Igbo ritual of inye chi nri

Idotu Chi/Isi Ite Chi & The Erroneous Misconception Of Settling The Chi In Igbo Spiritual Practices.

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Kedu Ihe Bu “Chi” Ka Omenaani na Odinaani Igbo Siri Di? 

    Ndi-Igbo refers to the concept of the Chi as the creating force that is responsible for the general welfare of an individual, on which it is accountable to the divine creator whom we regard as Chi-Ukwu “The aggregate of all Chi”, this means, that all things, such as; Alusi, Osisi, Mmiri, Anumani, Okwute, etc, all have this driving force or universal spark we regard as Chi.

To interact with this force, our ancestors devised ritual processes that sharpened and enabled us to have a relationship with this force, and this process is known as “Isi ite chi” or “Idokwa chi”, a process we erroneously regard as “The settling of the chi”.

Also Read: The Four Igbo Cosmic Stages Of Evolution.

How Is This Ritual Performed?

To perform this rite of Isi ite chi, we use items such as; Ji, nzu na edo, oji, okuko “oke for men and nnekwu for women”, mmanya oku, akwukwo ogilisi, nsi egbe, etc. The process of isi ite chi is as follows;

  1. Ikpoku Mmuo: The individual attempting to perform this rite, should before the d-day invite or inform the Chi essence of the intended “Date” on which this ritual would be performed, this is usually done using Oji “KOLANUT”. {NB. it’s important to stick to this allocated time}. On the said date, the most appropriate time to begin is usually around sunrise, and the best locations should be where the sun rays can be felt on the ogilishi. 

2. Begin the setup by placing four stems of ogilishi on aja ani, and use the alligator pepper to clean or remove any sort of negative energy on the ogilishi, also repeat this process on your body and repeat this aphorism “Ose oji anaghi eje ije ifele”.

3. Perform the rite of “Ima Nzu” and invite all ancestral and familiar forces, starting with your Chi and its oha mmuo, invite your deities from your maternal and paternal family, your ancestors, ndi-mmiri and the rest of your Oha mmuo as much as you can remember. Repeat this process with your Edo but add the twixt of Ize mmuo Iwe “Forgiveness” in any way you might have gone against your Nso.

4. Perform the rite of “Iwa Oji”, but first, say or tender your intentions to your Oha mmuo, and at this point make a promise of a bigger sacrifice if such intentions are met. NB. For women, if you are married it’s expected to have your husband break your kola and if you are single, then your brother or father should do the honors. 

5. Pour libation and other sweet drinks you have as a way of sharing a drink with your forces and next, cut out a piece of yam from the tail and the head of the yam you presented, divide it into the four market days, and continue with the bloodletting. Say your intentions of offering this life force before proceeding with the slaughtering.

6. Pause and proceed with the cooking of the food with just salt and pepper, and when it’s ready, proceed with the practice of Ilo mmuo “Feeding of the Chi” by mixing the heart, liver, gizzard, and pieces of cooked yam, offer a part of the food and consume the rest. To conclude, use nsi egbe “Gun powder” to send your intentions into the cosmos.

Igbo ritual of inye chi nri

Also Read: Ogwu Ego: Dangers & Implications Of Money Rituals.

The essence of this ritual is to appreciate, acknowledge, appease, and ultimately be in alignment with the Chi. At the same time, Idokwa chi which is also referred to as Idotu chi is the consecration of the chi energy within an effigy, in other to represent this force and to have a channel through which one can communicate with his/her Chi.

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This practice of Isi ite chi/idokwa chi is what we currently Misinterpret as the “Settling of the Chi” which indicates some debt owed to Chi upon which its settlement would automatically reconcile and strengthen the path of an individual. This error also leaves a false impression that this ritual once done isn’t expected to be carried out again, hence the expectation of a quick result which its failure would automatically leave a negative impression on the mind of the new convert. But in our reality as Ndi-Igbo, we do not settle the Chi, hence performing Chi rites is one of those rituals ‘aside idokwa chi”, that we are expected to continuously perform throughout our life span.

This is also true for rituals such as; iru oru mmiri, ikpe ire oma, isi ite ndi-ichie, or nri ndi-otu, etc, which is to say that Igbo rituals are not just performed to solve a problem, but are performed because of our ties to these ancestral and familiar spirits, therefore, performing these rites are our sacred directives or duty as Ndi-Igbo.

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