The divine messenger
Exu, the guardian of the gate between our real and the supernatural one, the God of intersections. No being can cross between realms without his conscient. In Africa, the symbol of an intersection represents the point of creation of the universe and where the human realm meets with the spiritual realm. Intersections are places of meetings, just the same as separations. This is why Exu teaches us through choice, because we can’t just can’t “sit on both chairs.” We can only walk our one designated path.
Exu is one of the most controversial of Orixás. Orixa Exu is closest to us humans, which is why he can even be a little malicious. He has a great sense of humour. He is playful and cunning. He likes to prepare challenges and traps, he offers seductions and illusions. He loves riddles, paradoxes and double-meanings. Exu represents the first form gifted with an individual existence. He symbolises the ego, which is a good servant but a terrible lord. With him it is necessary to always be alert and cultivate a mutual relationship. In reality though, he hates lies and he works in the name of truth. That is why his principle teaches us how to not let ourselves be fooled and to not believe how things show themselves on the surface, but to look at them under all their different masks. He teaches us how to not be naive in life, since because the negative pole also exists, it is impossible to ignore it. Everyone needs to know how to deal with it. Sometimes he can also appear immoral because he shows that no absolute truths exist, that an opinion depends on the point of view. Exu protects the law, and yet exists (in accordance with his nature) as chaos in service of the law. As the messenger of the orixas, he controls the art of communication and the exchange of messages.
His colours are red and black, which represent the elements of fire and earth. Black functions to absorb energy, red on the other hand supplies the energy of life and reproduction. Other than that, they also symbolise Exu’s strong sexual drive and passion. We can often see Exu holding in his hands a steel spear – trident (which represents different paths, intersections) and a wooden staff, which he uses to punish those who attempt to trick the Gods. His Christian counterpart is Saint Antonio from Padua, who is the patron of lovers, travellers and lost things. Together they celebrate their holiday on the 13th of June.
Exu, as the guardian of gates, is always honoured first at the beginning of every ceremony or spiritual work. He brings protection to every beginning and new opportunities. He can help us make the right decisions and support us to make the first step. He is the remover of all obstacles on the way and his solutions are hasty. People always ask him for help and protection when he so happens to appear in a home. He can be helpful in the area of work, travelling, communication and monetary gain, because he is also greatly associated with trade. Orixa Exu is also the deity of divination and magic, which is why he is called upon for banishing dark energies.
When we turn to the orixas and guides with our pleas, it is always important to act in accordance with our wishes. Exu may open paths and opportunities for us, but we must make the first step on our own. If we don’t want for action, we might provoke the deities to think that we don’t appreciate their help. To Exu this applies doubly so. For establishing contact it is best to light a candle for him on Monday and utter prayers or singing pontos.