Amadioha

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Amadioha
Alusi of Thunder and Lightning
Associate Anyanwu
Planet Sun
Symbol White ram
Day Afor
Color Red

Amadioha (Igbo literal meaning "free will of the people") is the Alusi (god) of thunder and lightning of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria. He is amongst the most popular of Igbo deities and in some parts of Igboland, he is referred to as Amadiora, Kamalu (which is short for Kalu Akanu),[1] Kamanu,[2] or Ofufe.[3] Astrologically, his governing planet is the Sun.[4] His color is red, and his symbol is a white ram.[5] Metaphysically, Amadioha represents the collective will of the people.[6] He is often associated with Anyanwu, who is the Igbo god of the Sun. While Anyanwu is more prominent in northern Igboland, Amadioha is more prominent in the southern part. His day is Afo, which is the third market day of the Igbo four day week.[7]

Origins[edit]

Shrines to Amadioha still exist in different parts of Igboland, but the main shrine is located at Ogboro Ama Ukwu or Ihiokpu as it is called in Ozuzu in Etche Local Government Area of present day Rivers State, Nigeria. Although it is located there, it is not the patron deity of the people of Ozuzu. In fact, it is said that Ozuzu is the town in which Amadioha "lives" and it serves as it earthly headquarters. It is from there that it spread to other parts of Igboland.[8]

Functions of Amadioha[edit]

God of justice[edit]

Amadioha is first and foremost known as a god of justice. He speaks through thunder, and he strikes with lightning. He creates thunder and lightning by casting "thunderstones" down to earth.[9] Persons judged guilty by Amadioha are either killed by lightning (which leaves a black mark on the forehead) or attacked by a swarm of bees.[10] The property of the victim is usually taken by the priests of Amadioha, and the body is left unburied and the victim unmourned, as the punishment is considered to be a righteous one from God.[11] In some parts of Igboland, Amadioha is used as a curse word.[12] Oaths are often sworn to him, which can carry deadly penalties when broken.

The ritual cleansing for Amadioha is very costly and tasking. The deity can only be appeased by transferring the curse to a live goat that is let loose outside of the walls of the community.[13] The ram is a common offering for him.[5] The priestly clan of Amadioha are known as Umuamadi, which translates to children of Amadioha.[14]

God of love, peace and unity[edit]

Besides justice, Amadioha is also a god of love, peace and unity, and is prayed for increase of crops, children in the home, and benevolence.[15] Aside the above manifestations of Amadioha, he represents, as different from most African religious world views, a messianic hope for those in critical situations.

Creator God[edit]

Amadioha is also considered to be a creator God. In some traditions, human beings were made by him when he sent a bolt of lightning down to strike a silk cotton tree, which split and revealed a man and a woman.[16]

Consort to Ani[edit]

Amadioha is often shown as a husband to Ani, who is the Earth mother. In some Igbo traditions, the pair are said to be the first Alusi to have been created by Chukwu. The two are often honored with Mbari houses, which were made with mudbrick. Amadioha is typically depicted as a fair-skinned, titled gentleman of cool temper who is the patron of "light skinned Igbos" and "men of exalted rank."[17] While Ani is considered to be the lawmaker of Igbo society (which is known as Odinani), Amadioha is the enforcer and protector of the law.

God of Carvers[edit]

In the play, the Other Side of the Mask, the character Jamike refers to Amadioha as "the god of carvers" and identifies him further as "the god that sends lightning to kill the evil spirits who inhabit the trees from which carvers hew their wood.[18]

Personal spirit[edit]

Amadioha as a personal shrine is a spirit of enterprise that brings wealth. It is also a representative of the head of the household.[19]

Oracle[edit]

In precolonial times, the village of Ozuzu turned Amadioha/Kamalu into an oracle called Kamalu Ozuzu.[4] People would travel all over Igboland to visit the oracle in order to settle disputes and for help with crucial decisions. Parties found guilty by the oracle could be sold into slavery.[20]

Proverbs and prayers associated with Amadioha[edit]

"Amadioha magbukwa gi" (Amadioha will punish you)

"Chi m le kwee - O wuru si o wuni mere ihea, amadioha magbukwe m" (My god please see- If it is true that I did this thing, let Amadioha Kill me).[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McCall, John. Dancing Histories: Heuristic Ethnography with the Ohafia Igbo. Page 123
  2. ^ Oriji, John. Sacred Authority in Igbo Society. Page 115
  3. ^ Diala, Isidore. Ritual and Mythological Recuperation in the Drama of Esiaba Irobi. Page 101
  4. ^ a b Uchendu, Victor C. The Igbo of Southeast Nigeria. Page 96
  5. ^ a b Diala, Isidore. Ritual and Mythological Recuperation in the Drama of Esiaba Irobi. Page 104
  6. ^ Iwu, Maurice. Handbook of African medicinal plants. Page 320.
  7. ^ Patrick, Iroegbu. Igbo-Okija Oracles and Shrines, Development and Cultural Justice
  8. ^ Onunwa, Udobata. A Handbook of African Religion and Culture. Pages 18-19
  9. ^ Abiaka, Blessing. The Naked Gods: Africa--The Land of Culture. Page 76
  10. ^ Iwu, Maurice. Handbook of African medicinal plants. Page 320.
  11. ^ Asante, M.K. Spear Masters: An Introduction to African Religion. Page 107
  12. ^ Abiaka, Blessing. The Naked Gods: Africa--The Land of Culture. Page 77
  13. ^ Iwu, Maurice. Handbook of African medicinal plants. Page 320.
  14. ^ http://www.chatafrikarticles.com/articles/1400/1/IGBO-CULTURE-AND-THE-OSUJIS-OF-UMUOHIAGU/Page1.html
  15. ^ http://www.ihiagwa.org/traditional_religion.htm
  16. ^ Abani, Chris. A Song for Night. Page 72
  17. ^ Obi, T.J. Fighting for Honor: The History of African Martial Arts in the Atlantic World. Page 56.
  18. ^ Irobi, Esiaba. The Other Side of the Mask. Page 77
  19. ^ Abiaka, Blessing. The Naked Gods: Africa--The Land of Culture. Page 76
  20. ^ Chigere, Nkem. Foreign missionary background and indigenous evangelization in Igboland. Page 86
  21. ^ http://www.unn.edu.ng/home/index2.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=4964&Itemid=306

External links[edit]