In Oshogbo, the centre of the cult of Oshun, the river goddess, for instance, the Ataoja (king) told me that Elegba and Oshun were married and later added that Oshun herself is very cunning and has witchcraft. It was clear that the marriage of Oshun and Eshu expressed the fact that they shared some characteristics. But for the peaceful and patient members of the Orisha Funfun (lit.
White Gods) cult-a cult devoted to the creator gods-Eshu is totally evil. One such cult official said: ‘Eshu has no wives and no children; he is too wicked. No one will live with him and that is why he is homeless and must live in the crossroads and in the market.’ It is abundantly clear that the tempestuous and vengeful nature of Eshu clashes with the justice-loving and non-violent temper of the Orisha Funfun worshippers. They are Eshu’s greatest despisers. In their concern with creation they cannot tolerate Eshu’s destructiveness. To them, for whom justice, peace, and patience are prime virtues, Eshu is considered lowly, contemptible, and even ugly.
By many Christians and Muslims he is often thought to be the Devil. Yet not only Eshu worshippers, but also Ifa priests and members of the cults of the so-called hot or hard gods (e.g. Shango, the god of thunder and lightning, Ogun, the god of iron, and Shopona, the god of smallpox), describe Eshu not only as a god who may give children to his devotees, but also as a very handsome and vain man.
in Yoruba Iconography
Author(s): Joan Wescott
Source: Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 32, No. 4 (Oct., 1962), pp.
Published by: Edinburgh University Press (via cosmicyoruba)