Black Spirituality Religion : Abiku: Children who die before reaching puberty

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Sekhemu, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Abi Yoruba for That with Possesses, and Iku death, or predestined to death, is a word used to mean spirits of children who die before reaching puberty, and also a class of negating spirits who cause children to die.

    A child who dies before 12 years of age is called an Abiku in Yoruba tradition, and the spirit or spirits who caused the death also being called Abiku.

    Uninhabited tracts of country abound with a variety of negating forces, who suffer from hunger, thirst, and cold. Sacrifices and offerings are no longer made to them, and there are no shrines erected in their memory, consequently, these entities are constantly on watch to improve their condition by entering the bodies of new-born babies. One one Abiku can enter and dwell in the body of the same child, and there is great competition among Abikus for lack of a better word, jockeying for position. Often there is the idea among Abiku that there are vested "rights" in a child, on condition of his promising them to share the child among them.

    When an Abiku has entered a child he takes for his own use, and for the use of his companions, the larger part of the food that the child eats, who consequently begins to waste away and becomes emaciated. If an Abiku who had entered a child were not obliged to share the food with other Abikus who had previously failed in securing the child for themselves, then no serious harm will come to the child, the sustenance being sufficient for the host and the Abiku. Conversely when and Abiku is bound to supply outside Abikus, the constant demands that are made by the other hungry Abikus, compel the indwelling Abiku to oblige his share to satisfy his compannions, bringing about the destruction of the child.

    When a child is peevish or fretful, it is understood that the outside Abikus are hurting him/her in order to secure a greater share of food from the indwelling Abiku, and everything done to the child is felt by his Abiku. Thus, the indwelling Abiku is to a great extent, identified with the child himself.

    A mother who sees her child gradually wasting away without apparent cause, concludes that an Abiku has entered it, or that she has given birth to one, and that it is being starved because the Abiku is stealing all its nourishment. To get rid of the indwelling Abiku, and its companions outside, a mother offers a sacrifice of food, and while the Abikus are supposed to be devouring the spiritual part of the food, and their attention being diverted, she attaches iron rings and small bells to the ankles of the child, and hangs iron chains around his neck. The Jingling of the iron ( Iron being ruled by Ogun) and the tinkling of the bells is supposed to keep the Abikus at a distance.

    Sometimes the child recovers its health, the procedure having been successful, and the Abikus driven away. If, however, no improvement takes place, or the child grows worse, the mother endeavors to drive out the Abiku by making small incisions in the body of the child, and inserting green peppers and other spices in the incisions. This is thought to cause great pain to the Abiku and make them depart. Unfortunately this also causes pain to the child.

    If the child dies, it is buried without a funeral ceremony, and carried out beyond the borders of the town or village, and left in the bush to punish the Abiku.
     
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