It is alarming to note the level of misinformation that has befallen the Yoruba race in lieu of our inclination towards alien esoteric knowledge.
When I see people referring to Esu in derogatory manners and in connection with the biblical Satan or the Aramaic shaitan, it tends to reiterate my belief and the agreeable truth of our misinformed stereotype in this part of the world.
The translation of the English bible into Yoruba version and the Quran in like manner did much damage to the Yoruba spiritual climate, as people do not want to be associated with anything labeled negative, albeit how untrue such claims might be.
In my over 28 years of Ifa study and divination, it would only be untrue to accrue that my own means of communication with the cosmic is most potent, for in truth every gate leads to cosmic consciousness, It goes further in my assertion that language is the fulcrum of life and at such every means of communication with the cosmic is valid and embedded in the language ingenious to our DNA.
The Yoruba spiritual system however, does not subscribe to what I call “the polarization effect” accrued to western spirituality to control mass action and for societal organization, through the fear mechanism.
Western spirituality ascribe to polarity based religious set-up, where there is an hero and a subsequent villain, this narrative brought the existence of an Holy God and unholy Satan, pitching one against the other.
In propagating the gospel that preaches spiritual polarity to a race that is not used to such rhetorics, one of the most potent Irumole’s in the Yoruba spiritual system had to be depicted as the villain, thus Esu whom the Yoruba’s revered for the wondrous work he has done; that the he had to be labeled “Ola ilu” the “wealth of society” became Satan.
As we celebrate World Esu day today 24th December 2018, I find it expedient to lay the truth bare and make the narrative clear. Answering the question Is Esu Satan? would not be explicit without citing with detailed explanation the usage of the word Esu in Yoruba cosmology.
Who is Esu?
Esu is one of the 801 Irunmole’s of Olodumare in fact, he is the “enforcer” otherwise the chief of staff to Olodumare.
According to Yoruba spiritual system Esu is the custodian of the “Ase” that Olodumare used in creating this world and also the progenitor between Man and “Ajogun” (the negative or evil occurrences happening to man, ranging from Iku (Death), Arun (Sickness), Ejo (Problem) and other negativities. It is the duty of Esu to inform all the other irunmoles and Orishas on the demise about to befall a particular being while urging the irunmoles or predominant Orishas to take the message to the person.
Esu ensures that all prayers get to heaven and does any Job giving to him without complain, always citing repercussions and retribution.
Esu “Ola ilu”, which directly translates to Esu being the wealth of society, is a testament of how influential Esu is among the Irunmole’s and how important he is to all Ifa adept and yorubas alike.
It’s therefore baseless to assert that such important Irunmole is synonymous to the biblical devil known primarily for deceit, evil and other vices that antagonizes Gods will, Esu is an enforcer of that will.
In linguistics, translation according to the Yoruba language naturally adds suffixes to word to convert such word to ingenious Yoruba word.
Example of such words:
John – Johanu
Jesus – Jesu
Peter – Peteru
Satan – Sataani (not Esu)
How then did Satan got translated into Esu?
It’s important that this rhetoric changes completely so that Ifa adepts and Esu worshippers alike would find solace in publicly identifying with their spirituality as against the fear of societal rejection based on stereotypical ideology that has been generally accepted.
As we celebrate World Esu day today, it’s soothing to say ESU IS NOT SATAN!
Aseyi Samodun o! Ire o!
. Awolola is an Ifa Divination and Toran specialist.