Who Said Eshu Was The Devil?
Recently, I’ve had several people write to me about Eshu. They have told me horror stories about Eshu being like the devil, about him playing nasty tricks and games on people. He is a manipulator, and Orisha who never plays fair, and is unpredictable. Well, those were some pretty harsh things to say about Eshu. Then, I thought to myself. How did Eshu get this really bad reputation?
Then, I thought about Western literature. I remembered reading Dante’s Inferno where a devil like creature resided in the under-world. The devil was of course an amalgamation of the dark forces that exists within our selves and in the world.
We were taught to fear the devil, to fear the darkness. This is perhaps why Eshu has become more like the boogeyman than our spiritual savior. He bears his stripes strong and proud. He blatantly brandishes his wickedness and it is too much to handle for some people.
Why? Well, mainly because people are afraid to look within themselves. They are afraid to see the nasty devilish creature that they have hidden inside of them. So at night, when the lights go out, it comes out to play. It hides in their closet, and under their beds. It plays tricks on them by pulling off the covers, or by exposing its shadow to the light. It thrives on fear, because then people can push it back into the dark recesses of the mind, where it grows and becomes more powerful, more menacing.
Eshu is a representation of the trickery and manipulation that the ego holds over the mind. Eshu is also the personification of misfortune and death. When the ego becomes too strong, it begins to suppress the other parts of the mind and the soul, inhibiting spiritual growth. You can think of the ego like a virus or disease that eats away at your soul. Some people think that they can do away with their ego entirely. But much like the boogeyman, it sneaks up on them at night. The only way to deal with the ego is to become aware.
People can become aware by understanding that they have darkness inside of them. They can become aware by understanding that there is darkness in nature. Darkness is needed, for balance, for growth, for evolution. Our external world is reflection of our own inner turmoil. The things that we fear represent the issues in our lives that we need to face. So we all have a choice. We can go on being afraid of the darkness, or we can accept it as an entity that is needed for our spiritual development.