From OGEBEDI comes a complex story about the dangers of not sacrificing, the benefits of making the sacrifice, and the dire consequences of jumping to conclusions. The tale also explains how Esu became the permanent slave of Ifa, Orunmila, and how Esu came to reside outside:
Ogbedikaka, Ogbedilele cast Ifa for Esu when he was serving a term of slavery with Orunmila, Orisa-oko, and Ogun. Esu was asked to offer as a sacrifice: palm kernel shells, nine pigeons, and eighteen thousand cowries. Ifa medicine should be prepared to enable him to pay his debts.
Esu refused to sacrifice.
Esu was a fisherman at that time. Whenever he caught a lot of fish in his trap, the irunmale (four hundred deities) were envious of him. They thought that Esu could soon make enough money to bail himself out of his financial straits. For this reason, they decided to send him on errands to distant places on the same day. Orunmila sent Esu to Oke-Bisi to bring his bag and tray. After sending the message, Orunmila thought of consulting the Ifa oracle on the matter. He called the babalawos who divined Ifa saw Ogbedikaka. Orunmilla was advised to sacrifice six rabbits, six pigeons, and twelve thousand cowries,
He heard and performed the sacrifice.
Ifa medicine was prepared for him by tying up the six rabbits in the bag. They warned him to carry the bag with him. Orisa-nla asked Esu to go to Ode-Irawo. Ogun asked Esu to go to Ode-Ire and bring his gbamdari (a large cutlass). Quickly, Esu got up and went to a nearby bush, where he conjured and obtained all the things requested. Immediately after Esu had left, all the irunmale went to collect the fish from his trap. As he was returning home, he found them sharing his fish. When he appeared unexpectedly, everybody pocketed the fish. He delivered all the items that they had requested him to fetch. Esu then began to question everybody. “Where did you get the fish you were sharing?” Some were apologizing; some did not know what to say. Those begging his pardon decided to give up their claims on the money he owed them. He should not let anyone hear that they had stolen. It was custom in Ife at that time that nobody must steal. Orunmila said he did not steal Esu’s fish. Esu said Orunmila must have stolen the fish that were tied up in the bag he was holding. Esu thought fish noses were bulging out of the bag. They took the matter to court at Ife town. They argued. The court decided to ask Orunmila to unveil the contents of his bag. He loosened the bag and they saw the six rabbits he threw out. They started to blame Esu. Esu begged Orunmila for his pardon. Orunmila refused to accept his apology. Esu further pledged his house and other possessions to Orunmila. Orunmila still refused to accept his plea. Esu responded that he would go home with Orunmila and continue to serve him forever. They handed Esu over to Orunmila. When they arrived at Orunmila house, Esu wanted to enter with Orunmila. Orunmila refused and asked Esu to sit outside. Orunmila said what he ate inside the house he would share with Esu outside.
Esu has been living outside ever since that day.
This verse teaches us about making our sacrifices. How many times have we read the ese Ifa and learned of penalties for not making the sacrifice? One must really evaluate and come to terms with what ‘making sacrifice’ really means for them, as devotees of this tradition. What it does on behalf of the person. This concept may help us to remember not to tarry on sacrifices, and when we have the materials and supplies, to give and give with a glad heart. Something is being done on your behalf, when you sacrifice. You win out in the end, so why is there so much tripidation in the beginning? This verse also shows us the power (or the downfall) of jumping to conclusions. I read that Awo must think about something several times before even asking Ifa about it. In other words, cool your head and ease your mind. Patience is the key to catching the fly. If you suspect someone, Truth will prevail, but if you accuse someone, and you are wrong, there can be everlasting effects. May we remember to do our sacrifices. May there always be money and materials at hand, so that we can make our sacrifices. And no matter how certain we are that someone is guilty, may we reframe from jumping to conclusions and false accusations….for our sake. Ase.