Author Archives: Omenigbo

Ịlọ Chi na Ịlọ Ụwa: The Cosmic Journey of the Soul in Igbo Cosmology & Spirituality


Uli designs by Igbo women

To the point, Ịlọ Ụwa is soul re-manifestation process also known as reincarnation, just as Ịlọ Chi is the original pre-birth divine soul manifestation act of Okike the supreme creator, which originally emanated the individual soul from the divine one cosmic soul (Ọma Ụwa/Ele Ụwa) at the moment of universal creation. Igbo proverbial lore expounds that Ugwu nyịrị anyị makana ọkwerọ ọfeke ngala for time is a special universal element of our realm and therefore precious. The universal cycles which generates this time currency stops to wait for no one, so that one must reap and sow in harmony with them. Ịlọ Ụwa is further still that cosmological stairway of spiritual maturity which is descended and ascended by the soul in the universal worlds with the final aim of transcending the universal worlds and returning back to its original source in the realm of Chi, for existence in the universal worlds is existence in temporality and limitations. Igbo spirituality and lifeworld as a whole is an intricately engineered journey towards this grand destination of humanity and a mirrored extension of the divine ordinance and cosmological principle of egbe na enu unyo na ana.

With this grand level of involvement anticipated in its wisely simplified processes, it is only proper that, access to our cosmic (i.e. non-temporal) memory in consciousness here in the universal world should naturally grant us a great lift from the pits and rungs of our previous climbs of the spirit, and this is what Ọdịnala aspires to with nature as its direct bridge in this realm of universal worlds. As the universe itself is destined a life in grand cycles culminating at the seventh viz. erete ụwa dị ịsaa eji alọ ụwa na ịsaa-ịsaa, so also is the cycle of reincarnation cosmologically capstoned at seven, with the exception of where ọghọm ụwa na ọmetalụbulu (i.e. karma) causes a delay and brings about more subsequent returns. In our present material well-being obsessed world, this exception has become the rule, so that people now assume that infinite reincarnation is the norm which is the fantasy to stay in “sin” or ignorance while “grace” or time is abundant, which is just that – an illusion. The complete reversal of this mode of being called The Fool.

Fool Tarot Cards

(Ọfeke) is what The Wise called Ọmalụ strives to accomplish. This is called Ịme Ọdịnala Chi Ụwa (soul cultular spirituality) or Ịme Chi Ụwa for short, which universal journey is socially celebrated and mystically counted or marked and capstoned with the original Ichiri Chi Ụwa titular rites and ceremonies which the natural Igbo person gravitates to in their universal trotting of accomplishments hunting. As the arch-nomads of the ancient world, movement and traveling is a fairly super instinct in the Igbo person. For having circumvented their present planet in the earliest far deem eras of their presence here, Igbo people naturally became propelled to channel and transform their hyper nomadic instinct and advanced spiritual wisdom gained from their intense nomadic experiences in primeval nature towards an industrious propensity and successfully became technology nomads. At this, they excelled beyond match among their original ancient clan siblings till their much recent decline in spirituality & creativity. Only thus recently have this advanced instinct been blunted and watered down to the trivial economic nomadic consciousness it is familiarized with as of today.

As with reincarnation, the Igbo nomadic instinct is also acutely practical of the Eje Ana Bụ Isi Ije cosmological principle i.e. going forth to life and returning seasoned with wisdom; the journey of incarnation and transcendence. This is to illustrate the reason for the characteristic proactivity of Echichi orders and lodges in Ọdịnala, such as Igbu Ichi, Ichi Iyom, Ichi Ọzọ, Ichi Ekpe, Ichi Eze, Ichi Ekwe, Ichi Lọlọ, Ichi Ọdụ Ichi Ebiri etc. For originally, within these ancestrally established orders and their lodges, were cultivated some of the most advanced Igbo spiritual techniques of enlightenment and cosmic principles or powers of accomplishment. When properly examined in the realm of energy, the memory of these descents and ascents in beings are captured by the soul in a shell-like spiral characterizing its revolutions in energy as would be seen at the center of a tree’s core, for instance.

Tree rings

The soul uses this memory to build a suitable and meriting body for its self in the womb of the universal worlds. When it has achieved this peak of ascent, it reincarnates no more and departs the universal worlds and its cycles of temporality and boundaries of limitations. Since very ancient times in Igbo land, it is known among Igbo seers of varied calibers who could directly see energy without the aid of any tools (Ndị na afụ ịkpa chi/Ịfụ ịkpa chi) that at the expiation of a material body whose in-habiting soul had actually completed its last cycle of returns to the universal world and was now ready to merge with Ọma the one cosmic soul of the androgynous supreme cosmic divinity Chi na Eke, at this point, it takes on the semblance of a feathered or a winged serpent upon its release from the body shell. Such a soul is regarded as having attained the angelic ancestral status of Ushi Egwurugwu i.e. hallowed ancestors of glorious transcendence or rainbow ascent).

The natural cymatia sign of the Chi at fulfilment or rest (which is captured in the Nshịbịrị script) enshrines within it the original mystical architecture of the Tree of Life revealing the completed cellular memory map of what the Chi’s finalized journey in the universal spheres looks like:- a rainbow feathered serpent coiled on a tree pole with its head raised above the pole in victory, illuminated with the golden hallow of enlightenment, sporting the rainbow colors of accomplishment and bearing the grand jewel of wisdom. In truth, Nshịbịrị script has layers of subtly engineered functions and purposes, one of which is to reveal the infinitely unique Chi signature vibration frequency geometry from the moment of its incarnation from Okike as it travels as energy in the spirit realm towards the externalized universal world where it will continue to travel in varying less-subtle phases. The script further uses these signatures in a set of multidimensional configurations to communicate and elicit the same signature vibrations from the Chi using the human psyche as a bridge. This first sign, the primordial sign of the Chi at fulfilment or rest, is the oldest symbol of enlightenment in the ancient world, from which original form it was much later miniaturized in many stages into the triangle with the all Seeing Eye symbol of lesser potency.

Nsibidi symbols on Ukara cloth

In reality, the living human proofs of the culmination of Ịlo Ụwa in Ọdịnala is made-manifestly observable in the life of Ndị Gburu Ichi na Ala Igbo. The ancient dictum goes that “onye gburu ichi na mgbe gboo bu onye ga emeri ọnwụ makana igbu ichi bu mmadụ ịdị ndụ kwa onwe ya”. This observation gave rise to the more generalized aphorism that
“onye gburu ichi emerigo onwu”. How is this so, that the culmination of reincarnation also meant the cessation of death? The answer is deceivingly simple but grave: birth gives rise to death as a crack in the human fate and yet death can be defeated whilst one is alive by the highest type of death in which one dies seven times and is resurrected seven times i.e. IGBU ICHI. This been the core mystic act underlying the original Igbu Ichi rite. The great Igbo ancestor Ọlaụda Ekwealọ of extraordinary bravery and genius, observed accurately many centuries ago that originally, Ichi title bearers in Igbo land were regarded as the most enlightened and wise among their peers where ever found, having undergone the mapping of the cellular memory of their Chi’s ascending current onto their face for the whole world to see and bear witness to the ultimate act of worldly denouncement and impeccable devotion to the Chi as codified in Ọdịnala and simultaneously the conquering of the power of temporal memory, they have forever sacrificed their human individual ego, with their own blood as the proof of death and their living body as the sacrificial alter.

They become living human mirrors of enlightenment and rare living proofs to the reenactment of the covenant of reincarnation cessation between the Chi and the soul,  made flesh. Having died before all, they resurrect to never die again, for every Igbo person who beheld them after this, witnessed to a soul who was now in a conscious blooded covenant with their Chi and this state of being is called Ugo Ebe Na Aja (taboo-restored state of innocence) which is why such persons are naturally excluded from doing all forms of manual work. And finally, when they decide that they are contented with life, they simply eject their souls from their bodies at will. They literally defy death and attain Ibi Ụwa i.e. reincarnation cessation. This is who we are.

Igbo Ukwu bronze


The So-Called “Witch Children of Nigeria” — Are the Gifted Ones! They Need Special Training!


Anyone who has honestly followed the seemingly unending thread of unnecessary crisis trailing Nigeria this while, must have encountered the atrocity termed the “Witch Children“. For a longtime, it has been propagated in the media like a plague with no sign of beginning, nor a sign of ending. But who are these children? Really. It is no doubt that we live in very interesting times, and even animals can now attest to this reality, whether we chose to acknowledge it or not. From a clear scientific understanding, children are the offspring of their progenitors. So if a child is termed a “witch”, its mother and father (the male and female progenitors) are equally “witches” by default. However, given the pervading superstitious thinking of most communities in need of greater enlightenment, the term “witch” is often assigned to all and any inexplicable phenomena.

To put it very simply and straight forward: the so called “Witch Children” of Nigeria are nothing but gifted children. They are born with their natural extrasensory abilities already amplified for visionary survival. As a result, their determination is unmatched. Unlike the older generations to which most of their parents belong, their soul energy is intensely refined and liberated. Their peers around the world are presently been recognized and trained to further apply these gifts for the good of their generation and our world in general, unlike in Nigeria. The minds of these children need a different kind of training, which is presently not in our school systems. I have encountered this reality in many occasions and I know that several others have. It is common knowledge that in the ages past, it was through the soul consciousness that these abilities where foremostly expressed by the human being.

Screen Shot 2012-04-30 at 11.47.32

However, to express subtle energy strongly enough from the soul consciousness and have this impact the elements, most inherited emotional blockages or limiting traits like fear, anxiety, self-doubt, paranoia, nervousness, unprovoked aggression etc. will have to be erased during one’s transitional-stage “special training”, from childhood to youth-hood and finally, adulthood. This is the CENTRAL distinction between the children of today and those who were raised in the by gone era and subsequent world of colonialism/forced industrialization, which went hand in hand with deep seeded fear and extreme self-depreciation, leading to the latency of soul energy and mental agility on a massive human scale. It should be borne in mind that religions as we have them then and now, are more preoccupied with the “judgment of souls” than “enlightenment of souls”, “conversion of souls” than “upliftment of souls”. Come this age of information, the scenario is beginning to drastically change. Our present world, as a result of this, needs great upliftment, starting out with uninhibited enlightenment of scientific and spiritual reality.

Today’s children are born into a world where information is abundantly circulated and their parents of today are less fear stricken and less self-limiting than their forbears of the last couple traumatic centuries. The only problem is that, with this massive influx of information, true knowledge becomes camouflaged. Thus, Clarity of Thought and Visionary Discernment becomes a key need for this age, and since these are both fundamental qualities of the Liberated Mind, there is no doubt why the parents of these children are doomed to make their mistakes. When one has been taught for decades on end to devalue their own mind power and soul consciousness, there is nothing left but well-masked mental abasement, hence the present state of Nigeria: a nation laden with all manners of creative resources, but abjectly lacking of true administrative minds.

Young Igbo Mask Dancers Wearing Net Masks and Raffia Costumes

The children of this age however, have these gifts of mind already unpacked within them by nature, according to the cosmic season in which they have found themselves blooming, naturally. They only need little special training in the right direction, on how to use these gifts to further unpack the rest packages in them and liberate their generation. For the children of this age in general, extrasensory mind training is a must, for they will need these to fine tune many of the information which have been left unrefined by the past generations of their forebears. This is among the key tasks that nature has slated for them. They are the knowledge refiners, who will precede the future generation of human-energy refiners: those who will end the mystery of sickness and diseases for humanity for good.

The much older generations were mostly trained in the use of physical labor and very little mental exertion, talk less of original thinking or finer expressions. Very soon, there will be a proper place in South-Eastern Nigeria (presently in the making) where such children of marked gifts will be trained to use their gifts, whilst also acquiring world class cutting edge education. Then, we shall brace ourselves to see who the real “Witches and Wizards of Nigeria” truly are: the Fraudster Religionists and their Politricktian Chorhorts, or the innocent Gifted Children of Nigeria who are here to save their generation from the perennial degradation that has befallen our land.

——-Written by Omenigbo (Chukwukadibia E. Nwafor)


Boys Initiation Ceremony, Nkporo

Boys Initiation Ceremony, Nkporo


Iji Ala: An Ancient Igbo Sacred Science of Energy Management and Harmonization for the Present World


Geodesy (Iji Ala/Iji Ana/Iji Ani) is one of the ancient sacred sciences which the Igbo people demonstrated a great mastery of. They knew, expounded and extensively practiced this spiritual science of bringing celestial harmony down to Earth (Anakwudo-ma-Enukwudo). In this light, Geodesy is a truly multi-dimensional science or what may be termed ”a meta-science” driven by high precision thinking, the manifestation of which is evinced in such notable cosmological engineering feats as the creation of geothermal pyramid powered human settlements, through the specific application of this sacred science in the form of “Ikwunite-Aba-Igwe” (lit. Raising the Crown of the Celestial Mound).

Nsude Pyramids in Abaja, Northern Igbo land

Nsude Pyramids in Abaja, Northern Igbo land

For the Igbo people of old and present, inhabited houses can be ensouled and rituals abound for ensouling houses before habitation, as well as for un-ensouling houses after the demise of their occupants. The same exists for environs. In ancient Igboland, the ritual-kings and specialists who had the specialty of performing these architectonic and engineering feats on the scale of the entire communal space were known as Eze Akum, Eze Okpoko, Eze Ana, Eze Mkpume, Eze Uzu, Eze Oba among other specialized titles. They were mostly technocrats and among their expected specialties were advanced mystic control of the elements. In fact, there is still an Igbo village group in Oba, Anambra state known as Umu Mkpume and their oral traditions narrate that their ancestors were unequaled geniuses at working with stone and other mineral elements. Likewise in Uzu Akoli, highly noted for its quality stones, minerals and stone masonry. A noted Igbo proverb in this right asserts that: okwute hiri ehi, too ato na uzu akoli, o zi mbunata lit. durable stones are in sufficient formations in Uzu Akoli, it is only a matter of carrying them to site.

As we aware of today, in the cities and towns, peoples movements could be restricted, their livelihoods controlled, their thinking defined, their health status conditioned and their religion prescribed. In nature where there is freedom of movement and diversity of choices, one can hardly achieve the same result. The oxygen supply is purer and direct in nature, thus the process of natural growth and spiritual development is organic and difficult to impede in nature. This is in clear contrast with the human created city settlements which has as its central underlying ideology, the superiority and exclusivity of human nature over the rest of nature. This is an ideology that is as toxic as it is unfathomably limiting. Yet it is one that ironically presents human beings with a great opportunity to deepen their awareness and creative abilities by way of harmonious adaptation. One may observe that, the Igbo technocrats and ritual-specialists of old largely viewed their respective towns and cities as “architectural tools” for enacting social engineering and politico-religious cohesion. However, their greatest functions were in their metaphysical application; in the manipulation and control of space and time, human creative energy, natural resources, human privileges, conventional thinking and even the unseen prospects of an entire group of people.

Montage of Igbo traditional architecture

Montage of Igbo traditional architecture

Today, on the other hand, the combined forces of nature, fate and history has interrupted many of these institutions and their archetypal ways of functioning, and for a purpose which the future generations will clearly grasp more than we ever may in our times. As for our present purposes today in Igboland, there is great need to revive the ancient practices of temple building for earth-energy balancing purposes (Iji Ala), not just for the typical purposes of social cohesion and judiciary. There is no doubting the fact that, given all the accumulated ills of the past ages in Igboland and the world at large, Ana Igbo is in need of full-fledged purification and re-consecration. This is in alignment with the spiritual foundational practices of the Uga Anwu age, which we are gearing up to fully emerge into. It is to be noted that in this age, individuals must come to the realization that all shrines, sacred groves, temples, churches, religious enclaves etc. are not otherworldly places where “gods and goddesses” manifest or even mere particularized places of public worship. This is the root of religious exploitation. Instead, it should be understood that these sacred natural locales or consecrated spaces are simply places of pure spiritual energy, where the members of community frequently visit to revitalize and purify their devotional passions (Isa Ajasinobi), realign and refocus their minds (Ichikota-Uche-na-Mmuo) and replenish their soul force (Idu-IkengaChi/Inye-Ikenga-Nni).

Speaking of the needs of this present age, it should be borne in mind that generally in Odinala and Igbo cosmology, the world is understood to go through cycles, much like the noted fertility seasons of nature. Of these, there are four Great Cycles which birth Four Unique Worlds, namely: Uga Aka, Uga Chi, Uga Anwu and Uga Azi in that other of succession. The cycles are known to succeed each other with catastrophic, consciousness expanding events. There are ascending cycles (Uje Uga) and descending cycles (Una Uga). At the culmination of each full cosmic cycle (Mgba Uga) made up of eight unique consciousness seasons, all the created life forms of Chineke achieve a holistic evolutionary leap, known as Opupu Mmuo/Ipu Mmuo. While, the now receded Mgba Uga is regarded as Uga-Nala-Ana (One Full Completed Cosmic Cycle) and its accumulated knowledge and wisdom will henceforth only be accessible via the intuitive portals of cosmic consciousness. The next Opupu-Ije-Mmuo or Uga Uwa cycle thus begins from either an ascending or descending point, with a matching influx of varying incarnate spirits. We are currently experiencing an ascending cycle which hints the immense possibilities predisposed to us and which are languishing under our noses. These four seasons of the world (Uga-Uwa-n’Ano) as with the primordial four Igbo circadian cycles of Eke-Orie-Afo-Nkwo (Izu/Izu Igbo) have come and gone for as long as creation has been.

Igbo Cycles

Igbo Cycles

In this light, Uga Aka is the cosmic age known for non-duality, profound wisdom, pure spirit, pure consciousness, human omniscience, whole mastery of human potentials and the universal laws at the global level by human beings, which results in the achievement of immortality. The age which follows this is known as Uga Chi, and this age is characterized by the consciousness of duality, great influx of self-realized spirits, soul power, ingenious cultural creations, telepathy and the appearance of death, when people once again lose the privilege of immortality. Next is the Uga Anwu age, noted for the incarnation of cosmic-minded visionaries (Umu Anwu) who are acknowledged for their profound solar-intuition (i.e. versatility of mind) and deep original thinking. Uga Anwu is also the age of marked gifts of prophecy, technological feats and highly advanced understanding of energy and its interplay with consciousness throughout nature. It has also been observed that in this age, the urge to check harmful tendencies are bound to become a worldwide obsession. People become ecology-conscious all of a sudden and are drawn to lifestyles, practices and philosophies that encourage this concern. Last of these four is the age of Uga Azi, identified with pessimism, mindlessness, crass ignorance, wanton destruction and desecration of natural harmony, very low consciousness level, superficiality, clear disregard of sacred knowledge and wisdom, unimaginable greed and conquest etc. In fact, in the age of Uga Azi, the world is literally upside down (descent of spiritual awareness).

To be reincarnated into this world at this present time is an utmost desire of several spirits. For Uga Anwu is an age of the Mind. All who possess the Divine Mind of Light (Umu Agwu) will lead in this age as visionaries. As such, it is highly necessary that all human institutions and knowledge systems be dully revised with this profusion of higher minds amongst us, even as we are presently experiencing it technologically. It should thus be made clear, in this light, that the churches, mosques, temples, shrines, oracle groves, sanctuaries etc. of old and present are not divine, but merely sanctified spaces. It is the human being and nature that is divine. Religious doctrines, traditions and philosophies are not divine. It is the individual experience of their true spiritual principles that truly is divine. Accordingly, the ritual specialists, Priests and Priestesses who officiate in these sacred places are in truth and practicality, adept spiritual scientists who have been spiritually called and readied from birth by nature, to devote their whole being to the preservation and perpetuation of divine order for their respective communities. As such, the fundamental focus of the vast spiritual sciences, rites, rituals, ethicalities, local jurisprudence and allied functions which they administer on behalf of the community is to be understood as fundamentally ensuring the preservation of cosmic harmony (Udo), based on their divine eligibility (Chi), noted spiritual uprightness (Ogu) and ancestral appointment (Ofo). It is one of such appointed tasks that they accomplish through the rituals of Iji Ala. 

Light Body


Nze Izo Omenigbo (Chukwukadibia E. Nwafor)  is an Igbo writer, philanthropist, Dibia and advocate of African knowledge systems and indigenous spiritualities. A life-long learner and advanced practitioner of Igbo medicine and sacred teachings, he is also a fully-investitured culture bearer and spiritual lineage holder (Eze-Aka-ji-Ofo-Odinala) of Ururo-Umunze descent. His dedicated strides towards the total awakening of Igbo contemporary humanity have propelled him to introduce and teach the first comprehensive cyber course on Igbo cosmology. His general publications on the intellectual and mystical traditions of the Igbo are widely read. Leopards of the Magical Dawn: Science and the Cosmological Foundations of Igbo Culture is his first book.

The Old Woman of Immense Wisdom: On the Mystical Science Behind the Afa Akpụkpala Oracular System


By Nze Chukwuka Omenigbo Nwafor

“For man, everything he needed, he needs and or he shall need has been provided. With leaves and the like we can perform any action which modern science (western) cannot anticipate of even in the next ten thousand years or more”—Nwankwo Nnabuchi (In Defence of Igbo Belief System, 1987)

Mythical Origin of Akpụkpala as described in “After God is Dibia Vol 1” page 86

Áfá/Ává/Áhá (pronounced differently from the Āfà for “name”) is an Igbo term that denotes all oracular, divinatory, predictive and clairvoyance practices; only seconded by the much more conversant practice of Amuma or Ibu Amuma – Prophecy. Among the virtually listless variety of divination systems found in Igbo culture, which run well into their hundreds, the primordial Akpụkpala system of divination has surfaced as the most sophisticated, versatile, accurate, enduring and encompassing system thereof; employed successfully since time immemorial in determining and addressing all phenomena.

Rightly so, various questions have been raised by both dedicated scholars and keen enthusiasts of Igbo culture around the world as to the underlying mystery behind the prominently ancient Afa Akpụkpala divination system. Many have attempted to explain and even compare it with the far more recent binary computing system of Western epistemological tradition; an approach that is highly flawed in itself but somewhat aids in lifting the heavy veil of mystery in which the Akpụkpala divination system has been much shrouded in. Indeed, as concerns the profound mystical science undergirding the Akpụkpala divination practice, Prof. Onwuejeogwu (1997) and Prof J. A. Umeh (1999) has in their respective ways, invested great efforts in bringing some of the primary mysteries undergirding the Akpụkpala oracle to academic light. Umeh for instance elucidated that, “this form of divination has its own language which the Igbo people believe to be not only the oldest Igbo language but also indeed the oldest language in the whole world” (Umeh 1999). Quoting Nwankwo Nnabuchi, he maintained that,

“The language of Ikpakpala [Akpụkpala] was based on the original Igbo language which was later modified in the time Amuta [Uga Chi] to accommodate the known innovations. Subsequent to that, there were other modification which gave rise to the loss of a higher percentage of the original concept. This development notwithstanding, its language is still the oldest language in Igbo history. Some people call it the language of Dibias. It is correct because it is the Dibias who still retain some of the earlier culture, practices and religious rites….the study of Ikpukpala shall to an extent reveal a lot about the origins of Igbos (Umeh 1999: 84; emphasis mine).”


Akpụkpala oracle

However, as one would agree, at the time of the penning of Umeh and Onwuejeogwu’s individual monumental works, the likes of Ron Eglash (2005) and Gabriel Oyibo (2002) whose much welcome research revelations are gradually revolutionizing the world of contemporary mathematics and physics were yet to significantly emerge. And even now that they’re here, one still recognizes how incredibly difficult a task it is to initiate a full-fledged scientific exegesis on the Akpụkpala oracle, talk more of fully accomplishing such a project.

Agreeably, perseverance in the face of mounting obstacles is a must, if such colossal tasks are to be accomplished by Africans in this day and time. However, frankly speaking, asides all the ritualized ethics of “discreet practice” embedded in Igbo sacred traditions which even Prof. J. A. Umeh himself confessedly had to override to write his book, asides all that, attempts of elucidating the under-girding mystical principles animating the Akpụkpala oracle naturally embodies a herculean task for anybody since contemporary science is yet to develop any meaningful and somewhat analogous scientific cum epistemic system that can mirror the great mysteries of the Akpụkpala oracle.

Infact, as it appears, the algebraically contrived binary computing system and more recently, quantum computing system is as far as the Western mind can attempt of this feat. But one should be aware that the binary encoding threshold system (Akwu na Obi) as confessedly extracted from the ancient Akpụkpala system by Western seekers merely embodies one of the preliminary, Akashic gateways that an Afa adept (Dibia Afa) has to “pass through” (Ịkwu Afa – literally, jumping into Afa/shifting into the Afa mode of consciousness) before arriving the 5th dimension from where the herculean task of Afa-seeking (Igba Afa) actually takes off and well-extends into an infinity of dimensions or universes.

As such, considering the highly sophisticated methodologies, ritualized speech and mystical knowledge that under-girds the utilization, sustenance and successful application of the Afa Akpụkpala oracle, it becomes highly apparent that the binary computing system as “formulated” by Westerners is but a helpless recourse to mathematical theorization in an attempt to engage a phenomenon that clearly transcends this four dimensional plane of existence (ahịa n’anọ, ụbọchị n’anọ i.e. 4 market holdings = space and 4 diurnal cycles = time). Indeed, what these early Western seekers of African sacred knowledge concocted up as the “binary computing system” is honestly atrocious and pale in comparison to the profound essence embodied in the Akpụkpala oracle.

Binary code

Binary code

As such, one can rightly assert that, any attempts by African scholars and researchers to utilize such tentative, Western-concocted “information systems” to explain the profound principles and procedures of the great Akpụkpala oracle will merely amount to an innovative boost for the Western epistemological tradition and nothing else; since these are actually plagiarized systems in essence. It is the author’s candid suggestion, that such interested scholars and researchers should engage these original, African mystical systems of knowing from their indigenously conceived and understood perspectives. Secondly, the problem with attempting to utilize even the recently concocted “quantum computing system” in explaining Akpụkpala oracle (QCS was imperfectly plagiarized almost word-for-word from the Dogon “fox-sand-seed-fingerprint” divination system – again the mystical number “4” is key here) lies in the narrowness of its cosmological scope.

Let us not forget that the Western epistemological tradition whose global hegemony continues to stifle other richer, epistemological traditions from enlightening humanity is still in denial of Ala Mmụọ (the other inter-existing worlds/universes/dimensions). Besides, as with BCS, any careful analysis of QCS (Quantum Computing System) will readily reveal that it is simply the result of Western seekers, once again, extrapolating about 10-15% of the embedded principles found in the mystical “fox-seed-sand-fingerprint” divination system of the generous Dogon people and transforming the same into a mere, quantum-mathematical “information system”. Whereas the original Dogon system is actually post-quantum oriented! And even at that, QCS is virtually still in its theorization stage!

Selection from page 90 of After God is Dibia Vol 1

A selection of Akpụkpala combinations from page 90 of “After God is Dibia Vol 2” by John Umeh

Quite simply, the point being made here is that the original parent, mystical systems of these concocted forms of “information systems” clearly transcends the “quantifiable” or empirical mode of consciousness which the Western epistemic tradition appears to be trapped in. Infact, as attested by Umeh on this issue, “in a situation where one has to select one meaning out of 823,543 meanings per each Afa seed words the task clearly defies quantification or description” (Umeh 1999). Thus, as the likes of Umeh, Oyibo, Eglash, Afigbo etc. have respectively pointed out, African epistemological systems are mystical in principle and as such are post-empirical, pot-literate and post analytic in nature.

Their profound solution systems, operative bearings, determinative and harmonizing capabilities encompasses but ultimately transcends the empirical scientific system of today’s world. This truth in itself, embodies an insurmountable proof that humanity has known far more advanced civilizations in the past. One is only left in wonder as to how Africans allowed and continue to allow themselves to be convinced by anyone to abandon such a profoundly advanced resource and constitutive element of their super civilization.

Hence, after considering such deep-seated epistemic and academic flaws encountered in candid attempts of elucidating the undergirding mysteries of the Afa Akpụkpala oracle, one is left no choice but to recourse to the original Igbo epistemological system for reference (as Indian scholars still do today). And likewise, since most of the hardcore sacred knowledge embedded in Igbo culture are seldom couched in demotic Igbo, one also has no choice but to recourse to the ritualized oracular tongue of Afa (a sonically distinct, highfrequency meta-language essential for oracular programming, slightly distinct from the original Afa mother-tongue itself known as Ofu Ora) for any precise and articulate presentation of this mystical, Igbo divination system.

"After God is Dibia Vol 2" by John Umeh

“After God is Dibia Vol 2” by John Umeh

Speaking to this, Umeh has specified that “Afa is a mystery tongue of the Dibia, unknown to all save those admitted to the requisite Afa Mysteries that require the Afa language…It is the very language which the Igbos believe the Gods, Goddesses and other Spirits speak” (Umeh 1999). Infact, he went ahead and defined the Akpụkpala oracle as “a mystic super-computer of limitless capacity as well as limitless retrieval abilities” (Umeh 1999). Further still, he specified that, It is the most scientific of all divination methods as afar as the state of scientific knowledge stands in the world today, and so, those who are obsessed with having scientific explanation even for metaphysical complexities, issues and realities which our present day sciences have not yet developed fully into understanding, can more easily learn and appreciate his form of divination (Umeh 1999: 84).

In conclusion, it should be noted that since one can thus far demonstrate a sense of what the Afa Akpụkpala oracle conceptually and operatively entails, in both the mystical and modern scientific sense, the cogent question for Igbo thinkers, scientists, policy makers, scholars, researchers et. al. is as thus: how will this profound system of inquiry,  learning and harmonization once again advance the Igbo civilization of this day and time? Indeed, the oracle itself is as ever vibrant, competent and productive as always, as aptly captured in one of its mystical appellations as “agadi nwanyi osi asili” literally, “the ever gossiping [informing] old woman”.

The problem is when will the Igbo mind fully awaken to its matchless, God-given genius abilities and take up their Akpụkpala seeds and divine another wondrous civilization into reality as they were highly renowned of in the past. Indeed, whether they will realize this soon enough, or later on with much disappointment and whether they will ever be able to undress their acquired western “intellectual costumes of the mind” and humbly approach the wise, mystical oracular systems of their ancestors for guidance, profound knowledge, wisdom and understanding is entirely up to them.


1. Umeh, J. A. 1999. After God Is Dibia, Vol. II. London: Karnak House
2. Afigbo, A. E. 2001. Time and Its Measurement in Igbo Culture. Nigerian Heritage: Journal of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments. 10, 2001, pages 11-21.
3. Onwuejeogwu, M. A. 1997. Afa Symbolism & Phenomenology in Nri Kingdom and Hegemony. Nigeria: Ethiope Publishing Corporation
4. Eglash, Ron. 2005. African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press
5. Oyibo, G. A. 2002. Grand Unified Theorem: Representation of the Unified Theory or The Theory of Everything. New York: Nova Science Pub. Inc.
6. Griaule, M. and Dieterlen, G. 1986. The Pale Fox. Continuum Foundation.
7. Nielsen, Michael A. and Chuang, Isaac L. 2010. Quantum Computation and Quantum Information: 10th Anniversary Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
8. Nnabuchi, Nwankwo. 1987. In Defence of Igbo Belief System: A Dialectical Approach. Nigeria: Life Paths Print. Press
9. Chimakonam, Jonathan O. 2012. Introducing African Science: Systematic and Philosophical Approach (Studies in African Philosophy, Science, Logic and Mathematics). Indiana: AuthorHouse

Chukwu Bu Ulidereuwa: Odinala, Igbo Antiquity and the Esoteric Roots of Human Expressions


by Nze Izo Omenigbo

“Anyanwu rie asaa kwuru,

Ala ejiri Edeuli kwado ya” 

If the Sun consumes seven and survives,

The Earth will back it with Uli expressions”

—Igbo Mystical Axiom

Igbo Uli

The Expression of the Sacred in Igbo Culture

The nature of expression (divine/sacred, mundane, mystical, occult and aesthetic) in Igbo culture is captured in many well-known Igbo proverbs. The following three examples are very key in this particular sense, “Onye n’akwa nka na adu ihu: the artist/craft-adept often appears to wear a frown in the process of their work”, “Edeala mara mma bu umeala onye dere ya: the beauty of Edeala sacred expression lies in the calmness of its scribe” and “Ube nkiti nwa nnunu bere n’ohia bu izu mmuo gbaara Dibia: the most simple expression of a bird is wisdom to the Dibia—coming from the spirit world”.

In all three axioms, it can be observed that a certain trait appears to be deep rooted in the traditional Igbo mind, and this is the act of often equating mundane observations with spiritual/phenomenal origins/qualities. To the contemporary mind, of course, this will seem ridiculous. However, in many provable ways, this pattern of understanding has been recognized as a major intellectual catalyst in some of the world’s earliest artistic/scribal traditions and societies.

In pre-modern times—contrary to conventional notions—there were at least four existing Igbo scripts, these were Edeala, Uli, Ukara and Nsibiri/Nsibidi. There is no known single origin of the scribal tradition in Igbo culture and most of the available accounts are heavily couched in myths as is the tradition; the better part of which are reserved for the highest initiates. However, some of these mythic narrations (given their heavy roles in the enculturation process of the general society) were often modified by the priests and passed on to the community griots—who later narrated these stories to the young/old of the society.

Court Record written in Nsibidi script

Also, significant of mention is the existence of many other cult symbol scripts, many of which are yet to be written down or even conventionally known. In a nut shell, it’s a well-accepted fact (at least within honest academic circles) that the scribal tradition has its roots in Africa. Yet often than not, there have also been adverse arguments as to whether such preserved/discovered inscriptions are of direct/literal or symbolic orientations; in other words, if they qualify as “writings” as we understand them today. Needless to say, this approach of judgment is highly biased; since strictly speaking, most ancient societies understood human expression—and expression generally—to be symbolic in its primary nature.

Resolvedly, most of the less esoteric cult teachings of the time were expressed through highly complex symbol systems—from which originated some of the mundane writing traditions of the modern world. Therefore any attempt to understand the communicative modes of ancient societies without an initial, dedicated understanding of their worldview—as concisely shown here—is erroneous by default. In the course of this discourse, insights will be drawn from two of such mythic narrations. As well, few snippets will be equally utilized from one of the aforementioned esoteric myths.


The Principle of the “First Word” in Igbo Cosmology

The archetypal Igbo society held that words were so potent that one must ensure to count their “teeth with their tongue” before or after any question. It is an advice for one to find out something for oneself, especially when one is indulging in self deceit and is seeking for answers from some other person instead of self-reflection. Usually the person advicing will say “i choro ka m gwa gi ya; were ire gi guo eze gi onu–Do you expect me to tell it to you? Count your teeth with your tongue.” However, in dealing with written expressions, the potency inevitably doubles, since the idea being communicated will now (supposedly) outlive its author. There is also the mystical tradition of “the first word” i.e. okwu izizi. In many ways, this ancient principle encapsulates—in totality—the Igbo cosmic orientation of life in relation to the Divine. The mystery of the first word is well illuminated in the classical Igbo tale about the journey that was undertaken by the Dog (Nkita) and the Tortoise (Mbekwu Nwa Aniga).

Dog and Tortoise

In this tale, it is held that the Dog and the Tortoise were both sent by humans to deliver two important messages to Chukwu; from which will be determined whether human beings will live to achieve immortality or die at a certain age. To the Dog was given the message of immortality, while the Tortoise was given the message of impermanence. As they both set out for Chukwu’s house, the Dog—priding itself with its ability of swiftness—was said to have stopped several times along the way to sleep, scout for bones or even a mating partner, while the persevering Tortoise continued on its path, undistracted. In the end, the classic endurance of the Tortoise led it to Chukwu’s house, long before the Dog—who was outraced during its many short breaks to sleep or explore the road sides.

Hence, Mbekwu Nwa Aniga (the Tortoise) delivered its message of “Death for the Humans” and thus was the mystery of death introduced into human life. Of course, the Dog did arrive later on—totally convinced that it was the first to reach Chukwu’s house, only to be told that “Chukwu and the Spirit World” does not accept second “Words”. Hence originated the Igbo mystical phrase “okwu izizi erugo be Chukwu: the first word has reached God’s house”.

From this particular tale, a great deal of Igbo cosmological principles dealing with expressions—can be illuminated.  Firstly, there is the duality of life as represented by the two choice animals. The principle of duality remains a core aspect of Igbo life and spiritual practices till this very day. And then there is the principle of pre-duality or unified existence. In other words, creation: although dual in nature proceeds from a unified point of One. Hence, the Dog was told that Chukwu and the Spirit World do not accept the second “Word”. The second word here symbolizes physical creation, realized in the sacred number Two.

Also, there is the principle of Uncontrolled Motion/Chaos and Controlled Motion/Order. Both principles were symbolized in the specific choice of animals used in the narration; where the Dog’s undisciplined swiftness stood for chaotic motion and the disciplined fortitude of the Tortoise stood for ordered motion. Both principles were further made potent in their meanings by the messages that both animals were meant to deliver. In the case of the Dog (embodied chaos) the message was immortality (unending spiritual enlightenment), while for the Tortoise (embodied order) the message was impermanence (interrupted spiritual enlightenment).

Chaos Star

The Spiritual and Aesthetic Potency of Human Expressions

As the Dog was late to reach Chukwu’s house, it then resulted that human life (as a mortal opportunity for spiritual learning) will be eternally teased with the mystical potency of Ndu Ebi-Ebi (Everlasting Life/Immortality). Just as the delivered message of the Tortoise meant that human beings (indeed all creations) will be forever bound to the physical responsibility of observing/maintaining Divine order.

This dual expression most likely gave rise to such classical Igbo thoughts as “okirikiri k’eji ari ukwu ose: the pepper tree is only climbed by means of cautious encirclement” and “nwayo-nwayo k’eji aracha ofe di oku: a hot soup can only be consumed gently”. Furthermore, the Dog symbolism is equally characteristic of the archetypal Ego (the precarious pride that originated with the Dog’s knowledge of its swift abilities). While the Tortoise in this sense, symbolizes the Super Ego (the self-regulating aspect of us that strives for perfection and orderliness). Although, this last feature is essentially interpretational, the instructional nature of the original tale however supports its validity.

In a sense then, it can be observed that the Igbo worldview fundamentally perceives human expressions/expressions generally as a holistic exercise. Indeed, the greater implication of this conviction is that no expression of creation/life is devoid of meaning and no human expression is devoid of sense; regardless of how “senseless” that expression might seem. This notion is well established by another ancient Igbo principle (stemming from another mythic account) which holds that Chukwu created the world using two words, Ọm and Om.

“Om” written in Devanāgari

These two Divine expressions, according to ancient Igbo mystics, became “The Two Sacred Words” i.e. Okwu abuo Chukwu ji were ke uwa”. Again, the basic notion here is duality—but specifically this time; duality dealing with the two Igbo mystical principles of Akwu na Obi (Stillness and Motion). It is remarkable to note that these two principles unified, remains one of the most utilized and infinitely explored of all Igbo mystery teachings. The “Two Sacred Words” as explored in another Igbo mystery cult is also held as the “Two Primordial Sounds”. In this respect, it expresses one of the most esoterically studied of all Divine expressions i.e. sound. In Igbo mystery circles, the naturally produced human-sound (phonetically molded continuously from birth, eventually condensed into a specific lingual form as the child matures) is held to be a mystery of its own. Hence, the ancients explored it in a separate, dedicated cult where its latent creative powers were synthesized for use in invocations, spiritual chants and several forms of oracular practices.

It can therefore be noted that the mystical/occult potencies of human expressions (in a very broad and in-depth sense) have always occupied a place of great significance in Igbo mystery traditions as well as, Igbo culture proper. In this sense, ancient Igbo mystics, after much in-depth observations, were able to ascertain that our voiced expressions do not merely stem from some innate human tendencies to communicate archetypal emotions, as is conventionally held today. But rather, every word we utter and each syllabic expression thereof is actually a released potency. The same goes for aesthetic/artistic expressions; as all forms of human articulations are essentially generated from one point of activity in the mind and charged forth with spiritual potency—at the point of release, whether consciously meant or otherwise.

It is for this great reason that another ancient Igbo axiom maintains that “okwu Igbo/uke bu n’ilu n’ilu: the Igbo language/cult communication is expressed through aphorisms”. Suffice it to say that the ancients well-considered the potency of their expressions/language (indeed the Igbo language in this case) apparently too heavy for any mere direct conveyance of ideas; given the possibility of unanticipated manifestations resulting from careless utterances. Hence, their language/voiced expressions had to be communicated by means of proverbs and indirect insinuations, colored once in a while by plain riddles and chants. Remarkably, this pattern of communication is still observed by the Afa, Mmonwu, Ekpe and Agwu cults (some other Igbo cults inclusive) till today.

It is also interesting to note that even the non-human naming tradition also followed this principle in the past. So that animals, trees, mountains, rivers and other forms of creation were not merely named through direct articulations of their perceivable essences. Rather, it was through a metaphorical intellection of their place in the greater scale of life that their names were articulated. For instance, the Chameleon (in Igbo culture) didn’t get its name from its immediate perceivable characteristic of rapid coloration. Instead, its name “Ogwumagana” literally translates as “If it sinks, I shall not step”. Hence, the name metaphorically denotes the ancient belief among the Igbo that the Chameleon was created at a time when the Earth was still wet. Thus it literally had to enquire from Ala (The Earth Goddess) before making each step, lest it sinks.

Also interesting is the fact that the Chameleon is sacred to Ogwugwu, an Igbo fertility Goddess. The name “Ogwugwu” also denotes a hole or the act of digging. Remarkably, conventional science has been able to determine that matter is basically a hole dug by sub-atomic propellants in space (ether). Therefore, the obvious connection between the Chameleon and this Goddess—as was long established by ancient Igbo mystics—not only preceded modern scientific thought, but unlike the latter, was more clearly expressed and aptly symbolized; so much so that even a youngster could grasp the concept. This tradition, so obeyed, extended even into the designation/articulation of numerical principles, planetary bodies and highly abstract undertakings such as astronomical calibrations.

Furthermore, the aesthetic principle of expression in Igbo culture is also embodied in the aforementioned Uli body-painting/inscribing tradition. The Edeuli or Uli, for short, is a sacred, linear-oriented body-inscribing aesthetic employed by women in pre-contemporary Igbo society. It’s highly attractive and intricately executed expressions were regarded deeply by women and young girls—even beyond the Igbo cultural area. Among other things, it is also a key feature of the Ala (Earth Goddess) cult.

Uli mystical writing (from “Afterr God is Dibia”)

Conclusively, as the name of this discuss states, “Chukwu bu Ulidereuwa: God embodies the Divine Script through which all creation was expressed”. In other words, the expressive nature of Chukwu as the primal aesthetist, as the most accomplished author that will ever be, as the first and original artist of all creative forms that ever was, is and will ever exist—is here underscored. From the ongoing, it is not only made clear that the tradition of expression in Igbo culture is apparently complex in both scope and depth, but also, the inexhaustible nature of indigenous knowledge preserved in Igbo culture is equally made evident here.

The Ecotheology of Ahobinagu: An Igbo Deity of Wildlife and Forestry


by Nze Izo Omenigbo

“Uzu amaro akpu ogene, ya nee egbe anya n’odu” (A blacksmith who does not know how to fashion a twin gong—should observe the kite’s tail) —Igbo Proverb

A Primal Birth

Quite plainly, Ahobinagu or Obinagu is identifiable as the Igbo Alusi (Deity) that is spiritually inherent in the flora, fauna and extensive wildlife of the forest. A brief etymological assessment of the word itself reveals Obinagu as an essentially aggregated Deity. In other words, it is a spirit-guild of the countless, highly diversified essences immanent in the ecosystem of forest life. However, this definition should not–by any means–be seen as a cementing point of the obviously far more complex nature of this Deity. Perhaps, a very convenient way to comprehend the nature of this unique Alusi is to picture a host of spirits, each embodying a specifically assigned purpose in its nature, but all sharing one great cognitive head. Also, the somewhat similar image of an octopus might come to mind. But surely, an octopus is no contestable match for Obinagu, any day.

Okpo Masquerade from Calabar, Nigeria

For a credible theogonical account (Deific Birth) of this Alusi, it is only right to refer to one of the two well-known and comprehensive cosmogonies of the Igbo world. In one of these ancient creation stories (or unified field theories as they’re branded today), both the known and unperceivable dimensions of the universe (Uwa) were considered to be in a unified state of rest at one time. A state simply referred to as “the primal house” in this cosmogony. In this immensely unifying house—once existed the “secret project” of Chi-Ukwu, the colossal God. However, given the very curios nature of Chi-Ukwu’s wife—Komosu, this “secret project” was consequently made known when she bravely ventured to peep into Chi-Ukwu’s coveted Obi or sacred enclave, which was located right in the middle of the larger “primal house”.

Subsequently, beautiful Komosu was martyred by the impact of the immense primal energy that escaped from this private enclave, and thus—the known world was born! In other words, it is essentially in this great outburst of dynamic manifestation that the basic building blocks of life were seeded or brought into being. However, as the Divine being that she is, Komosu consequently reincarnated back on Earth, as Ala, the Igbo Earth Goddess.

The Big Bang

So, following a brief analysis, it becomes rather logical that the very earliest “seeds” to have possibly emerged from Komosu’s initial mischance should be the immanent spirits/essences, incarnated in the infinity of created life across the universe, especially as is observable here on Earth. In this sense, the Alusi known as Obinagu is principally one of such primal incarnations. Moreover, as an indispensible ally of Ala, it is only proper that Obinagu should share one of the Earth Goddess’s imperative attributes, namely, an eco-system.

Gwarama Masquerade from Burkina Faso

Given the discovery of what must’ve seemed an incredible bond, the ancient Igbos most likely proceeded to place Obinagu in the readily acknowledged position which it continues to inhabit today in the larger Igbo Cosmo-theological system. In a more summative analysis of this multifaceted Deity—then, one can briefly consider Obinagu as partly serving as a well-realized “Spiritual Locus” of the Earth Deity within the intricate natural network of the forest. Hence, the dual meaning of the name: Obi-n’agu (I) That which lives in the forest (II) The heart of the forest.

Atam Masquerader from Alok Village, Nigeria


An Inherent Operative Synchronicity

In the many Igbo traditions where this Deity is highly revered, such as in Udi—Enugwu State, there are many associated activities that are considered sacred to it. One of such is the Egwu Obinagu, which literally means, Obinagu music. This sacred music is also known as Igede Obinagu, in other parts of Udi. It is essentially flute music (Egwu Oja). But the accompaniment of other wooden Igbo musical instruments is not entirely forbidden. However, the use of metallic musical instruments such as Ogene (twin gong) appears to be excluded from that opportunity.

Various Igbo Ogene

Indeed, if one would only stop to consider the profound and unrelenting reverence that ancient Igbos had for nature, then the much deeper mysteries behind the resource-specific instrumental selection of Egwu Obinagu will become evident. An important remark is the fact that the Oja (flute) is an instrument that is totally carved out of wood. And wood itself being a resource that can only be naturally acquired from the forest—strikes a note of great importance, in relation to the forest Deity itself. Hence, the reason for excluding the Ogene and other metal-honed musical instruments in the accepted implements for making the Obinagu sacred music.

Oja (flute)

It is also important to point out that the primal resident spirits that inhabit the various streams and springs that course through forests—are not left out in this intricate synchronicity of spiritual forces, which in turn aggregates into Obinagu. This becomes further obvious, following a recognition of the indispensible union between water and the boundless, naturally-laid network of trees, herbs and shrubs—all layered out in profound harmony, with the rest organic/inorganic presences in Earth’s ecosystem.

Nnabo Dance Group from Akpabuyo Village, Cross River, Nigeria,

Indeed, life feels itself and in return, it progresses to express what it feels through nature. However, beyond the overt, mundane and maneuverable aspect of a Deity such as Obinagu, there exists a core spiritual dynamic to nature that has continued to escape contemporary awareness. Yet this simple core can be appreciated once again through the grasp of a very ancient language. This language is no other than the sacred cosmic language, Afa. The amazing thing is that we’re told by the ancients that humanity once spoke in Afa. And even at that time, it was considered a sacred tongue, just as it’s still considered today. In other words, according to Igbo mythic account, if humanity had once regarded the language of Afa a sacred one, then surely, we must’ve—at one time—also viewed ourselves, the speakers of this language—as sacred beings.

We’re also told that among other things, Afa is also fundamentally a language of nature; a language of the gods. However, since nature is also our only viable means of interfacing with the gods—through Afa, then Afa is also a cosmic language, because all the higher Deities are principally cosmic beings. Now one might ask, what then is the basis of such a language and how did it come to be spoken by man? Well, the simple secret is that Afa language was patterned after the brilliant, vibratory harmony that is found in nature. And since it is held to be life’s very first language—spoken by the gods themselves—then it was destined that humanity should inherit this cosmic tongue from the gods, just as it inherited other wonderful gifts of civilization from them.

We don’t know how we came to forget or lose the ability of this divine tongue. But a very mystifying fact about Afa is that it is a language that can only be understood by nature; which means that we once spoke and communicated with nature, much like we do with ourselves today. Interesting isn’t it? Well, actually not all of us have lost this ability. Our Ndi Dibia still retain it and in fact, they still employ a great deal of it in their work. Notice that Afa proves to be an all-encompassing and all-knowing language—as a result of its ability to interface with all of nature, hence interfacing with all of life. At this juncture, the spirituality of nature and the bonding nature of spirituality is made evident, as one makes the connection to the earlier stated harmonic-essence that is fundamental of the Obinagu Deity.

Atiya Traditional Dance

Now whether in Igboland or elsewhere in the world, we might have succeeded in convincing ourselves that there are certain, extant members of creation that are strictly known as plants. However, the truth is that, at one time, man himself was also a plant in the garden of nature! Specifically, we were once “man-plants” or what is known as Akwu. A linguistic variation of this name is still used for the palm-tree in Igboland today. Moreover, the palm-tree is also considered sacred all over Africa, especially in its aspect as the tree of life. So, in contrast to the ‘exceptionist’ perception of most people today—in respect to the place of man in nature, Afa tells us that we once viewed ourselves as merely members of the colossal, cosmic organism known as life, whose outer ornament is the awe-inspiring nature.

Minor Ekpe Masquerade with Mango Leaves from Calabar South, Nigeria,

For the keen-eyed observer, a plethora of clues abound in Igbo life and culture to substantiate the mystic remnants of Igbo antiquity, in respect to nature and how ancient Igbo societies related to nature. One of the most obvious of these is the Igbo word for name: Afa (pronounced differently). Already, one can sense the overt etymological relationship between Afa, the name and Afa, the tongue. Still, it becomes even more obvious when we consider that in Igbo culture (indeed in many African cultures) one’s name is believed to embody their existential lot or destiny in a given life-time—in addition to serving as their natural compass. In other words, one’s Afa (name) essentially becomes a dual conception; especially in the Igbo sense.  Firstly, as their sacred individual ‘code’ for assessing nature’s existential allotment for them (destiny) and then, as their divinely-accorded compass for identifying their place amidst nature (distinction). Hence, without even recognizing it, one’s name is essentially their own unique cryptogram; their cosmic code for relating to Chukwu and the gods. And even more, one’s name is their first Afa (divination).

Without diving too deep into the mystical dimensions of this fact, it can be observed that humanity actually has no choice but to recognize its sacredness once again—as part of the divine ornamentation that is nature. Therefore, as privileged and responsible members of this endless festivity of life, our role is precisely that of caretakers and not squanderers. Furthermore, in relation to this inherent role of custodianship, another sublime parallel exists here between man and Obinagu—as the custodian Deity of natural life in the forest. However, in the end, it appears that even more responsibility is expected of man as Mma Ndu, the crown of creation.

Ekong Ikon Ukom Masquerades from Calabar, Nigeria

Igbo Antiquity and Ecotheology

Regarding the sheer, immense reverence that ancient Igbo societies had for their natural environment, the opening axiom of this discourse makes it even clearer with its instructional diction—recommending that humanity should turn to nature for her absolute wisdom. In fact, it is arguably only out of such similar, passionate and overwhelming reverence that the ancient Igbos went as far as condemning the conception of twins, which they innocently considered an undoing of a primal modus in their cosmology of the human reproductive system—in relation to the  larger paradigm of nature. All this were done in their honest efforts of preserving the essentialities of what they considered as highly sacred, the Earth.

Ani, the Earth Mother

However, they also came to realize in the end, out of ensuing wisdom that “When something stands, another thing stands beside it”. Curiously, till this very day, this monumental amendment (termination of the twin taboo) along with its many theological and cosmological triumphs—remains one of many such profound turning points in Odinala and Igbo culture in general, that have managed to pass by without any epically recognized or institutionalized celebration of it, for unaccountable reasons.

At this point, it is also highly important to point out that even at the time when this act was still practiced, the twins were not exactly killed—in the literal sense of that word—but were merely taken to the very thickest parts of the forest, where they were plausibly left in the care of Ala and the forest Deity. An observable reason for this decision being that—instead of having to bear the more recognizable karma that comes with conventionally taking a life, one would rather have the fate of such children determined by the Deities themselves.

Yaie Masquerade from Burkina Faso

Still, what is far deeply inherent here is that, in this monumental case of theological defeat, the operative synchronicity of Obinagu and Ala is made even more evident, as one recognizes the explicit irony behind the act of handing over these children to two Deities whom were both considered as Divine Nurturers. At this point, we can imagine the outright perplexity that must’ve overwhelmed the ancients. However, in their infinite wisdom, they would guiltily return back home—only to mourn these same children and offer copious sacrifices to appease Ala for the mind-boggling act that had just transpired.

Carnival in Haiti

Essentially, the very multi-faceted and primal status enjoyed by Obinagu, as a custodian Alusi of the forest is almost unquantifiable. However, one only needs to be reminded of the highly agrarian nature of Igbo society prior this age to make the connection. Hence, given the very predictable preference for well-nurtured wildlife and agricultural yields at the time, there surely couldn’t have been a better role for this Deity.

Ekpo Masquerade from Calabar, Nigeria

The Imperative Need for Re-Consecration

The Deities (in their aspects as Gods and Goddesses) are profoundly influential by nature, and countless in number. However, since the  very beginning of time, humanity as Mma-ndu (the crown of creation) have unarguably enjoyed a God-given right to explore, harness and negotiate the potentialities of these various incarnated forces. But just as even the most mundane of life’s activity requires a procedural edict/code of conduct, so does the consecration of these higher forces require a spiritually sound arena to be made very effective.

Obinagu, for instance, cannot be “aligned” or brought into operation in a naturally deprived environment, because it is a Deity that operates simultaneously with nature herself, in the capacity of its custodian. Also, the mere knowledge of the esoteric operatives used in sacred science is not necessarily enough to potentiate a Deity. Just as an actual car will require a competent mechanical engineer to be present from its creation process to the manufacturing process—so as to ensure optimal performance in the finished product—in the same way, a potential Deity requires a competent Dibia Ogwu to be present from its creation (or negotiatory process, depending on the Deific hierarchy) to the erection and final dedication process. More importantly, a very spiritually disciplined mind/population is also imperative for such universal principles to be brought down—in the first place—to earthly dimensions and even more, to make them abide for a very long time. This is the inherent strength and genius of ancient Igbo societies. The discipline of their time should be a strong fascination for any clear minded Igbo person today.

Igbo Dibia

In fact, one of the utmost advantages of deific consecration to man is that, unlike modern scientific results and its technological triumphs that often waiver in their abilities, mystical/spiritual potencies (whether they come in the form of a massive “Esere-Ese/spiritual inscription”, a massive pyramid or even in the form of a simple tree-post) are still essentially non-third dimensional in their potency. Hence, they’re essentially predisposed to influence (positively) or mercilessly interfere with anything below their dimensions of origin; just as one cannot help but experience the inevitable presence of rain and sunshine here on earth, regardless of their personal opinions about these two perceivable forces of nature, whose origins are well beyond the third dimension.

So, in consecrating or aligning these Deities, we automatically implore them to oversee and influence our third dimensional experiences. But in other to be able to operate these higher forces (especially the more manipulative lesser deities), a sacred state of being is imperative. In other words, Igboland has to be re-consecrated once again, because our Deities cannot do much for us collectively at this point, until we jointly reinstitute our traditional ethics and re-consecrate the land for them to be able to co-inhabit it with us.

Fortunately, considerable efforts are been made towards this agenda, at this point in time. But there is no denying the intensity of the task ahead. Nonetheless, it is only common sense that Igbos all over the world should begin to see themselves as returning prodigals, in the most productive sense of that expression. Because eventually, one cannot grow too far from their roots, anyway.

—Nze Izo Omenigbo—

"Gaia's Child" by Esther Johnson


Including excerpted sections from “Sacred Earth: The Divinities of Odinala”

(A work in the making)


Nkele Egede: In Praise of the First Ones


Nkele Egede

(Igbo Translation)

Lekwe anyanwu biara uwa,

Ihe ebi-ebi ka o Jiri choo ya mma.

Mmadu Jizi maka nke-a hu ya na-anya.

Aja-Ala, Nne mbu buru anyi n’afo izizi,

Anyi echeta gi.

Igwe na mmiri,

Ndi mbu lere anyi omugwo,

Ndi mbu biara abia na ogodo uwa.

Anyi echeta unu.

Ikuku na Okpoko, ndi mbu fere efe,

Ndi obu-akika-na-enwu-oku n’isi,

Ndi mbu lara agu n’asaa na mmiri n’asaa,

Were nu nke ru-ru unu.

Debe nu Chim na Chi uwam.

Uwam biara, lekwem.


In Praise of the First Ones

 (English Translation)

Now behold the Magnificent Sun,

The One who came forth and blessed the world with eternal light.

Oh—how endless our adoration.

Behold too, the motherly Earth,

From whose primal womb we’ve all emerged and continue to emerge,

How endless our appreciation.

Behold now, the very ancient Sky and primal Waters.

The most graceful ones who first suckled and guided us,

The manifest ones who first embraced the visible world.

How endless our adoration.

Behold the sacred Spirit that is Breath and its chosen bird, Okpoko.

Behold both earliest of all adventurers; inventors of the art of flight.

Behold them, the non-flammable head-bearers of Light—

Primal navigators of the Seven Wilderness and Seven Seas.

Oh—ancient ones of renown, how endless my appreciation.

Guide now, my Chi and the Chi of my Destiny.

Great manifested world, bear me well.

—Nze Omenigbo Izo

(Excerpted from “The Transfiguration of Izo and Other Mystical Feats: Poems”)