From the beginning of times, mankind has known that destiny is controlled by cosmic entities. Esu is the first Orisha that is received and worshiped by any believer of the Yoruba/Santeria/Lukumi religion.
His position as to be the first is said to have been ordered by Olodumare (GOD) himself. Esu is the owner and ruler of all the paths in the universe and also of communication between the Orishas, Olodumare, and mankind.
Esu directs traffic along the Road of Life from his abode at the Crossroads of Fortune. If you’re faced with an important choice or a powerful opportunity, Esu can offer advice to help swing things your way. A super-speedy go-between, he can carry complaints to the Gods, questions to the spirit world, and messages to any living thing.
With his connections, Esu can be a powerful ally. But he’s also a God with a sense of humor and will often throw a spanner in the works to keep life interesting. This could explain why we don’t always get what we want. Be careful — this God of crossroads is also a master of cross-purposes.
They are the names that Esu Odara is called in the city of Ife
Esu whose name spans across cities
The warrior living outside
O fe bata ku jo lamolamo
The man who resides in the open ground
He walks like whirlwind and swoops in with a thud
He who met a man who was grieving
And weeps more than the grieving
The grieving person was crying tears
Laroye was crying blood
Who is Esu?
It is necessary to ask who or what Esu is. He may be said to be the arbiter between the man who was asked to offer sacrifice to forestall Ajogun1 and the Ajogun world itself. Esu is the intermediary between two opposing ends of human aspirations and displeasure. Joy and sadness; life and death; wealth and poverty; bountiful harvest and drought; fulfillment and failure or in some cases the agent of the catalyst to improve or sustain the present situation.
Since good things would naturally not come except it is enticed to do so (or is written in one’s destiny) and bad things would not stop coming except stalled (even if part of one’s destiny), it become necessary to approach an entity in the spiritual realm who knows how to entice or stall these factors since they (good and bad) operate in the spiritual levels also.
Esu may also be said to be the one who holds the sway of counteracting the forces negating the progress of man. As the world must not be unduly polarized, Esu sits atop an office to balance the two opposing forces for a virile world. He asks (or demands) from those who have, to give to those that do not have (or those who demanded for it).
Within the limits of sacrificial reverence, he gives and may also take, so that man may taste the two extreme ends of abundance and want. He tests humans and subjects them to ridicule and as such they would know there is a super power above their comprehension. The point of his neutrality becomes visible as he is not known to possess any wealth.
While Ifa is like an early warning system against the onslaught of the Ajogun, Esu is the one who undertakes all the contingency plans to forestall or reduce the impact of their activities. Levees are constructed to stem flooding, windbreaks are put in place to prevent or reduce the effects of wind erosion, evacuation of humans and livestock before volcanic eruptions and other contingency plans are what can be termed a parallel between physical occurrences and the many functions of Esu when it comes to the institutions of sacrifices.
Therefore when the warning is sounded, and the man concurs with the warning, Esu immediately stands up, armed with the articles which the Babalawos prescribed (and which the man has offered). These things are what the impending Ajogun would take in exchange for the calamity about to be unleashed on the man. Esu then build levees and windbreaks for the client in the spiritual world to prevent attack from flooding and wind erosion respectively. He confronts the negative forces and implore (or should we say orders them) them to stay action as the person has offered something better than what they (the Ajoguns) sought from him.
Esu eats: goats, roosters, possum, pigs, mice. He readily accepts yams, fruits and fish, rum, and red palm oil.