Odinani Book Club: “Akata Warrior” Conclusion

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Ndewo nu (Greetings everyone). We will be having our next Odinani Book Club Meeting on Sunday, August 21. We are concluding “Akata Warrior” by Nnedi Okoroafor.  If you wish to participate in the Book Club discussion, please send an email to egwuatu.nwaikenga@gmail.com.

Synopsis: A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book.

Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysteries town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity.

Odinani Book Club: “Akata Warrior” by Nnedi Okorafor

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For the next Odinani book club pick, we will be reading “Akata Warrior” by Nnedi Okorafor, which is the sequel to “Akata Witch.”  If you wish to participate in the Book Club discussion, please send an email to egwuatu.nwaikenga@gmail.com.

Synopsis: A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book.

Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysteries town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity.

Odinani Book Club: “Omenuko” by Pita Nwana

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For the next Odinani book club pick, we will be reading the classic work “Omenuko” by Pita Nwana. Published in 1935, it was the first novel written in the Igbo language. Its available for free at this website. If you wish to participate in the Book Club discussion, please send an email to egwuatu.nwaikenga@gmail.com

Synopsis: Omenuko chronicles the true life story of a quintessential Igbo businessman, otherwise known as Chief Igwegbe Odum of Ndizuogu who lived between the 19th and 20th centuries. 

(Video) 4 Elements of the Human Soul – Igbo Mythology (reincarnation, purpose, divinity, spirit bonds, more)

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This video shows the four spiritual elements that make the human soul according to Igbo spirituality. These are Chi, Eke, Mmuo and Onyeuwa. This is important to understand if you’re building a foundation in Odinani (Igbo Cosmology/Spirituality), and to add insight on the nature of the human soul. This video also touches on how to determine your destiny, predestination, how reincarnation works in the Igbo world view, and how these parts work together to make you who you are.

Odinani Book Club: “Akata Witch” by Nnedi Okorafor

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For the next Odinani book club pick, we will be re-visiting “Akata Witch” by Nnedi Okorafor. In some places, its retitled “What Sunny Saw in the Flames.”  If you wish to participate in the Book Club discussion, please send an email to egwuatu.nwaikenga@gmail.com

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?

Relaunch of Odinani Book Club: “Efuru” by Flora Nwapa

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Today we are announcing the relaunch of the Odinani Book Club. As we have stated in the past, fiction is one of the best ways to get a more holistic understanding of Odinani. Every month we will select a book to read and will alternate between classic works and more contemporary ones.

For this relaunch we will return to “Efufu” by Flora Nwapa. Published in 1966, it was the first novel written by a Nigerian woman to be published. Feel free to purchase the book below, or rent it from the library. If you wish to participate in the Book Club discussion, please send an email to egwuatu.nwaikenga@gmail.com

Summary: Efuru is a beautiful, superior woman, who cannot marry or have children successfully. Her neighbors acknowledge her distinctions, are grateful for her generosity, but cannot intervene in or comprehend her tragedy. A sage diagnoses that a river goddess has in fact chosen Efuru as her honored worshipper. So far as earthly companions are concerned she must remain alone…

Step 13: Ifunanya

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“Madụ bụ chi ibe ya”

(Mankind is god to his fellow man)

Welcome to Step 13. If we were to journey back to a traditional compound (ezi) in Igboland, we would observe that a place usually at the center, which was the most important building. This place, known as the obi, was where the owner of the compound lived. And it’s no coincidence that the same word for obi is also used for the heart.  Of all of your organs, the heart is the most critical to life itself. When it stops beating, your life literally comes to an end. The emotion usually associated with the heart is love, which in Igbo is known as ifunanya, and that’s also the name of this final step.

What is love? A whole library could be filled with literature, music and arts about this topic. Whether it’s love between human beings, love of objects, love is something that everyone has an opinion on. For this step, the type of love that we are going to focus on is human love. And  two of the main ways that human love is expressed: in a more selfish way, and a more selfless way.

Those whose expression of love is mostly the selfish type have love of self as their primary (and sometimes sole) motivation. Self centered humans develop a false belief that the world revolves around them. When it comes to anything they do, their main motivation is to satisfy their needs and wants. Even if they are engaged in activities that can be of benefit to others, it’s almost never for the right reasons. 

Overly selfish people often usually care more about ideas and concepts than other people. If they even know what consequences are, they don’t care about them so long as negative ones don’t impact them personally. Humans who are stuck at this level of love have the capacity for the greatest destruction of both themselves and others. 

“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed” – Napoleon Hill

Those who operate at a much higher level of love are those who have love of others as their primary motivation. They engage in more selfless thoughts and actions and are usually described as having empathy. If they don’t want something done to them, they try not to do it to others. They try to remember how the consequences of their actions will impact others, even if it doesn’t negatively affect them personally. 

People at this higher love level have realized that the Chi na Eke that resides in them also is connected to the Chi na Eke that resides in others. Therefore, anything that they do to others will have an impact on them, whether they acknowledge it or not. When their Ikenga is in a position of authority, they desire to serve, guide and lead, instead of ruling over. When their Ikenga is one of a fighter, it’s the type of fighter who does it for others, especially those who are unable to fight for themselves. 

The dreams (nro) that they are working into turning into reality are the types that benefit more than just themselves. And the destiny (akaraka) that they have chosen involve them having a positive impact on others.  They always come to the conclusion that they don’t know everything, and that it’s much better to learn from the experience of others than to try to experience everything on their own. And they are happy to share whatever wisdom they have. That makes them lovers of wisdom, which we know as being in the state of Ako bu Ije. 

Those at this higher love level realize that the same air that fills their lungs during their ume ndu practices has been inhaled and exhaled by others; and that increasing the abundance (aku na uba) of others helps them increase their own abundance, rather than diminish it. They recognize those who came before them, as well as those who helped them get to where they are today. And when they engage in any transformative process, they’ll make sure it’s not at the expense of others.  They forgive themselves and also forgive others. They are patient in their own affairs and are also patient with their fellow human beings.

Have you noticed that a fair amount, if not most of the “greatest” things you have done were usually for other people? Those that engage in labors of love are usually operating at the highest level. They are the true elites. Their primary motivation isn’t fame, fortune or even greatness. However it’s not uncommon for them to gain these things anyway. If you truly want to maximize your life, consider what you can do out of the love of other people. Whatever path you choose, do it with the higher level of love. Stay blessed and remain loved. 

Step 13: Above all, love is key. I strive to do things with love. And to love others as I love myself. 

Step 12: Ndidi

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“Ebe onye oso ruru, onye ije ga eru ya!”

(Wherever one who runs reaches, one who walks would also reach)

Welcome to Step 12, the penultimate step of this program. As you are near the end of The 13 Steps, I think it’s important to return back to previous lessons and realize how far you’ve traveled. For your first step, you began to remember (ncheta) what it felt like to try new things without fear of failure. Next, you discovered your potential &  kinetic energies (Chi na Eke) in step two and the importance of keeping them in harmony. In the third step, you recognized the importance of your self image (Ikenga) in creating the reality that you want for yourself. For step four, you learned how you’re constantly in communication with spirit via your dreams (nrọ). 

In step 5, you declared that your destiny (akaraka) was indeed in your hands, and then after that you learned in step 6 that the best way to travel through life was by being guided by your internal navigation system (ako bu ije). The lesson of step 7 was how to harmonize your Chi na Eke, as well as supercharge your Agwu (your intuition) using various umu ndu practices. Step 8 taught you that abundance (aku na ụba) was something you already had, but you had to learn to transform it from one form to another. 

In step 9, you were reminded of how you could give back to those who were the source of the blessings of your life. Step 10 taught you that there were no magic pills, and that everything was a process (ogwu). And in step 11 you learned how forgiveness (mgbaghara) can unshackle you from whatever you’ve found yourself bound to. Seeing how far you’ve come, it’s almost like looking from near the top of a mountain. And if there is anything one would need to scale a mountain, it’s ndidi, which is the Igbo word for patience and also the name of this step.

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy

Societies all around the world associate mountains with spiritual awakenings. People would either go up a mountain to have a transformative spiritual experience, or do it in order to learn lessons from spiritual masters, who are usually said to live at the top of the mountain. As I told you earlier, one cannot successfully climb a mountain without having patience. Likewise, ndidi is one key ingredient in mastery of anything. 

Martin Luther King Jr. knew a thing or two about mountaintops

My brothers and sisters, the main lesson for step 12 is that if you have indeed taken the time and effort to do the action items described in steps 1 – 11, then you have already demonstrated ndidi. Furthermore, if you apply this same ndidi you have to other areas of your life, you are guaranteed to  see positive changes. Ndidi is like salt, it’s one of the few things in life that enhances almost anything it’s added to. 

Step 12: I am patient and will continuously work on being more patient in other areas of my life

Action item: Look for ways you can be more patient in your day to day activities. And stay tuned for Step 13, which is coming out on the next new moon August 8. Yagazie!