. I wasn't referring to you; you weren't even in my thoughts. I used the reference of Darkside Magick as a general example, not to attack you personally. I said people on both sides are guilty. If you want to call me ignorant because i didn't know Darkside Magic was a real person, go ahead; I can take it. My point is, we need to move beyond this, and realize that both of these traditions are Afrikan. I was not calling you ignorant. My apologies for giving you that impression.
I am left wondering, however, if Darkside Magick uses this username as tongue in cheek sarcasm, or what. I don't mean this disrespectfully. Just curious.