One of the principle methods by which the babalawo strive to bring about the Good Condition is called ebo riru, or sacrifice. Proverbial wisdom advises us, riru eboni gbe ni, airu ebo ni ki gbeniyan, making of sacrifice favors one; refusal to sacrifice benefits no one.
Knowledge without manifestation and transformation lacks efficacy and is therefore impotent. Esu - by carrying sacrifices - is the force that transforms knowledge into action in the physical and spiritual realms. Esu is the protector of ritual culture. Knowledge without manifestation and transformation lacks efficacy and is therefore impotent. Esu is the force that transforms knowledge into action in the physical and spiritual realms. There is a fantastic oriki that doubles as a praise riddle for Esu. It says;
Esu slept in the house
The house was too small.
Esu slept on the verandah
The verandah was too small.
Esu climbed into a nutshell
Finally! He was able to stretch out!
Esu walked through the ground nut farm
His tuft of hair was barely visible.
If not for his enormous size, he would not have been visible at all.
Esu throws a rock today
and it hits someone yesterday!
We experience Esu but we do not know him. The far reaches of our ambiguity about what is good, what is bad, what is real and what is false is his domain. Esu is the embodiment of paradoxical wisdom.