Black Spirituality Religion : A spiritual discourse of the Ijaw of Nigeria

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Sekhemu, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Who are the Ijaw?

    The Ijaws are a nation of more than 14 million people in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, the most populous indigenous inhabitants of the Niger Delta and constitute the fourth largest ethnicity within the borders of Nigeria.

    The term Ijaw is the aglicised version of Ijo or Ejo, a variation of Ujo or Ojo, the ancestors who gave the Ijo people our name. Other modern variations include Izon, Ezon and Uzon meaning the same thing. Other names referring to Ijaw people are Uzo (at Benin), the original ancestral name of Oru (in Ijaw and Igbo land) and Kumoni (in Ijaw). These names were applicable through the Niger Delta and environs as noted by early British visitors.

    Egbesu


    It is commonly stated that Egbesu is the god or deity of warfare. While this statemen is correct, it is at the same time misleading as it does not address all the functions of the metaphysical intellegence, and how it relates in the divine scheme of things.

    In order to answer the question who and what is Egbese? we must have a "technical" understanding of the cosmology of the Supreme Being, and how it governs the universe. We must use a number of references text to aid our task, such as the Christian Bible, or even older sacred books such as the kemetic "Book of knowing the forms of the creator."

    In the Christian bible, in the book of Genesis 2.26 the supreme being is made to say "let us make man in our image". This gives us the impression that the supreme being is talking to other lesserl beings. In psalm 82 we have the following statement;

    "God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgements:"

    In the Jewish, christian and Islamic tradition, thse other or lesser beings or smaller gods! are called "angels", meaning "messengers of God". Int he Ancient African spiritual tradition, from which the above mentioned religions learnt most of their spiritual doctrines, these lesser beings or gods are known as metaphysical or spiritual or divine intelligence's. They are the attributes or forms of God, also known as the forces of nature that govern the visible and invisible universe. They are not apart from God, but are the forms of the God that it uses in administering the universe. This is made clear in the book of revelations and from the ancient African text such as the "Book of Knowing the forms of the creator (Nebetcher)" which for the record is the oldest "book" concerning the nature of the Supreme Being, preceding the Bible by thousands of years. Parts of which state;

    The book of knowing the forms of Nebetcher, and of overthrowing evil

    The words of the Lord of the universe which he spoke after he had come into being. I am he who came into being in the form of the creator, coming into being in the beginning. I came into being in the forms of the creator. I am the creator of what came into being, that is to say, I produced myself.....I was alone not born were they.....And even I came into being in the form of the things which came into being, and I came into being in the forms of the Creator. I came into being from the formless matter, coming into being in a multitude of forms from the beginning. Not existed created things in the universe. I made whatever was made, everything. I was alone, not existed any other who worked WITH ME....

    Breaking it down we have God manifesting itself as the Almighty creator, as the forms of the Almighty creator or metaphysical intelligence's, and as the creatures ( i.e. to say, the spirit of God at the center of all things dwelling as our essential nature).

    We have now established that the Supreme Being manifests itself in a multitude of forms, the forms of God that itself uses to govern the universe. It manifest at the centre of man's being as the divine self or spirit of God dwelling within. On the other hand God as the "unmanifisted one" in its essential nature is formless and non-divisible. Thus ultimately God has no image and is therefore invisible. It cannot be perceived but can perceive all things.

    The spiritual culture of the Ijo (Ijaw) can be traced back to the ancient city of Annu (Heliopolis of the Greeks), the On of the Bible.

    At Annu was centralised the cultivation of the creative attributes or aspects of the Supreme being in the form of Tem the almighty creator, his female counterpart Temeta, the Supreme, the supreme intelligence Atum, and his energy/power aspects known as Ra. Now these term are direct translations of the ancient kemetic language, by present day egyptologist. In modern Ijo, these terms have survived in the from of Temeowie, or Temuno (Tem), Tamara (Temeta), Adumu (Atum) and Urau (Ra).

    ZIBARA TEME BI MO

    The creator deity in Ijo religion is feminine. Thus most of the words which refer to the Supreme being are feminine. Tamara is the woman who created us; WOYIN means 'our mother'. WODAU is a christian version of our father. ZIBARA is the deith that gives life. It is from her that the Ijo ask for blessings in life. It is on your knees that you plead to ZIBARA..... Footnote; Zibara - Goddess of prophecy, divination, often called upon along with the creative deity Tamara. Teme-life/breath, soul the double. Oru-god, goddess, a major deity, as distinct form Tamara or Woyin, Woyingi, Tamuno, Oyibau, Temeowi....."

    The supreme creator God is the basic part of all Ijo religion. In the eastern delta, God is Ayiba (begetter as well as killer) or Tamuno (Creator). In the poetry of the drum, God is Oloma Ogina, or Oloman Ogina. In the central and western delta, God is Woyin (our mother) Ayibarau (she who begets and kills), Oginarau, and Tamarau (creator). God is a female idea along the matrilineal Ijo...."

    The religion of the Ijo, who are perhaps the most ancient people in West Africa, is still distinct from that of all surrounding nations. The supreme deith, partly identified with the sky, is a Goddess called Tamuno by the kalabari, Ayiba by the brass people and Tamara by the western section of the tribe- who is deemed to have created everything, man, animals, trees, etc. The symbol to which sacrifices are made, especially by children is a clay pot, containing black earth, and which is most rare. Second only to Tamuno comes the earth god, Amakiri..... It is interesting to find that in this most ancient of the tribes (nations), the earth deity is male and that of the sky is female like the Kemetic Seb and Nut whose offspring's were Ausar, Auset, Set, Neb Het, Heru and Anpu. It should also be noted that this is the tribe where the mother Goddess is still supreme that the clearest traces are to be found on the dual organisation, or religious and civil or war chiefs...."

    Because of the ancient roots of the Ijo spiritual culture, it is not surprising that Ijo culture expresses knowledge of certain fundamental spiritual concepts, such as the tree of life spiritual initiation system, as practiced by the cosmological school of Annu, reincarnation and the survival of the soul after physical death, ancestor communication ritual with the deification of ancestors. Most of all is the conceptualization of the Supreme being as the almight creator, who manifest itself in the form of the supreme creator of the universe (God), in the forms of the supreme creator, deities, or so called angels or gods, and as the creatures that make up the universe (as the inner intelligence dwelling in all things including human beings).

    Oru in modern Ijo is the survival of the Ancient Kemetic term Heru. It also corresponds to the co-ordinating functions of the will of God as manifested in the universe, and as the same time the co-ordinating function of the will of man, as manifested in our mental expression. Teme means to take, or create, or the creative essence, and again is the same as the kemetic Tem which means creator. Thus Oru-Teme or Teme-Oru, refers to the supreme creator manifesting in its various forms, which we understand to be the spiritual entities or deities.

    The term Oru has caused much controversy within Ijo traditional thought, because christian missionaries translated the term to mean devil. The term does not mean devil, for the concept of the devil as an evil spirit being is non-existent in Ijo theology. Oru or Eru derived from the ancient term Heru. The fact that Oru does not mean devil is borne out in the story of the fight between Heru and Set. In this story, Heru is the principle of order or balance while Set is the principle of chaos or inbalance.

    The term Oru also means deity, or god/goddess and corresponds to the christian concept of angel. Indeed is it the same, because an Oru is a servant or messenger of God.

    Ijo traditional spiritual culture places much emphasis on the mental focusing on the Orus or servants of God. The Orus exist to help human beings in their day to day affairs. Since is it the Orus that govern the natural world, and the governing of the natural world has not been known to fail, we can see how cultivation an Oru would be benefit the individual and society. This is because Ijo culture has the correct understanding that, in order to manifest an aspect of the Supreme being one must become at one with the attribute that one is focusing on. The mental focusing on a divine attribute is called "worship". It is through worship that one is able to awaken the divine attribue withone oneself. This is what worshipping God is all about.

    The tree of life cosmological schema. To understand Ijo spiritual culture one must be familiar with the Tree of life cosmological scheme authored by priest and priestess of the great nile valley civilizations of ancient Kemet and Sudan, which is a diagrammitical summary of the various attributes of the supreme being in numerical form. Below are eleven attributes of the supreme being in their gender, and with their Ijo names and the meaning in English. Together they summarise the totality of God and are the underlying metaphysical intellegence's that govern the physical universe are as follows:

    Woying-Tamara and Temeowei (The supreme Mother Goddess and Father God as the supreme being's creative dualities that are the source of all things) feminine and masculine

    Adumu or Esseru or Asain ( The supreme being manifesting as the supreme intelligence or the Divine self i.e. God's spirit dwelling within each of our being) masculine

    Tau or Tautu ( The supreme being manifesting as the universal knowledge or omniscience-wisdom metaphysical intelligence) masculine

    Sokari or Benikurukuru (The supreme being manifesting as the universal spiritual power of omnipotence metaphysical intelligence) feminine

    Ayibara or Ayiba or Oginara (The supreme being manifesting as the metaphysical intelligence that is the embodiment of the divine law and order of the cosmos) feminine

    Egbesu or Ako-oru or Agdagba-oru ( The supreme being manifesting as the metaphysical intelligence that enforces divine laws and secures the divine natural order of things) masculine

    Oru or Kalasuo or Kalaoru (the supreme being manifesting as the metaphysical intelligence that co-ordinates the universe) masculine

    Oruamina (The supreme beinge manifesting as the metaphysical intelligence that gathers the metaphysical or spiritual energy to give rise to all things) feminine

    Ari or Seke (The supreme being manifesting as the metaphysical intelligence that differentiates all things into various categories) masculine

    Zibara or Beniara (The supreme being manifesting as the metaphysical intelligence that moulds a metaphysical or spiritual image or form of all things, the so-called spiritual double or metaphysical personality) feminine

    Ogbo or Kiri-Ogbo or Amakiri (The supreme being manifesting as the metaphysical intelligence that generates and presides over the physical realm, earthly laws and living) masculine


    These various attributes of the supreme being correspond to the so-called different names of God in other religions (e.g. Benikurukuru corresponds to the Shekina power of the hebrew tradition), and to the much misunderstood term angel of Christianity and Islam. In the tree of life syste, level 0 is God, formless and invisible, of which everyone talks about while 1-10 are the so-called angels or gods/goddessess, the forms of God that is uses to govern the universe.

    When God creates the universe, it first lays down the laws that the universe is to be based on and governed by. These laws translate as the hidden patterns of nature and the laws of interdependence and interrelationship between all things, seen and unseen. In short, the so-called laws of nature. After making these laws, God manifests an attribute of itself that will enforce the laws.

    Laws are useless if there are no means of enforcing them. This aspect or principle of God is termed "divine enforcer" or "divine executor". And since it is used to restore law and order when there is an infringement, it is also termed the god of war, meaning that it is the manifestation of God fighting against the forces that threaten divine order. In the christian tradition, it is the angel that holds the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain used to lock up the dragon satan the devil, principle of evil. In the Ijo spiritual tradition it is known as the Egbesu (bearing in mind that angels or Oru are none other than the various manifestations of the supreme being which it uses to govern the natural world).

    Egbesu is the offensive and defensive power of God used to protect righteous people from the forces of "evil". This was understood by the Ijos and also neighboring tribes such as the Edo.

    Egbesu is the spiritual foundation for combating evil. It is the main spiritual tool for overcoming it. It is used to enforce the divine order in the natural realm, so that all things coming into being can take place in their own space and time without infringing upon other things. It is used to make sure that all things are functioning as a unified whole, despite their outward differences. Of the utmost importance to human beings is its influence in the social order, whether we know it or not. Like it or not, the social order (Taboos) constructed by human beings must follow the blueprint of the universe as laid out by the Creator. When it is not social disorder is the result.

    Two major principles must be adhered to when constructing a society. The first is that all things, be they human beings, interest groups or animals, must not infringe on each others time and space as alluded to previously, following the principle that no two things can occupy the same time and space at the same time. The second is that all things, be they human beings, interest groups, enterprises, animals and plants, are part of a unified system function as a whole. As such anything that threatens the smooth functioning of the whole system, through infringement, must be restored to its proper role, through force if is not a free agent, and a combination of force and gentle persuasion if it is a free agent.

    The only free agents in the universe outside of God are human beings. Not the even so called angels are free. Thus in the divine order, things are forced back into equilibrium if they threaten to go astray. That is why nature has not been known to fail. In the social order constructed by human beings, it is another matter. It is here that Egbesu plays a leading role in making sure that society is governed by moral principles instead of greed.

    A look at the function of angels will give us an understanding of why the Ijo invoke Egbesu anytime their society and environment is at risk of annihilation. We are told by specialists on the subject of religion that;

    Muhammadan theologians declare that the angels are created of a single substance of light, and that tye are endowed with life, and speech, and reason; they are incapable of sin, they have no carnal desire, they do not propogate there species. Their meat is the celebrating of the glory of God. Their dring is the proclaiming of his holiness, their conversation is the commemorating of God, and their pleasure is his worship. Curiously enough, some are said to have the form of animals. Four of the angels are Archangels, Michael, Gabriel, Azrael and Israel, and they possess special powers, and special duties are assigned to them. There four are superior to all the human race, with the exception of the prophets and apostles, but the angelic nature is held to be inferior to human nature because all the angels were commanded to worship Adam..... The archangels in this system are described as a "swift operative motion" which has dominion over every living thing except man; and the angels are a motion which has a spiritual knowledge of everything that is on earth and in heaven.....

    A number of important points come out of this extract. Angels are absolutely obedient to the will of God, therefore they are not free agents. If they are not free agents then there cannot be any fallen angels. Lucifer or Satan a so-called fallen angel is in reality a personification of the corrupted mind of man used in the infringement of the divine social order. The fight between good and "evil", is not a fight between God on one side, and a fallen angel on the other, but a fight within the mind of man, and the social order constructed by man, between what principles should govern society and human behavior, either they are divine moral principles, or principles based on human desires, which ultimately leads to greed and imbalance.

    Another important point is that angels take on form of animals or humans when perceived in a vision. Africans have been in the past, as well as the present, accused of animal worship. Again this is false, for we are not worshipping animals, but using the animal like forms communicated to them by the angels to invoke the forces of nature, so that divine social order is established in our affairs.

    Once again, Egbesu operates on the principle of synergy. All factors that will establish righteousness must come into play before the force os Egbesu produces an affect. Egbesu cannot be utilised by the ordinary man/woman as he/she lacks spiritual discipline. The divine enforcer can only be utilised by the righteous or upright beings (through wise guidance wage a war that is just). It cannot be called upon by evil doers or be used for dubious purposes. Egbesu, is not called upon to start a war, but to end injustice, conflict and confusion. He comes not to start wars but to end them. That is why it is only in exceptional circumstances that it is called upon. One of these exceptional circumstances is when and individual or COMMUNITY is under attack from other communities with evil or diabolical intentions, and they themselves are innocent and blameless.

    Individuals who are in full compliance with divine order, such as an Egbesu priest, have the ability to invoke the corrective forces of (Egbesu) God, if the social and invironmental order withing the human habitat is de-stabilised. This invoking of Egbesu will take on the form of waging aggressive warfare against the forces that are causing the de-stabilisation and imbalance, with the aim of re-establishing order and harmony, while at the same time being protected from harm.

    To check and balance the forces of disharmony means living in harmony with the laws governing the universe. It cannot be done any other way. Thus, an Egbesu priest/priestess must undergo a protracted "training" process that will ultimately harmonize their being iwth the offensive and defensive power of God. After this "training" programme, and in accordance to the sincerity of the individuals undergoing it, Egbesu will protect them and help them carry out their task of restoring law and order in their respective environs.

    Ase
     
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Elder,

    Thank you for the wealth. Blame on the night but do the Ijaw people not have a connection to Abakua? I know it's one of the ethnic groups in the Niger Delta region (old Calabar) of Nigeria or perhaps a combination of groups...

    Ase and Odabo,
    Blackbird
     
  3. MenNefer

    MenNefer Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The Emergenc See (9 born 11 completion/cypher)

    MaaKheru......The Reconciliation. I never would have thought in my wildest dreams that my nucleus (It's not even MY nucleous ...Anuk Ausar) is an indivisible Duality ( To coin a famous AAS saying)

    It was right up under my nose but I just didn't ask the right questions, got confused.Realized that the very tool I had been refining and priding myself off of for years (Mastering the Mortal Language) was the Gordian Knot. Yet truth is not mines to manipulate or concretize. Tehuti speaks to who is spoken to.

    Anetch Hrauten Atef Mut Neter
     
  4. Amnat77

    Amnat77 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Profound indeed brother Sek, I find often that some studing the ATRs have the misconception that one can pray to the dieties to cause harm on another human being, or use the deities powers for evil....I'm really not sure were this concept comes from, but I'm glad you found this idea not to be true in your research.....our ancesors left the secrets of the universe for us, through oral and written words, however, many are ignoring the ancient's wisdom.... that is why the world is in this chaotic state today.

    Thank you, great post!
     
  5. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    One major source of this misconception was the white man's ignorance about voodoo. Not understanding or wanting to admit to the medicinal powers of voodoo he told himself that vodoun practitioners stuck pins in dolls to bring harm to the person the doll represented.

    when we make our worst enemy our only source of knowledge about who we are we will have confusion like that. Knowamsane?
     
  6. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    Brotha Sek,

    I think I am understanding this better, but please correct me if I am wrong.

    The impression I am getting here is that the concept of Nebertcher bringing him/herself into being means that he/she manifested him/herself. In other words. the Creator was already there but just not in manifestation as the creator until this act was performed. Like I could just exist as a nondescript (undifferentiated) human being, but when I paint a picture, sing a song or write a poem then I am manifesting the painter, singer, writer,(bringing her into being). Until I do that the painter does not exist because I cannot telll people I am a painter when I have never painted anything. So manifestation is the realization of potential where energy, matter and will combine to create action. As above so below.

    BTW, I sent you a pm.
     
  7. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Precisely

    Creation of the natural universe is the manifold manifestation (Neters/Orisha/Abosom/Nkisi) of Oludumare/Nebetcher.
     
  8. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Brotha Blackbird, Ba Wo Ni? (for the family, this means "how are you"?)

    Yes, you are right about the connection between the Ijaw and (Calabari) Abukua of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

    As you probably know, hundreds of thousands of Ijaws and Igbo were captured and brought to Cuba to work as slaves on the Oyinbo's sugar plantations during the 18th century.

    Talk to you soon brotha

    Odabo!
     
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