African Traditional Religion : Igbo Spirituality

Discussion in 'African Traditional Religion Study Group' started by Akobundu, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. Akobundu

    Akobundu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    by Onyi Anyiwo

    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. Ikoro

    Ikoro Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    My Brother, are you a Chiist/Chiite?

    Maybe I'm just reading to much into things :)

    One.

    - Ikoro
     
  3. Akobundu

    Akobundu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    lol how are you?...I am a Semi-Chiist/Chiite and will be a full time Chiist/Chiite when me and my siblings finally get the Nkomii (holy book)...are you a Chiist/Chiite?

    -Chi Bless
     
  4. Ikoro

    Ikoro Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Little Afrikan Boy

    Peace my Brother, salute.

    I am not.

    At one point I considered reinventing my Self through Odinani, but it simply was impossible at the time. Then later I realized that recreating Odinani where I am, so far from home and Ancestral land is difficult - if not foolhardy at best.

    Therefore I remained religion-free, rather practicing ancient rites of ancestral worship and remaining spiritual devout to a Bodiless Intelligence (Chukwu, if you need a name).

    I now sport a healthy regimen of meditation, prayer (in the morning, before meals, etc), ancestral praise and so forth. I will continue to grow in my spirituality as I constantly seek out new ways to counter the rabid anti-Afrikan system I am living in.

    I have not delved deeply into Chiism, but I am supportive for I know that it is FUBU (for us, by us) - unlike islam, christianity and all the other foreign religions in Biafra and Afrika at large.

    My Brother Akobundu From my understanding, the movement of Chiism is Igbo in origin, can you confirm this?

    (pardon the delayed reply, though I had hit the reply button - my bad).

    Check Chief Kamachi this time around, you know this track?



    One.

    - Ikoro
     
  5. Akobundu

    Akobundu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I understand bro...I pray to my Chi, Akalaka, the Ndichie, the Alusi, Ani, Olisa, Chineke/Obasi/Chukwu Abiama...is that the right order?...also meditate and say Kemetic planetary mantras and use the Metu Neter oracle cards occasionally...

    I support Chiism as well...Chiism is of Igbo origin...founded by KOK Onyioha the great of Igboland in 1948...the Biafran war unfortunately slowed down the movement...your parents will def. know about him...lol

    http://www.godianism.org/

    Great track bro.

    What delayed response?...if u apologize, I must apologize as well lol
     
  6. Ikoro

    Ikoro Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Reminisching, thinking: "where he at now...? Enyi, wherever you be at, may peace be your ally and righteousness your shadow."

    We keep moving forward, coming forth by day.

    A na-eji anya ama oka chara acha.

    One,

    - Ikoro
     
  7. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This is an awsome thread brothas

    Please, please, please continue the great work

    Modupe
     
  8. Onyemobi

    Onyemobi Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    While many people are very familiar with the Yoruba Orisha, they are not familiar with the Igbo Alusi. So therefore, I have made the following chart to show what the corresponding Igbo deity would be for some of the popular Yoruba ones.

    Yoruba Orishas (Igbo Alusi/Spiritual Forces in Parenthesis)
    Oludamare (Chukwu)
    Obatala/Oduwa (Igwe/Agbala)
    Orunmila (Agwunsi)
    Babalu Aye (Ojukwu)
    Age Chagullia (Ofo/Omaku)
    Ogun (Ogu/Ikenga/Awka/Ugwuagu)
    Shango/Jakuta (Amadioha/Kamalu/Anyanwu)
    Osun (Idemilli/Imomiri/Uku/Ekwonochie)
    Eshu (Ekwensu)
    Yemoja (Uhamiri/Ogbuide/Onishe)
    Oya (Ekumeku)
     
  9. Akobundu

    Akobundu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thanks and no problem
    Chi Bless
     
  10. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Amen!....I can agree with "Biri Ka'm Biri!" :toast:

    Even as a Christian, having the steadfast belief that my faith is true, I can still respect another's choices even though I may not agree with them.
     
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