Black Spirituality Religion : Igbo Spirituality 101

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Onyemobi, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. Onyemobi

    Onyemobi Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    found online at: http://igbokwenu.wikispaces.com/Igbo+Spirituality+101

    The spiritual system of Ndi Igbo (the Igbo people) is one of the oldest on Earth. The roots of Igbo spirituality is the same as the roots of every other African one; that is, in Africa. Igbo spirituality predates Islam, Christianity, Judaism and every other -ism that one can think of. If there are any similarities between the traditional practices of the Igbo and those of other religions, it is because they were borrowed from our ancestors, and not the other way around.

    The ancient spirituality of the Ndi Igbo, like most other traditional African spiritual systems, has been misunderstood and demonized unjustly. Evangelical churches, with the help of Nollywood movies, have helped to paint a negative picture of traditional Igbo spirituality that dates back to the arrival of the Europeans in Alaigbo (Igboland). It is quite unfortunate that most of the people who condemn Igbo spirituality do not know much about it, and base their most of their information from the lies of the very same people who wanted to destroy it and everything about our culture. While all the misconceptions about the traditional practices cannot be corrected in one article, this introduction to Igbo Spirituality will help clear a few things up.

    The basis of Igbo Spirituality is the concept of “Chi.” Similar to the “Ori” of the Yoruba, and the “Ka” of Ancient Egyptians, Chi was the fundamental force of creation. Everyone and everything has a Chi. Ndi Igbo, like other Africans, worshiped one Creator, who is known by many names: Obasi Dielu (The Supreme God), Chi di ebere (God the merciful), Odenigwe (The Ruler of Heavens), etc. The two most popular names for Supreme Being used in Alaigbo were Chukwu and Chineke. The dominant name, Chukwu, which is a combination of the Igbo words “Chi” and “Ukwu”, literally means “The Big Chi”, and shows that Igbos believed that the Supreme Being was omnipresent and all-pervading. Chineke, which most people translate as “God the Creator” actually has a deeper meaning. Chi is the masculine aspect of God and Eke is the feminine aspect. Ndi Igbo knew that it took male and female to create life, so the Creator of everything would have to encompass both parts.

    Because Ndi Igbo believed that everything in it had a chi, they also gave names to the Chi found in nature (the Alusi). The Alusi of the sky was known as Igwe. The Alusi of the yams (the most important crop of Ndi Igbo) was called Ahiajoku. The Alusi of the Sun was called Anyanwu. The most important of the forces of Nature was Ani, which was the feminine force that presided over the Earth. The Alusi were not limited to natural forces; metaphysical and supernatural forces and principles also had their own names and attributes. Ikenga was the Alusi of strength and Agwu was the Alusi of wisdom and healing. Each Alusi had its invididual personality and function, but they all were still parts of Chukwu.

    The Ndiichie (esteemed ancestor spirits) also held a high place in traditional Igbo society. Elders have always been revered in Igbo society, and even more so after they passed onto Be Mmuo (the land of the spirits). The Nddichie would often be consulted to offer advice to their descendants and appeal to the Alusi on their behalf. Ndi Igbo have never worshiped their ancestors, only venerated them, which is no different then what Catholics do to their saints or what every country does to its national heroes. Respect and honor for the Nddichie was shown in one way by pouring of libations while chanting incantations. Ndi Igbo believed in the concept of reincarnation, and felt that the Nddiichie often reincarnated back on Earth. In fact, all Mmadu (human beings) were believed to reincarnate seven or eight times, and that depending on your karma, one either ascends or descends into another spiritual plane.

    The personal relationship between God and Man in Igbo spirituality is as close as it can get. Ndi Igbo did not believe that they were separate from their Creator, and felt that the Chi that resided within them kept them connected. Igbo felt that their Chi was unique and personal and served as a guide and protector to them. A person’s destiny was also guided by their Chi. Those with a strong Chi would have prosperity, good health and good fortune, while those with a weak Chi would be prone to sickness, poverty and bad luck.

    Even though the Igbo are largely Christian now, their traditional spiritual beliefs still live on. Along with these beliefs, a fundamental part of Igbo philosophy was “Biri Ka'm Biri” (live and let live). Ndi Igbo did not believe in fighting wars over religion. In their view, everybody should be able to worship God as they see fit. If there is any lesson from Igbo spirituality that we must not forget, it is this one.
    __________________
     
  2. Dany_Bill

    Dany_Bill Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thanks.
     
  3. naija-man

    naija-man Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Very Interesting!!
    good stuff,

    Igbo Kwenu


    Igbo Kwezuonu




    [​IMG]
     
  4. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    The Osu Caste System in Igboland Discrimination Based on Descent

    By
    Victor E. Dike

    Introduction

    The Igbos are found mostly in the Southeastern and South-central Nigeria called Igboland or Igbo society (Alaigbo or Anaigbo). By the late 20th century the population of the Igbos are about 27 million.1 The majority of the Igbos are Christians, but some of them practice the indigenous traditional religion, whose major tenets are shared by all Igbo-speaking people of Nigeria (Uchendu 1965). The traditional religion is passed on to succeeding generations, but the advent of Christianity in Igboland around "1885" had some influence on the traditional beliefs (Talbot 1969). The indigenous traditionalists believe in the earth goddess, deities and ancestral spirits and in a Creator-God, Chukwu, Obasi, Chi, or Chineke, the "Supreme God" (Achebe 1959). The Igbo traditional beliefs have some positive influence on the culture and social lives of the people. For instance, the forefathers of the Igbos were known for their righteousness, honesty and hard work. And they were opinion leaders, impartial judges and people of impeccable character.

    However, a relic of the indigenous religious practice of the Igbos is the dehumanizing Osu caste system, which has divided and alienated the Igbos.

    Therefore, this paper discusses the Osu caste system, an indigenous religious belief system, practiced within the Igbo nation, with the purpose of bringing the discriminatory, dehumanizing and obnoxious Osu caste system to the attention of the international community. This is because whenever issues of discriminatory practices around the world are tabled for discussion in the international community the repugnant and discriminatory Osu caste system is never mentioned.....

    The Osu Caste System and the Indigenous Religious Practices of the Igbo nation

    All human beings are created equal, but human experiences are heterogeneous. Some people have had it rough all their life on earth, while others do not have a lot to complain about. Naturally, life has the same meaning for everyone, but the Osu caste system in Igboland seems to have changed the meaning of life for a group of people branded Osu. No historical question gives the Igbos more concern than that of, "How did the Osu caste system come to be in Igboland?" This section of the paper attempts to deal with the question.

    There are many versions of oral information on the origins of the Osu caste system. In the absence of documented information, oral sources are central to the study of history in Igboland, and other parts of Nigeria. There is a paucity of written information on the issue of the Osu caste system. This is apparently because many people shy away from discussing the issue for fear of being branded Osu lovers. However, available little documented information show that the Osu caste system started out of the indigenous religious practices of the Igbos....


    COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE
     
  5. awo dino

    awo dino Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    In this article we can see why the Afrikans brought over to the new world as slaves were able to create a new religion mixing several together. They are all based on the same theology, for one thing, and they accepted other beliefs as legit. There was no feeling of religious superiority nor any conception that one would force another to practice the other's religion, like the evil twins christianity and islam.
    This is a very positive message, regardless of whether people like cherryblossom want to do the massa's work and throw some negative ish into the mix. Thanks, Onyemobi.

    ase
     
  6. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Look, Awo Dino.

    I'm not "throwing some negative ish" nor doing "massa's work."

    From what I've also read from African accounts, the Osu caste system in Nigeria has been in existence for many centuries.





     
  7. awo dino

    awo dino Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Sister Cherryblossom, that there was/is caste in Africa, and many other places in the world is not news. What could possibly be your motivation to post that negative article after the positive one. It's sickening how y'all do the massa's work countering anything positive coming out of Africa. What's equally sickening is how you deny it. I have called out both christians and non-christians for coming at the other sideways with there passive-agressive bs. Come straight. Don't tell me you were just sharing some info, blah blah blah. It's obvious, and it's your right. just come straight. There is a caste system right here in the good ole' U.S. within the church.
    I know you are a good person, so whydo you do this?

     
  8. Onyemobi

    Onyemobi Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    From my understanding, it was not a "caste system" until the slave trade (which is alluded to in the article by the way). Prior to that, Osus were essentially like employees to the priests. And I also think a topic like this deserves a thread of its own, rather then being posted in this one.
     
  9. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Is the Osu Caste System a part of the Igbo spirituality? YES or NO?
     
  10. Onyemobi

    Onyemobi Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Ironically, it seems to be more of a part of Igbo Christianity then the traditional Igbo spirituality.
     
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