Tag Archives: Ani

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

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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

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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.

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Amadioha: The Igbo God of Thunder and Lightning

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by Omenka Egwuatu Nwa-Ikenga

Last week, I had the luxury of seeing the movie Thor. I was very excited to see the movie for a number of different reasons. For one, I am a very big  fan of superheroes, and love to watch both animated and live action movies and television series based off them. Secondly, I also happen to be a huge fan of mythology (In particular, Graeco-Roman, Judeo-Christian, Hindu and of course , the various ones of Africa) and I think that one of the best ways to understand a peoples culture and values is to read their mythology.  So since this movie was a mixture of two of the things I love most, it was at the top of the list for on my “movies to watch” list.

thor-movie-posters-05

The comic book character Thor was based off the Norse God of Thunder by the same name. According to Stan Lee, he had been looking for a hero that could compete with the Hulk, and he figured that since no man could, he would have to use a god…literally. So he adapted various characters from the mythology of  the Nordic and Germanic people into comic book characters.

The Mighty Thor

Thor was said to  rule over thunder, lightning, and storms. He was associated with oak trees, strength, destruction, fertility, healing, and was seen by his worshipers as the protector of mankind against the Jötunn, a race of malevolent nature spirits.  The day of the week Thursday actually stems from his sacred day, and literally means “Thor’s day.” He carried a large hammer called Mjölnir which is still worn today as a pendant by many European neo-pagans.

Hammer of Thor

But the most compelling reason that I was drawn to see this movie (more so than most of the other superhero films that were coming out this year such as Captain America and the Green Lantern was the fact that Thor reminds me ALOT of another God of Thunder that also happens to be one of my favorites: Amadioha.

Artist’s depiction of Amadioha

Amadioha is one of the most popular of the Igbo deities. In fact, right after water spirits, the gods of thunder and lightning like Shango, Siete Rayos, Nzaji, etc  seem to be the most well known and liked of all the deities all over Africa and its diaspora.  Although he is usually referred to as Amadioha, that is not really a name, but one of his many epithets, which also include Igwe, Ofufe, and Igwekaala. The proper name of this entity would actually be Kamalu, or Kalu Akanu, and that’s the name that I use personally when referring to him.

Much of what is said about the other gods of thunder and lightning can be said about Amadioha: They serve as agents of justice, they are associated with war and aggression, and their colors tend to be red and white.  People who have been accused of crimes go to their shrines to declare their innocence, less they be struck by lightning.

Unlike his fellow thunder and lightning deities, Amadioha doesn’t carry an object of power like Thor carries his hammer or like his second cousin Shango carries his axe. If he did carry something, I would assume it would be an Ogu stick, seeing as though its the symbol of justice. The ram is sacred to alot of the African thunder and lightning gods, both as a sacrifice and as a symbol. In fact, Amadioha at times appears to people in the form of a large white ram.

Amadioha

Amadioha in the form of a ram

Even though the vast majority of Igbo people profess to be Bible believing Christians, belief in Amadioha still remains strong. I remember a conversation I had with a traditional ruler  a few years ago while he was visiting the states about when he described an evening when he went outside during a storm and saw his the grass near his compound on fire, but not burning. Afterwards, a white ram appeared out of nowhere. When it was all over, it was like nothing had happened.

Amadioha is also still used to curse people or threaten them. I can’t count the number of times that I have heard the phrase “thunder fire you!” or “Amadioha magbukwa gi!” (Amadioha will punish you!) Just the other day, I read an article where one of the priests of Amadioha proclaimed that the deity would punish any of the candidates if they dared try to rig the Governorship or House of Assembly polls in Nigeria.  I personally would have more confidence in elected officials in Nigeria if they had to swear oaths at Amadioha’s shrine instead of swearing them on the Bible or Koran, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that sentiment.

What tends to happen when folks swear on the Bible/Quran

Although I was raised as a Christian, I was always very curious about what my ancestors believed and practiced. So I took it upon myself to actually research it. When I read about the Igbo deities, Amadioha was one that really stuck out to me for some odd reason. That affinity towards him never went away, and to this day, he’s one of my favorite of the Igbo Alusi.

When I was in the early days of my traditional practice, I was trying to figure out how I would make shrines and alters for the different deities. I asked some elders for images of the different Alusi  and the response I got was one of amusement. They explained to me that trying to find an image of a Mmuo (spirit) was like trying to find an image of the wind, and that each picture or carving that you’ve ever seen of any of them is just an artistic representation of an invisible force.

Wind Blowing

Wind Blowing

Furthermore, the vast majority of the times, most of the shrines  to the different forces of nature weren’t carvings or images at all, but rather plants, trees, or simple combination of rocks and wood. For example, one  examples of a traditional shrine to Amadioha would be a log resting on two large bamboo posts. I didn’t get the lessons at first, but one day it hit me:  My ancestors were very artistic in the way they created their shrines, and the spirits that they represented would always appear to my ancestors in ways that they could recognize them. So I asked myself, how would I want them to appear to me? I’m a young man growing up in the age of Youtube, Facebook and Iphones. What would a supernatural being look like to me? Perhaps a superhero? A superhero representation for Amadioha was the first one that came to mind. It was pretty easy too:

The Man of Steel (John Henry Irons)

Steel (also known as the Man of Steel) is a comic book character in the DC universe. His alter ego is Dr. John Henry Irons, a brilliant weapons engineer who creates a high powered suit of armor to fight crime after Superman gets killed by Doomsday. This character was inspired by the legendary African American folkhero John Henry. He is very similar to Marvel’s Iron Man.  Although he has no superpowers, but his suit grants him flight, enhanced strength, and endurance.

Steel was the image that I decided to use to represent Amadioha for my shrine. If he were to appear to me in a vision or dream, that is how he would look like, combined with the abilities of Thor. What I did was very similar to what alot of enslaved Africand did in Santeria, Voodoo and Palo Mayombe when they placed pictures of Catholic Saints to represent their deities in order to avoid religious persecution. However, since I could never see myself using images of my enemy to represent my deities, I choose to use comic book characters instead.

After I made one for Amadioha, I started making similar shrines for other Alusi, using various comic book characters. If one went into my room and didn’t know any better, you would think I was just obsessed with comic books and nothing more 🙂 Another comic book character I used to represent an Alusi was The Human Torch. He is the image I use to represent Anyanwu, which is the spirit of the Sun. I will go in depth in the near future on the process of syncretism and how one can start to create shrines and images that work for them.

The Human Torch

While we are on the topic of symbolism, lets break down what Amadioha really means. Metaphysically, Amadioha represents the collective will of the people. An analysis of his name says so much. The name is a combination of Amadi and Oha. The first word, Amadi, is a name given to freeborn males. Oha  is a concept that deals with the power community. Traditionally, Igbo communities were not ruled by monarchs, and made their decision by using Ohas (community assemblies). Whatever they agreed on, the community was responsible for enforcing. From my understanding, the Oha title is also supposed to be the last highest level of the Ozo title system. And its one that is virtually impossible to get, because it belongs to the people!  So as the rules are made by the Earth Mother Ani (who metaphysically represents the unity of the people), they are enforced by Amadioha (their collective willpower) through lightning and thunder.

In other words, the Amadioha shrine, along with the other similar ones in Africa were said to be an indigenous form of weather manipulation. Besides being used to bring rain (which exists in just about EVERY society in the form of  a rain dance/prayer…even until today!), it also was used to enforce the rules and regulations that were made by the community. While people have conspiracy theories about alleged government weather warfare programs like HAARP, some Africans in the bush might have claimed to be successful in doing naturally what modern scientists  have attempted to do with machines. The power of Amadioha really makes me wonder what else Africans could do if they decided to come together. It also brings a whole new meaning to the phrase: “The Power to the People!”

Black Power!!!

A Prayer

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We honor and greet Our Chi (God within us)
We honor and greet Chineke (Creative aspect of God)
We honor and greet Ani (Earth Mother)
We honor and greet Igwe (Sky Father)
We honor all the Alusi who stand around to guide and guard us
We honor the Alusi of the four points, Eke, Orie, Afo, Nkwo

African-children-on-their-knees-praying

We pray they never abandon us or get weary of us
We pray we are always able to access them
We honor and greet our sacred ancestors
We call upon the ones who lived and died for our freedoms
We pray their memories will not be forgotten
We pray they forgive us for forgetting them a lot of the time
We pray they remain with us for the healing of our homes,
communities, and the planet


We greet the elemental life in the four elements of fire, air,
water and earth
We offer thanks for their efforts in healing the planet
We pray we can learn to work with them in healing our planet
In conclusion
We pray for all humanity, all plant life, all animal life and in fact
all matter to awaken
We pray for heaven and earth to meet and dance in perfect
harmony
Now and forever more
Ise!

Nwaonishe Ezenwanyi from Conversations with the African Gods

“Conversations with the African Gods” Review

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Conversations with the African Gods

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of reviewing another book written by an Igbo author who goes by the name Nwaonishe Ezenwanyi, entitled Conversations with the African Gods. Many of you might be familiar with the similarly titled “Conversations with God” series, written by Neale Donald Walsch, in which he has a number of conversations with “God.” To say that this book is the African version of that would be an understatement. Conversations with the African Gods is a journey for anyone who reads it, on humanity’s past, present, and future, from an African point of view. For far too long, perspectives, philosophies, and religions have been placed into a  false dichotomy of being either Eastern or Western, with Africa being excluded.  This book challenges that false dualism and brings forth commentary on world events from African gods and ancestors.

False Dichotomy

The author begins by describing her personal journey.  Like many of us born during the African Dark Ages, she was raised as a Christian (specifically Catholic), but was still extremely curious about the other religious and spiritual traditions in the world. Her journey took her to exploring Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, amongst others. Eventually, after doing a lot of seeking and searching, her journey didn’t lead to her finding the “right” tradition, but to the tradition “finding” her. In fact, she  ended up  listening to the voices that had been calling her all along. She claimed her birthright and began practicing the spiritual science of her ancestors, Odinani.

Her spiritual awakening has also lead to her becoming aware of and developing different abilities such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, etc.  One of the most interesting gifts that she learned was how to invoke spirits.  The one that she was able to invoke the most was Onishe, who happened to be her “head deity”, or the one most in control of her life.  For that reason, she goes by the name Nwaonishe, which means a child of Onishe. She also happens to be the spirit that makes the most commentary. She opens up the dialogue by stating:

“I am a prophetess, a chosen one, selected apart by god/dess to speak the words of god/dess. I am manifestation of god/dess as I surrender each moment to my essential nature. I am speaker of life and death. Avenger for the just, the pure, the clean. There is only one Onishe and she is here and now, in you, and in many. I am the word. Atu. Word that forms everything. Logos. Mami Wata, Supreme Water, Essence liquid, Nut of Khemet. I am the word of Nut, the goddess of creation.”

Statue associated with Onishe in Asaba

While Onishe is the Igbo Alusi (spiritual force) that speaks the most, others also make their voices heard including Eke, Ikenga, Amadioha, Ani, and Anyanwu. Two other African Gods who are typically associated with Ancient Egypt also make substantial contributions: Ausar (Osiris) and Auset (Isis).

Ausar and Auset: Real Love

Contrary to popular belief, while  the gods of Ancient KMT (Egypt), especially Ausar and Auset, might have been popularized by that particular nation, they are actually much, much older than it and can be found all around the continent under different names and titles. This will be elaborated on in future posts.

These African Gods, as well as other ones including the popular ones made popular by Hinduism, Kali and Krishna (who both have names that mean “the Black One” ), as well Tehuti (Thoth) and Heru (Horus),  make commentary on a wide range of issues, including the ancient “Golden Age” civilizations of Atlantis and Lemuria, climate change, 2012, colonization, slavery, civil rights as well as the possible “Golden Age” to come. The discourse on how Africa (and Nigeria in particular) should structure their economies and governments to actually work for the benefit of the people (for once) is very enlightening, but is sure to shock a few people (Ikenga’s comments in particular).

Kali is not one to mess with

Commentary is made on the lives of difference ancestors as well, with some of them even commenting on where they are currently in the spiritual realm. Some of these ancestors include Fela Kuti, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, Olaudah Equiano, and others.  I found Fela’s mother, Funmilayo’s statements in reference to the Fela play to be pretty funny.

Olaudah Equiano

Another added bonus to the book is the use not only of the Nsibidi symbols associated with the different Alusi, but also practical rituals that one can do to commune with the Ndichie (ancestors) and Alusi, as well as attract abundance in one’s life.  I totally recommend this book to all  people of African decent, but it can speak to anyone  interested in advancing on their spiritual path. To order the book, click here.

SPECIAL BONUS:

To hear an interview with the author, on Igbo Kwenu Radio, click here.

 

Ani Song

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We are the children of Ani

The great mother of life

We are children swimming in the pool

Of her sacred rivers

We hop with the butterfly

Coo with the bird

Delight in the fragrance of flowers in bloom

We dig our feet deep in the sand

Play with ocean tides

Flap our arms against the wind

Pick up stones, wear or put them in jars

We climb tree branches

To perceive its secrets and wisdoms

Collected through the rings

Of time

We are not from here or there

We’ve existed before and forever will

We come time and time again

Because of love

And though we may be persecuted

Tried and refined by fire

We understand she is our friend

Together with water and air

We are the Kingdom of heaven

With all its riches buried within our hearts

We are the Queendom of earth

Come to manifestation

We are the children of Ani

The great mother of life

And our ammo is freedom

By Ebele Chizea