Unfortunately, a knowledge gap is deterring us from fully understanding our ancestral way of life which include; our origin, how our society was structured, and our spirituality. Much of what we know now, is through individuals who have access to the universe, individuals we call Ndi-Agwu or Ndi-Agwu mara. Another forum is through proverbs, archeological discovery, and elders who witnessed and participated in Odinaani before the merciless wave of Christianity came knocking these sites down. Most of these elders were ridiculed and cajoled into becoming Christians but secretly, they performed ancestral rites and veneration.
This Christian wave can be explained with this aphorism “ Anuta agboho, etu fuo agadi”, but just like everything alien, it cannot fully merge with the people’s way of life.
Currently, in ana-Igbo, there is a cultural and spiritual resurgence but the knowledge gap has proven to be our enemy. This lack of knowledge has led a large number of Igbo youths into crossing their boundaries and participating in rituals our ancestors considered to be dangerous. Therefore, they conflict Aja (sacrifice) with Ogwu because they fail to understand how our ancestors lived, why they performed certain sacrifices and the circumstances that allow the practice of such rituals.
Gini bu Aja?
Aja is an Igbo word for sacrifice, it is the process of giving in order to receive. It can be performed in order to get rid of entities such as Igbo negative energies which include; Uke, Ogbonauke, Akaogheli, Uchu, etc. It can also be performed in order to clear your path, we call Aja Izucha Uzu. This kind of Aja can be addressed to a person’s Chi, Agwu, Ndi-Ichi, Ndi-Mmiri, Di/Nwunye Mmiri, Alusi, or other spiritual guides. Aja can also be performed in order to appease angry or offended spirits such as; Ndi-Ogbanje, Ndi-Umuada Nwuru Anwu, etc.
Gini bu Ogwu?
We often say “Odinaani aburo Ogwu” without specifying that Ogwu, just like knowledge or power exists to be neither good nor bad, instead, the human application of it determines whether it is good or evil.
Ogwu can be referred to as the science of the universe. It is the process of joining two or more herbs or items which has certain properties and activating them with a life force. For instance; in the preparation of Awelle, certain herbs which have the properties of favor attraction would be added, sand from a busy or crowded market and other items would be mixed and finally, it would be backed up with energy, which can be a deity or Onu-Atu dibia.
To expatiate on this concept of Ogwu, Ogwu is also a general name used for medicinal herbs which can be used to treat ailments or targeted at chasing negative forces such as Ogwu Amosu. In order to divide this concept of Ogwu, we have to be aware that our ancestors appreciated and supported Ogwu which is targeted at uplifting mankind while the latter which they consider as malignant is called Ajo Ogwu or Nsi.
Due to our loss of ancestral knowledge, we are now tilting towards cosmic concoctions our ancestors consider as Ajo Ogwu because we wish to manifest a desire irrespective of its consequences.
Influence vs Command
One of the significant differences between Ogwu and Aja is that; Ogwu commands while Aja influences situation in order to favor you. This process of influence is why most adherents have the impression that any Aja without noticeable fruit or dividend is wasted. These adherents fail to understand that every sacrifice has its purpose. With our human mind, we may want to use a particular sacrifice in exchange for favor or wealth but spiritually such sacrifice can be diverted to something more pressing, that we are not opportune to see. It can be used to fight off individuals we refer to Ndi-Nsi na Aja (Amosu etc). Aja doesn’t work as fast as Ogwu, it gradually influences things for you, thereby allowing you to acquire the necessary discipline and life skills.
In as much as we believe in predestination, we also believe that fate and destiny can be negotiated through Aja. This means; Aja can be used to cosmically swap, influence, or change your destiny, this is called Igba nwe iyi uwa.
The use of Ogwu to cosmically command nature is the reason why we have an increased number of death and unstable/mentally unfit young men and women. We call these kinds of Ogwu “Ogwu Ike”. They do not influence rather they command, these commands are then seen by your cosmic forces as neglect which then causes a problem for you in the future.
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