African Traditional Religion : Esu/Elegbara

Discussion in 'African Traditional Religion Study Group' started by cherryblossom, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    About Eshu
    Esu/Elegbara


    Esu is the Divine Messenger between God and Man. Esu sits at the Crossroad.

    Esu is the Orisa that offers choices and posibility..

    Esu is the gatekeeper, the guardian of the door.

    Esu safeguards the principle of freewill.

    Esu is the keeper of Ase.

    Esu is called the divine trickster that lures man’s emotions creating variety which spices life.

    Esu brings out the fool in man. Esu brings out the symbolic child in man. Esu’s mischief serves to wake a person up and teach them a lesson.

    Esu represents the balance of nature. Day and night, white and black, construction and destruction. Esu is an old man and a child. Absolute balance of nature.

    Esu has a voracious appetite. Esu has a constant drive and is always ready (erect penis).

    Esu counterbalances aspects of our reality. Esu is the patron of the “underworld” and their way of survival.

    Esu—The means justify the end!


    http://dohuniversity.wordpress.com/about-eshu-4/


    Esu must always be appeased first.
     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    The Trickster

    I have always been fascinated by the trickster in his many guises throughout history, religion, spirit, literature, and lore. No representation is more compelling than that of West African Esu.


    ‘The West African Esu-Elegbara, who Henry Louis Gates, Jr., says is “a figure of double duality, of unreconciled opposites, living in harmony. . . . the epitome of paradox??? with the “capacity to reproduce himself ad infinitum.??? But these two examples raise a point over which there is considerably less agreement. … Esu-Elegbara—and his variations throughout the African diaspora—is a divine figure: so, do tricksters belong to the world of men or gods, or neither, or both? In some respects they seem decidedly earth-bound—a strong scatalogical vein runs through many trickster tales, for instance—but at the same time they seem to have god-like transformative powers.’ Via Transformations of the Trickster by Helen Lock

    More about Esu-Elegbara from my favorite book, The Signifying Monkey by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.:

    ‘Each version of Esu is the sole messenger of the gods (in Yoruba, irnase), he who interprets the will of the gods to man; he who carries the desires of man to the gods. Esu is the guardian of the crossroads, master of style and of stylus, the phallic god of generation and fecundity, master of that elusive, mystical barrier that separates the divine world from the profane. Frequently characterized as an inveterate copulator possessed by his enormous penis, linguistically Esu is the ultimate copula, connecting truth with understanding, the sacred with the profane, text with interpretation, the word (as a form of the verb to be) that links a subject with its predicate. He connects the grammar of divination with its rhetorical structures. In Yoruba mythology, Esu is said to limp as he walks precisely because of his mediating function: his legs are of different lengths because he keeps one anchored in the realm of the gods while the other rests in this, our human world.

    Scholars have studied these figures of Esu, and each has found one or two characteristics of this mutable figure upon which to dwell, true to the nature of the trickster. A partial list of these qualities might include individuality, satire, parody, irony, magic, indeterminacy, open-endedness, ambiguity, sexuality, chance, uncertainty, disruption and reconciliation, betrayal and loyalty, closure and disclosure, encasement and rupture. But it is a mistake to focus on one of these qualities as predominant. Esu possesses all of these characteristics, plus a plethora of others which, taken together, only begin to present an idea of the complexity of this classic figure of mediation and of the unity of opposed forces.

    [. . .] The Fon [of Benin, Dahomey] call Legba “the divine linguist,” he who speaks all languages, he who interprets the alphabet of Mawu [sky-god] to man and to the other gods. Yoruba sculptures of Esu almost always include a calabash that he holds in his hands. In this calabash he keeps ase [usually translated as divinely-generated power or energy], the very ase with which Olodumare, the supreme deity of the Yoruba, created the universe. We can translate ase in many ways, but the ase used to create the universe I translate as “logos,” the word as understanding, the word as the audible, and later the visible, sign of reason. Ase is more weighty, forceful, and action-packed than the ordinary word. It is the word with irrevocability, reinforced with double assuredness and undaunted authenticity. This probably explains why Esu’s mouth, from which the audible word proceeds, sometimes appears double: Esu’s discourse, metaphorically, is double-voiced. [. . .]

    Esu’s most direct Western kinsman is Hermes. Just as Hermes’ role as a messenger and interpreter for the gods lent his name readily to hermeneutics, our word for the study of methodological principles of interpretation of a text, so too is it appropriate for the literary critic to name the methodological principles of the interpretation of black texts Esu-’tufunaalo, literally “one who unravels the knots of Esu” [this word is a Yoruba neologism coined by the Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka]. Esu is the indigenous black metaphor for the literary critic, and Esu-’tufunaalo is the study of methodological principles of interpretation itself, or what the literary critic does. Esu-’tufunaalo is the secular analogue of Ifa divination, the richly lyrical and densely metaphorical system of sacred interpretation that the Yoruba in Nigeria have consulted for centuries, and which they continue to consult. Whereas the god Ifa is the text of divine will, Esu is the text’s interpreter (Onitumo), “the one who translates, who explains, or ‘who loosens knowledge.’” [. . .]‘


    http://chrisabraham.com/2006/12/06/the-trickster-as-esu-elegbara/
     
  3. Alexandra

    Alexandra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    CherryBlossom - About your post on Exu

    Greetings CherryBlossom,

    I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but what is the purpose of this thread on Exu (http://destee.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58963)? I ask because its at odds with alot of things for example, you are a Christian, and more importantly, the Bible explicitly warns against engageing in any activity to do with darkness i.e Baba Exu.

    Ephesians 5:11

    "and have nothing to do with the unfruitful works that darkness produces. Instead, expose them for what they are".

    Surely, you must remember that as a Christian, you were once in the darkness but have now been saved?****please see below****

    Indeed, the good book clearly states:

    Ephesians 5:8

    "for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light"

    Note that it says you were formerly darkness and not in the darkness.


    **** PS, when I write 'saved', please picture me having the same reaction you do everytime you read the term 'overstand'. The only difference is while you might sn.i.g.g.e.r, I am here riding the wave of a full blown cackle; my mirth ducts are in fulll bloom and it is such a shame there isn't a fellow demon nearby to exchange a hearty hi-five with.

    Sighs.

    Anyway, I look forward to your response.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Alexandra
     
  4. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    LOL!

    WHEW! I was wondering what happened to this post! *smacks forehead!*

    I MEANT to put it in the "Black Spiritual Beliefs" forum! LMBO! I musta been some kinda sleepy! :lol:

    But, to answer your question, this post was intended as an addition to the "African Traditional" sub-forum. I just put it in the wrong place by mistake.

    However, because I posted this thread does not mean that I believe in it. I also posted in the other religious forums: Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism.

    I've also read and posted in some of the metaphysical threads. I don't believe in that either, but where I see something I can relate to, I have commented.

    Now, I'm gonna ask a Mod if they will move this thread for me! LMBO!

    So, again, the purpose of this topic was meant for the ATR sub-forum. It in NO way denotes that I adhere to this belief.
     
  5. Knowledge Seed

    Knowledge Seed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Sis. cherryblossom, I'm not sure if you know this, but Eshu is not a single spirit. It is actually a family of spirits. Eshu-Elegbara is just one member of that family. There thousands of other Eshus.
     
  6. Alexandra

    Alexandra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    You weren't sleepy. You did indeed post this in the ATR forum, however, following the thread by the Owner of this forum about not posting titles which include the name of a member, both our threads were used as an example, with the end result being a new title for my thread and a new location for yours.

    Hope that makes sense?

    Now, I am so pleased you didn't read this post in a negative light! Please note that I didn't ask whether you believe in it or not. To each his own; I am not a Christian, yet I couldn't live without my Book of Psalms!

    I just wanted to know why this entity would even remotely appeal to a staunch Christian such as yourself, so thought I would ask. End of. I was in no way going to attempt to influence your beliefs, or challenge them.

    You are as inquisitive as I am, so you know how it goes.

    Cheers!

    Alexandra
     
  7. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    No wahalas.
     
  8. Bootzey

    Bootzey Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    As a non-Christian I actually find this practice... posting on a thread that is not your belief structure... kind of offensive.

    I am not a Christian, and I have deep anti-Christian sentiments, but I would never disrespect Christian belief sytem by chiming in on the Christian threads. Even though I USED to be a devout Christian, have a degree in theology and have read the Bible cover to cover at least 5 times; still I stay away from Christian threads. I don't understand your purpose for posting about something you clearly state you don't believe in.




     
  9. Blackbird

    Blackbird Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I love Esu, that's my pappy. I just made ebo of a goat and rooster to my baba.

    Maferefun baba mi.....

    Blackbird
     
  10. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    :terrific: Bootzey, that is a WONDERFUL statement and question!

    And I'm not being sarcastic. I, too, have wondered the same thing!

    Now, yes, I am a Christian; and I have posted on subject areas here which are not aligned with Christianity. But, when I have done so, I have been respectful of the beliefs of others. I don't go into other belief topics "waving my Christian banner."

    Bootzey, until last night, I had restricted my Christianity views to the Christianity sub-forum. However, I discovered that ALL of these belief sub-forums are OPEN SEASON here at Destee. Anyone can post in any religion. There were started NOT for the adherents of these beliefs but for a Destee.com STUDY PROJECT.

    So, since there are others who DO NOT feel as YOU and I feel about respecting the beliefs of others, it's a "anything goes" situation. (However, there are posted "Ground Rules" for each belief.)

    Now, yes, I posted this thread, but I also posted in the Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism sub-forums. However, NONE of my threads are derogatory or an attack on the beliefs of others.

    Thank you for your input! I am pleased to know that someone feels as I do.
     
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