In West African folklore there is a dynamic God named Esu who is above the bounds of ethical judgment. Esu is the lord of the crossroads, where he can carry messages and sacrifices to and from the gods. Esu guides people to the afterlife through the decisions they have made in this life, and based on the roads they took to get to their destinations; hence “at a crossroads”.
It is told that legendary Blues musician Robert Johnson met up with Esu at the crossroads and sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his musical talents. As a young musician, Robert Johnson was frequently ridiculed during and after his performances. This ridicule got to Robert and he eventually disappeared for some time, many thought that he had quit music all together. After a year’s time Robert Johnson resurfaced playing Blues music that was instantly a hit and the legend was that his new talents came from his meeting with Esu.
The story of Robert Johnson, where folklore and real life come together to form legend, is a story that each of us will face multiple times in our lifespan. We will all come to a crossroads in life where a tough decision will need to be made and we have a metaphysical choice; do you sell your soul or not?
When we come to a crossroads in life the decisions we make will speak loudly of our character. We will decide to take a road that will have a consequence attached to it and it is our responsibility to accept that decisions result, positive or negative. We do not have the benefit of being a God such as Esu, where we are above the bounds of ethical judgment. Our decisions need to be calculated because in most cases the will affect not only ourselves, but others that we hold close to ourselves. In essence, we will be judged by the choices that we make.
To sell our soul is to take the easy way out. It is our compromise for making the wrong choice and not wanting to live up to the negative consequences we created through our decision. When we reach a crossroads in life we need to understand that there is no easy way out, that we must work our way through the tough decision making process and fight until the road becomes unobstructed. This is the only way for us to keep our character intact while still enhancing our lives.
Robert Johnson did not sell his soul to the devil when he met Esu. He took a year off and perfected the craft that he was passionate about. Robert Johnson failed, rose above fear, and decided to make himself a legend.