Understanding the Role and Functions of Alusi in Igbo Spirituality | Nso-Ani, Nso Obodo, and Nso-Alusi | Igbo Indigenous Beliefs

Understanding the Role and Functions of Alusi in Igbo Spirituality | Nso-Ani, Nso Obodo, and Nso-Alusi | Igbo Indigenous Beliefs

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    Uru-Alusi Baara To An Individual & Community.

Alusi is a central concept in Igbo indigenous spirituality, do not let anyone tell you otherwise. The functions of Alusi may vary depending on the intentions behind its institutions, but nonetheless, Alusi is more or less, amplified by the preservation of its moralities “Idose Ihe-Nso”, which are the general agreed upon tenets each community or linage is sworn to keep.

Alusi can manifest at the community level and is referred to as “Mmuo Obodo”, or it can manifest within each linage and we refer to it as “Mmuo Ngwuru or mmuo bee nna”, each of these Alusi manifestations at various levels, have their dedicated functions and importance to a family, individual or community, some of this importance include;


  1. Alusi functions as a control mechanism, in the sense that the fear of powerful deities within the land, prevented the perpetuation of crime or the perpetuation of crime within the clear view of everyone.
  2. Alusi checkmates the power and influence of Igbo leaders, most organizations such as; Nze na Ozo title holders and Obiship, were inaugurated with the staff of office “Ofo” of ancestral deities as a way to prevent an excessive abuse of their power and influence and this practice ensured that our leaders had an authority they fell under prevented any form of systemic abuse.
  3. Alusi functions as a peacekeeper and an executioner of justice through the Igbo system of “Itu-Alusi”, currently, some communities in Enugu are using their deities to fight wealthy and influential men from land grabbing and selling off ancestral lands, and as a peacekeeper, each lineage has a deity whom they refer to in times of disputes and through the deity and Afa, they can get a resolution.
  4. Alusi also functions as a protector and a provider, this could be during a time of war or in a time of injustice, which led to the transformation of most families into “Osu”. As a provider, each sacrifice offered to a deity is supposed to be shared by the have-not and not to be embezzled by dibia, akajiofo, or the representative of the deity.
  5. Alusi serves as a protector for lives and properties, usually in times when a land grabber desires to take properties that belong to another person who is presumably poorer or is low status and cannot fight the influential person, Alusi becomes a mechanism used to restrict such an egregious act from happening. We’ve heard of cases where representatives of a deity,  directly warn the person to stay clear of what doesnt belong to him and the fear of such deity becomes one way in which a low-status man or widow would protect what belongs to him or her.
  6. Alusi is a strong protector and advocate for women and most especially widows. Because of the patriarchal nature of our society, deities are often keen on protecting the most vulnerable members of our society from predators who wish to exploit their vulnerability. This is where the concepts of Ogwugwu so nwaanyi eje ije di come in. Again in most communities like in Nnewi, we have the presence of a deity known as Mkpukpa, her specific function is to cater to women who are suffering from spousal abuse either from the husband or from the in-laws.

Also Read: The Igbo Concept Of Negative Energy “Akalogheli”.

Uru Alusi Bara, can vary from person to person and it is also dependent on the preservation of our Nso-Ani, Nso Obodo, and Nso-Alusi, each of these moralities are key attributes that determine our relationship with these Alusi and their continued support in effectively carrying out functions they are have been tasked with.

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One response to “Understanding the Role and Functions of Alusi in Igbo Spirituality | Nso-Ani, Nso Obodo, and Nso-Alusi | Igbo Indigenous Beliefs”

  1. […] Also Read: Understand the role and function of alusi in Igbo spirituality and cosmology. […]

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