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African Traditional Religions: Ifa

This guide, created by the Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library with funding from the Atla OER Grant Program, exists as an Open Educational Resource on "African Traditional Religions: Ifa." Content licensed CC-BY-NC 4.0.

Prayer: Esu (The Divine Messenger)

Photography: Will Coleman Ph.D.

Oriki Esu

Oriki Esu are invocations used to call the Spirit of the Divine Messenger. This is the Spirit who is usually invoked first in a ritual context. The function of the Divine Messenger is to translate the language of Nature into the language of humans and the language of humans into the language of Nature. The process is the foundation for communication with the Spirit. There are hundreds of different Esu.

ÈSÙ (The Divine Messenger) 

Èsù, Èsù Òdàra, Èsù lanlu origioko. Okunrin orí ita, ajo langa langa lalu. 

Divine Messenger, Divine Messenger of Transformation, Divine Messenger speak with power. Man of the crossroads, dance to the drum. 

A rin lanja lanja lalu. Ode ibi ja de mole. Ija ni otaru ba d’ele ife. 

Tickle the toe of the Drum. Move beyond strife. Strife is contrary to the Spirits of the Invisible Realm. 

To fi de omo won. Oro Èsù to to to akoni, Ao fi ida re lale. 

Unite the unsteady feet of weaning children. The word of the Divine Messenger is always respected. We shall use your sword to touch the earth. 

Èsù ma se mi o. Èsù ma se mi o. Èsù ma se mi o. 

Divine Messenger do not confuse me. Divine Messenger do not confuse me. Divine Messenger do not confuse me. 

Omo elomiran ni ko lo se. Pa ado asubi da. No ado asure si wa. 

Let someone else be confused. Turn my suffering around. Give me the blessing of the calabash. 

Ase. 

May it be so. 

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ORIKI ESU OPIN

(Praising the Divine Messenger of Boundaries)

Ajibike owuru ja s'ogun, isele, afaja b'Orun be enia eleti gbofo, gb'aroye.

One who is saluted first, fighter who heals better than medicine. A phenomenon carries the dog upon his shoulder like a baby. One who has perforated ears to hearken all petitions.

A bi etii luy ka bi ajere. O soro l'ano, o see loni Sango o gbodo pe t'Esu o si si.

He spoke yesterday. It comes to pass today; the Spirit of Lightning dares not deny the existence of the Divine Messenger.

Oya o gbodo pe t"Esu o si si. Omolu o gbodo pe t'Esu o si si.

The Spirit of Wind dares not deny the existence of the Divine Messenger. The Spirit of Infectious Disease dares not deny the existence of the Divine Messenger

Osun o gbodo pe t'Esu o si si. Ifa o gbodo pe t"Esu o si si. Esu Opin,

The Spirit of the River dares not deny the existence of the Divine Messenger. Ifa dares not deny the existence of the Divine Messenger, Divine Messenger of Boundaries,

Gboongbo ki gbongbo. Ajiboke owuru ja s'ogun Esu ma se mi o.

Root of all roots. Cherished one, the fighter heals better than medicine. Divine Messenger do not harm me.

Ajibike ma se mi o. Esu ma se mi o. Mo Rubo Esu Opin o.

Cherished one do not harm me. Divine Messenger do not harm me. I make offerings to the Divine Messenger of Boundaries.

Ase.

May it be so.

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ORIKI ESU ISERI

(Praising the Divine Messenger of the Morning Dew)

Esu Iseri ganga to lojo oni. Mo fiku mi ro sorun re. Aye le o.

The Divine Messenger of the Morning Dew who owns this day. I place my life in your care. The world is a difficult place.

Mo fiku mi ro sorun re. Aye le o. Mo fiku mi ro sorun re. Esu Iseri to lojo oni.

I place my life in your care. The world is a difficult place. I place my life in your care. The Divine Messenger of the Morning Dew who owns this day.

Mo fiku mi ro sorun re.

I place my life in your care.

Ase.

May it be so.

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ORIKI ESU JEKI EBO DA

(Praising the Divine Messenger who Sanctions Life Force Offerings)

Oo reran re. Oo reran re. Esu Jeki Ebo Da oo reran re. Oo reran re.

He looks upon the offerings. He looks upon the offerings. The Divine Messenger who Sanctions Life Force Offerings, Looks upon the offerings. He looks upon the offerings.

Oo reran re. Esu Jeki Ebo Da  oo reran re. Esu Jeki Ebo Da oo reran re.

He looks upon the offerings. The Divine Messenger who Sanctions Life Force Offerings looks upon the offerings. The Divine Messenger who Sanctions Life Force Offerings looks upon the offering.

Esu Jeki Ebo Da oo reran re. Esu Jeki Ebo Da gbe eni s 'ebo loore  o.

The Divine Messenger who Sanctions Life Force Offerings, looks upon the offerings. The Divine Messenger who Sanctions Life Force Offerings gives kindness to those who make offerings.

Ase.

May it be so.

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