The Story of ESU
Divine Messenger of Olodumare
Esu is the Divine Messenger of Olodumare. When Esu was in heaven, he traveled between heaven and earth carrying out the will of Olodumare. On one particular occasion, Esu was instructed to gather all the necessary elements to create human beings and deliver those elements to Obatala. Esu was angered by this instruction because Esu felt he was the better craftsman and was jealous that Obatala was chosen. In his anger, Esu decided not to follow Olodumare’s instructions. Esu kept the elements he had gathered and began to create human beings himself.
However, Esu’s plans were discovered by the Orisa, and Esu was brought before Olodumare. For his unwillingness to follow Olodumare’s word, he was cast out of heaven and made to serve human beings as their messenger to Olodumare. In this role, Esu became the Keeper of Ase; taking offerings made to Orisa and the Ancestors by human beings to heaven and returning with the Ase that Olodumare has granted. However, Esu does not fully accept his punishment. Instead of freely delivering the offerings of human beings, he first requests that human beings appease him. When appeased, Esu delivers the offerings to Olodumare and returns with the Ase. Otherwise, Esu refuses to deliver the offerings and turns against human beings. In traditional Ifa Practice, Esu wears the colors white and black, which reflect his dual nature of being both a supporter of human beings and a detriment to them. In his support of human beings, the color white represents Esu’s ability to show you the truth. As a detriment to human beings, the color black represents Esu’s ability to hide the truth. In this capacity, Esu has the power to make truths seem false and falsehoods seem true. The result is that human beings are always faced with choosing what is true and what is false. To be protected from Esu’s mischievous nature, the Ancestors teach us to consult Ifa.
As an Ifa practitioner, Esu sits at the crossroads of life, challenging the path to your destiny. It is Esu that presents your life options before you, and tests your character. If you demonstrate the wisdom that comes from Ifa, Esu will allow you to move forward toward your destiny. Conversely, without Ifa, Esu will blind you to the true path of your destiny, which will keep you from fulfilling the word of Olodumare. Therefore, under the guidance of Ifa, human beings can develop the character to overcome the challenges of Esu.