What’s Inside Your Esu/Ellegua?
For over a quarter of a century people have asked us: “What’s really
Inside my Esu/Ellegua?”
Prior to the Ifa Foundation introducing North American’s to the philosophy of Ifa, the overwhelming majority knew only the Santeria/Lucumi view of the Universe…and that view was NOT based upon the 8000 year reality of Ifa, but upon the Western religious – primarily Catholic – setS of rules and values. Those values combined with Western cultural values to bring about a belief in things rather than energy.
When, in 1974, I was first introduced to Santeria/Lucumi, it was par for the course for the priest to include such items as coins, dirt from a cemetery, dust from a prison, a bone or a rock, along with a host of other items, and mold them inside the Esu/Ellegua they were constructing. Each item was representative of certain attributes.
In Africa, for thousands of years, ALL Orisa are self-contained, totally complete, matrixes of the energy they embody.
Said in another way, Western art is always representational. A painting of a woman is representative of the woman. A sculpture of a horse is representative of a horse. A clowns’ mask is representative of a clown.
In African art, a pregnancy mask is not representative; it is the embodiment of pregnancy!
An African Death Mask is not representative of Death; it is the embodiment of Death!
And an African Orisa, Esu/Ellegua, Osun, Ogun or any other, is NOT a representation of the Orisa; it is the total embodiment of that Energy! TOTAL and complete in and of itself.
By attempting to modify or improve on that essential energy through the use of man-made items or modifications, is to short-circuit the genuine energy itself.
There is a second, and equally important Truth:
The energy can ONLY be transferred from its original seminal source through the triangulation of the skills, wisdom and world-view of the Priest creating it. In the course of that happening, critically important changes occur. If, for example, the priest holds a World-View that is personally corrupt – if they believe women are second class citizens, or skin color is important, or sexual orientation is critical, or a host of other exclusionary ideas, the energy that is transmitted will reflect those views and limitations. The energy is, in a real sense, modeled by the energy of the priest.
A useful metaphor would be a chef taking a host of perfect natural ingredients and failing to wash his hands prior to the process. While the ingredients would be perfect, the germs or dirt from the chef’s hands would corrupt the final product.
There is one last great Truth in regard to the inherent energy of your Orisa or implement:
The skills of the priest will determine the outcome as well. That is where, and why, it takes years of experience, years of developing and working and living with good character, with lasting and loving relationships, with accomplishment and success to be able to create a living example of any energy that has the capacity to allow you to benefit from the full spectrum of what they have to offer.
Many would believe, or attempt to convince you, that it is the ingredients that determine the outcome… It is NOT. It is the inherent energy of the priest, combining with the perfect energy of the Orisa that determines the outcome.
If that is flawed, the object, while “alive” will be flawed in the same way of the person that created it.
There is no “Shazam” that will turn the flawed, inexperienced or bad character priest into Captain Marvel. It is not a matter of cemetery dust, coins or bones. It is a matter of pure energy, that must remain pure if the object is to have relevance, meaning and power for you.
I do not know what may be in your Esu/Ellegua, because I do not know who created it. I DO know what should be in it. Nothing but pure energy lovingly transferred through the energy of an experienced, wise priest who has lived their life with good character and integrity. Anything less is simply another example of our cultural shortcomings…like being a little pregnant, or almost faithful.
In order to reach your Destiny you cannot settle for less than the perfection of what Oludumare’s energies can offer.
Philip John Neimark