Thursday, April 11, 2013


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Native Priest Performing Ritual Prayers with Legs Crossed Was Here

Original Igbo Religion

Igboland’s traditional religion is based on the belief that there is one creator, God, also called Chineke or Chukwu. The creator can be approached through numerous other deities and spirits in the form of natural objects, most commonly through the god of thunder (Amadioha). There is also the belief that ancestors protect their living descendants and are responsible for rain, harvest, health and children. Shrines, called Mbari, are made in honour of the earth spirit and contain tableaux of painted earth. Other shrines keep wooden figures representing ancestors and patrons. The evidence of these shrines, oracle houses and traditional priest in the villages still emphasise people’s beliefs, though with the western influence, Christianity has taken a more dominant role in modern Igboland. Nowadays, there are a large number of churches as well as mosques and traditional religion worship centres available in Enugu State. The state is predominantly made up of Christians (some argue that history has it that Igbos descended from Israel), and there is no acrimony between the adherents of the different religious beliefs.
Oracle House near Ama-Nkanu was here
There is almost an equal split between catholic and protestant churches in Enugu. The state hosts two catholic cathedrals: the Holy Ghost Cathedral can be found next to Ogbete Main Market in the city; the other Cathedral in Enugu State is located in Nsukka. Most people are very disciplined to attend church services and it is hard for them to believe in the existence of ‘free thinkers’, i.e. people who do not feel committed to any religion. One of the most important events in Igboland is Christmas and it signifies home return in the village. Even though they live most of the time in the city or somewhere else in Nigeria, Igbo families consider their one and only real home their house in the village. It is the two weeks around Christmas which bring families back together to the village. It is the time to catch up with other family members on what has happened over the year and visit relatives and friends in the neighbourhood. You will find the cities empty during this period only preceded and followed by the traffic peaks caused by travelling back and forth between the village and the cities.
Easter is the other event, though smaller in scale, which provides Igboland a break for festivities. People tend to go to their villages but most of them stay around in the city to visit friends and relatives. In line of this, Mother’s day is the last one I want to mention. On this Sunday the mothers prepare special food for the whole family, which is obviously a feast on its own.

Conversation: Let us Pray

hear igbo

- Bïa ka anyï gaa üka.
Let us go to church.
Ka anyï kpe ekpere.
Let us pray.
- Ï bü onye üka?
Are you a christian?
- E-e, abü m onye üka.
I am a christian.
- Olee üka ï na-ekpe?
Which denomination do you pray at?
- Abü m onye Anglican/Catholic.
I am Anglican/Catholic.
- Olee ebe ülö üka unu dï?
Where is your church?
- Ö dï n’Obiöma Street.
It is in Obioma Street.
Aga enwe üka üböchï üka na ütütü.
There is a mass on Sunday morning.
- Ekele dili gï.
Thank you very much.
- Chukwu gözie gï.
God bless you.

Nna anyï nö n’eluigwe
Our Father
Nna anyï nö n’eluigwe,
Our Father, who art in Heaven,
ka otito dïrï aha Gï,
hallowed be your name.
ka ochïchï Gï bïa,
Your kingdom come.
ka e mee uche Gï n’üwa ka e si eme ya n’eluigwe.
Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Nye anyï tata nri nke üböchï anyï.
Give us this day our daily bread,
Gbaghara anyï mmehie anyï dika anyï si gbaghara ndï mehiere anyï.
and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
E kwela ka anyï kwenye na nlanye,
And lead us not into temptation,
Ma zöpüta anyi n’ajö ihe.
but deliver us from evil.


ezigbo nwoke
good man
añuli Ekeresimesi
merry Christmas
Añuli arö öfüü
happy new year
añuli Easter
happy Easter
o Chineke
o Lord
Jesu Kristi
Jesus Christ
day, daylight
make a plea (verb)
save, rescue (verb)
give, present (verb)
ezi okwu
Anglican Church in Akpugo-Eze was here

Grammar: Adjectives

In Igbo, adjectives can immediately precede or follow the noun or pronoun to which it belongs. Most commonly used adjectives are:
good, beautiful
white, clean
ugly, bad
all, each, every
ö bü akwükwö öcha
it is white paper
ewu dum nö ebea
all goats are here
If the adjective is not directly preceding the noun or pronoun, the noun form of the adjective is used:
noun form
akwükwö dï ücha
the paper is white
ewu dum dï mma
all goats are good
The same principle as described above, applies to demonstrative adjectives, they can only follow or precede the noun immediately:
this, these
that, those
this house, these houses
ülö ahü
that house, those houses
These adjectives also form the demonstrative pronouns:
nke ahü
these (group)
ndi ahü
those (group)
this (thing)
ihe ahü
that (thing)
here (place)
ebe ahü
nkea dï mma
this is good
nke ahü dï njö
that is bad
ndia di mma
these are good
ihe ahü dï njö
that (thing) is bad
ebe ahü dï njö
there is bad
The verb ‘to be’ can be translated by three different verbs: bü,  and nö. The verb büis most commonly used for ‘to be’;  is used with a noun and not adjectives and indicates the quality or location of something ;  is used for the presence of someone in a location:
ö dï mma
it is fine
ö dï n’elu akpati
it is on top of the box
ö nö ya?
is he in?
ö nö ebe ahu?
is he there?
Copyright © 2000-2011 Michael Widjaja


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia
dinani, also dinala, Omenala,Omenana, Odinana or menani is the traditional culturalbeliefs and practises of the Igbo people[1] of West Africa. These terms, as used here in theIgbo language, are synonymous with the traditional Igbo "religious system" which was not considered separate from the social norms of ancient or traditional Igbo societies. Theocentricin nature, spirituality played a huge role in their everyday lives. Although it has largely been supplanted by Christianity, the indigenous belief system remains in strong effect among therural and village populations of the Igbo, where it has at times influenced the colonial religions. Odinani is a panentheistic faith, having a strong central deity at its head. All things spring from this deity. Although a semi-pantheon exists in the belief system, as it does in many indigenous African and Eastern religions, the lesser deities prevalent in Odinani expressly serve as elements of Chukwu or Chukouuee the central deity.[2]

Like all religions, Odinani is the vehicle used by its practitioners to understand their World (called "Uwa"), or more specifically, the part of the World that affects them — which is to say the dry Land on which the Igbo live and gather sustenance — and it is from this that the belief acquires its names: " di" (Igbo: it is ) + n'(na - Igbo: on/within) + "Ani" (Igbo: the Land or the Earth goddess) in the Northern Igbo dialects and also "O me" (Igbo: it happens ) + n'(na - Igbo:on/within) + "Ala" (Igbo: the Land or the physical manifestation of the Earth goddess as dry land) as used primarily in the Southern Igbo dialects.[3] Chukwu, as the central deity and driving force in the cosmos is unknowable, and too great of a power to be approached directly save by the manifestations that exist on the World (the Land, the Skies, and the Sea). Thus, Odinani rarely deals directly with the force that is Chukwu. Many other spirits and forces also exist in Odinani belief and folklore.[2]


The term ‘dnala’ also pronounced ‘dnani’ (depending on dialect) is derived from three Igbo words ‘d’ –meaning ‘it is’; ‘na’ – meaning ‘on/within’ and ‘ala’ – meaning ‘the Land or the Earth’. In this literary sense, dnala comes to mean ‘it is on the Land’ or ‘something that is anchored on the Earth or Land’.
In Igbo nation where this word originated, it is also called omenala, omenana, or omenani by some tribes. M.O Ene (2000) presented Igbo culture as: "a dynamic phenomenon that deals with the artifacts and mores by which Ndiigbo of Africa distinguish themselves from other racial/ethnic groups." To him, it is a serious mistake to distinguish between Igbo religion and culture but he later went further to agree that Igbo religion (dnala) led to Igbo culture (omenala) by stating that: “..if, the Igbo have no religion, then they have no culture….. Religion is our culture, our way of life”. Thus, no matter what it may be called, the truth is that 80% of the Igbo people use the word dnala to describe the Igbo traditional religion and have differentiated it from omenala; which is culture.
There are various definitions of the term ‘dnala’ from different Igbo scholars, writers, philosophers and teachers of culture and tradition. The conclusion could be drawn from Dr. Uju Afulezi (2000) and Ene M.O (2003) that “dnala is the ancient Igbo traditional religion”. This definition has some limitations and is subjected to criticism especially, if we can remember that dnala is anchored on the land (ala). Provided that ala exists, it is the same all over the world. The basic belief and the teachings of this religion (dnala) hold in any part of the Earth (Ala); hence the Igbo sentence ‘ala wu otu’ which translates ‘the land is the same everywhere’. Thus, dnala in this view is for every world but originated from Igboland.
dnala is therefore, the ancient religion of the people that connect mmadu (human being) to Chukwu (God) through Chi (personal spiritual guardian or providence). It is an ancient sacred science that enables people to exist in peace, love and harmony with Chukwu (God)(also called as Chukouuee, and Guio in differing dialects), Chi (personal providence) and Arushi (the supernatural forces) on their way back to eternal.
Like all religions, dnala is the vehicle used by its practitioners (Dibias or priests) and spiritual students (followers of the religion) to understand their World (called "Uwa"), or more specifically, the part of the World that affects them — which is to say the dry land on which the people live and gather sustenance. I call it ‘a gifted spiritual route’.


Main article: Alusi
Chukwu's incarnations in the world (Igbo: uwa) are the Alusi. The Alusi, who are also known as Arushi, Anusi or Arusi in differing dialects all spring from Ala the earth goddess who embodies the workings of the world. There are lesser deities in Odinani, each of whom are responsible for a specific aspect of nature or abstract concept. According to Igbo lore, these lesser Alusi, as elements of Chukwu, have their own specific purpose. They exist only as long as their purpose does thus many Alusi die off except for the universally served Alusi. The top four Alusi of the Igbo pantheon are Ala, Igwe, Anyanwu, and Amadioha (or Kamalu); other less important Alusi exist after these, some depending on the community. They are, Ogwugwu, Urasi or Ulasi, Ichi, Uchu, Iyi, Agwu etc.[4]


Main article: Ala (Odinani)
Ala is the earth goddess who is also responsible for morality and fertility and the dead ancestors who are stored in the underworld in her womb. Ala translates to 'earth' in Igbo as she is the ground itself, for this reason taboos and crimes are known as ns ala, "desecration of Ala". As the highest Alusi in the Igbo pantheon, she was among the first to be created by Chukwu almighty. Ala is depicted in Mbari temples of the Owerre-Igbo, but smaller shrines are placed in the public squares of communities and in the homes of her devotees.


Main article: Amadioha
Amadioha in Igbo means "free will of the people", he is the Alusi of thunder and lightning and is referred to as Amadiora, Kamalu,Kamanu, or Ofufe in certain parts of Igboland.[5][6][7] His governing planet is the Sun.[8] His color is red, and his symbol is a white ram.[9] Metaphysically, Amadioha represents the collective will of the people and he is often associated with Anyanwu.[10] While Anyanwu is more prominent in northern Igboland, Amadioha is more prominent in the south. His day is Afor, which is the second day of the Igbo four day week.[11]


Main article: Anyanwu


Main article: Igwe
Igwe is the Alusi of the sky and the husband of Ala. He produces rain to replenish the earth and the earth goddess to aid her productiveness.[4]

[edit]Other Alusi

[edit]Njoku Ji

Main article: Njoku Ji

[edit]Agwu Nsi

Main article: Agwu Nsi


Main article: Ndebunze

Ndebunze, or Ndichie, are the deceased ancestors deified into Alusi. In Odinani, it is believed that the dead ancestors are invisible members of the community; their role in the community, in conjunction with Ala, is to protect the community from epidemics and strife such as famine and small pox.[4]


Main article: Ikenga


Main article: Ekwensu
Ekwensu is an Igbo deity with a convoluted modern identity. Among the Christian Igbo, this deity is misrepresented as the Christian "Devil" or Satan and is seen as a force which places itself opposite to that of Chukwu.[12] Anthropological studies suggest however that this traditional deity may have been a revered Trickster God, similar to Eshu in Orisha. This Alusi was adept at bargains and trade, and praying to Ekwensu was said to guarantee victory in negotiations. As a force of change and chaos, Ekwensu also represented the God of War among the Igbo. He was invoked during times of conflict and banished during peacetime to avoid his influences inciting bloodshed in the community. This is based upon the finding of old shrines dedicated to the worship of the deity[13] as well as the recounting of old oral lores which depict the character of Ekwensu.[14] Ekwensu is also the Igbo word for the tester.


dnala is a panentheistic faith, having a strong central deity at its head. All things spring from this deity. Although semi – pantheon exists in the belief system, as it does in many indigenous African and Eastern religions.
Chukwu is the central deity. Chukwu as the creator of everything (visible and invisible) and the source of other deities is referred to as Chineke. Chukwu is genderless possessing the supreme power in the cosmos control.
To the ancient Igbo, the force that is Chukwu is infinitely powerful that no mmadu (human being) approach this force directly. Also, the force does not impact into our worlds directly but rather through lower force (s). The general truth is that no person can work with or deal with Chukwu directly without passing through the lower force (s). This is why the Igbo people were easily captured by the teachings of the imported western religion which holds that either Christ of Christianity or Mohammed of Islam is a lower force.
The lower force(s) are the outflows from the main stream; sparks from the supreme force that takes forms. They are the incarnations of the almighty Chukwu. dnala identify these lower forces by their names and use a collective term Arushi to describe them. If an Arushi is assigned to an individual, it becomes a Chi.
The term ‘panentheism’ refer to as a belief system which posits that God personally exists, interpenetrates every part of nature and timelessly extends beyond it. Such interpenetrations in a spiritual view occur as lower deities or Arushi. dnala therefore, anchored its belief on the existence of only but one Supreme Being: Chukwu (God) and many lower supernatural beings or deities (Arushi).

[edit]‘Chukwu’ in dnala

In dnala, every individual is assigned a personal providence; Chi. The mathematics here is very simple. Depending on the number of people living presently on Earth (Uwa), as many as possible number of Chis may exist. A person’s Chi is his right in the main source that is Chukwu. Chi as a spiritual being, takes care of any mmadu (human being) assigned to him in the lower World.
The overall Chi that indirectly takes care of everything (visible and invisible) is therefore, called ‘Chi Ukwu’ or Chukwu, the Supreme Being. This is why the Igbos used the phrases/sentences: ‘chi awughi otu’--- ‘personal guardians are not the same for everybody’; ‘otu Chukwu’ or ‘ofu Chukwu’----‘only one God’; ‘Chukwu ebuka’---- ‘God is great’ and ‘mu na chim’-----‘me and my godly guardian’.


There is a general spiritual law that one must pass through the lesser supernatural forces before he can make his ways to eternal. There are various routes that enable one to embark on a spiritual journey (i.e. different religion e.g. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Eckankar, Judaism, Godianism, dnalaism and so on). No matter the route chosen, one must meet these forces severally on the way. These supernatural forces are the agents of purification of human beings (mmadu). They effects compressed the road and make it look very narrow. They may even block the road to eternity and cause people to continue running on cycles and meeting bad spirits.
The purpose of dnala is to restore peace, love and harmony between mmadu and the supernatural forces or (Arushi or deities). By ensuring that peace reigned, we can then manipulate they negative outcomes (that supposed to intrude into our lives) to yield positive effects. Through this way, we can get to our promise land with less suffering or struggles.
To restore peace, love and harmony between mmadu and Arushi is all about the dictation of our personal providence, Chi and doing the right thing. The spiritual peace, love and harmony will cleansing a person with both inner and outer experiences and prepare his ways back Chukwu. This will also go a longer way to determine a person’s level of morality, peaceful existence, harmony and love to people in the society. Also, the person will be on his way to his destiny in the physical world (Uwa). Once your destiny is actualized, you can then relate religion to humanity.


Chi is the personal spiritual guardian of a person. Chi as a personal providence is a divine agent assigned to each human from cradle to the coffin. Chukwu will assign one’s Chi before and at the time of birth, which remains with the person for the rest of his/her lives on Earth (Uwa). Chi simply means an Arushi (supernatural being) that is assigned to a human being for care, guardianship, and providence, which remains with that person until the end of his/her life on Earth. Unlike Chukwu which is genderless, Chi can be either feminine or masculine. It is the ocean Chukwu’s divine love that takes form on the lower world. It is the spark of Chukwu and the right of any mmadu in the main stream.
Chi determines a person’s successes, misfortunes, and failures throughout his/her lifetime. It serves as an intermediary between mmadu and Chukwu. The Igbo believe that their success in life is determined by their Chi, and that no human can rise past the greatness of his or her own Chi. In this respect, a person’s Chi is analogous to the concept of a guardian angel in Western Christianity, the daimon in ancient Greek religion, and the genius in ancient Roman religion.
To survive spiritually, one must establish a special relationship between oneself and one's godly guardian. This places the human person at the forefront of interlinked activities that involve other cosmic forces. But not so fast: He who walks before his godly guardian runs the race of his life “Onye buru chi ya uzo, ogbagbue onwe ya n'oso.”

[edit]Dictation of Chi

The Igbo know that the Almighty Chukwu (God) cannot be manipulated in any way. Our lot is etched on the palm of our hands as destiny. One can’t decode it, but one can derail it. Chi, the personal godly guardian, can be coerced to help here: “Onye kwe chi ya ekwe” (whoever believeth, achieveth).
Chi as the lower force of Chukwu is the only means through which one can get connected. One spiritual law here is that “No one reaches Chukwu directly or gets favor directly from the same supreme force except through Chi.” In this sense, dictation of one’s Chi marks the beginning of one’s spiritual journey on Earth. This is one of the major practices of Ndiigbo.
Often, people receive prophecy that the major cause of their failure is a spirit of their home town. This is not a general spirit for everybody but rather one’s personal Chi. If you receive such a prophecy, it means that dnala is calling you, which is a problem to some people. The only solution to such a problem is to dictate your personal providence, Chi; identify it by name and know what the spirit wants and how to placate/negotiate with it.
This may be difficult if the Dibias (priest in dnala) are not there. The Dibia can identify a person’s Chi through divination and give more of an idea how to placate it. For such spiritual purposes, one can visit any of the real temples of dnala e.g. Ukoma/Duruojikeeme Temple, Umunumo Amandugba, Isu, LGA, Imo State. There are many other temples around Igboland and the Igbo diaspora.

[edit]Kolanut Communion

Kolanut communion is the only holy communion in dnala. It is used to honor Chukwu, Chi, Arushi and Ndiichie. In this case, it is expected that the lower forces will participate and send the glory to almighty Chukwu. Also, by pouring libations, participating in kolanut communions entails being innocent before applying justice ("jide ofo, jide ogu").
Kolanut communion can be performed personally between one and his spirit or in group. It is actually the only time Ndiigbo traditionally pray together. Here, one is expected to go into communion with his personal providence, Chi as well as other concerned Arushi and Ndiichie (ancestors’ saints). This will clear the narrow road to Chukwu and create an increase in spiritual consciousness as you bargain in your spiritual journey.

[edit]Taking into Benevolence of Deities

The spiritual journey back to Chukwu is considered to be too tough; and the road very narrow. The Igbo considered it more appropriate to negotiate and navigate natural forces around them; the will of God cannot be manipulated or changed. They just need to get there without too much hassle.
The Earth Deities control the activities of good and evil spirits, which occasionally attempt to misdirect the destiny of human beings. The Igbo enter into pacts with these forces to take into their benevolence. The process is called "igommuo"(to placate/negotiate—not worship—spirits). Even Agwu ("the divination force" or the trickster Arushi, which causes confusion in the life of human beings) can be manipulated in afa (divination) to yield good effects.
It should be noted that the term ‘igommuo’ is an Igbo word meaning ‘to placate or to negotiate’. This term is sometime used in a derogatory manner by some people who described themselves as children of God and criticized others as children of devil. Meanwhile, as either a practitioner or a spiritual student of dnala you shouldn’t be afraid when they use the term in such way. You are on the right channel to Chukwu.


dnala belief in the concept of ‘life after life’. There are two cycles of life here. One cycle of this life is on earth while the other is in the spiritual world i.e. the other side of the realm. There are also two major calls in these cycles: (a). The inner call (which is to co-work with Chukwu in the spiritual world) and (b). The outer call (which is your destiny).
The final goal in dnala is anchored on answering the two calls once and for all in this lifetime with not too much hassle. Upon dictation of our personal providence (Chi), we are on our ways to our destiny (akalaaka). Actualizing ones destiny entails relating religion to humanity on Earth, thus answering the first call. The pattern of life chosen after meeting your destiny point will determine your level of acceptability after death as an ichie (a hallowed ancestor spirit or saint) in the spiritual world. In this case those who did good things on earth after meeting their destiny point; respect the laws of the land (iwu ala); died at ripened age and buried according to the traditions of the religion are usually accepted in the spiritual world to answer the final call.


Ekwensu is a deity in dnala. Ekwensu is also the Igbo word for “the tester”. In Igbo mythology, Ekwensu was explained as a force of change and chaos and also represents the Arushi (deity) of war.
As a male Arushi in Igbo pantheon, he was believed by the ancient Igbo people as a deity who was invoked during times of conflict and banished during peacetime to avoid his influences inciting bloodshed in the community. The ancient Igbo descriptions of Ekwensu could be seen as a deity with a convoluted modern identity.
Among the Christian Igbo, this deity is misrepresented as the Christian ‘Devil’ or ‘Satan’ or ‘Demon’ and is seen as a force which places itself opposite to that of Chukwu (God). They conclusion is that Ekwensu is an evil spirit; thus, creating a false dichotomy. Acceptance of such teaching by some Igbo was possible simply because Ndiigbo have forgotten the Igbo mythology which places God in everything.
You shouldn’t be confused. No body! No spirit or deity! In fact no being (either visible or invisible) opposes the force that is Chukwu. The good, the bad and the ugly; all come from the ‘supreme being’ for one purpose or the other.


Dibias are the spiritual masters and guardian of all spiritual students in the lower world (Uwa). The love of Chukwu has led to many dibias all over the Igbo land. Although, there are a lot of fake dibias and priest but the truth is still prevailing that dibias are the intermediates between a spiritual student and the spiritual world in dnala.
The physical destiny of a dibia is spiritual work. The dibias can see the spiritual world at any time and interpret what saw to his spiritual students. They are given the power to identify any Arushi by its name and as well prescribe possible ways of placating/negotiating with such spirit. They also use their power to identify herbs and their functions.

[edit]Spiritual Students

Spiritual students could be every other person other than the dibia. They are the followers of the religion. Unlike dibias, spiritual students do not see the spiritual world and are not even in need to do so. They have other business or work doing. They depend on the priest or dibias (i.e. the practitioner) for possible spiritual interpretations, placation / negotiation and divination. They may also depend on the dibias for herbs, charms and talisman –which may be used to overcome evil forces.
Where are you classified? Are you a dibia or a spiritual student? If you are a dibia, don’t panic because it is your destiny. Failure to do the work means rejection of a divine call in the physical world then the evil forces will take over your life. Also if you are a spiritual student, please remain on track. You may wish to sign –up with ‘dnala mystic world’ for your spiritual lessons to enable you forge ahead.
If you are neither a dibias nor a spiritual student, your name is sorry. You are therefore a ‘confused person’ of Igboland. Any ‘confused person’ may continue to run on cycles meeting bad spirits or even Satan (Ekwensu) itself. The person’s destiny may also be misdirected by these evil spirits. In an attempt to clear them using other routes, the person may place himself into suffer and hardship or eventually die on the way and reincarnate.

[edit]Mystic World

Writing/publishing worlds that enable you understand what you’re doing; the life of Ndiigbo and how it relates to our spiritual journey. Its aim is to reach both practitioner and spiritual students of the religion with the new message especially the outer teachings while a person’s Chi will feed him up with inner teachings. Spiritual practitioner e.g. a dibia can through this means convey the good news to people while a spiritual student can learn from the same channel.
We therefore, call for more membership. Members are made to receive our quarterly published spiritual articles, journals and books. To sign-up as a member pleases call: 08063740442 or visit any of the following places: a). Ukoma/Duruojikeeme Temple of dnala, and b). NANTMP, Isu branch.


The Igbo believe in the concept of Ofo and Ogu, which is like the law of retributive justice. It is believed that Ofo and Ogu will vindicate anyone that is wrongly accused of a crime as long as their "hands are clean". It is only the one who is on the side of Ogu-na-Ofo that can call its name in prayer. Otherwise such a person will face the wrath of Amadioha (the god of thunder and lightning).[15]



Main article: Ogbanje
An Ogbanje (or Obanje) was believed to be an evil spirit that would deliberately plague a family with misfortune. It was believed[by whom?]that upon being born by the mother, under a certain amount of time (usually not passed puberty), the Ogbanje would deliberately die and then come back and repeat the cycle, causing the family grief. Female circumcision was sometimes thought to get rid of the evil spirit,[16] whereas finding the evil spirits Iyi-uwa, which they have dug somewhere secret, would ensure the Ogbanje would never plague the family with misfortune again. The Iyi-uwa was the Ogbanje's way of coming back to the world and also a way of finding its targeted family.[17]



The Igbo often make clay altars and shrines of their deities, usually with figures being featured in them. Typically, only men are allowed to make representational figures, however there are exceptions.[18]

[edit]See also

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·                    Igbo culture
·                    Ibo loa


1.                          ^ Afulezy, Uju "On Odinani, the Igbo Religion", Niger Delta Congress, Nigeria, April 03, 2010
2.                          ^ a b M. O. Ené "The fundamentals of Odinani", KWENU: Our Culture, Our Future, April 03, 2010.
3.                          ^ Okwunodu Ogbechie, Sylvester: Ben Enwonwu: the making of an African modernist, page 161. University Rochester Press, 2008.
4.                          ^ a b c Ilogu, Edmund (1974). Christianity and Ibo culture. Brill. pp. 34–36. ISBN 90-04-04021-8.
5.                          ^ McCall, John. Dancing Histories: Heuristic Ethnography with the Ohafia Igbo. Page 123
6.                          ^ Oriji, John. Sacred Authority in Igbo Society. Page 115
7.                          ^ Diala, Isidore. Ritual and Mythological Recuperation in the Drama of Esiaba Irobi. Page 101
8.                          ^ Uchendu, Victor C. The Igbo of Southeast Nigeria. Page 96
9.                          ^ Diala, Isidore. Ritual and Mythological Recuperation in the Drama of Esiaba Irobi. Page 104
10.                     ^ Iwu, Maurice. Handbook of African medicinal plants. Page 320.
11.                     ^ Patrick, Iroegbu. Igbo-Okija Oracles and Shrines, Development and Cultural Justice
12.                     ^ A.I. Bewaji, John. "OLODUMARE: GOD IN YORUBA BELIEF AND THE THEISTIC PROBLEM OF EVIL.", University of Florida, Gainesville, April 03, 2010
13.                     ^ Agozino, Emmanuel. ‘Ekwensu:God of victory not devil’, Nigerian Compass, Nsukka, April 03, 2010
14.                     ^ "Ancient Igbo", AfriSacredStar, April 03, 2010
15.                     ^ Ofo: Igbo Ritual Symbol by Christopher I. Ejizu
17.                     ^ Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
18.                     ^ T. Phillips (ed.) "Ceramic altar for the new yam harvest festival",, London, April 03, 2010

 [edit]External links

·                    The Fundamentals of Odinani
·                    On Odinani the Igbo Religion
·                    Religion and the Igbo People
·                    An insight guide to Igboland's Culture, Religion and Language
·                    Photographs of Igbo masquerades
·                    Ohafia Igbo culture
·                                 Igbo mythology
·                                 Folk religions

KWENU: Our Culture, Our Future

Odinani: Igbo religion
 M.O. Ene
New Jersey, NJ     Sunday, November 11, 2001

The vulture is a very underrated and under-appreciated bird. Its patience is so legendary the Igbo advocate: "Taba nsi udene" (apply the patience of a vulture). Now you know the root of the name of Venerable Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi, the beatified Igbo monk. The vulture also enjoins us to respect and pay tribute to elders exceedingly everyday because, without the counsel of elders, little village rascals could have hunted and eaten its tribe into extinction.

So, may God preserve all of us, old and young, big and small!
Dr. Uju Afulezi is arguably the Nigerian of the first full week of November 2001. He succeeded in bringing cyberfoes to agree on something: the need to tell each other about ourselves. I was impressed but not surprised; I know the Ogaranya Himself has the tools and the talent. In the second part of "Igbo 101: Facts little told,"-- which he curiously titled "Watch Out: Global Village Headmaster is out to get you" -- he threw a challenge: "I submit that the Igbo do not have a religion. If the Igbo have a religion, what is the name of such a religion?"

I hit <Reply> and keyed in: The Igbo have a religion; it is called "Odinani." Before I could zip it out, I thought of something else: give Dr. Afulezi my write-up on the issue and let him change his position himself or reinforce his present position. I fished out the piece on Friday night. It was titled "Odinani: Traditional Igbo religion" [KWENU 1:6, Spring 1999]. But something else happened last night that made me want to embellish the story.
I attended a wake for the mother of a community member. I had called him earlier in the day to inquire how I could help. He assured me that everything was on-line, except that he could not find more than one Igbo (four-lobed) kolanut. I told him not to worry, that "gworo" (the two-lobed, cream-colored variety) would do. You see: kolanut is not consecrated at funerals and wakes. He was relieved and thanked me. At the wake, the family rep presented the kolanut and rightly announced that there would be no associated presentation and prayer ceremonies because of the circumstances. The next thing we know, a reverend gentleman picked up the plate and offered prayers "through our Lord Jesus Christ."
My mind raced back to Dr. Afulezi's challenge because it is this sort of insensitivity and erosion of our religious ethos that brought us to a point where we could stop and think for one fleeting moment that the Igbo have no religion and that they are rather "spiritual." I most humbly disagree. So I was more determined to rise up to the challenge of the learned professor.
What you call your religion, or what others call it, is not as important as the fact that it is there. I am not sure the tribe of
Judah, after which the Jewish faith is named, has a hand in naming it "Judaism." St. Paul and company didn't name their faith "Christianity." The word Christ is from the Greek "khristos" (the anointed). In Igbo, we call Muslims the "alakuba." The word "Islam" itself is from "aslama" (he surrendered; he resigned himself), meaning "submission" (to God).
In Igboland, religion is not organized and or centralized; it is the tradition. Like Islam, it is a way of life. The Igbo religion proper is anchored on one of the greatest and most benevolent deities under the Supreme Being: "Ani" (the Earth deity). Igbo belief in the sanctity of Earth deity is very deep. We thrive on its physical manifestation, "ala" (land), and we derive life itself from its benevolence.
What more could be more merciful than "Uwa" (Mother Earth): It provides flora and fauna with an anchor, a base on which the force of gravity ("ikejiani") keeps them without restricting their ability to move freely on earth. It provides all the alimentary and respiratory needs, protects every life from extended exposure to the elements, day and night, and drains the unrelenting onslaught of rain from the clouds. It shelves all human wastes and avails animal and plants with useful materials with which to make passage throw life an easier ordeal.
Odinani Igbo encapsulates much more than the concept of religion; it defines Igbo culture ("odinala") and tradition ("omenala"), the principle of honor and etiquette ("ugwu na nsopuru"), and a people's customs or heritage ("odibendi"). Long before the green movement, Odinani enforced not only respect for the environment but also the strictest preservation of the sanctity of Earth. The highest crime any person can commit is desecration of the land ("ilu ani").
Igbo theosophy is therefore both sacred spiritualism and socio-environmentalism. The Igbo know that the Almighty God ("Chi Ukwu" or "Chukwu") cannot be manipulated in any way. Our lot is etched on the palm of our hands as destiny. You can't decode it, but you can derail it. Chi, the personal godly guardian, can be coerced to help here: "Onye kwe, Chi ya ekwe." (Whoever believeth, achieveth). But this depends on how one abides by the rules and rituals of Odinani, generally known as "Nsoani." Chi cannot condone sacrilege ("uluani") or abomination ("aluluani" or "alu" for short).

The Igbo know that religious passions are easily excitable because it is a blind faith in the paranormal, since no one is really sure of the other realm, but it is part of our existence. The Igbo religion is personal. Ndiigbo do not proselytize. This is enshrined in the phrase: "Mu na Chi m" (me and my God). It is therefore wrong to label any deity "bad"; you just have to know what it wants and how to placate and negotiate ("igo mmuo"). For example, Agwu -- the patron of schizophrenia -- can be coerced to help in freeing persons possessed. This is why you don't consecrate kolanut is another man's house -- except explicitly permitted, and this is why Ndiigbo do not conquer and occupy other communities. No one would know which deities to ignore and which to placate periodically. The Igbo thrive in harmony wherever they live, and they never attempt forceful land acquisition. In fact, in many communities, to this day, no one "owns" the land!
Christianity and Islam may never ecumenize, even though both have roots in ancient Judaism. Igbo religion easily accommodates all, as long as they don't encroach on kolanut communion and the agnate ("umunna") sociopolitical setup. The Igbo understand people who anchor their religion on a hero or a martyr, around whom myths are woven to link God directly into their own lives. It does not matter how incredible some of the stories sound, the Igbo open up to other people's myths. Is it then not surprising that the head of Vatican's relations with non-Christian religions is Francis Cardinal Arinze, himself a son of Odinani adherents.
The kolanut communion is actually the only time Ndiigbo traditionally pray together. They do not "worship" a common deity; in fact, the word "worship" does not appear in Igbo theosophy. Any wonder then that Dr. Afulezi, "in my research of Igbo culture," has "not come across the worship of any god or gods by the Igbo." There is nothing like "worship" in Igbo. The term "ife alusi" (idol worship) is a derogatory term from early Onitsha Catholicism; no Igbo worshipped anything dead or alive. The world of Ndiigbo is a marketplace of beliefs and ideas, a dynamic world of convivial bargains, constant contract changes, and shifting alliances. Don't you wish we practiced this in politics!
In his excellent exposé, Dr. Afulezi made the small but serious mistake of distinguishing between religion and culture. ["Let us, once again, through questions and answers try to throw some light on some of the issues of culture and religion in our lives."] In "Our culture, our future: An Igbo worldview," KWENU 1:9, Fall 2000, I presented Igbo culture as "a dynamic phenomenon that deals with the artifacts and mores by which Ndiigbo of
Africa distinguish themselves from other racial/ethnic groups." I defined culture as "the totality of behavioral patterns of a particular people: the creed, art, linguistic legacy, values, sociopolitical setup, ancestral religion, and other peculiar legacies. Simply put, culture is a people's way of life. It is the totality of socially transmitted values, languages, dialects, attitudes, social structures, political perspectives, social sophistication, economic endeavors, technological techniques, etc. Culture is also the aggregate of all products of human endeavors and thoughts: patterns, traits, and particular products expressive of a particular period, class, community, or population."
So if, the Igbo have no religion, then they have no culture. Now, that would be preposterous. Religion is our culture, our way of life. The Igbo of southeastern Nigeria thrive in a complex culture, a culmination of centuries of cultural intercourse and mutually beneficial and constructive coexistence with their neighbors. Certain aspects of Igbo culture propel distinguished dynamism, sociopolitical sophistication, and entrepreneurial excellence. But, we must not stop at what-was. According to Matthew Arnold: "Culture is then properly described not as having its origin in curiosity, but as having its origin in the love of perfection." We cannot give up the fine-tuning process and embrace Europeanized Semitic culture; we are not gentiles.
Odinani: I call Igbo religion "spiritual socio-environmentalism." Unlike in revealed religions, Ndiigbo make no bones about not knowing exactly what goes on on the other side of the realm, and that's why we ask the ancestors we knew before they passed to help us figure some of these things out. The need to negotiate with benevolent spirits and deities also arises.

The Igbo cosmos is made up of four complex constituents: "Okike" (Creation), "Alusi" (supernatural beings), "Mmuo" (Spirit) and "Uwa" (World). Uwais further divided into two: "Igwe" (the firmament) and "Ala" (the earth). "Mmadu" (humans) live on land, thanks to Ani, without whose force of gravity we could float back into the "Black Hole," the great force from whence we came… probably.
There are four pillars of Igbo traditional belief. Briefly: 
Chi: Every human being has a personal godly guardian, a "spirit-world PR being" who accompanies one through life - from the cradle to the coffin. The special relationship between the human person and this godly guardian is enshrined in the dictum: Onye kwe, chi ya ekwe. (If you believe, your godly guardian will concur.) This places the human person at the forefront of interlinked activities that involve other cosmic forces. But not so fast: He who walks before his godly guardian runs the race of his life [Onye bulu chi ya uzo, o gbagbue onwe ya n'oso.]
Onyinye: In "mmadu abu m," the Igbo say you cannot be another person: You are unique, and you are who you are. Period. Every being is God's gift to the world. This gift comes with precious attributes ("onyinye"). There are etched on our palms and cannot be altered. Hence, "akalaaka" (palm print) is uniquely preordained as the encoded sign of destiny. Everyone possesses many attributes in different proportions, but one is always more pronounced. If you find it, you will excel. That is your destiny. Those who follow their destiny succeed; those who don't, derail.
Umunna: The agnate is the patrilineal political setup, a decentralized democracy with an apparent gerontocratic proviso to keep young men out of politics before they achieve their full potentials. "Umunna" is an inclusive democratic legislature that empowers its messengers on item-by-item basis. There is no carte blanche for any extended period; everything is negotiated and discussed on a case-by-case basis. If the Igbo could not trust some deities to deliver as and when desired, what mere mortal could be implicitly trusted? The agnate therefore regulates the community. The importance of umunna cannot be overemphasized. A man without one might as well lie down and die; he does not exist. The agnate defines the Igbo person. It is the bedrock, the passport, and the sociopolitical foundation of earthly existence.
Echichi: No Igbo community rewards mindless capitalism. The sociopolitical system of umunna makes rugged individualism uncomfortable, almost impossible… as alien as an uncircumcised Igbo male. But the Igbo recognize putting ones attributes to good use. They reward achievements and abhor hereditary, hand-me-down titles. Echichi ("taking of titles") recognizes the advancement of attributes. These traditional titles tell stories of success more than enhance social status. For example, "Omemma" is a do-gooder, a philanthropist of great repute. Dr. Afulezi is "Duruakwukwo" because of his achievement in academia. "Omenka" is an artist. "Ogbuefi" must have feasted the community with cows (efi); Ochiagha ("war commander") must have led his people in a war and won; Ojemba ("adventurer") has traveled to distant lands and brought back knowledge, etc. "Chief" is a crass colonial coinage; it has no place in Igbo religion.

There is rather little "similarities between Christianity and Igbo culture," and I don't think we should submerge one in the other as in Santeria and some other hybrid sects. What we have in
Africa today is what Leopold S. Senghor called "half-caste cultures." Modern Christianity and Islam came dripping wet with Eurocentric and Arabic cultures. They did not meet a barren land of clueless natives. These cultures railroaded into our communal creeds without a modicum of respect. We don't have to accept it. We should respect the divinity of Jesus Christ and the holiness of Mohammad, but these creeds must not detract from our own belief systems.
Yes, there is nothing like an "African traditional religion" (ATR), but there are African traditional religions (mind the last "s"). Each culture has its set of beliefs. Even in Shariadoms of northern Nigeria, there are still peoples who preserve and persevere in their ancestral way of life. In some southern Nigerian communities, the line between Christianity and ATR can be very, very thin.

So what is religion? I turned to my good old Reader's Digest Universal Dictionary: Religion is defined as "the expression of man's belief in and reverence for a superhuman power or powers regarded as creating or governing the universe; any personal or institutionalized system of beliefs or practices embodying this belief or reverence… Sacred rites and practices…. Re -- back + ligare -- to bind."

In Igbo religion, we are constantly renewing bonds and tightening up alliances. We call on the spirit of our ancestors to intervene. In kolanut communion, my maternal grandfather, who is "Onyeishiani" (a high priest of the Igbo religion), would call on highly regarded ancestors I knew as a child and those he knew as a child to come and participate! These are the "saints" through whom we would rather pray than the numerous saints of Italia: Francis of Assisi, Anthony of Padua, etc. There is now the need to revisit the Igbo traditional religion and try to organize it, if only to correct years of misconception and denigration of our ancestral heritage.

I logged into my email system this afternoon,
Sunday November 11, 2001. I read Dr. Afulezi's latest serving, and I chuckled nonstop. No, it is not the humor -- He has answered his question: the Igbo have a religion. When the good doctor told us, albeit in a lighter mood, that a friendly "swaggering son of a gun" downed delicious dishes with a bottle of palm wine he had reserved for morning libation to the ancestors, he is telling us about Igbo religion, about some "sacred rites and practices" that are central in the morning mass of Igbo religion. Kolanut communion and libation are integral parts of the Igbo religion.
I agree with Dr. Afulezi, who is a knight of the Catholic Church: "It is a mistake to think that we need to abandon our culture in order to be Christians." By pouring libations, participating in kolanut communions, being innocent before applying justice ("jide ofo, jide ogu") and avoiding abomination, we retain important aspects of our cultural heritage, our religion, while imbibing as much Euro-Christian philosophy as one desires. One day, we shall get it right, and our ancestral way of life shall return to take back its place of glory in our lives.
So, I am glad that he has not abandoned the basic rites of our religion, Odinani.
Everything else is embellishment.  

Simply surprise yourself yonder

The fundamentals of Odinani

Odinani is anchored on the sanctity of Ani, the Earth Deity,

The Igbo traditional religion is a philosophy that has stood the test of time. To understand the basis for Igbo philosophy, we must understand first the Igbo concept of the Cosmos, a logical concept that makes few pretensions about the great unknown. This concept has survived the introduction of Middle Eastern religious beliefs and modern science. The Igbo belief is therefore both metaphysical and scientific as well as sacred and socioenvironmental.

A very tolerant but conservative philosophy, its capacity for ecumenism is enormous. While not yielding an inch to mythical and unproven concepts of life on earth, the Igbo philosophy maintains an elastic but credible concept of the Cosmos and its constituents that is rooted in science rather than the traditional myths of some imported beliefs.

To the ancient Igbo, the Cosmos is an endless space of visible and invisible beings. This Cosmo is divided into four complex constituents, [Onwuejeogwu, 1975: The Igbo Culture Area in "Igbo Language and Culture," F. Chidozie Ogbalu & E Nolue Emenanjo -ed.]:
·         Okike (Creation)
·         Alusi (Supernatural Forces or Deities)
·         Mmuo (Spirit)
·         Uwa (World)

The Supreme Being (Chi ukwu or Chukwu) is the God of Creation (Chi Okike), the Force that fires all forces. God in Igbo language is also called Chineke ("God in the morning of creation, " or "the God who creates" or "God and the Creator" (duality of deity)... depending on perspectives). Chineke is far removed from the perception of mere mortals. This Supreme Power (Ikekaike) is neither a living-dead (ancestor)  nor a spirit. It has no known physical form, yet indirectly impacts the affairs of the human world. Chineke manifests to our world as:
Anyanwu (the Sun)—Chineke is the mastermind behind the source of light, love and knowledge and, implicitly, earthly existence or life itself;

Chi (the godly guardian), the personal providence is a divine agents assigned to each human from cradle to the coffin;

Kpakpando (the stars) which manifest as the celestial beauty;

Enuigwe (the heavens), the home of all supernatural forces including the stars.
Chineke created everything visible and invisible. The concept of Chineke is incomprehensible; to know God  is the end of knowledge, which is probably why the Igbo do not debate those who say their ancestors dropped from the sky -- who knows! The evil forces that intrude into our lives and the physical forces of the universe are all put in place by the Supreme Force, the Godhead or Creator,  for definite reasons and to coexist in harmony and multiply and or evolve.

Alusi is a supernatural force. Although the forces are neither human beings (mmadu) nor  spirits (mmuo), they sometimes assume the attributes of human beings. Prof. Onwuejeogwu called them "being forces." Every Igbo town has a shrine dedicated to its communal alusi; every other community respects the deity. A priestly clan usually ministers to the revered communal deity on behalf of the community. 

Mmuo is the spirit of ancestors who lived, died, and moved on to the great unknown, the other side of the realm. Hence, mmadu (human beings) must die to become mmuo (spirit being). If a man was good while alive, upon his departure he could become an ichie or nna-mmuo—a hallowed ancestor spirit or a saint. Ancestor spirits are more commonly known by the collective term "Ndiichie." A respected, living elder can therefore be called ichie —a living saint. Ndiichie is also used for a group of accomplished and distinguished elders who uphold the morals of the society, dispense unquestionable justic,  and preserve the culture of the community.

A woman who has lived a distinguished life becomes nne-mmuo. Those who have lived horrible lives, and those who committed unpardonable sins (ajo njo) or alu (abomination) against Ani -- the Earth Deity, become ajo mmuo (evil spirits) or Ekwensu (Devil or Satan). The male ajo mmuo could be akaliogoli (a roguish spirit); the female counterpart could become either a mermaid (owummiri) or a bloodsucking amaosu (vampire) or some other gender-specific evil spirit. Some mmuo are so restless they come back to be born-again (ogbanje), not to make amends but to torment a mother, her family, and the community. [This must not be confused with the desired and celebrated "inouwa" or reincarnation.] 

Uwa is our world, or the so-called "Mother Nature." [Compare with Hausa: uwa = mother]. This is the world we live in, the visible universe that directly impacts our life. Uwa is made up of two distinct parts: Igwe and Ala.

Igwe is the firmament, and it constitutes of the following:
·         Ulukpu (the clouds);
·         Onwa (the moon);
·         Alaigwe (the planets);
·         Ikuku (the winds) —the totality of winds and airs that hold the earth in place and help to make it everything it is.

While the ancient Igbo philosophers might not have measured the firmament by any known scientific method, they knew that it is immensely bigger than the earth, that the earth is but a revolving part -- not the center -- of the universe. Hence, the popular phrase Igwe ka Ala, which is also one of Chineke’s many names, Igwekaala.
Ala: Ala is the physical manifestation of Earth Deity, Ani. It harbors four components:
·         Mmadu (human being) — Man and woman exist to perform specific functions in the complex equation of conservation and preservation of the species. Humans are the beauty of life; hence it has been suggested that the word is from "mma ndu" = the beauty of life. 
·         Anumanu (animal) — Like human beings, animals have their specific functions in the equation of life;
·         Ofia (forests) Vegetation sustains both mmadu and anumanu.
·         Mmiri (water) —The "life" of fish and all other beings in all water bodies is dependent on the quality of water. When the Igbo pray, they pray for the "life" of water because it is also the life of fish, which invariably provides rich sources of protein for humanity. Therefore, pollution of streams in Igboland is a taboo. All community streams are sacred and water fountains are deities, iyi. Menstruating women should not step into communal streams to fetch water. In some communities, women of childbearing age are banned all together from fountains.

The Igbo are very particular about constructive coexistence on earth. In the saying, "egbe bere ugo bere" (Let the eagle perch, let the hawk perch), the Igbo express the golden rule of the religion: Live and let live.  Some  go further and add: nke si ibe ya ebene, nku kwaa ya  (whichever says the other shall not perch, may its wing break). This supposedly "old testament" version seeks to ensure that whichever of the Earth’s components wants the other not to survive shall not share of the food chain and shall eventually become extinct -- so that others may thrive well in the ecosystem. Hence, the protection of lesser lives is imperative to good existence on Earth. Indiscriminate slaughter of animals or killing of human beings is an abomination of the highest order. To kill a female being  is even more atrocious because she assures the continuation and preservation of the species.

A "new-testament" version of the saying stipulates:  "nke si ibe ya ebene gosi ya ebe o ga-ebe, (whichever says the other shall not perch, may it show the other where to perch); but, truly speaking, there should be no reason in the first place to deny another an anchor on this planet.  This pacifist approach to the Golden Rule is similar to turning the other cheek.  Whichever holds in anyone's philosophy is acceptable. However, it is highly suspected that the original saying is simply: "Egbe bere, ugo bere." Period. There should be no room for compromise on the desire of one over the other. 

Ani, the Earth Deity or so-called "Mother Earth" is also called Ala (land), which is actually the physical manifestation of Ani. This gives an erroneous impression of Mother Earth as "earth" --  a rugged land mass of fiercely boiling, molten core washed by bodies of oceans. It may be, but it is also alusi, the deity which made the evolution of the modern person possible. Its core spiritual component is Ikejiani ("the force that holds the Earth" or the force of gravity).

In Odinani, the reverence of Chineke or Chukwu  as the Almighty God  is so deep that mere mortals, while attributing all cosmic powers to this Head, do not normally bring petty petitions directly to the seat of Supreme Power. It is not only humanly impossible, the chances of success are slim because God cannot be manipulated in any way, shape, or form. Besides, there are so many forces to overcome from here to eternity that Ndiigbo deal with the forces they can either manipulate or with whom they can enter into peaceful pacts. But, most importantly, every life on earth is pre-destined. 

The Igbo religion is therefore anchored on the visible, which is invariably controlled by the invisible Ani. We thrive and derive life itself from the bounties of Ani. What more could be as merciful as "Mother Earth."  It provides human beings with an anchor, a base on which Ikejianikeeps people without restricting their ability to move freely on land (ala); avails earthlings with nutritional  needs; protects all creatures from extended exposure to the Sun by providing day and night and the seasons; drains the unrelenting onslaught of rain from the clouds; shelves the wastes and, with time, avails earthlings with useful materials to make the passage through life an easier ordeal.

Together with other interlinked forces of our world (uwa), supernatural forces (alusi) and anyanwu (the eye of light, life, and love),  Anicontrols the "day deities" (Eke, Orie, Afo, Nkwo) and the "year-force" (afò). The sun therefore does not "rise" nor "set" in Igbo philosophy: the Earth determines the length of days and nights and, with the moon (onwa), sets the months. Hence, there are seven weeks or 28 days in an Igbo month and thirteen moons a year.

The Earth Deity’s control does not stop here: its forces control agriculture and even the activities of good and evil spirits, which occasionally attempt to misdirect the destiny of human beings. For example, 
·         Ifejioku or Ahiajoku ("the yam force") is very important for yams to do well.
·         Idemmiri ("the water force") is a being force that must be appeased to ensure healthy water supply.
·         Okeofia or Agwu-Ofia ("the forest-force") also plays important roles.

The Igbo enter into pacts with these forces to take into their benevolence. The process is called "igommuo"(to placate/negotiate -- not worship-- spirits). Even Agwu ("the divination force" or the trickster alusi,  which  causes confusion in the life of human beings) can be manipulated in afa (divination) to yield good effects.

Evil forces affect our lives adversely. The extent of their intrusion into our laid-out life-plan or destiny (akalaaka) can be curtailed by the intervention of  one’s Chi and also by the intercession of  ndiichie (ancestor spirits). The Igbo therefore maintain a special relationship with their ancestors by offering sacrifices to please their souls and working hard for the good of the lineage. Dealing with this spirits and deities is known by the same term "igommuo" or "ilommuo" ("to placate or ask of the dear departed/living-dead/ancestor spirit").

Ndiichie are not worshipped; they do not demand to be worshipped — they are not Chukwu, the Almighty God) to whom we owe praises and thanks. In fact, the term "worship" does not readily occur in Igbo theosophy. "Ifé alusi" ("to worship deities") is a colonial concept introduced by Euro-Christianity. The Igbo considered it more appropriate to negotiate and navigate natural forces around them; the will of God cannot be manipulated or changed. They just need to get there without too much hassles.

Odinani  is anchored on the sanctity of Ani, the Earth Deity, a creation of the Supreme Creator. O di n’Ani literally means "It is anchored on the Earth Deity." Hence, Igbo philosophy is  sacred, spiritual, and socioenvironmental. The Igbo attitude toward Chineke is unlike that of Euro-Christianity: Chineke has no form that humans can conceive nor perceive. Those who follow the teachings of Christian churches and Muslim mosques soon find out that the fundamentals of Odinani are unwavering in every Igbo community. Odinani is about doing the right things; it is about following the dictates of our personal providence, Chi. Failure to do so, Agwu or other more potent evil forces take over our lives; we would keep running in circles and meeting bad spirits (ajo mmuo) or even Satan itself (Ekwensu). But once we are at peace with Chi, we shall be on our way to our destiny. Which is why the Igbo say: "I buru Chi gi uzo, i gbagbue onwe gi n'oso." [If you walk before your Chi, you will do the race of your life.] 
©MOE, May, 1997
last edited:
Friday, February 14, 2003
Details of traditional Igbo government and social structure varied from place to place throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but its characteristic nature remained the same. The basic unit of Igbo life was the village group, and the most universal institution was the role of the family head. This was usually the oldest man of the oldest surviving generation. His role primarily involved settling family disputes, and because he controlled the channel of communication with the all-important ancestors, he commanded great respect and reverence. In some areas the government of chiefs and elders was composed of a governing age grade, in others the council of elders was made up of the oldest members of particular families.
Titles that the men earned played a major part in the Ibo society. There was a hierarchy of ascending titles that were to be taken in order, accompanied by an ascending scale of payments. The system acted as a simple form of social security, in that those who acquired titles paid a particular fee, and then were entitled to share in the payments of those who later acquired titles. Men who were going to acquire a title had to go through intense rituals. This symbolized respect as well as success.
A political institution that was widespread around the Ibo tribe was that of the age-grade. Every age-grade was responsible for specific areas of community service. This often promoted rivalry between the groups of age-grade. This was actually a valuable instrument of social control, in that in order to preserve the good name of their age-group, its members became involved in disciplining and restraining those who tended to cause trouble within the community. Secret societies around the Ibo villages were also an instrument of social control. The members of the secret society would appear at night, masked, in the disguise of supernatural beings. Any offenders in the community would be denounced. The unknown origin of the members and their supernatural aura (distinctive atmosphere) meant that this whole performance was taken with great seriousness.
Government (in this paragraph and the next one)
Usually, the kinds of decisions that had to be made in traditional Igbo societies were either judicial or connected with relations with other groups. In a judicial case, it was the responsibility of the lineage head to try to settle the matter before bringing it to the elders, who would hear the case in public. A decision that affected the whole town, such as the declaration of war, would generally be put to all the free adult males of the town. The nature of these institutions was extremely flexible - for example, a man who had proven his skills at war in the past might be selected to lead the people through this time of crisis, yet would be expected to relinquish this leadership once the time of crisis was past. If the facts of a case were unclear, then in some instances the Igbo would turn to an oracle or to divination.
Igboland possessed a regional network of oracles, such as the Agbala of Awku, or the Ibibi Ukpabe at Arochukwu. These oracles claimed to ascertain the truth of every matter, and were dependent on visitors from every part of Igboland. They rested on deliberate deception and were extremely expensive, far beyond the reach of the poor. However, their good reputation did depend on the fairness of their judgements, which kept their tendency for exploitation in check.
Perhaps it was the small scale of their political institutions that made Igboland such a good example of what a democracy should be. Some of the first European visitors to this region were struck by the extent to which democracy was truly practiced. A combination of popular participation and real respect for those with ability and experience, led to the smooth running of political institutions.
On a smaller scale, Igbo families generally lived in compounds, each a small segment of the village group. The head of the compound was usually the oldest male and within each compound were clusters of huts belonging to different domestic groups. The head of each domestic group is responsible for its members. In Igbo society, seniority by age regulated social placement. Married life was the normal condition for adults, and polygamy for the men was the ideal - in fact it acted as an important indication of status. Wives were ranked according to the order in which they married the common husband. Another important feature of Igbo kinship apart from the precedence given to the male, is the idea of seniority by birth. The first male and female children of the domestic group, irrespective of the ranking of their mothers, were given special status, and occupied very important and responsible social positions in the family.
One of the most important distinctions the Igbo make in their status system is that between Diala and non-Diala. The Diala is a freeborn, a full citizen, whose status at birth is symbolized by the burial of his umbilical cord, preferably at the foot of an oil palm tree. A Diala is free to attempt to gain a title, the only barrier to social climbing being the membership fees that these institutions demand. In contrast, the Ohu was a slave who had very few rights. However, these slaves were more often as not absorbed into the lineage of the master they served, becoming their companions and often marrying their daughters. An Osu was a cult-slave; they were a people hated and despised , and to refer to a Diala or an Ohu as an Osu was the gravest of insults. The Osu system of slavery originated from the Owerri-Okigwi region. The Diala belief is that the Osu are descended from a people who, at the recommendation of a diviner, were dedicated to a deity, in order that they may become his servitor. A particular village, lineage or individual that had been experiencing illness or misfortune would “dedicate” this slave to the deity, in the belief that the slave would then carry out the sins of the dedicator. The Osu were feared and hated because they reminded the Diala of their guilt. Unlike slaves, they could not be absorbed into their master’s lineage; on the other hand, they were protected by their deity from being sold or killed. The cult-slave status of the Osu was legally abolished by the Eastern Nigerian Government in 1956.
Downloaded and Edited by:
Dr Jideofo Kenechukwu Danmbaezue, D.Sc.

Email: or



    Each of the two previous international genocides that historians whitewashed and called ‘world wars’ had a silver lining but xenophobia and human pride did not allow the political demagogues that led humanity at those crucial epochs to see them!

    There was a preponderance of hypomaniacs that could not look beyond the horizons of victory and defeat, let alone appropriate the wisdom of a global peace initiative that I S M is preaching today! Instead, they created a toothless bulldog they named UNO that has for decades failed to forge unity or negotiate for embargo on military arms.

    My people of Biafra do not engage in peace negotiations with their razor-sharp cutlasses strapped to their hips. We know that to engage in conflict resolutions a warrior does not bring a knife that cuts through thick tree trunks, rather we come with strong threads and long needles that can sew together torn tarpaulin tents, nylon sacks or slippery garments! The self-acclaimed super-powers amassing nuclear weapons today have never read nor understood that wise men do not go to the UNO assemblies with daggers hidden in their cloaks.

    What they need is to come and drink in wisdom from gray-haired village folks in Igbo land. The words of our elders in Biafra are definitely words of wisdom. We had military tacticians and intelligentsia that knew the best methods of ending conflicts.

    The oldest sample of the political diplomacy that is still in use today is INTER-MARRIAGE BETWEEN THE WARRING COMMUNITIES. At other times, prisoners of wars were exchanged amicably with feasting, dancing and masquerade displays. Another was SACRIFICING THE PIECE OF LAND CAUSING THE DISPUTE TO EITHER MISSIONARIES OR COLONIAL ADMINISTRATORS!

    Parallels of these can be extrapolated and put into diplomatic use by the perennial white-collar administrators warming executive seats at the UNO but achieving nothing year-in year-out. All they do is FIRE BRIGADE response to ethnic cleansing when it has conflagrated to fratricidal genocide whereas these socio-political skirmishes could have been nipped in their buds! Even the PEACE KEEPING FORCES they send belatedly are always borrowed from sympathetic nations who answer the clarion call of genuine humanitarianism. They have no military apparatus, muscle, might nor power. It should be scrapped!

    Presidents and Monarchs should send half of the funds sent to them to those of us working ceaselessly to sew together all the religious factions worldwide that are the breeding grounds for fanaticism based on unscientific doctrines and dogmas that result in crusades and jihads.

    For how long will career diplomats be enjoying air-conditioned rooms and the state-of-the-arts secretarial gadgets for doing next to nothing to achieve the aims or objectives of setting up the bogus UNO?

    Join us at INTEGRATIONAL SPIRITAN MOVEMENT (ISM) for this and get people of like-minds so we can sanitise humanity of xenophobic syndromes and free all fanatics/mystics imprisoned by religion! Since it is religious differences that breed world wars, visit our websites and blogs:

    All who are genuinely interested in enthroning a sustainable and lasting world peace in our digitalised global village should; visit, read, meditate and digest the contents of these websites before recruiting professional colleagues of like-minds in every nation so you can speak authoritatively.


    Dr J. K. Danmbaezue a.k.a the Revolutionary Professor of Theosophy

    The Humble Vessel of the Holy Spirit of the Almighty Creator of the Entire Universe


    Double-faced Christians and Muslims now abound everywhere; they worship Satan at night and come to worship with honest children of the Almighty Creator in daylight. This lifestyle has eroded the credentials of our forebears! There is now, an urgent need to redeem our children from these nefarious practices! We must revert to the legacies of our renowned grandfathers, improve on it and bequeath the next generation a better religious legacy than we had!

    If you are concerned that our children need fresh religious air that suits this global village and that posterity deserves a better lifestyle devoid of wearing masks of deceit, pretences, subterfuges, ‘holier-than-thou’ attitudes, then join us in the sanitation exercise. Your offspring will remain for ever grateful that a select group of enlightened ‘Homo sapiens sapientis’ took the bull by the horns to avert the perilous moral decadence that is steadily turning all of us into unabashed hypocrites, unrepentant fanatics and deluded mystics. You are welcome!

    Send all e-mails to:

    Rev. Prof. J. J. Kenez, D. Sc. a.k.a
    Dr Jideofo Kenechukwu Danmbaezue,
    E-mail: and respectively
    Or dial any of these numbers: 0803-9097614, 0805-1764999 or 0809-6765365.
    Just type RENASCENT IGBO RELIGION into Google Search and see the volumes I had written on how, why and wherefore our traditional "NSO ANI" i.e. AVOIDNACE OF DESECRATION OF NATURAL LAWS is the best religion in the whole world, yet we prefer to swim in foreign religions and create an immoral nation wherein demonic politicians and pecuniary religious leaders swindle us and smile to the banks!! YOU CAN FOOL ALL THE PEOPLE SOME OF THE TIME, AND YOU CAN ALSO FOOL SOME OF THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME, BUT YOU CAN NEVER FOOL ALL THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME, TALK LESS OF ATTEMPTING TO FOOL GOD AT ANY TIME. ALL YOU HAVE READ ABOVE SUMMARISES WHAT THIS REVOLUTIONARY PROFESSOR OF MODERN ETHICS IS RECOMMENDING FOR ENTHRONING A LASTING GLOBAL PEACE FOR THE TRUE CHILDREN OF THE ALMIGHTY CREATOR IN OUR DIGITALISED GLOBAL VILLAGE.
    Male from Nigeria, born on 03/11/1948


    All over the world, the youths have looked on helplessly as the adult population decides who gets what, which religion get government allegiance and who is who in all social interactions. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. The civilized and scientific youths of the current GLOBAL VILLAGE OF COMPUTERS AND THE INTERNET are poised to take over the reigns of governance if the leaders of today do not want A LASTING WORLD PEACE.
    The religious tradition of our forefathers has been overthrown by imported versions that our youths disregard or pay lip service to. It is the adult population that is corrupting the youth. There are no role models for the youth; neither among the fake pastors and money seeking evangelists nor among the inept public servants and the corrupt political class. That is the genesis of youth restiveness, social malaise and adult/juvenile delinquency that has escalated to unmanageable proportions in ALL DEVELOPED AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AND NATIONS OF THE WORLD!

    For too long, our people have been wearing masks; the commercial mask worn by traders from Mondays to Fridays when they extort and cheat their customers. Civil service mask of pretences is a corollary! Then religiosity mask is worn by all for funeral ceremonies and condolence visits on Saturdays and finally, the Christian mask worn on Sundays! To correct the anomaly, a Consultant Research Scientist with his team of concerned interdisciplinary colleagues conducted a 25-year research on the restoration of family love and morals. There must be EDUCATION IN FAMILY VALUES to change the tide and avert a lawless society that our nation is turning into. So, what is education in family values? The answer is ubiquitous but comprehensive as I have outlined them in this magnificent;




  4. THINGS FALL IN HARMONY by Rev. Prof. J. J. Kenez has been published.





  5. 1. Rev. Prof. J. J. Kenez blew the whistle on the counter-productive, inhumane and hypocritical insistence for centuries by Vatican City on COMPULSORY CELIBACY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH in 2001, which he later revised in 2003; “Celibacy is a legislation that can be abrogated anytime.” It is a convenience that can be dispensed with as soon as it is grossly abused and becomes counterproductive. That is what it is for now! Therefore, it must be abrogated or, in the least optionalised.

    2. Pope John Paul II treated the issue with kid’s gloves during his papacy and abandoned it due to the insincerity of the ‘Illuminati Power Brokers’ of the Catholic hierarchy.

    3. Rev. Prof J. J. Kenez officially left the obstinate Roman Catholic Church on 1st January 2003 as a protest on the obnoxious issue.

    4. Pope Benedict honourably resigned and gracefully bowed out in March 2003 rather than be the sacrificial lamb of the Italian power mongers operating from behind the curtains.

    5. Christiane Amanpour of CNN, on a tip-off in May 2003 from the Animator of the Association for the Enthronement of True Morality by the Abrogation of Clerical Celibacy in RCM, visited Rome and revealed the real reasons the Pope threw in his towels.

    6. Now, in September 2003, during the Papacy of the First Jesuit Pope Francis, the controversial issue occupies the front burners and the Graduates of Satan’s University are pretending that they initiated it and voluntarily started its democratic discussion!

    7. This is a far OUT-CRY from the truth. Let credit be given to those who earned it and so deserve being recognised for their efforts ad not the crafty Illuminati Jesuits that are hypocritical. It has always been in their nature to manipulate everyone for centuries.


    9. I AGUNABU UMUELECHI BIAFRA will definitely not allow someone else to take credits for the twelve years; 2001- 2013; sustained campaigns my association for the enthronement of true morality in Christendom made to abrogate COMPULSIVE CELIBACY or in the least OPTIONALISED it!


  6. TRUTH NEVER WEARS A DRESS. ANY WHERE OR ANYTIME IT PUTS ON LIPSTICK, AN EAR RINGS, WEARS A PANT .... IT CEASES TO BE TRUTH...that is my definition of truth which I have championed for two decades now, THE MASSES CAN COMPREHEND THAT, alternatively CAN YOU OFFER A SIMPLER DEFINITION.....Please mail it to me...o..o..oooh..

  7. Be careful about content, for numerous reasons.



    “Prophet Moses and Prophet Mohammed separately fetched firewood infested with ants and maggots and so forever must entertain uninvited visits from lizards. I need convincing answers to in this final dissertation on some of the numerous absurdities propagated by the ancient religious leaders that caused wars”.

    1. From the beginning of creation every narrative was universal and applicable to the direct descendants of Adam and Eve. There were no discriminations till Noah’s ark. Genesis 1 to Genesis 11 is UNIVERSAL as it narrates about humanity at large and concurs with the current scientific classification of Homo sapiens into three species of mankind. From Genesis 12 till Malachi is ETHNOCENTRIC as it narrates only about Abram and his descendants. Was the God of Noah very different from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for the former seems to be really OMNISCIENT, OMNIPOTENT AND IMPARTIALLY JUST, whereas the latter seems to be directly the opposite; NEPOTIC AND FALLIBLE.

    2. The Almighty Creator OF Genesis 1 to Genesis 11 moulded and gave life to his son; ADAM, and later by anaesthetic surgery while Adam was wide awake separated his bisexual parts and named the new product EVE, a helpmate and later wife and mother of Adam’s descendants. But in the case of Abraham who was the ancestor of only the Ishmael and Isaac, he had to wait long before the promised son arrived. Later, after many years of retraining the pagan from Ur he was asked to sacrifice Isaac as a test of obedience and loyalty to this personal God who brought him out of the Land of UR.

    3. Is Jesus the only son of Almighty Creator God that created the entire universe or is he only a descendant of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who banished Hagar and Ishmael to die in a dry desert before the injustice was corrected by the Almighty Creator as dogmatised and deluded Christians proclaim, thus fuelling the perennial Arab – Israeli wars. Please provide convincing and rational answers to this bewildered theosophist, and then answer this his ultimate question; TO WHOM DID THIS PERSONAL GOD OF THE ISRAELITES SACRIFICE JESUS AS ABRAHAM TRIED TO SACRIFICE ISAAC AND TO WHAT PURPOSE OR TEST.
    “This is the Internet Age and our voracious children surf and browse all websites in our current Global village. You cannot blindfold them for long nor restrict their human rights and freedom as previously done by ancient demagogues did. They ask so many questions that pre-scientific man shrouded in fables, legends, doctrines and dogmas. However,
    The errors of the Fathers of the Roman Catholic Church are so numerous that the little Pope John Paul II did by way of educated apologetics during his papacy barely scratched at the surface of the centuries’ old crime of misleading the whole Christendom”.

    *Dr Jideofo Kenechukwu Danmbaezue.
    Your Revolutionary Professor of Modern Theosophy.