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Chukwu will assign one’s Chi before and at the time of birth, which remains . Igbo cosmology (Igbo culture, in fact) is highly utilitarian, and so. Thus, one may sum up the fundamentals of Igbo traditional cosmology to .. It is an embodiment of the owner’s Chi (personal god), his Ndichie (ancestors), aka. A Paper Presented by Chigachi Eke, Secretary, Research and Planning Committee . Man and His “Chi”: Meaning of “Chi” in Igbo Cosmology.
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Ikenga Pdf free download. software
Although a pantheon of spirits exists, these are lesser spirits prevalent in Odinani expressly serving as elements of Chineke or Chukwuthe supreme being or high god. Chineke therefore means the Creator or the God that created all things.
These spirits represent natural forces; agbara as a divine force manifests as separate alusi in the Igbo pantheon. Alusi are mediated by dibia and other priests who do not contact the high god directly. Alusi are venerated in community shrines around roadsides and forests while smaller shrines are located in the household for ancestral veneration. Deceased ancestors live in the spirit world where they can be contacted.
These minor spirits are not venerated and are sometimes considered the lost souls of the dead. The number of people practicing Igbo religion decreased drastically in the 20th century with the influx of Christian missionaries under the cgi of the British colonial government of Nigeria.
In some cases Igbo traditional religion was syncretised with Christianity, but in many cases indigenous rites were demonised by Christian missionaries who pointed out the practice xhi human sacrifice and some other cultural practices that were illegal under the colonial government. Earlier missionaries referred to many indigenous religious practices as juju. Remnants of Igbo religious rites spread among African descendants in the Caribbean and North America in era of the Atlantic slave trade.
Many of the laws and culture were counterparts with religion such as taboos and laws concerning sacred spaces like a deities sacred forest. Since customary law is recognised in Nigeria, many in Igbo society find themselves syncretising these beliefs with other beliefs and religions. Odinani could loosely be described as a monotheistic and panentheistic faith with a strong central spiritual force at its head from which all things are believed to spring; however, the contextual diversity of the system may encompass theistic perspectives that derive from a variety of beliefs held cosmologu the religion.
Chukwu is genderless  and is reached through various spiritual forces mainly under the spirit class of Alusi who are incarnations of the high god; no sacrifices, however, are given to Chukwu and no cosomlogy and altars are erected for him. The chi manifests as mmuo, spirits, and as a persons spirit is earth bound it chooses sex, type, and lifespan before incarnation in the human world. Hence the saying, onye kwe, Chi ya ekwe “If a person agrees to a thing, his spirit agrees also”.
Culturally, people are seen as the creators or makers of their own destiny. The universal chi indirectly in charge of everything is Chukwu who is the supreme being that is beyond the limits of time and space. Each chi is personal and is in communion with and inseparable from the universal chi of all things.
It is a guardian spirit providing care, guardianship, and providence, in this respect, the concept of chi is analogous to the concept of a guardian angel in Christianity, the daemon in ancient Greek religionand the genius in ancient Roman religion. Eke came out of the hands of Chi but are considered one; Chi created the world while Eke divided it incorporating a divisive cosmloogy energy that introduced death and suffering.
Chineke chk Chukwu is high up away at the periphery of human life and remains a mystery to the people. In marriage a woman takes her chi shrine along with all her belongings to her matrimonial home. Igbo cosmology presents a balance between the feminine and masculine, perhaps, with a preponderance of female representation in Igbo lore.
Morton in the s from an elder in Ibagwa Nike in northern Igboland, Chukwu sees that the sun travels across the world in the day time and then cuts into two in order for the moon to pass on a perpendicular route, and so the world is divided into four parts and four days. The pattern of two and four reoccur in Chukwu’s creations. Ofo and ogu is a law of retributive justice. It vindicates anyone that is wrongly accused of a crime as long as their “hands are clean”.
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It is only a person who is on the righteous side of Ogu-na-Ofo that can call its name in prayer, otherwise such a person will face the wrath of Amadioha the god of thunder and lightning. The Igbo often make clay altars and shrines of their deities which are sometimes anthropomorphicthe most popular example being the wooden statues of Ikenga. Typically, only men are allowed to make representational figures of supernatural cosmplogy. The Igbo have traditionally believed in reincarnationilo-uwa.
People are believed to reincarnate into families that they jgbo part of while alive. The person’s cycle number on earth is unknown to them. Unlike in Hinduismhumans can only reincarnate as humans. Once a child is born, he or she is believed to give signs of who they have reincarnated from.
This can be through behaviour, physical traits and statements by the child.
Chi in Igbo cosmology
A diviner can help in detecting who the child has reincarnated from. It is considered an insult if a male is said to have reincarnated as a female. An ogbanje is a reincarnating evil spirit that would deliberately plague a family with misfortune.
In folklore, the ogbanje upon being born by the mother, under a certain amount of time usually before pubertywould deliberately die and then come back and repeat the cycle, causing the family grief. This time period varies between minutes, hours, days and years. Female circumcision was sometimes thought to get rid of the evil spirit, whereas finding the evil spirits Iyi-uwawhich they have dug somewhere secret, would ensure the ogbanje would never plague the family with misfortune again.
The Iyi-uwa is a stone that the ogbanje’s way of coming back to the world and also a way of finding its targeted family. The stone is deep enough to not have been planted physically by a child. The iyi-uwa is dug out by a priest and destroyed. Furthermore, female ogbanje die during pregnancies along with the baby, male ogbanje die before the birth of a wife’s baby or the baby dies.
The child is confirmed to no longer be an ogbanje after the destruction of the stone or after they successfully give birth to another baby. The alusi are regarded as channels to Chukwu. The alusi, who are also known as arushianusior arusi in differing dialects all spring from Ala the earth spirit who embodies the workings of the world.
There are lesser alusi in Odinani, each of whom are responsible for a specific aspect of nature or abstract concept. According to Igbo belief, these lesser alusi, as elements of Chukwu, have their own specific purpose. Deities are described as ‘hot’ and often capricious so that much of the public approach shrines cautiously and are advised to avoid them at most times, priests are entrusted in the maintenance of most shrines.
Tender palm fronds symbolise spiritual power and are objects of sacralisation, shrines are cordoned off with omu to caution the public of the deities presence. Other alusi figures may be found in and around peoples homes and the shrines of dibia, much of these are related to personal chi, cults, and ancestral worship.
Ala is at the head of the Igbo pantheon, maintaining order and carrying out justice against wrongdoers. As in cases of most alusi, Ala has the ability to be malevolent if perceived to be offended and can cause harm against those who offend her.
This is composed of mainly deep dark sea water ohimiri. The python is referred to as nne ‘mother’ in areas where the python is revered, it is a symbol of female beauty and gentleness. Killing of the python is expressly forbidden in these places and sanctions are taken against the killer including the funding of expensive human sized burials that are given to slain pythons. While Anyanwu is more prominent in northern Igboland, Amadioha is more prominent in the south.
His day is Afo, which is the second market day. Ikenga literally ‘place of strength’ is an alusi and a cult figure of the right hand and success found among the northern Igbo people. He is an icon of meditation exclusive to men and owners of the sculpture dedicate and refer to it as their cosology hand’ which is considered instrumental to personal power and success.
The image of Ikenga comprises someone’s chi ‘personal god’his ndichie ancestorsaka Ikenga right handike power as well as spiritual activation through prayer and sacrifice.
Ikenga acts as ij physical medium to the consciousness and emphasises individual initiative through reflection and meditation. Ikenga figures are common cultural artefacts ranging for six inches to 6 feet high and can be cossmology or highly stylised. At burials, a mans Ikenga is broken into two with one piece buried with him and the other destroyed. This Alusi was adept at bargains and trade, and praying to Ekwensu was said to guarantee victory in negotiations.
As a force of change and chaos, Ekwensu also represented the spirit of war among the Igbo, invoked during times of conflict and banished during peacetime to avoid his influences inciting bloodshed in the community, warriors set up shrines to Ekwensu to help war efforts.
Ekwensu was a bringer of violence and possessed people with anger. Mmuo is a broad class of minor cgi or divinities manifesting in natural elements under the class of elder divinities with major cults.
Feminine mmuo inhabit earth and water and masculine mmuo inhabit fire and air. Dibia are the mystic mediators between the human world and the spirit world and act as healers, scribes, teachers, diviners and advisors of people in the community.
They are usually consulted at the shrine of a communities major deity. The dibia sees the spiritual world at any time and interprets what messages being sent and sees the spiritual problems of living people. They are given the power by the spirit world to identify any alusi by name and the possible ways of placating and negotiating with the deity. Dibia are thought to be revealed to possess the power over one of three elements namely water and large bodies of waterfire and vegetation.
Dibia whose elements are vegetation can go on to become herbalists by their supposed instinctual knowledge of the health benefits of certain plants they are instinctually drawn to, fire element dibia can handle fire unscathed during their initiation, and water element dibia do not drown. Dibia can partially enter the spirit world and communicate this by rubbing chalk on one half of their face.
Nigeriaworld Feature Article – Man and his ”Chi”: The Igbo of West Africa
These animals are prized for their rarity, price and therefore the journey taken to obtain. Chameleons and rats are used for more stronger medicines and deadly poisons, and antidotes can include lambs, small chickens, eggs, and oils.
Ikenga Nnedi Okorafor
The patriarchal head of the household is in charge of venerating the patriarchal ancestors through libations and offerings, through this the living maintain contact with the dead. Only a patriarch whose father is dead, and therefore in the spirit world where they await reincarnation into the community, were able to venerate ancestors. At the funeral of a mans father there is a hierarchy in Igbo culture of animals that will be killed and eaten in his honor.
Usually this depended on the rarity and price of the animal, so a goat or a sheep were common and relatively cheaper, and therefore carried less prestige, while a cow is considered a great honor, and a horse the most exceptional.
Horses cannot be given for women.
A number of major masking institutions exist around Igboland that honour ancestors and reflect the spirit world in the land of the living. These masks are performed at festivals at agricultural cycles and at funerals of prominent individuals in the society. The saluter addresses their personal god or chi as well as alusi and their ancestors. The bowl and kola nut rite is used to welcome visitors into a household. The kola is supposed to cut by hand, but more recently knives have become acceptable.
O wetalu oji wetalu ndu — cosmmology who brings kola brings life’ is a popular saying that points to the auspiciousness of the kola rite. Ndi mgbe are secluded from the community for a couple of months during the rites of building the mbari to a deity.
Mbari are requested by a deity who the diviner tells the community feels neglected and cannot feel pride in the face of other deities in the spirit world. A string of unusual and unfortunate events befalling the community is linked to the aggrieved deity. An mbari is commissioned and artists are chosen. After the completion of the mbari the spirit workers are reincorporated into the community and a feast is held for the opening of the mbari house where elders and the community come to exhibit the hci the expensive mbari.