Black Spirituality Religion : An Introduction to Igbo Medicine

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Sekhemu, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Igbo Modes of Mobilizing Extra-human Forces to Respond To Illness and Problems in Society - Iga N'Ajuju

    By Patrick Irogegbu



    Mirror Divination Mode, Iga N' Enyo

    In order to illustrate its significance, I will describe here how the grand mirror is consulted (Afa enyo) encompasses both Afa Enyo Nta (small mirror) and Afa Enyo Ukwu (Grand Mirror), each of which is distinctive, and is intended to deal with intractable cases thta often take people on long journeys. With small mirror divination, diviners use small mirrors to reflect images as inversions of one another, such that a client may see the inverted image of him/herself in the mirror. This utilizes revelations about that we cannot ordinarily see on our own. Generally, however, when the Igbo talk about Iga n' enyo (goint to the mirror), they mean going to consult the grand mirror, which is sanctified and empowered with medicine for consultation. On the contrary, a small mirror reads problems as symbolic reflections. Each reflective outcome produces an interpretation in its own right. Questions are raised and the mirror will be turned in different directions until a decodable reflection or appearance is registered on it. This allows healers/diviners to capture messages uncommon to our ordinary perceptions. In particuliar, Mamiwata "specialists" use this type of technique. Because it is a small mirror with facilitating medicines packed around it, it is easy to carry, hence being a resourceful and importan aetiological device.

    Grand Mirror Divination, Afa Enyo Ukwu

    Reputed experts of this mode offer, on a weekly or daily basis, a consultation referred to as iga n' enyo. The origin of grand mirror divination is linked to the drive to overcome problems encountered in seed divination (afa igba mkpuru okwe). Informants noted that divinatory evidence often attracts the police, who harass diviner/healers and demand to see visible evidence of pronouncements that might be associated with family dissent and court actions. Attempts to overcome the mockery of the divinatory art and the embarrassment resulting from the law enforcement authorities' tendency to capitalize on the opportunity to humiliate clients and healers made the need for some extra power and evidence that would prove the authenticity of the oracular revelations inevitable. Devices such as the grand mirror emerged in response to the need to prevent that inadequacy. It is said that the extra-human force behind the grand mirror appeared from the sea, and practitioners quickly point to and present related symbols. Informants claim that the mirror sees to all corners of Igboland and beyond, and that the spirits help to mirror the family, the water, the forest, and the market. Professional grand mirror divination takes place mainly on the Nkwo, Eke, and Orie market days, and apart from Afo, as a recent visit to the field reinforces.

    Concrete St. Joseph's Grand Mirror Consulting Centre

    I furthered my inquiry into this area by accompanying clients to the grand mirror house called St. Joseph in Umudim, near Owerri. This grand mirror house, or centre, is not a religious organization per se; it is, rather, a consulting house for spiritual communion, set up and named by the healer. Divinatory consultation here is principally tied to prayer petitions and invocations, which are seen as a means of discernment. The technique originated from the water by the aid of a powerful spirit, referred to as Ezenwaanyi, or Mamiwata.

    Consulting Processes

    Peculiar to the process of questioning the grand mirror is that it entails an all night or all day session, each session generally lasting 6 to 9 hours. Clients are given instructions about what to do and expect, and about proper conduct. An encounter with the diviner/healer in the evening or early morning precedes the actual confrontation with the oracle. I will focus on an evening session here

    Prior to clients entering the mirror house and beginning to view and question the grand mirror, the healer anoints their eyes. Inside the mirror house, each client occupies a cabin equipped with a grand mirror, also called a "wonder mirror". When clients are properly seated before the sacred grand mirror, the healer shuts the door and leaves the consults alone in a kind of seclusion designed to promote self-immersion and deep self-questioning. As a matter of modus operandi, undergoing such questioning in a group context means that one of the consultants becomes a proper witness to the diviner's interrogation of the grand mirror oracular realm. The forces reflected in the grand mirror are subject to wise interrogation. They are summoned and asked to explain why they intrude into the lives of the long-suffering client, under whose name the grand mirror reflexive discourse is opened. Consultation is therefore a self-participatory interaction. The consultant may voice any question suggested by the images in the mirror. The information thereby gathered is trasmitted to the diviner/healer at the end of the viewing session and leads to a second assembly

    Second meeting with the diviner/healer
    In the morning, the diviner opens the door and leads the group out, usually to the front of the consultation house where the prepatory sessions took place. He makes sure that none of the participants speaks to one another. When all are seated tensions and curiosity mount among the accompanying members, who now watch things from one side. Each person (there were 11 people involved in this particuliar session) is, in turn, asked to give his or her account of the divination experience. The healer asks questions such as: What led you to participate? What did you ask? What did you see? What did you experience? How did you present your case to the forces that appeared? The various consultants are to report, in detail, their experiences with regard to these questions from the diviner. The diviner may explain the facts underlying each account, sometimes indicating why, for instance, a particuliar illness has taken form manifested in the ill person. Stolen items, cases of sorcery, and episodes or circumstances of severe illness are analyzed according to how the attacker is dealing with the distressed. When this second assembly is finished, the healer moves the process to a more customized or personalized session.

    The Transactional efficacy of the Grand Mirror Divination


    The grand mirror technique is generally acclaimed for its efficacy. Users acclaim its results and consider its application symbolic, genuine, and assuring. First, it allows each consultant to see things for him/herself. Second, sorcery can be undone on the spot through procedures usings such things as magic needles or pins (aga, nwandudd amuma), provided by the healer/diviner. Third, an offender may be forced to confess right there in the mirror, cancel his or her source of attack, indicate what was used in the attack, and specify what can be done to counteract it. To indicated his or her refusal to perform any of these actions, the offender would show his or her back instead of face (Ihu, iru). The significance of showing front-side (ihu,iru) and backside (azu) corresponds with the ideas of persistence, truth, acceptance, agreement, regret, willingness to negotiate, co-operation, or rejection versus their opposites. And the mirror reflects all of these symbolically. In cases of death or insanity, the attacker would clearly be shown and forced to explain the reasons for the attack. Stolen goods or abducted persons are seen in the mirror, and the current circumstances of the stolen goods or kidnapped person(s) are seen. Whatever the situation, the consultant is made to see all there is to envision.

    The afflicted and his or her accompanying group may decide to seek revenge against someone who has killed their relative or caused a member to suffer insanity or another form of harsh misfortune. In some instances, the client may request that the healer call the person out in the mirror so that revenge may be sought by piercing the offender's image with the magic pin or needle (aga, amumua). The request for on the spot revenge may come from the healer or from the client who is asking what can be done. From whichever side it may be sought or suggested, the diviner plays the role of healer/judge or healer/retaliator by introducing and explaining the consequences of retributive actions (ime na imegwara). This is necessary because if a client decides to terminate life of an offender out of uncontrolled anger, the other consultants may similarly ask for further retaliation against the client's reveng. This may unleash death upon death via attacks and counter-attacks. Rather than permitting such incidents, which allegedly may happen in extreme cases, the healer seeks alternative means of dealing with the situation, calls upon he conscience of the clients, and advises them on the use of iju ogu. That is, a resort to effective use of their innocence in prayers and symbolic application for justice - thereby enhancing their fate and consequence through laying down petition to the extra-human forces to take revenge on their behalf based on the principle of equity and retributive justice. By so doing, a healer also protects his own conscience in terms of the imperatives and repercussions involved in the healing process

    http://www.kwenu.com/publications/iroegbu/igbomed/introduction2.htm
     
  2. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    Brotha Sek,

    I am certainly interested in healing. I don't know if mirrors can help me since my condition is legal blindness. I've drastically changed my diet to vegetarian and it has made a noticeable yet small improvement. Where can I go or who can I see that has the power and knowledge to heal me?
     
  3. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Sister River

    I applaud you in your efforts.

    I'll send you PM
     
  4. nibs

    nibs Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    (river) - I am certainly interested in healing. I don't know if mirrors can help me since my condition is legal blindness. I've drastically changed my diet to vegetarian and it has made a noticeable yet small improvement. Where can I go or who can I see that has the power and knowledge to heal me?

    marijuana is known to help improve vision.
     
  5. Amnat77

    Amnat77 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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  6. Onyemobi

    Onyemobi Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Great post
     
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