Alusi

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A wooden sculpture of Ikenga, an Igbo Deity, presently in the British Museum.

Alusi, also known as Arusi or Arushi, are deities that are worshiped and served in the religion of the Igbo people (an ethnic group of southeastern Nigeria). There are a list of many different Alusi and each has its own purpose. When there is no longer need for the deity it is discarded.[1]

Ancestors[edit]

The Igbo world is divided into several interconnected realms, principal among them being the realm of the living, the realm of the dead or of the ancestors, and the realm of the unborn. Individuals who led an honorable life and received a proper burial proceeded to the ancestral realm to take their place among the ancestors or Ndichie, who are not the same as the Alusi. From there they kept a watchful eye on the clan and visited their loved ones among the living with blessings such as fertility, good health, longevity and prosperity. In gratitude the living offered sacrifices to them at the family hearth, and sought their counsel.

Alusi worship[edit]

Each major deity had a priest in every town that honored it, and the priest was assisted by a group of acolytes and devotees.

Children and Alusi[edit]

Children are still considered the greatest blessing of all and this is reflected in popular names such as Nwakaego; a child is worth more than money or Arawakan; no wealth is worthier than a child, or Nwabuugwu; a child is the greatest honor. In a small part of Igboland(Imo and Abia states- Mba-area), women who successfully deliver ten children are rewarded with special celebrations and rites that honor their hips. Infertility is considered a particularly harsh misfortune. The Igbo believe that it is children who perpetuate the race, and in order to do so children are expected to continue Igbo tradition and ways. Parts of Igbo divinities is Agwu Alusi, the god of health and divination. Agwu is a concept used by the Igbo to explain and understand: good and evil, health and sickness, and poverty and fortune and misfortune.[2]

List of Alusi[edit]

Deities or Alusi include Ahia Njoku, the goddess of yams, and Amadioha (or Amadiora) the god of thunder and lightning. In addition to them there are:

  • Igwekaala: sky god,
  • Ala: earth goddess and goddess of fertility.
  • Ikenga: god of fortune and industry,
  • Anyanwu: (literally:"eye of the sun" sun goddess)
  • Idemmili: mother goddess of villages through which the Idemili river flows (Oba, Obosi, Ogidi, Oraifite, Ojoto etc.)
  • Agwu: god of medicine men, god of divination and healing
  • Ahobinagu: forest god,
  • Aro (Aro-chukwu): god of judgment (also seen as the Supreme god's "Chukwu's" agent of judgment.)
  • Njoku Ji: god of Yam
  • Ogbunabali (literally: [he who] kills by/at night): an Igbo god of death
  • Agbala: goddess of the hills and caves or the holy/perfect spirit in Nri
  • Eke: god/governor of the eastern sky (Heaven). Also the patron of Eke Markets and days.
  • Oye: god/governor of the western sky (Heaven). Also the patron of Oye Markets and days.
  • Afo: god/governor of the northern sky (Heaven). Also the patron of Afo Markets and days.
  • Nkwo: god/governor of the southern sky (Heaven). Also the patron of Nkwo Markets and days.

See also[edit]

  • Igbo mythology
  • Idemmili: King of the Sea revered by the villages through which the idemili river flows (Oba, Obosi, Ogidi, Ojoto etc.)

References[edit]