Orisa Esu

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.

Sekiri Alagbaja,
Tefii alaalaagbaja

They are the names that Esu Odara is called in the city of Ife
Esu whose name spans across cities
The warrior living outside

Laroye Agongolago
Alamolamo bata
O fe bata ku jo lamolamo
Sekete peere
Sekete peere

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.

1Ajogun is the aggregation of all evil things that have drawback effect on the life of man.

Esu eats: goats, roosters, possum, pigs, mice. He readily accepts yams, fruits and fish, rum, and red palm oil.

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  1. Chief, I’ve just discovered this site. It is so very excellent. Ashe!!

    Please advise me if I should have a shrine to ESU in my apartment, as his significance is so great, and if so how to go about doing that over here in the UK?

    I already have my OGUN which I received in Ile Ife. It seems that I should certainly be making offerings to baba ESU too.

    1. Alafia Ogunwale;

      Thank you for your recent visit and interest in traditional Ifa.

      I will email you regarding your question in the next few days as I’m currently traveling.

      Chief Awodele Ifayemi

      1. Alafia Chief Ifayemi,

        Thank you for taking the time to reply. I anxiously await your response.

        Ogunwale Akintola

  2. I am curious as to whether I should have a shrine to Esu as well. Also, I am wondering how it should be assembled. Will you email me as well? I have an ancestors altar right now. I don’t know whether I should do a shrine to Esu first or one to my head Orisa. Also, how does one know when they should be initiated? What is the main differences between an initiated person of Ifa, and a non initiated person who honors the ancestors and Orisa?
    I know I have a lot of questions, I really need someone who is not a charlatan to speak to.
    Thank you for your time,

    1. Alafia Oyakemi;

      You are asking excellent questions which I would like to answer via email. Look for my reply within the next 2 days.

      Ogbó àtó Asure Ìwòrìwòfún.

      O dábò!
      Chief Awodele Ifayemi
      Atunwase Awo of Ilobuland

    1. Alafia;

      I’m not sure I understand your question.

      Ogbó àtó Asure Ìwòrìwòfún.

      O dábò!
      Chief Awodele Ifayemi
      Atunwase Awo of Ilobuland

  3. Ire Alaafia Baba,

    I’m interested in receiving Eshu as well as putting one down at residence.

    Please advise.


    1. Alaafia;

      Thank you for visiting my site.

      Please email me to further discuss your needs. Use this site’s contact form to email me.

      Ogbó àtó Asure Ìwòrìwòfún.

      O dábò!
      Chief Awodele Ifayemi
      Atunwase Awo of Ilobuland

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