Eshu also known as Elegba or Legba is one of the most respected deities in Yoruba tradition. He is the god of chance, accident and unpredictability. Some refer to him as the protector of travelers and god of crossroads.
Every ceremony or ritual begins with an offering to Eshu as he is responsible for carrying messages and sacrifices from humans to the other Orishas. Known to be a trickster god, he lurks at gateways, highways, crossroads and doesn’t miss an opportunity to introduce humans to chance and accident. He does this to teach valuable lessons to those he encounters
Here’s an example of how he taught a certain community a valuable lesson
Eshu was walking down the road one day, wearing a hat that was red on one side and blue on the other. Sometime after he departed, the villagers who had seen him began arguing about whether the stranger’s hat was blue or red. The villagers on one side of the road had only been capable of seeing the blue side, and the villagers on the other side had only been capable of seeing the red half. They nearly fought over the argument, until Eshu came back and cleared the mystery, teaching the villagers about how one’s perspective can alter one’s perception of reality, and can be easily fooled
Here’s the story of how he became an intermediary between Orishas and humanity
Eshu stole yams from Obatala’s garden and used Obatala’s scandals to make footprints around the garden, as the Orishas gathered to inquire into the situation Eshu brought evidence that Obatala must have stolen the yams himself to cause discord amongst the Orishas. Obatala was pissed, he wasn’t looking for the thief anymore. All he wanted now was to punish Eshu’s insolence, he ordered Eshu to evacuate to the Earth and visit the sky every night with news of what was happening with the humans he had created
Some folklore tell tales of Eshu and Elegba being two sides of the same coins
While Eshu lives outside the house, Elegba lives inside the house. Eshu is the force that brings the trickster out and the negative energies while Elegba promotes the positive energies. Eshu stays outside the house because he is so complicated that every time he comes inside a house he brings torment and arguments
Eshu is the most complicated Orisha in Yoruba mythology and stories about him are the deepest
A long time ago, there lived a very beautiful hen. Her parents were very poor and in dept, so it was decided that who ever was able afford her ridiculously high bride price would be her groom
The Yoruba people occupy what is now southwestern Nigeria and parts of The Republic of Benin, According to them, this is how humans came to be
In the beginning, there was only the sky above, water and marshland below.
The great god Olorun ruled the sky while the goddess Olokun( owner of the seas and goddess of wealth) ruled what was below.
Obatala, feeling creative went to Olorun to ask for permission so he can create dry land and he was granted, then he went to Orunmila, Olorun’s eldest son(The god of prophecy) to seek advice
He was told he would need a gold chain long enough to reach below, a snail’s shell filled with sand, a white hen, a black cat, and a palm nut, all of which he was to carry in a bag.
The gods contributed what gold they had, and Orunmila supplied the articles for the bag. When all was ready, Obatala used the chain to climb down from the sky with the bag hunged over his shoulder, when he reached the end of the chain he saw he still had some distance .