Who is Exu?

A representation of Eshu.

Eshu (known as Echú or Exú in Latin America) is an Orisha. He is the orisha of roads, particularly crossroads, the orisha with the power over fortune and misfortune, and the personification of death; he is a psychopomp.

Eshu is the spirit of Chaos and Trickery, and plays frequently by leading mortals to temptation and possible tribulation in the hopes that the experience will lead ultimately to their maturation. In this way he is certainly a difficult teacher, but in the end is usually found to be a good one.[1][2]

Eshu in different cultures

The veneration of Eshu is widespread in the Americas, as well as in Africa, and he is venerated under many different names and attributes:[3]

  • Èṣù-Elegba: In Yorùbáland, this is an energy that rose out of the Yangi (sacred red rock) and allows people to communicate with the Irunmole, Orisa, Orunmila, and so on. This is essentially the oldest Orisha.
  • Exú de Candomblé: In Candomblé, Exú is the Orixá of crossroads and is the divine messenger.
  • Eleguá and Echú: In Santería, Eleguá is an Orichá, and Echú is like his shadow, considered to be more wild and unpredictable. However, Echú can be tamed by Eleguá.
  • Legba: In Vodou, Papa Legba is the intermediary between the divine and humanity, while Kalfu is his Petro manifestation.
  • Leba: In Surinamese Winti, Leba is the spirit of the streets and crossroads. This spirit cleans the path clean for other spirits. And also cleans the path clean for the believers.
  • Exú de Quimbanda: In Quimbanda, Exú is a spirit. Exú de Quimbanda can be "controlled" by the Quimbanda practitioner to go and do many sorts of deeds.
  • Lubaniba: In Palo Mayombe, Lubaniba (also Nkuyo\Mañunga\Lucero) is the spirit of balance and guidance through paths.

Best known Exú paths in Portuguese traditions

  • Exú Rei
  • Exú João Caveira
  • Exú Tranca Rua
  • Exú Tranca Rua das Almas
  • Exú Sete Encruzilhadas
  • Exú Sete Capas
  • Exú Tiriri
  • Exú Veludo
  • Exú do Lodo
  • Exú Marabô
  • Exú Mirim

Best known Echú paths in Spanish traditions

  • Echú Ayé
  • Echú Laroye
  • Echú Laboní
  • Echú Alagwana
  • Echú Añiki
  • Echú Bararikikeño
  • Echú Baraliyiki
  • Echú Yemi
  • Echú Beleke
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eshu