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Though some theologians say that, what is most important is the spirit of the veneration rather than the image itself. I would still prefer that the correct images be used. If you change the image of the messenger, you also change the message. As I told you before, it is a holy site as a market place; you cannot relocate the sacredness of the market place.

Now, you can keep it clean and arrange it and improve access but not to relocate the market place. There have been previous attempts to relocate the market but it never worked. Legend has it that, each time relocation was tried, the perpetrators died mysteriously. The issue here is that what has been done by some criminal elements in the past has been to make moves to relocate the Owerri market, which they know would fail, but in the process, they dispossessed many poor people of their stalls in the market place, to lease it out to new clients.

This has been a recurring criminal activity at that market, and the Owerri community has repeatedly condemned such actions. It is actually the holiest market in the world.

Genesis 1:1 says, In the beginning God

It could fetch Nigeria over 20 billion USD annually in tourism along with other holy sites in Owerri and around Nigeria. The place called Nigeria is a tourist haven. We have the Israelites, the Philestines, the Jebusites and all other kingdoms in ancient Biblical history. The market like every other place in the city of Owerri is filthy. The government has done a very poor job of cleaning the city and elsewhere in Imo State. The entire infrastructure has fallen apart within the last four years. There must be a fundamental rethinking of the way we will handle the Holy City of Owerri. We are making our case to the Federal Government and United Nations.

It is first, a heritage of Owerri people and that of the entire world. Under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, historical monuments or potential sites are all under the National Assembly. These historical sites once identified must not be relocated or defaced in any manner. If actions are taken to change the historicity of a site, that may constitute gross violations under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Would this imply that the actions of the Imo State Government to relocate the market could be considered a gross violation? We have already filed a case against the Imo State Government for violating historical sites in Owerri. All the important historical sites in Owerri have been violated or destroyed in one way or another. This guesthouse in modern Nigerian history was a site of great historical relevance. It hosted all the dignitaries from colonial times to those who fought for independence like Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and others.

It was the site for many background negotiations that ended the civil war. This was bulldozed down completely by the present administration without regard to the historicity of the place. The first Imo State library built after the civil war that became the symbol of Igbo resilience in education was bulldozed down completely by the present Imo State Government. The historical government buildings in the main government house area where all the past administrations — colonial and Nigerian — had offices in Owerri were all destroyed.

In our view, as Owerri people, what is going on in Imo State is a cultural ethnic cleansing of the people and sacred places in Owerri. These issues we have raised with the National Human Rights Commission, the Presidency, the United Nations and international human rights organisations. We have made our case to the United Nations on the rights of the indigenous people of Owerri.

The attorney general weighed into the matter, considering the very sensitive and international nature of the issues involved. We have also renewed contact with the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari on these matters. There are encouraging responses to the matter. We hope that their responses would save the historical monuments and stop the cultural cleansing. On the issue of modernisation, well a small child was once caught in a famous museum, trying to light a match to burn items on display; he said in his defence, I think these things are old and ugly.

It was later established that he had some mental problems even though he was only six years old. You can say so. I will only add that the sites in Owerri are not just historical places, they are also of heavenly sacredness.


I also have a video documentary on the books, where I discuss these issues on Youtube, if you search with the title of the book. It is clear that, God Himself is Igbo not by race or ethnicity but by shared Prolife values. I will show the reader where he was born and raised, which still bear the same names from that time to this present day. I will remind the reader that, this is not about Igbo ethnocentrism, but was expounded to help us all understand the real truth of the Gospel.

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The question arises, did the British give the name Nigeria to the amalgamated Northern and Southern protectorates, having full knowledge of the history of the Igbos from the archeology of Ancient Egypt, or was it just a coincidence? I am inclined to believe that, the British were very much aware of the history of the Igbos as inhabitants of Upper and Lower Ancient Egypt.

Skip to content May 31, June 1, igbohebrewhistory Leave a comment. May 30, igbohebrewhistory Leave a comment. We just need to enlighten our igbo hebrew biafrans once more again, that their trouble and tribulation is spiritual until they return back to their creator Chukwu okike Abiama and obey his laws and commandments handed over to Moses in the ancient time. The Most High, said , if the Igbos fail to keep their own part of the bargain with him the m.

Igbos will be continually be oppressed and destroyed by their enemies, Igbos will remain in servitude to other nations on earth, because they refuse to be set apart for the most high. Igbos have taken the ways of their oppressors and such the most high will watch you get destroyed for your lack of knowledge and for being disobedient to the laws and commands of the creator of heaven and earth. May 27, igbohebrewhistory Leave a comment. By Henry Umahi Dr. What do you mean by the Original Bible in Igbo language? I thought it was in Hebrew? What about all the pictures we see of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as white people?

What should be the plan to improve the market place? In other words, a slightly modified extension or continuation of the Mbari and Obi traditions are what we have here. Likewise, extant documented sources as generated by diverse scientific disciplines of modern scholarship will be appropriately employed and integrated in the present work.

In the same vein, the author will like to emphasize, for the benefit of prospective scholars and researchers in this area, the inevitable extended participant mode of socialization that is necessary for any in-depth acquirement of the caliber of indigenous knowledge herein presented and expounded. A Dibia is therefore a master of the land ethos - offering ancestral wisdom, customs and traditions of being and becoming I think it is important to recognize the massive authority and power that a Dibia embodies and weighs in the things of the land - calming down ijiala, ibiala, di-ibiala - a master who re-authors the land.

Entirely, a Dibia for the Igbo is a cosmological engineer - a relational order builder of this world and that world, health and society, descent and blood, kin-people and neighbors, fortune and misfortune, fecundity and expansion In other words, a Dibia is to be seen as the existential ground of culture, knowledge system, of the land and all else.

In the Igbo cosmology, medicine men are the Dibias, but here Dibia connotes more than medicine and healing, they were the elites and intellectuals who held and guarded the knowledge base of the Igbo people, para. Indeed, as cultural custodians and innovators of pivotal importance in the grand theatre of Igbo culture, they should realize the strategic need of ardently taking up the existent tools of contemporary scholarship, communication systems, amenities, enterprise, civic provisions as well as the emerging scientific and technological tools and seek out complementary or even novel mediums of bringing the fascinating multidimensional universe of Igbo culture and civilization to the 21 st century world.

This is a task whose time is overdue. It is also dedicated to all Igbo people, living and ascended and to all persons genuinely interested in the Igbo way of being, as well as to humanity as large. As earlier stated, if one thing can be asserted with definitude on the contemporary reality of the Igbo world, it is the fact that Odinala and its unfathomable depth and span of ageless mysteries is yet to be stirred or seriously engaged by Igbo scholars of this age and time.

However, in the near future, when this happens, there is no doubt that the world will be shocked beyond its wits at the depth and scope of the open secrets that has stared humanity in the eyes for several millennia, unscathed, in Igboland. In writing this book, it is the author's strongest hope that, with the present wave of cultural revival sweeping its way through all corners of Igbo life and consciousness, a revitalized interest will be sparked in Igbo people, both young and old, towards the appreciation of this primal fountain of their culture.

As over the years, we have doggedly succeeded in making headways in the grand task of retrieving and reimplementing our essential history as a people, it also bears upon us to expend similar degrees of that egalitarian energy notable with us, towards the recovery, reinvigoration and ultimate perpetuation of our timeless sacred traditions. In more than one way, it is a natural human pursuit that has its roots in the primal providence of diversity. If we consider culture to be an identity catalyst, the very creative ocean of social existence, then civilization, which thrives on the equally vital necessities of social cohesion and sustenance — will be the numerous divergent rivers that have their sources in that primal ocean called culture.

Ironically, human history thus far has shown that nearly every civilization known to us, began its march or somehow traces its origins to a river valley, sea port or ocean-sustained environment. Culture is consequently an inexhaustible primal ocean of assorted shades, extracted uniquely by each being or group but ultimately revealing a single purpose: the fermentation of beingness.

It is yet another form of the proverbial waters of the beginning which continues to feed the numerous rivers and rivulets of the human experience. Culture is inevitably a process; an ever evolving, ever catalyzing process that sprouts civilization now and then as its seasonal yield. The process itself is infinite in potentials, the product however — is not. Yet, underpinning both culture and civilization within the sphere of human existence is the hydra-headed notion of cosmology, which is at the very center of every human world view.

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In turn, cosmology itself thrives on the innate human drive to pierce through the heavy curtain of mystery which so thickly surrounds life and the universe in which life thrives. Prior the expansion of occidental mores and lifeways to other parts of the world, there were a host of indigenous worldviews which, as will be demonstrated in the present work, were underpinned by highly advanced cosmological systems; the intricate workings of which were erroneously mistaken for lofty fancies by many a close-minded outsiders — perhaps, arising from the sheer communicative and adaptive brilliance of their innate knowledge.

Obi Nwakanma who is one of the finest Igbo intellectual geniuses of this day and age has articulated the following with regards to the elusive simplicity that tends to characterize Igbo knowledge systems and lifeways and which can often mislead the less knowledgeable, foreigner or ignorant Igbo person to arrive at the wrong conclusion: Before Lever Brothers made soap with palm oil, my great, great, great grandmother made soap called "Ncha Obo" from the cured husks of the palm bunch, and made "Elu aki" from the palm nuts - all organic.

It took a highly scientific knowledge to process the cassava roots, and remove its cyanide content through fermentation. That knowledge of Chemistry happened at the most basic domestic laboratories - the kitchen. Every village boy knew precisely the kind of bird, its pattern of flight, and calculated the rate of velocity of its motion simply by listening to bird calls.

An awareness of this is at the roots of aeronautical science.


In my part of the world, rising just above the outlies of the Niger delta, in its dry plains with dried river beds from years of environmental changes, the people discovered new methods of water preservation by creating artificial lakes which we call, "Iyi Ala" and just around these artificial lakes, were protected forests and herbarium which they called, "Ohia mmo" the Christians later called "evil forest" or "ajo-ofia".

Until our contemporary scientists take a step back to study carefully the extent and archive of scientific knowledge present in our various social order, we'll continue to dwell in the wilderness. Among the most startling discoveries for me in the last fifteen years of closely studying the Igbo knowledge systems is its energy law connected to its productive systems and to a profound environmental consciousness only now becoming real to Western science, para.

The ancient wisdom of aku fechaa odara awo after all its flight and ululations, the termite eventually falls for the waiting toad is startlingly coming into reality before our eyes. What does this mean for the majority of contemporary humanity who have been taught or are still been taught that the older cultures of the world have absolutely nothing to offer the modern age in these important areas of pursuits? Orindare has appropriately questioned: Is there any society that can be said to have no knowledge of science, no matter how underdeveloped? Some decades back, some Harvard scientists used If our progress was not altered by slavery, then colonialism, could we have reached the same end albeit not the negative one?

My answer is in the affirmative, para. However, this grand unified system which it seeks is no new idea at all.


Infact, it has always existed in the well-advanced, pre-western-hegemony cosmological traditions of the world. The Igbo Akwa-Nne-Okpoko cosmology for instance, is a highly-developed grand unified cosmological system and so is the Ulidereuwa cosmology See Plate lc. Chidi G.

Osuagwu of recent, has also illuminated the highly adaptive network-based Uwaizu cosmology, which operates on the organic principle of Erima natural-networking and which is also a grand unified system from all indications. Likewise, Jonathan O. Chimakonam , whose recent ingenious articulations of Igbo- African scientific and philosophical epistemologies throws great light on our subject— has also stated categorically that: Africans have long standing scientific practices which cut across astronomy, soil, crop and animal sciences, botany, metrology, orthopedic, chemistry and medical sciences, to mention just a few.

Accordingly, it is only a natural fact that these extant epistemological traditions of humankind have a profound wealth of knowledge to bequeath the modern sciences, as they gear up to make the proverbial quantum leap into post-empirical reality. Indeed, all extant cosmological systems of the modern scientific establishment of the Occident are articulated using the empirical or basic mathematical system, or what is known as Ogugu lit.

In contrast with the less known Igbo cosmological tradition, which articulates reality using a quantum- level mathematical system or what is known to the Igbo Dibia as Odu- Afa or Odu-n'ebu-Afa lit. Odu that "carries" the sacred Afa matrix and expressed in highly accessible mythological templates, the former will appear to have relegated the purpose of its existence, which is really to enlighten the less knowledgeable and not confuse them. Having said so, it will be observed that in every existent culture and religious tradition of the world, there is always to be found at least, one sacred primordial account that is held by the adherents of that system as their exclusive account of how the universe, life and humanity came into existence.

Traditionally, in the older and sustained societies of yesteryears, the literary codification and presentation of these grand events were accomplished in such manners that, the diverse accounts coherently functioned at many levels for the given audience. In addition, throughout the formulation of these accounts, more often than not, two basic rubrics are consistently observed, namely: clarity and concrete symbolism.

And in so doing, ancient societies were able to chart their cultural and spiritual origins, as well as prospects, in such a breathtakingly simple way, that modern thought is yet to transcend their genius. The contemporary world, resultedly, is yet to fully grasp the vastly intricate functions which myths had in societies of yesterday. As accounts of primordial, cosmic and Earthly events, varying from the more conventional legends and sagas associated with human heroic feats, myths had a great mystique about them.

However, in dealing closely with the essential idea of what a myth is expected to convey in the captured imagination and intellect of its audience, it becomes important to briefly revisit what exactly is meant by the term myth. Ron Cherry writes that: Mythology is a fascinating subject that has caught the interest of people from time immemorial. On a superficial level, myths provide colorful stories of interactions between gods, goddesses, people, and nature.

Hercules battling monsters, Odysseus returning home, and the Thunderbird swooping down in American skies are examples of dramatic and better known myths However, beyond providing colorful stories, myths also serve several useful functions. One important function of myths is to explain some feature of life Leach , Bierlein , Jay How did my people get fire? Why does a zebra have stripes? Why should I be good? Where will I go when I die? Questions such as these are the subject matter of mythology, p. Eventually forming a synchronistic whole, the functional nature of myths in ancient societies were far more complex than is generally assumed today.

To the ancient mind, myths were not some fancy, simplistic narratives of cultural importance to be retained at the backlog of the mind. Myths were very powerful narratives that unfolded the primordial becoming of the world and everything in it. In their truest essence, they were highly innovative, symbolically- laden, world-system-templates which communicated the exclusive worldview of a given culture. As such, they were the metaphysical and intellectual pillars on which the culture and its lifeworld rested and whose pragmatic imports commanded the same regards as are accorded the religious theologies, philosophical traditions, historical records, scientific theories, legalities, national treatises and policies, trade charters, customary edicts, occupational principles and ethics, etc.

As highly resourceful agencies of human instruction, organization and ultimately enwisdomization, myths functioned as multilayered matrixes of knowledge. Indeed, more revered were the cosmogonic myths, as they represented the prime epistemic source of a culture's sacred traditions and observed ordinances. Accordingly, this particular category of myths were more often than not, designed to symbolically and sometimes directly highlight the major realities, principles, norms and values animating the spiritual, natural as well as civic world of a people.

However, even as it was conventional for most members of the society to comprehend the moral, spiritual, social and literary dimensions of these myths, their often recondite, mystical imports were only revealed to initiates, in gradual means, as they advanced in their respective initiatic orders. However, today, with the advent of modernity and varying civic strains in the African consciousness, we are witnessing a gradual change in this approach. It should likewise be borne in mind that in the past, the usual conditions which necessitated the awareness of such sacred narratives were much defined by one's geo-cultural realities.

Unlike today, it was not unusual for most people to be completely unaware of other differing creation stories, as articulated by other cultural groups beyond their immediate locality. In retrospective contrast, the majority of Igbo people today are fully conversant with the creation accounts of the Abrahamic religions, while being completely ignorant of those of Igbo culture. I think it is worthy to offer that, given the profound age of the Igbo as a people as well as their cultural experiment so far, it is somewhat difficult, even for some Igbos themselves, to immediately grasp the deeply lying wisdom embedded in their ways.

Perhaps, the notion of Ume Ala comes handy as an explanatory antidote to this situation. As that subtle word signifies, the Igbos will appear to consider the virtue of humility to be embodied in the notion of oneness with the primal Earth Spirit evident in nature to the point of perceiving her life pulsations.

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  5. For the person who succeeds in perceiving the much subtle pulsations of nature will find it less difficult to perceive the sublime and calmly pulsating wisdom underlying the Igbo way of life. As such, Igbo culture speaks, but in a quiet voice that has been timbered with great age. It is perhaps, this requirement of combined patience and humility that has made it understandably hard for the contemporary generations of Igbo people to be illuminated with the wisdom of their timeless cultural ways.

    Consequently, the profound moral teachings, practical and mystical knowledge embodied in many Igbo creation accounts have been impatiently relegated to the convenient shelves of the psyche in many contemporary instances. For instance, Eneke the house dwelling birds are known to build their nests with such efficiency and durability that it often takes a cutlass or such sturdy blades to get them off the wall or ceiling! This reveals universal consciousness at work, manifested as a heightened sense of determination towards ecological coexistence. Accordingly, mythological accounts that incorporate this ancient bird specie ultimately points to the Igbo age of Uga Chi when nature and human beings consciously set out to innovate highly efficient ways of coexisting.

    Infact, it should be noted that most of the birds we see today and take for granted are actually some of the remnants of dinosaurs Anu-Nganga-Nkwu that have successfully adapted to an entirely different earth. This is an enormous feat that calls for serious investigation; a phenomenon so pronounced that, the future inhabiters of our planet will be greatly taken aback at the level of our general ignorance and indifference towards it.

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    Two American scientists, Jarvis and Chen in their research trail of seeking to recreate the brain of dinosaurs have made some stirring headways that align with our discourse here. It is noted of their research that: To recreate the dinosaur brain, the US researchers first studied the brains of alligators and birds. Alligators Oba Mmiri came from a lineage that predated many dinosaurs, while the first birds evolved afterwards. On that basis, Jarvis and his colleague Chun-Chun Chen argue that the dinosaur brain should have evolved to be somewhere in between, p. As some of the oldest creatures on Earth, birds have a great deal to teach human beings, especially with regards to the knowledge of different states of consciousness and the subtle processes involved in the transformation of consciousness from one state to another.

    It is very striking that within a time span of 66,, million years, birds have successfully evolved from enormous gliding dinosaurs into compact ether fishes, having mastered to swim in the ocean of ether air. The next stage in their evolutionary process will most plausibly involve the replacement of their digestive system with a more advanced one, and an eventual elimination of this system altogether, which will afford them the ability to return back to their original feeding menu of divine food with God, as well enshrined in the ancient Igbo legend of the birds and the tortoise's trip to God's house to partake in a divine feast.

    In the said tale, it should be noted that, the birds are said to visit God's house Be Chukwu frequently to partake in a divine feast and meal. They visited this divine abode of God's house and participated in this divine meal for many ages and kept its existence a secret amongst themselves, until a famine descended on the land of animals. After some time, the tortoise in its intelligence was able to notice that the birds appeared to be unaffected by this famine.

    On approaching them, however, he was turned down. But after several weeks of solicitation, he was considered. On the decided day, all the birds agreed to donate one feather each to the tortoise and with this, the tortoise was able to fashion an effective wing for himself. The wing was attached to his body with saliva donated by the Parrot, the Kite and the Hornbill. The journey lasted for two days and two nights and on arriving God's house, a heavy banquet was served to them as usual.

    But before then, the tortoise did something very strange. Just before the food was ready to be served, the Tortoise announced to the birds that he had a very good idea. He suggested that the idea of not having very colorful names to go with their colorful feathers was very uncool, to say the least.

    The birds looked at each other and nodded in agreement. He further suggested that they should all take a name with which they will be saluted on been served their food, which will add to their prestige as visitors. The idea sounded quite novel and harmless and so the birds all began to declare their new names. The birds became worried on hearing this, highly aware of the Tortoise's legendary craftiness. God, on the other hand, had no idea of this new development and still addressed the birds with their original, collective name, which the Tortoise had now hijacked as his new individual title.

    As the meals were dished out, one after the other, it was presented to the visitors as All-of-You Unu Bum , which now stood for the Tortoise alone, unbeknownst to God. The divine hosts served out all the available food and at this point, the birds realized that things were getting worse. The birds were devastated. Meanwhile, the Tortoise was busy in its table consuming as much food as its stomach could take. The birds watched on in great shock, anger and confusion at the same time. As the feast came to an end, the birds quickly converged and decided to take away their feathers from the Tortoise, one after the other.

    They also vowed to never bring along any other non-birds on their subsequent trips to God's house. With this, they each proceeded to unattach their feathers from the Tortoise's shell-body. Sad, hungry and disappointed, they all flew off, leaving the greedy Tortoise behind to fend for himself. After much thinking, recollection and self-admonishment, the Tortoise summoned courage and dived off into the deep sky Elu Igwe. The divine wind Ikuku Chukwu that emanated from God's house bore him for a while and so he was able to float his way into the Earth's atmosphere.

    But on getting into the Earth's atmosphere, he suddenly realized how devastating his awaiting fate was. He quickly began to call out to his wife Nwunye Mbe to bring out all the soft materials in the house to the front yard. His wife on hearing him from afar, mistook his request and instead, brought out all the hardest things she could find in the house. The Tortoise was out of luck. He crash landed, shattering his once impeccable shell into fragments and tiny smithereens. After many days, his wife was able to piece back what little was left of his broken shell, using the saliva of a generous snail.

    But ultimately, as a result of his greed, the shell of the Tortoise never completely healed. It hence forth revealed an apparent patchwork of a once shattered shell, thereby baring his early painful encounter with the birds to all and sundry to observe. If we may digress for a moment here, it should be noted that since time immemorial, Igbo mystics are known to keep such animals as forest birds, chameleons, tortoise, turtles, snakes and baboons etc.

    These animals are always kept as spirit messengers, for they convey the messages of nature more acutely than most, given their highly developed intuitive faculties. As a matter of fact, the turtle Nwa Aniga that birthed the tortoise Mbe-Nwa-Aniga is the most ancient of the reptile groups of family.

    Accordingly, the Igbo people have always believed that this reptile is a kind of mobile encyclopedia of the Earth's extensive natural history, thus its name Aniga lit. Long Enduring. It is worthy of note that the earliest known turtle fossils date back to million years ago! This is by far, the oldest known date acquired for any group from the reptile family, making it a more ancient group than lizards, snakes or crocodiles. That Turtles are also classified in modern science as amniotes, along with reptiles, dinosaurs including birds and even mammals is also highly remarkable; pointing to the deep layers and great span of knowledge underlying the central presence of the tortoise in Igbo-African mythologies and folktales, especially its illustrious close encounters with human beings.

    On this, Dibias would readily assert in instances of philosophical exchange that: O mmadu wu mbekwu lit. Also, O mbekwu ka eboro ihe nile mmadu mekolatara, mana o mmadu letere na mbekwu macha were kwe n'ishi i. In this sense, okwu Igbo bu n'ilu n'ilu, o malu uche akpa ya kpazie omimi lit. Igbo communication is in metaphors and subtleties; it is up to the eager mind to pursue and decipher the meanings of the alluded references in nature.

    Both the shell of the turtle and the tortoise especially the turtle are held to contain every single evolutionary morphology, mutation etc. In practice of this belief, in the Igbo mystical tradition, the shell of both the tortoise and the turtle have been used by Ndi Dibia since very ancient times for several mystical purposes, including the programming of Afa Akpukpala divination portals and in a special, highly complex divination technique called Afa-Otukwu-Gbazulu-Ikwu-Nwa-Mbekwu elemental divination that utilizes the shell of the tortoise.

    The bones and salted tongue of the Turtle or Tortoise are also used in this special divination technique which the present author has developed to very advanced levels of application. The tongue of the female turtle He Inyom Aniga is also a vital component in the preparation of memory retention elixirs Ogwu-Echewe-Echeta. The medicinal applications of the tortoise are as infinite as the sands of the earth. Key applications include nerve related conditions, brain related conditions, optical conditions etc.

    Of note, in their telling, both categories habitually incorporate Mbem-na-Abu elements i. Also, the public recitation of compact poetic verses is known as Ima Mbem lit. The key thing to note at this point is that, regardless of what contemporary Igbo penchant conceives of these narrative traditions and their mystic epistemological sources, they remain what they are: the original underlying sources of the Igbo cosmological and worldview modalities.

    They embody the unwritten corpus of Igbo collective knowledge, wisdom, traditions, moralities, life principles, socio-civic ordinances and observations etc. Nwakanma aptly notes in this regard that: It is true that every religion is constructed around its own myths. Many such myths incomplete and inexplicable. Odinala included. Fortunately, there appears to be a glint of reassuring light on the horizon, as all over the world, Ndi Igbo are gradually waking up from their slumber of many thousand years and are zealously recovering their cultural memory.

    Likewise knowledge is a great forest, one can never cover its complete span; ebe ihe mere uwa wu n'ukwu ukpaka: all the world's ordeal begun at an oil bean tree; Chukwu nyere ala ofo k'onyeruo mmadu: God gave the sacred Ofo staff to Ala the primal Earth Spirit to eventually hand it to human beings; mmadu si n'ala pute: human beings sprouted from the ground etc. As can be observed in one of the above given dictums, the clarification of the Ofo ritual staff as the most sacred of symbols directly handed to human beings by Chukwu is captured in both an epigrammatic and figurative way by the designation of its source as the womb of the Earth Goddess.

    In effect, one actually observes here, the progression of an essentially spiritual conviction, into a mystical, cosmogonic, cosmological, natural, socio- civic and ritual conventions. Thus, if mythic accounts, as held in most African oral traditions can be logically materialized in such coherent, realistic and practical manners, it ultimately begs the question: how really unreal are these myths? For this reason, it is just as evident that the contemporary erroneous perception of the mythic traditions of the world's ancient cultures as "unscientific" or "irrational" measures of justification employed by ancient societies in their bid to explain their world is fundamentally an irrational, illogical and hypocritical assessment in itself; one that has outstayed its course in the human common consciousness and is accordingly, experiencing the final pangs of its demise as we gradually observe the subtle merging of modern scientific tradition with the ancient mystic traditions of the world, now anglicized as "quantum sciences".

    Thus, as employed in this work, myths are to be understood as the metaphysical cosmological templates of humanity's ancient mystic traditions, which inter alia, incorporates all aspects and dimensions of reality Be Chukwu, Be Mmadu na Be Mmuo in its investigation, articulation and diverse practical applications. In this very sense, a sharply defined but bridgeable difference observably exists between the latter and the highly limited, reductionist-oriented cosmological templates articulated by the modern occidental scientific tradition, which is yet to encounter, properly discern and articulate the two other complementary zones of reality long recognized by the Igbo mystic tradition, namely Be Chukwu na Be Mmuo or Ani Mmuo i.

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    To understand and engage the universe and human existence through myths is to transcend the crippling limitations of individual consciousness. In the epi realm of myths, all beings are primordially unified and inseparable. The mythic motif of the Primordial House Obi Mbu which is at the heart of this work is merely one among several metaphysical templates that Igbo people have employed in their comprehensive cosmological tradition.

    In the subsequent chapters, the latter will be explicitly and extensively demonstrated. However, from the author's observation and extensive engagement with the Igbo mythic tradition, it appears that at the heart of this tradition are about nine principal, traditional templates adhered by many Igbo oral traditions, regardless of where found.

    In addition, countless sub-templates also exist as formulated and employed by varied Igbo communities, the listing and study of which will take separate individual volumes to innumerate, but some of these will be given here. The nine recurrent templates are listed below along with some sub-templates. From all indications, there were probably other now atrophied or lost forms in the past. And as of present, many potential ones are in their early stages of formulation. It should be understood that Igbo culture maintains a sort of fluid epistemological tradition in which world systems are continually created, revamped, modified, abandoned, retrieved as necessitated by the age and proclivities of the extant generation.

    But as earlier stated, these nine are highly prevalent. As for the sub-templates, there are virtually hundreds of these and probably thousands more have existed in the unfathomable antiquity of Igbo people. In most cases, a complex integration of a few is utilized as pragmatically required. In other words, these are some of the primary notions, conceptions, imageries and symbols with which the Igbos constructs their worldview.

    Hence, among other realities, they also constitute a principal place in the much diverse and extensive tradition of Igbo cosmogony. While it's powerful Mmonwu simulacra continues to be experienced today in the Aguata-Orumba and nearby environs as the famous Obata Osu masquerade. It is an ironic twist of fate that, a devastating event which involved the Obata Osu masquerade some years ago in Igboland threw some light on the mythic foundation of this particular masquerade. This historic masquerade from the Aguata-Orumba region of Anambra State became dreadfully famous for the major ripples it created at the last pan-eastern masquerade festival now defunct that was once a great magnet to this part of Nigeria.

    The festival was stopped quite simply, because the masquerades saw it as a mere means to show off their mystic strengths, instead of the originally conceived purpose. During the first outing of the event which was held in Enugu, an Udi masquerade succeeded in silencing the drum sets of the other masquerades through mystic means, until they paid some ransom.

    So the next time in Aba, they all came prepared. At Aba, the arena and atmosphere was so stuffy and charged with mystic forces of all kinds that even loitering domestic animals were reported to have been helplessly caught up in the highly charged energy-fields and resultedly, got suspended in the air for some time in certain parts of the nearby environ. There was even a startling case of flying mortar and pestle Odo-na-Ikwe arriving the scene unaccompanied.

    But fortunately, none of the masquerades succeeded in disrupting the festive accord this time, like the Udi mask had previously done. At the final outing of the event, which was recurrently held in Enugu, the notorious Udi masquerade returned and as usual, attempted its then famous mystic drum-silencing antics but was successfully challenged by the great Obata Osu masquerade of Arondizogu. Its drum-silencing antics had succeeded in muting every other drum set except for the resilient Izuogu group. So it decided to take on the masquerades individually and ultimately, it came face to face with the great Obata Osu masquerade.

    At first, after its powerful incantations it succeeded in its aim of silencing the drum sets, but the Izuogu troupe, notable for their potent Ogwu and Mmonwu traditions, restored their sets back into full force after "breaking some eggs". Igbo myths are also largely generated from the extensive oracular knowledge of Afa. Accordingly, by performing rituals, one brings life to the mythical script underlying it whilst also participating in the myth. And since mythology is but a projection of the deep wisdom of Chukwu Abiama, by performing rituals, participating in the myth, one is being calibrated into alignment with supreme wisdom.

    In this very sense, it is to be understood that, mystical axioms are condensations of universal principles as encoded in mythical narratives. The axioms present a highly condensed version of the mythical accounts; a kind of ingenious summation. Axioms also birth proverbs, which provide the necessary roots for poetry. Poetry, in turn, outlines myths. Myths provide the framework for rituals. Rituals are the connective tissue of ceremonies; ceremonies are the driving force of festivals and festivals facilitate the presentation, experience, embodiment and observation of axioms.

    Igbo masquerades simulate a great diversity of mystical dramas. Bearing the above given historic event in mind, it should be realized that every Igbo masquerade is traditionally based on one specific mythic tradition or another. As such, they symbolically and theatrically exhibit many of these features in their performances for observing masquerade society initiates to decipher and enrich their wealth of mythic knowledge, and for the sheer entertainment of the uninitiated. Nevertheless, in rare cases or as often intended, some masquerades go as far as exhibiting the mystic powers associated with their simulated spirit personifications, character, metaphysical reality or mystic principle.

    In this very case, we have a masquerade whose character and mystic simulation is based on the ancient fire-creation myth of Odachi-Nne-Ebere Komosu, thus the name Obata Osu and it apparently exhibited its associated elemental force when provoked beyond reprieve. One of the longest surviving fire-elemental creation accounts of the Igbo cosmogonic tradition, the Odachi Nne Ebere cosmogony roughly holds that, in the epi-creation period, the only state of being that obtained was the monolithic state.

    Subsequently, this sacred state of being may best be described as one of unparalleled equilibrium, potent inertia or the proverbial epi-creation state of perfection, to which all beings are meant to return ultimately. Nono is actually Nne-Ono-na-Mbu lit. The primordial waters, or the primordial soup, are sometimes defined as the undefinable that contains within itself the definition of what exists. According to The Nwn is the ocean of inertia that surrounds the island of becoming.

    The becoming is the doorway through which the existent enters the existence. The Nwn is a state of being, para. As already stated, it was identified by the ancient Igbos as Akwu lit. Accordingly, in the multivalent cosmogonic principle of Obi Mbu, the Igbos embedded an astronomical articulation of divine and timeless primordiality. As will be demonstrated, not only is this symbolism both mystically and logically sound, in addition, it proves to have a significant presence in other traditional, mystic knowledge systems of the world.

    This primordial structure also embodied the principle of perfect architectural alignment, spatial unison and exemplary moral accord, articulated as Obi Kwu Uto lit. The Upright House. Its four corners were joined to the center Ime Obi , where stood a pillared chamber Okwu Chi , in which Chukwu periodically retired in deep privacy to work on a highly undisclosed project. Chukwu would suavely dance his way in and out of this pillared chamber each time, entering with his back and coming out with his back turned to all and sundry.

    Needless to say, this was a great source of curiosity for all concerned. From the foregoing, it can be adduced that, the created world is also conceived in Igbo thought as a perfectly staged simulacrum, in which everything and everyone dances ono n'ndu bu ono n'egwu or has its own dance ife obuna nwelu egwu o na agba; ife n'ine bu okike nwelu egwu o na agba. The former is the Igbo metaphorical way of expressing the vibrational and sequential qualities of life, respectively. In other words, all micro worlds or subjective realities Uwa Achiko which converges to form a people's culture cum worldview Omenala na Uwa Ndi , ultimately subsists in one encompassing macro-reality Ijele Uwa , which in turn is the ultimate simulacrum of all simulacrums.

    The Mmonwu tradition is therefore, yet another corporealized extension of the Igbo world system. Ekwulumili et al. Mmonwu in most of Igboland but especially in Ekwulumili is an integral part of the Ekwulumili [Igbo] cosmological world, para. Secondly, the Ijele Uwa notion further encapsulates the Igbo primal observation that, reality is like a dancing masquerade, and to better experience or appreciate its highly assorted facets, wonders, dimensions, temperaments, aesthetics and opportunities, one must also move around in tune with the mobile inclinations of the masquerade.

    This they encapsulate as " anaro akwu ofu ebe enene mmonwu" lit. In the natural world, the ground squirrel also offers the same advice accordingly, "ulili si na- ejekete ije si tuo nkwo oso maka ihe oso erne mee" lit. Neaher has written the following on the Ijele masquerade: A uniquely architectonic northern Igbo mask type, the ijele, is the supreme masking tradition of the region, constituting an ostentatious display of the wealth and prestige of its sponsoring umunna.

    The mask suggests a superhuman entity, endowed with multiple bodies, faces, limbs, and capable of extraordinary powers. In short, Ijele corresponds to a vital living organism composed of the totality of local existence. The myriad forces visualized in the ijele display appear to correspond with Turner's formula for dominant ritual symbols that condense, polarize, and ultimately unify local concepts of social and natural reality ch.

    Ijele's affinities with sacred and domestic architecture have already been pointed out. As the king of all masquerades Eze Mmuo - Ijele na mmanwu ozo anaro agba na ogbo! There were a total of forty five masquerades, each been an emissary of its own distinct realm of spirit existence. Today, they are all represented by the forty five individual miniature simulacra seen on top of the Ijele masquerade when it performs See Plate Id.

    In this first mythical world as simulated by the Mkpu Ijele or the upper division of the Ijele simulacra, Chukwu harmoniously abided with all the primordial forces, all of whom essentially constituted Chukwu's colossal form; just as the body's several independent parts are harmoniously united by their central hub-spot, the heart Obi. The symbolic form of the python swallowing its own tail Eke Ogba Ijele , as seen on the waist of the Ijele masquerade represents the primal timelessness Oghele Akwu or epi-time reality of the first world, as well as cosmic or grand time Mgba Akwu, Uga Uwa n'ano, Okwu na Ukporo — i.

    While, the lower division of the Ijele masquerade Akukpuru Ijele represents the created world, the temporal quality of which is well symbolized by the rectangular hanging flaps, signifying Uje na Una Chi i. The Comings and Goings of Chi. Its alternative full name is Uja na Una Mmuo lit. Igbo people also recognize and express that, Chukwu Ebuka lit.

    Although, the act in itself, she realized, would be tantamount to risking the harmonic state of the First World, it was however, ultimately necessary and inevitable. For as it was, Chukwu had, in the singular act of sectioning out a chamber for himself in the Obi Mbu, inadvertently introduced secrecy into their dealings and so it was critical that the situation be addressed before the worst happens.

    This singular act, which was planned out at Uhuru Chi evening , set into motion at Ofu-Ndeeri-Akwu-Chi darkest moment of night and realized at Ofufo Chi arrival moment of dawn , at once caused the then monolithic world to break forth Owuwa in one gigantic burst Uwaaaaaaa! Komosu, who is also known as Eke- Nnechukwu was martyred in the process. In great grief, Chukwu wept over her martyred body and consequently, his salty tears in one intriguing miraculous moment, brought her back to life, whilst purifying her at the same time.

    Nevertheless, it is said that Chukwu never fully recovered from the great shock of this event. The unfinished roll of cotton which Eke had been spinning and the beautiful piece of cloth which she had been weaving before that very point, will be later taken up by the Sacred Cosmic Spider Ududo Nka, which it continues to weave till this very day, as Ududo-Okwa-Nka Sacred Spider; Expert Weaver of Thought. In effect, all the created beings that came along with this one event, lost their original pure spiritual state of being and were now in possession of dualistic physical forms called Obi n'abo i.

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    Am na Anu Aru. Disenchanted with the entire event and already discerning the inevitable spiritual shortcomings that will result from their unwholesome existential state, Chukwu left them all to their own wishes and whims! Thus, ancient Igbo people counseled each other that, uwa bu ntiko-ntiko na obi Chukwu walu awa lit. They also warned that, ife obuna onye metalu n'uwa, o ga eji any a ya n'abo fu ya, maka Chukwu abaana ime obi kpochite uzo lit. Kwekudee presents the Ibibio creation account as thus: The creator, Abassi, created two humans and then decided to not allow them to live on earth.

    His wife, Atai, persuaded him to let them, the people, live on earth. In order to control the humans, Abassi insisted that they eat all their meals with him, thereby keeping them from growing or hunting food. He also forbade them to have children. Soon, though, the woman began growing food in the earth, and they stopped showing up to eat with Abassi. Then the man joined his wife in the fields, and before long there were children also. Abassi blamed his wife for the way things had turned out, but she told him she would handle it.

    She sent to earth, death and discord to keep the people in their place, and their numbers down. Much of the complementing portion of this creation account is to be found in yet another Igbo cosmogonic narrative — an Air- creation myth which refers to this phenomenon as Okpoko na Nne ya, Akwa Nne Okpoko or simply as, Ije Chukwu Ziri Okpoko and which deals with the pre-creation dynamics of Akwu primordial state of potency , the creation dynamics of sound, as encoded in the pun expression Ube Okpoko, which is both a fruit and the cry of the sacred Okpoko bird.

    The above substantiates the mystic enunciation that, every language is a temple in which the soul of the people who speak it is enshrined. Rightly so, for even in its other mythic name, the same meaning is encoded in the pun expression, Akwa Nne Okpoko which simultaneously implies the cry of Okpoko's mother i. This very ancient myth also articulates the post-creation or cosmic realities of Air; with particular focus on its role in the creation of the Sun, Moon and the Earth. This Air-Bird-Egg-Life theorem of creation is also what some have termed as the Primordial Egg theorem in modern times.

    In the said Akwa Nne Okpoko mythology, it is held that when the sacred Okpoko bird arrived the world, everywhere was inundated with celestial waters. Chukwu had sent it out to go and see how the great deed of creation was coming along. At first there was no light, no stars, no moon, no land for it to perch on. But far off in the center of this foggy and watery world, it sighted a single upright tree, the Ube Okpoko tree, which stood unbent. However given its long distance flight from Be Chukwu, the bird's aging mother resultedly died before it could reach this world tree, and on seeing nowhere else to bury the mother, Okpoko buried her on one side of its head.

    In short time, the father also died and the poor bird equally had no choice but to bury him on the other side of its head. As a result, its head became greatly enlarged Isi Okpoko. When it finally arrived the world tree, it laid a gigantic egg, the first and finest that was ever laid. This beautiful creation, however, brought grief to the heart of the sacred bird as it thought of how its parents had missed such a beautiful occurrence. This great cry rang across the entire universe and broke this colossal, gigantic egg, from which miraculously arose its Mother, the golden Sun, in reply to its cry.

    In great elation, the sacred bird lifted off from the world tree to make towards its mother only to realize that the broken shell had equally miraculously risen into the air and now had the glowing face of its father, the Moon. Needless to say, the Okpoko bird was filled with utter bliss, seeing all this miraculous handiwork of Chukwu.

    And only then, did it realize that Chukwu had only sent it out to solve the riddle of kedu nke chalu acha, ube enu k'obu ube ana? With regards to riddles and the often unnoticed, subtle extents that they were utilized by our ancestors in their highly creative learning exploits and socialization systems, Emma Umana Clasberry has aptly articulated the following: Riddles and puzzles are some of the ancient tools for education that have stood the test of time. Through them, we can learn some pertinent facts about human beings, their physiology and anatomy, their economic and social behaviors, thinking patterns, their vision of the world and the way humans understand life.

    We can also use them to learn about other animals, plants, the wind, the moon and other elements in the universe. Puzzles and riddles bring to our notice some phenomena which are around in our immediate environment that we are not aware of. They call our attention to some truths about animals and trees, natural and unnatural phenomena. Like proverbs and folktales, riddles are an ancient science which portrays the people's vigilance, enthusiasm and keenness in observing, studying and learning about the universe around them and beyond.

    In other words, they enhance recalling the past, promote keener observation and critical examination of the present, and encourage confrontation of the present and building on it for posterity. As reflected in the riddles, our forefathers, including fore-mothers, took courses in philosophy, botany, zoology, human anatomy and physiology, logic and critical thinking, metaphysics, sociology, humanities and other hardcore and social sciences without knowing.

    I am sure they were not conscious of the amount of education and the scope of academic fields they dabbled into and became familiar with. They were probably more interested in just enjoying the fun and the humor derived from the riddles and puzzles than in anything else as they informally learned through them.