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We Contribute To Our Own Demonization.

Know this today, your family home, the land you inherited from your father which he inherited from his father has spiritual significance that makes it totally impossible for you to detach from. Before these ancestors of yours were allowed to live in their lands they had an agreement with spirit beings we refer to as Umu-Agbala, some of these forces manifest currently as Alusi, and these laws are what we call Nso/Iwu Ala.These laws or Nso also manifest on a personal note, in the form of Nso Chi/Agwu/Ndi-otu, and they differ person-person, community-community, guild to guild etc. It’s quite interesting that these laws and Nso which were used to protect our interest and that of the things in our environment, are being used to demonize and prevent most Ndi-Igbo from understanding, relating and interacting with indigenous ancestral forces. 

For instance; i was embarking on a research trip to Adu shrine in Ezeagu, the cab driver insisted that venerating a deity means tying yourself to some sort of oath which has deadly consequences. Bear in mind that this assertion was coming from someone who has never stepped foot in any shrine but based his conclusion on hearsay from religious leaders. This particular mindset, keeps Igbo indigenes at arm-lengths with these ancestral forces, the fear of these forces attacking them when they do not meet up with their own end of some ancestral or modern bargain, but then the  simplicity of Odinani, is when understand that every oath or bargain can be re-negotiated and only arrogance or disrespect can cause a backlash from these forces. 

There are shrines in Nnewi that don’t allow women or men from certain parts to cross their threshold. Most of us met this practice and may not know the slightest reason. This doesn’t mean mistakes would not occur like this instance; I was at Ajani nnewi and i was informed that women and men from certain parts of Nnewi are not allowed to enter the shrine, i and other women stayed around waiting, while the men i came with went inside to perform our rite together. After a while a man from one of these parts visited with his wife and he knew the rules but it slipped his mind. When the chief priest saw him, he beckoned on him and used an Ogilishi to close his eyes and escorted him out and said “What I don’t know should not know me”.

If you want to win a war against your enemy, you have to understand your enemy as much as you understand yourself, we no longer understand or know who we are, so how can we win a psychologycal and identity war when we are oblivious of who we are. To understand your identity and belief system check out this book- Chi na Ezumezu

Chi na Ezumezu

If I had not experienced this, I may never be aware that we can negotiate with these spirits and find mutual grounds. Secondly, this experience revealed to me that this Christian assertion of the devil gives and takes with the other hand, does not apply in anyway to us, but it has being reinforced to the extent that we think its true and capitalize on it to demonize our ancestors, our deities and ancestral or spiritual way of life.Circling back to Nso, the observance and regard of Nso can be translated to Christians as the 10 commandment or sin which in the absence of not keeping or adhering to these commands, which would result to death, misery and punishment and i have to ask, doesn’t this ring a bell?

Also Read: “Avatar: Way Of The Water- Exploring The Parallels Between The Movie & Igbo Spirituality”.

It’s obvious that when we fall sort of these Nso or do not keep to our own end of the bargain like most of us are doing when we destroy or desecrate ancestral shrines or Okwu Agwu, they in return retaliate or push back but when you honestly repent or in our case “Ikpezi mmuo”, they simply allow us to grow into what we are supposed to be, this is one of the reasons why we call sacrifices targeted at clearing a path “Izucha Uzo”. This is an aspect of our culture and spirituality that people do not want to share or talk about, probably because it makes them uncomfortable or it allows them to confront the lie within the Christian belief system. The white man may be forgiven, after-all our basic instinct is to be tribal and the survival of our tribe but it should never be forgiven when we are the highest contributor to our own self-demonization.

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