Hello everyone i’m back again with another addition to my African culture section. When everyone mentions tricksters in mythology they always mention the Norse God Loki. With the success of marvel films and popular shows like Vikings, then it is not very surprising that he has such notoriety. I did a social experiment where I asked random people if they knew any gods from African origin. The answers ranged from Anubis to even Thoth. It seems like the majority of societies knowledge on the African Pantheon only resides in Egyptian mythos. The media can also be blamed for this for when talking about African culture the most shown appearances in the media are always about the Egyptian gods. While I do enjoy the Egyptian gods, I branched out to learn more about different cultures in Africa where I found the Yoruba Orishas. Up until I studied, the only trickster god i knew of in Africa was Anansi. Many people have heard his stories in many books as children growing up, but I learned he isn’t the only mischievous one. Today I will like to talk about the Yoruba trickster, Eshu.
Eshu is the Orisha of chaos and misfortune. He is known to be one of the messengers of the Gods. He obtained this role after trying to trick the high god with lies so as punishment he was to see the human world during the day, and report what he saw to the gods at night. Eshu loves confusion and disorder. He is often responsible when friends are arguing with each other and when wives and husbands have disputes. It is said that he once led the moon and the sun into opposite positions which caused a cosmic disorder. He is always causing chaos and is paired with the god Ifa. Ifa is the god known for order and when Eshu said he will get rid of him, Ifa stated that would never work. Ifa explained that if he died then Eshu would die as well and if he transformed then so will Eshu. The best way to explain this would be to compare it to the eastern philosophy of Taoism, which to western culture is known as yin and yang.
Order can not exist without disorder. Peace can not exist without chaos. The two sides are always bound to one another no matter what is done. They balance each other out on the cosmic scale and both exists to counter the other. If one grows then so does the other. If one dies then so does the other. This is why Ifa the god of order says that if he dies then so will Eshu, the god of disorder. Eshu may cause many bad things to happen but at the end of the day good will also happen. There can always be peace found even in the most troubling of times. One of my favorite quotes is about the rose that grew from the concrete. It struggled through the hardships to sprout into beauty. So do not fear whatever misfortune Eshu may bring, peace will always follow.