Igbo Deification Process and what it entails


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Many of us have been raised with a misguided understanding of the origins of Igbo ancestral deities. We were taught that these deities gained power or were established through the performance of human sacrifice, particularly the sacrifice of virgins. This distorted narrative instilled fear and led Ndi-Igbo to disregard or distance themselves from our indigenous spirituality. However, it’s important to recognize that when outsiders dictate our history, the narrative often serves their agenda rather than accurately reflecting our indigenous culture. Therefore, it’s time to challenge and correct these misconceptions about our heritage, most specifically the “Igbo Deification Process”.

At the core of our spirituality and cosmology, we have a multitude of cosmic beings and deities. Each of these forces and entities possesses diverse origins, some of which are man-made, while others are directly connected to the creator, serving as emissaries or its cosmic representatives here on earth, eg, Ogwugwu: The primordial mother, Ekwensu: The enforcer, Anyanwu, and Oshimili, etc, I personally refer to these primordial beings as “Agbara or Umu-Agbara,”. Their distinctive characteristic is their inability to have any human origins or influence in their existence, this sets them apart from deities or entities we recognize and regard as Alusi or Alukwusi.

Also Read: Ogwu-Ego: Wealth Manifestation Mechanism In Igbo Culture and Traditions.

In order to understand the origins of Alusi in our cosmology, I’ve delved into crucial inquiries about how our ancestors consecrated deities and the simplest term I’ve found to describe this process is the “Deification Process”. This process entails the deification of human beings or ancestors at the point of their death due to the life they lived and the value they brought to their community, an example is; the deity Uto, located at “Ugwuto Nsude Village”, he was a renowned warrior who got inflicted with leprosy and was abandoned by the community he saved, this caused an animosity which through the divination process, the community deified him and currently they celebrate him using the Nkwa Festival. In Nnewi, we have Edo Nnewi and her entire family unit, even though, many would claim she didn’t live as a human and was deified, we have countless stories of her life experience, which begins from her paternity to her first and second marriage, to the birth and loss of her child “Asa Edo” and finally, how she first appeared to Ndi-Nnewi and granted them her “Pot Of Wealth”, which is why Nnewi is known to be a land of wealth and prosperity.


Aside, from this deification process of transforming ancestors into deities, we have the second form of this process, which could be found within the historical context of some communities. For instance, the people of Igbariam during the early migrations, met an old woman who offered them water from a stream, the woman fed and took care of the early ancestors of Ndi-Igbariam and before she left them, she offered them the lands on which the community of Igbariam is situated in and gave them laws in which they can are expected to keep in order to benefit and be protected by spiritual forces guiding that land, we regard these laws as “Nso-ani/obodo”, the name of this woman is called “Sobali/Oso abalu m Igbariam”, this now becomes the origin of this deity to the people of Igbariam.

Lastly, the Igbo Deification Process can also be seen when an ancestor willingly sacrifices him/herself, to serve in a certain capacity for his/her descendants, it could be to act as their protector or provider, or for fertility, etc. These ancestors are perceived to be the exact reasons why some lineage or communities persevered to this day. We can also see that this practice is widely accepted within Christendom, yet it is demonized within the indigenous spiritual system. Whilst, we had these systems as a way to form a mode and method of worship, our system is not tied to the Judeo-Christian understanding of satanism or demonic expressions. We had a unique methodology of separating the soul and empowering it to serve in the capacity of a deity and sadly, this is a knowledge that has been lost to us. 

Also Read: Gini Bu Akalaka In Igbo Spiritual Cosmology

Nonetheless, whatever is good and worthwhile, would always have an adulteration and in our case, the need to seek what isn’t attainable or to live above human constraints, led to the abduction of humans, being forcefully used as conduits for spiritual manifestations and this kind of Deification Process is unfortunately more powerful and ruthless. Eventually, the perpetrators are brought to justice by the principle of karmic debts “Ugwo Onye Uwa Ji”, which serves as a deterrent preventing others from indulging in the same activity.

With this new information that I have provided for you, what do you honestly think about the “IGBO DEIFICATION PROCESS”?  

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  1. […] Also Read: How Igbo Deities Are Formed Without Human Sacrifice. […]

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