Shrines And Deities In Igbo Land

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Shrines and Deities in the Igbo land igbo people people igbo right hand set up shrines
By Onyinye Igwe
The Igbo people make up the Igbo land and are located in the southeastern states and some states that share borders with them. Prior to the colonization of the Igbo culture, they had shrines and deities that were held in very high esteem.
The deities were gods that the people worshipped and ran to in times of turmoil while the shrines were the earthly significance of the gods, they were the abode of the gods on earth. The Igbo people would set up shrines in their homes with the help of the priest.
The Igbo people believed that praying to these gods would bring them a good fortune as well as protect them from their enemies.

The tradition of worshipping deities lived on for generations so much so that even with the birth of colonization, there are still a number of people that worship these gods.

Chukwu: Also known as chineke which simply means “the God that creates”. Chukwu was the most important, most feared and most respected God. It was believed that Chineke was the creator of the entire world and the creator of the other gods.

He was regarded as a kind and a just God who listened to the cries of his people and answered them without fail. Amongst all the gods worshipped, Chukwu is still in existence today and worshipped without season.

Amadioha

Amadioha: This god is recorded to be one of the strongest gods of the Igbo people, he was the god of thunder and was both feared and loved. People set up shrines for Amadioha in their homes by bringing a chief priest to perform all the traditional rites after which the residents of the house pray daily to their god.

He is usually represented with white and red colour and known to visit people with thunder and lightning whenever they sin greatly

Ala

Literally meaning earth, Ala is known to be the goddess of the earth. Some school of thoughts sassy she is the wife of Amadioha. She is worshipped as the goddess of fertility.


Before planting and harvesting, a series of traditional rituals are held to appease Ala in a bid to ensure that she would reward their hard work with boa bountiful and fruitful harvest. In cases where there is famine, the people ask the priests to infer and know if there is anything they have not done right so that they can make amends and get in her good graces.

ANYANWU

Anyanwu (Igbo: Eye of the Sun) is an Igbo deity that is believed to dwell in the sun. Anyanwu was one of the principal spirits for the Igbo, often associated with Agbara, the holy spirit as they both dwelled in the sun. This deity was seen as the perfect image of what a human should be.


Anyanwu is a surname given to people the Ibo, Igbo ethnic group in Nigeria.

IKENGA

Ikenga (Igbo literal meaning “place of strength”) is a horned Alusi (deity) found among the Igbo people in southeastern Nigeria. It is one of the most popular symbols of the Igbo people, and the most common cultural artefact. Ikenga is mostly maintained, kept or owned by men and occasionally by women of high reputation and integrity in the society. It comprises someone’s Chi (personal god), his Ndichie (ancestors), aka Ikenga (right hand), ike (power) as well as spiritual activation through prayer and sacrifice.

 


Ikenga is specially found among the Northern Igbos of Anambra, Enugu, Delta and some parts of Kogi State.

It is exclusively an Igbo symbol. Nevertheless, various peoples of Southern Nigeria have slightly different notions of the components of an individual personality, but all agree that these various aspects can only be effected through ritual and personal effort. Some variants of it are found in Ijaw, Ishan, Isoko, Urhobo and Edo areas.

Among the Isoko people, there are three types of personal shrine images: Oma, which represents the “spirit double” that resides in the other world; Obo which symbolizes the right hand and personal endeavour and the lvri which stands for personal determination.

In the Urhobo areas, it is also regarded as Ivri and in the Edo areas, it’s called Ikegobo.

Ikenga is a personal god of human endeavour, achievement, success, and victory. Ikenga is grounded in the belief that the power for a man to accomplish things is in his right hand. It also governs over the industry, farming, and blacksmithing, and is celebrated every year with an annual Ikenga festival. It is believed by its owners to bring wealth and fortune as well as protection.

Other deities include

Ogbunagbali

Agwu

Idemmili

A lot of people frown at the mention of these gods, they regard traditional worshipers as evil but there is not a system without its own flaws and there is no good without evil. There were both good and evil gods and our ancestors who worshipped these gods may not have gotten a whole lot of things right but they lived in peace and harmony and trained their children to live right. A feat that is almost impossible to be attained in this modern age.