(Video) 4 Elements of the Human Soul – Igbo Mythology

Standard

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.

Step 2: Chi na Eke

Standard

“Otu nne na-amu mana obughi otu chi na eke”

One mother can beget many children but all the children will their own Chi and Eke

Welcome back to the 13 steps. You are now ready to begin step 2. In the first step, you learned the importance of ncheta, which is remembrance. You will see why this is indeed the foundation of all other steps. For this step, we will again return to a common experience that all humans share. You’re not going to remember it but we have this reminder on our bodies. In the months that you were being carried in your mother’s womb, you were literally connected to her, and dependent on her for your sustenance. However, there came a time when you had to leave that place and begin a new type of existence. And so you emerged from her womb, but were still physically connected to her.

However, for you to ever be a fully functional human being, that connection had to be severed. And in doing so, the physical connection to your mother was cut. You are reminded of it every time you look at your stomach and see your belly button. An Igbo custom (ili alo), which was also shared amongst our neighbors, was the burial of a newborn’s umbilical cord & placenta, usually near a newly germinated tree.

This tree, which would be known as nkwu alo, was a child’s tree of life, and had significance for a child’s future. One belief was that the nkwu alo would  become fruitful  in  proportion  to  the  fame  of  the  child’s  subsequent  achievements as an adult. And during the obi umuaka (hearts of children) rite, the tree is used as a location for teenagers to be reminded of their relationship to Ala (the earth mother), their ancestors and their community. 

Well similar to the severing of the physical connection to your mother, another, more traumatic severing happened, but this was not a physical severing, but a mental one. And the question that’s likely running through your mind right now is who or what was that mental separation from? Well the answer to that question is what Igbo people called “Chi na Eke” (Chi and Eke). 

If you’re of Igbo descent you may have heard the shortened form “Chineke”, and been told that it means “God the creator.” Unfortunately, this definition came from the Igbos who were among the first to convert to Christianity, who by the way, were usually the people who literally knew and understood the least about Igbo customs and metaphysics. To be honest with you, a series of books would need to be written to do justice to what Chi na Eke are, but for the purposes of this 13 step program, we will define each as the following: Chi is your potential energy, and Eke is your kinetic energy.

“Eke na chi wo otu mana eke siri na chi bia”

Eke and Chi are one, but Eke came from Chi

If you recall  from your science classes, energy is neither created nor destroyed, but simply changes forms. And two of the major forms that energy can take would be at rest (potential) or in motion (kinetic).  According to Igbo belief, it is your Chi that created your physical body, and it remains with you all your life. As a newborn, your connection to both Chi and Eke were still fresh, but as time passed, and without reminders, you began to get out of sync. This explains why as I reminded you in “Step 1”,  that as a child you seemed to be more confident and full of life than you  probably are now. However, and I cannot stress this enough,  this loss of connection was ONLY in your mind. 

Potential and Kinetic Energy

Unfortunately due to you being born in this time and place, various physical memorials were not setup to remind you of your connection to your Chi na Eke. You likely didn’t have the rite of  ili alo done, nor do you have an nkwu alo to perform the obi umuaka rite with. That’s the bad news. However the good news is that you can create your own reminders that suit you. And even better news is that just as you happen to have a Chi na Eke, every other human being you encounter also has one. 

What does this mean for you? Well If you have ever played a musical instrument of any kind, you know that something magical happens when multiple instruments are played in harmony. What would happen if you not only got your Chi na Eke in tune with one another, but also found other people who did the same thing? What kind of reality could you create?

Step 2:  I recognize that Chi na Eke, the greater power that can help me overcome my negative feelings, resides in myself and in others. I can create my own reality and can do anything within reason, but cannot do it by myself or at the same time.

Action item: Start to write your own personal prayer that says something similar in your own words. Choose a time and place to say it on a daily basis. And stay tuned for step 3, which is coming out on the next new moon, October 16.

Decoding “Obi” in IGBO World View

Standard
 
I was watching a video on Igbo Heritage TV today in which the host was talking about the concept of Kwụba aka gị ọtọ!”
 
In the same video he said,I wete OBI gị, i wete anị.”
 
This is the video I was watching
These two phrase said so close together started to make me think about the link between the heart and courage/fear. People are the most confident when they believe they are right/righteous. When you have a guilty conscious, you begin to fear. You begin to tu egwu or tu ujo. I like the word “egwu,” because it reminds me of dancing, music or playing. Isn’t that what the heart does when it is afraid. It starts to beat in an unusal way.
 
I believe this is why people use the phrase “Take heart,” when you lack courage or feel sad. Your heart is VERY closely tied to your emotions. It is very primal. Your brain can be seen as divided into two major sections. The primal reptilian brain that causes your reflexes and emotions, and the cerebral cortex which controls higher level reasoning.
 
Your brain can be deceived. In fact, you can think your way out of the truth.
 
BUT your heart is a little more powerful. That is why lie detectors check your heart rate. Even if you tell a lie, and you can even change your face to mask your guilt, your heart will betray you. Unless you are a psychopath who practices lying out of habit or for fun, it is hard to deceive a lie detector.
 

Igbo uses the word OBI to describe different things:

Ntachi Obi ==> Endurance
Nkasi Obi ==> Comfort
Mkpuru Obi ==> Soul
Tukwasi Obi ==> Trust
 
Looking at these words and the context of the part that precedes “Obi” will help you decode how Igbo sees the heart (obi) and the role it plays in relation to these concepts.
 
(I first posted the following essay on facebook on September 20, 2018)
 

Makes you think. Igbos are quite similar to the Greeks. According to the Stoic theory in Ancient Greece, there are eight parts of the soul, the ‘commanding faculty’ [hêgemonikon] or mind, the five senses, voice and (certain aspects of) reproduction. The mind, which is located at the HEART, is a center that controls the other soul-parts as well as the body, and that receives and processes information supplied by the subordinate parts.

So, Igbos similarly see the heart as being the nucleus or control center that directs the soul. Today, popular culture puts a lot of emphasis on the brain and its “fruit”. But we know from science that the brain actually predominantly creates and responds to perception. But what we call soul is a thing more mysterious. It understands and responds to things outside of our knowledge of understanding. Many think it lives on after we (and our brain) die, and carries with it data about who we truly are.

Makes you think… What do you think the soul is?

Step 1: Ncheta

Standard

Ndu bu ahia. Ahia ka anyi biakwuru iz n’elu uwa nke a

“Life is a marketplace. We have come into this great wide world to buy and sell”

Introduction

Nnọọ (welcome) to the 13 steps. Each step is designed to help you rediscover yourself and remember what you came to offer to the world. A journal is strongly encouraged for you to keep track of your progress through each step.

Step 1: Ncheta

Do you remember what it was like to successfully make your first step as a baby? Well if you do not, let me take you on a trip down memory lane. After being carried in your mother’s womb for 9 moons, you arrived into this world and spent a lot of time being carried in the arms of other people or on the back of your mother.

When you were not being carried, you were crawling on all fours. Despite your situation, you knew intuitively that you had the ability to do more. As you attempted to go from crawling to walking, you fell hundreds of times.Yet, you did not let that deter you. You did not give up. One day, you finally did it…you stood upright and made your first step, and then another, and then another. Soon afterwards, walking was second nature, followed by running. 

Flashing forward to today, despite being far more capable, you likely are full of more doubt than when you were a baby. You’ve probably felt crippled by fear, frequently finding yourself frustrated, and wondering what your life purpose is. You’re less likely to step outside of your comfort zone and when you do try new things, you probably quit if you don’t get immediate results. What happened to you? How did you get this way? And most importantly, what can you do to make a change for the better?

The answers to most of these questions can only be answered by you. However, for the last question, I can be of some assistance. If you’ve gotten this far, you’re ready to make another first step. And that entails that recognizing that your negative feelings of powerlessness, of limitation, of self doubt, of aimlessness, etc, are due to beliefs that are not based on reality

Your false beliefs about yourself are due to your own forgetfulness;  due to you not remembering the very things you knew when you came into this world. Maybe you forgot while trying to “fit in”, or maybe you were forced to forget due to religious and educational indoctrination. Regardless of the how or why, the key thing is that you did indeed forget what was real, and as a substitute, took on beliefs that were not. By doing so, you decided to outsource the control of your life to others. 

Well today, you can take another first step, which we will call ncheta, which means remembering in Igbo language.

Step 1: I admit that my negative thoughts, feelings & actions have mostly been due to false beliefs about myself, and I aspire to remember the things I already came into this world knowing.

Action item: Seek out people, places or things that trigger some of the happy memories from your childhood. Recall your sense of imagination, your curiosity, and your intuitive confidence. Remember the things you were good at, what brought you joy, as well as some of the things that both scared but intrigued you at the same time. Take the first step and get ready for step two on the next new moon, September 17. Stay blessed.

First step on the moon

Ebezina | The Dream Killer

Standard

 

Ndi Igbo turu ilu si:

Egbe bere ugo bere, nke si ibe ya ebena nku kwaa ya.
 
 
This Igbo proverb means in English:
 
Let the eagle perch, let the kite perch; if one does not want the other to perch, may his wings break.
 
People often interpret this particular proverb as meaning “live and let live.” The word “bere” means “perch,” or “rest,” or “wait.”
 
In some variations, instead of saying “ebena,” which means “don’t perch,” some say “ebezina” which means “don’t perch well.”
 
As I was getting ready for bed tonight, I asked myself why did Igbos use birds in this proverb?” They could have said “let the fish swim and the chicken lay eggs.” That also means “live and let live,” right? So, why did they specifically say it like this? Was it because it just sounds better? After all the “b, gb” sound is kind of cool to say really fast.
 
But I thought about it, and specifically thought about the consequence given in this proverb. That consequence being a broken wing.
 
The wing is the most important part of the bird. It is what actually makes it a bird. Without its wings (both wings), the bird can not fly, find food, escape danger, etc. It might as well be dead. In fact, a broken wing is worse than death if you are a bird. That broken wing kills all of your dreams.

What is this saying?

NgoziChukwuka Adaobuijele speaks about the Igbo understanding of a Networked universe:.
Igbos understand that all things are connected. It is embedded in their concept of CHI. We are all connected. You are connected to those around you in ways that go as deep as being spiritual.
 
Your neighbor’s presence is not a threat to you.
 
In fact, it is the one who threatens his neighbors well-being who is a threat to himself.
 
Egbe bere ugo bere is two birds resting on a perch. Imagine that they both have been flying along and are tired and just seeking some rest. The story is so simple that it does not make sense why a bird refusing to share his branch would be a bad thing. In fact, many have mistaken Igbo proverbs for being “childs play” and missed the opportunity to become wiser and more distinguished by understanding them on a deeper level.
 
The birds are an object lesson to us human beings. Live and let live. Onye ji madu n’ani ji onwe ya. This is not childs play. Ignoring or missing the lesson can destroy your life.
 
Many people sabotage themselves by trying to destabilize their neighbor. They do not focus on themselves, rest as they should or just go about their business. Instead they are focused on causing chaos and confusion for other people. Well, nature has an answer for such people.
 

The Broken Wing: The Killer of Dreams

When your entire mission is to sabotage others, you only end of sabotaging yourself. You have not done the work to build yourself up. You have taken justice into your own hands to do something that is not within your power. And while you are chasing somebody else’s destruction, it is actually you who are left unguarded. It is actually you who has opened yourself up to become vulnerable. It is you who becomes weak. You open your wings to swat away the other bird who is firmly perched and with the swat of the wing, you have injured yourself and killed your own dreams.
 
Your dream to go higher can be destroyed by your attempts to push another off course. Do not kill your own dreams. Do not lose your ability to fly.

What This Proverb Does Not Say

This proverb is not saying that you should expect others to do for you. This proverb does not encourage entitlement. This proverb gives wisdom to the hearer. However, you do not walk into another man’s house uninvited and start shouting “EGBE BERE UGO BERE!” No! This is a guidance for you. In the end, the universe will sort out the offenders. Also, if somebody enters your house uninvited to ambush you, this proverb does not say you just allow them to harm you or do what they like. Actually, you have the right to take your own course of action as it is your own property.
 
However, if somebody is passing you by, minding their own business you would be destabilizing them by injecting yourself into their affairs. And the universe always finds a way to deal with all such offenders.
 
Also, ebezina is an important variation to the proverb. This word is the difference between tolerance and acceptance. If you tolerate another’s presence, you are allowing the person to stay, but not allowing them to get comfortable. Acceptance is allowing them to stay without questioning their rights to liberty of how they choose to stay. At the end of the day, neither should violate the other’s personal space, because the one who does is violating this principle.
 
It is only small minded people that fear the right of others to live and let live, because the small mind has no vision for himself and thus fears those who may pass him by and fly to greater heights.

10 Year Anniversary of IgboCyberShrine & Special Announcement

Standard

This month marks the 10 year anniversary since I began this blog, and to celebrate, I’d like to take you on a journey through time, highlighting the past, the present and giving you a glimpse of the future.

A decade ago, I was sitting in class, halfway paying attention to my thermodynamics professor, and halfway counting down until the end of the lecture. All of a sudden something triggered a portion of a dream I had the night before, and things haven’t been the same for me since.

In my dream from the previous night, I had a conversation with a goddess. The figure was tall and very majestic looking. Her face was covered in white and she wore a regal hairstyle. I recognized her as Ala, the earth goddess, and the most important spirit to Igbo people. 

In our conversation, I remembered her explaining to me that her symbol was a lozenge.  I was surprised by this revelation. I had surmised that the symbol of the Earth mother would have been a circle engulfing a cross. I went home and found out that the lozenge was indeed the symbol of not just Ani…but of the Mother goddess in other parts of the planet.

After that revelation, other symbols began to make sense to me almost intuitively. I was understanding so much so soon that I felt like I’d go crazy if I didn’t  share it all. Hence, that was the genesis of Igbocybershrine.

In the time since that first dream, I’ve had several other inspirations, and even managed to inspire others to write down their insights too. When the site first launched, there weren’t many resources for finding authentic information about Igbo culture or spirituality. However, now there are countless videos and articles that are related to these topics, including quite a few that directly or indirectly reference this site.

However, my friends, I must confess that there was a time when I was feeling unmotivated and nearly walked away from it all, but what brought me back was getting a few emails from readers asking me where I was, and letting me know how important this site had been for them.  I’ve realized that in the past 10 years, a community has been growing full of over 1000 subscribers and a couple of content creators. The site gets hundreds of views a day and we get messages from people all over the world. This cyber shrine has become the center of a digital village.

One challenge I’ve faced over the years has been presenting practical information that would be relevant to people today, especially those who live outside of a village environment. Most of what I was learning had to do with the beliefs and practices of people who lived in a time and environment that no longer exists. But I would constantly ask how many of the lessons could be applied to the issues of today, and how they could prepare us for tomorrow. 

After taking alot of time to reflect, I came up with a framework that I feel can be very beneficial for people today. I decided to base it off the “12 step” programs that I had seen many people utilize to transform their lives for the better. I took time and utilized Igbo principles as well as some of my own spiritual experiences to map out each step. And to keep it in line with Igbo culture, I added an additional step, bringing the total to 13, which is the number of months in the Igbo lunar calendar.

So umu nnem (brothers and sisters), I’d like to invite you to join me as I spend the next lunar year delving into each step, and detailing how you can apply the lessons in your life right here and now. The first step will be covered during the next new moon, which will fall on the 18th of August. Stay tuned and stay blessed!

(Video) Oshimmiri – Nne Mmiri – Explained

Standard

Who is Oshimmiri? (Nne Mmiri)

This video explains the Arushi of the Waters. What her powers are in the physical and spiritual world, and how to determine if you are a water element.

There is no “otu/etu” in English

Standard
 
In the book, After God Is Dibia, Procfessor J.A. Umeh talks about “Etu” as one of Igbo mystical philosophical concepts. This has been one of my favorite parts of the book as it discusses a concept that you hear in American scientific communities as First Principles.
 
Nowadays First Principles is a hot button topic in American scientific communities as it has been popularized by Elon Musk. The thought process that one can understand most things by reasoning from fundamental concepts, or breaking it down to the source/origin.

“First principles is…boil things down to the most fundamental truths…and then reason up from there.” -Elon Musk

But this concept has been in IGBO from the times of our ancestors. In the book After God is Dibia, it is explained that:

“Etu, which is Igbo Afa Language is Aka Obi which is the context literally means “Mind of God” or “the Divine Essence” or “the Soul of the matter/issue/thing” as the case may be…
 
The nearest English word for Etu is “the How”. When Igbo man/woman requests of you Biko gosim etu e si-eme ya (please show me How it is done) or Biko zim etu e si me ya or Biko gosim/zikom etu e sili me ya (please show me how it was performed/accomplished/done), he or she is requesting the Etu principle behind it.”
 
This, so far has been one of my most favorite parts of the book After God is Dibia, because it really points to what I have come to love about Igbo language. The closeness of Igbo to the truth of how things are. The way Igbos discuss things is very fundamental. When you try to say things in English, they become more and more abstract (and that is not necessarily a good thing). The day Igbo begins to talk about scientific and technological concepts will be when the world will truly know the power of Igbo.
 
The Igbo language in its purest form is a technology all its own. It was designed to explain things in a world where there was no paper and pen…no laptops. It was designed to explain things so that information can be understood, remembered, digested, passed on, disguised without writing down a single word.
 
A proverb in the book After God is Dibia states: “Uzu amaghi etu esi-akpu Ogene, ya nee egbe anya n’odu.”
 
This means: “The blacksmith who does not know the how of fashioning/fabricating Ogene should observe the tail of the kite.”
 
The book goes on to say that:
 
“All things and events take their form adn become resolved in accordance with Etu. And this is so whether they are cooperating or conflicting, harmonious or turbulent. Etu which we have seen in afa language is Aka Obi which literally means God’s Obi is, in other words, first movemnet or original movement, or prime mover or prime move or divine movement; the first movement from the position of akwu, mind of God, the Divine Spirit, the divine essence, or the soul of the matter/issue/thing; first principles, divine principles; the how of issue or thing; how things happen; how things work…
 
Etu in Igbo philosophy is Absolute — both the path and the goal…
 
Etu, being the underlying principle in all that is created and all exists, in essence, Chi.
 
This is only a sample of the deep concepts covered in the book, and I know I cannot understand all of it just reading it one time. I am sure I will go back and read some parts again as my knowledge of Igbo language goes deeper and deeper.
 
I just loved this concept so much that I had to pause and think it through, because it is the real beauty of Igbo, and why it is important for us to study and build and create using this powerful language.
 
Udo.

(Video) What is an Ogbanje?

Standard

In Igbo mythology, the Ogbanje are spirits that cause a child to die, and reincarnate just to die again. The Ogbanje is a mischief maker in the spirit world that sneaks into the world of the living through the womb of a woman. But there is more to the Ogbanje than what is popularly known, as many are walking among us today.