Thursday, March 11, 2010

Meet Me at the Crossroads

No journey begins without Eshu (aka, Esu, Exu, Elegua, Eleggua, Elegbara, Eleda, Elegba) the Divine Trickster. Eshu, for any of you who are familiar with any earth centered religion, fulfills the role of the divine messenger between Oludamare (the Creator), the gods, the dead and men. He is a phallic horned, god, keeper of the gates, Lord of the Crossroads, guiding us in the right direction. He is often personified as "The Devil" but Eshu is not an adversary of God nor the scapegoat of man as portrayed by Christianity. Instead he is an agent of God, a necessary evil to challenge mankind to evolve and learn from our mistakes. He is present when life is born, and when death arrives; he is there when red blood flows into life, and when the black void takes over.

It is said there are uncountable paths of Elegua, and that these branch out into other manifestations. When we receive Elegua we are given the name of the avatar or path. The Elegua head pictured below houses the Ache (energy) of Eshu Alagwanna, he is the overseer of egungun (spirits of the dead). He can open the lines of communication with the ancestors because he sits at the cemetery gates guarding and maintaining the order of the dead who pass through. He is associated with the Anima Sola (the Lonely Soul), so chains are essential to him. Hell is eternal, but damnation is not. Eshu will punish sinners only for as long as it is necessary to be cleansed by the purifying flames of the inferno.

This is a very strong path of Elegua! He is a spiritual warrior and is said to be the source of all disgraces, afflictions punishments, misfortunes and accidents...he'll beat your ass down in the crossroads! He goes after wrong doers and punishes people not in compliance with God's design. He guards the unfortunate and the hopeless while they gather strength. Eshu Alagwanna is very serious and does not tolerate carelessness or laziness. He teaches humility and respect. He teaches us to work hard and live life to it's fullest. If you are worthy he will open the doors of opportunity and success, and lead you toward the fulfillment of your true destiny! You might hear him say "what doesn't kill you will make you stronger" Have you ever heard the Dead Prez song "Walk like a Warrior"? That's Eshu Alagwanna's theme song!

Eshu Alagwanna, is a close friend and messenger to the warrior goddess, Oya (Spirit of the Wind and Mother of the Dead). Goddess of the Niger River. Oya is the embodiment of the Wind, lightning, fire, and magick. She is a sorceress and is known as one of the Great Mothers of the "Elders of the Night (Witches)" As the Spirit of the Wind, she manifests in Creation in the forms of sudden and drastic change, strong cleansing storms, hurricanes and tornadoes! In this aspect she is accompanied by her husband, the god Shango, Lord of Thunder. He also reconciles these forces into peace and understanding. Oya is the goddess of rapid change, transformation, and the chaos it brings. She is the revolutionary energy that leads to rebirth. She is fearless and for that reason, she governs the Dead and is the protectress of ancestral customs. Her symbol is the broom, and with it she sweeps away all injustice and dishonesty from her path. Not only does she speak the truth, she will only accept the truth. She is a social crusader who always fights for the underdog. I always think of Grace Jones as the personification of Oya! Fierce!

Despite her fierce demeanor, she gives of herself selflessly and places others needs before her own. She is known for her intelligence, gracefulness, and her deep intense sensuality and passion. She is the summer breeze that cools us. She is the gentle winds that carry pollen and is associated with fertility. "Oya’s presence and action is reflected in the flight of birds, the swaying of trees, the whistling of the atmosphere, the blowing of dust, the hurling of dirt, the movement of the waves, the sound of music, the spoken word, the cry of a baby, the roar of the lion, the movement of clouds, and the life of fire. It is Orisha Oya who gives us our passport to life [breath] at birth, and requires its return at death. Oya is therefore, the watcher of the doorway between life and death. She is not death but the awareness of its existence."

Life is but a series of initiations. I have walked with Eshu Alagwanna for 7 years, I've literally been to hell and back. He came to me when I had a storefront Botanica here in Chicago. The energy of Eshu Alagwanna was sent to me to clear the path to my spiritual destiny. My path was blocked with past life issues, genetic & karmic cycles, behavioral conditioning (via family, society and religion), and the consequences of living outside of moral law. Once my Ori, (my higher self, as she exists in heavens) It was made in Cuba by an elder Priest of the religion of La Regla Lucumi also known as Santeria. He was also a powerful sorcerer "scratched in Palo". (Palo Mayombe is the dark side of Santeria) You say you want a revolution? So do I...wanna see my war scars?

may the head be clean ~ may the house be clean ~ may the way be clean

*Related Post: Rites of Passage


Carrieann said...

good article! Thanks for sharing it.

Pedro Paulo said...

Very good! My name is Pedro. Im from Brazil. I just like so add some more info about exu and the other gods from the ioruba panteon. When the slaves brought their religion from africa they were forbidden to perform their religious tradition. So they hidden all aspects from their ancient religion into christian mitology. Ogum, the warrior became São Jorge. Iansã became Santa Clara. As a trickester, Exu had no association with any of the mythic figures from catolicism... many of symbols and atitudes were associeted with the catolic devil. It is said that the ioruba gods dont mind to be worshiped with other names as long they are worshiped so Exu became de devil. In the "terreiros" exu is the first one to be called because he is the one that take the "oferendas" to the other gods. Other thing..Exu doesnt care about good or evil he accepts all your pleages as long you pay him his tribute.