In Igbo culture, there are more than 100 gods, both small and massive, but most people know little about them, except probably one, for ‘civilization.’ Personally, I believe it is to blame for colonialism and the advent of Christianity because they made us forget our roots as Africans. That’s a narrative, though, that I think we have to work hard to change. This article will present the 9 strongest and most popular Igbo gods (Alusi) and deities out of the over 100 gods there are.
In different dialects, it is also known as ani, ana and ale, a female deity that represents the earth, fertility, imagination and morality. In Igboland, she is the most respected God. In Igboland, she is considered the wife of Amadioha, the skygod, and commands authority. The ala symbol is a crescent moon and a python.
The most famous god in Igboland is the god of thunder and lightening. Of all, he is the best. Among the gods, he is considered a gentle man, but when angered, he is the most cruel. The common will of the people represents Amadioha. A white ram represents him and his color is red. He is also, to this day, one of the most hated gods in Igboland. As it is named Ozuzu in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria, his shrine can be located in Ogboro Ama Ukwu.
Ikenga is the god of strength and battle, literally meaning ‘the place of strength’. It is a horned deity, and in Igboland, it is one of the most powerful and revered gods. The Ikenga can be granted to men of good repute, wealth, and dignity as a title.
4. Agwụ Nsi
This is the Deity of divination and wellbeing. This God is one of the fundamental theological concepts used in Igboland to explain good and bad, health and sickness, poverty, and wealth. With most villages having some agwu priests, who also doubled as physicians in the land, belief in the deity was widespread.
This is the name of a popular god who visits around December every four (4) years as a masquerade. In Igbo land, it is a dreaded and respected deity, as no one dares to go near it once it enters the community. The shrine can be located in Umunoha, a city in the state of Imo, near the town of Owerri.
She is the sun-goddess. As is done in almost all ancient religions and practices, with respect to the sun, there is always a god. It is venerated as the goddess that inspires productivity, hard work and people’s overall positive well-being. The deity is held in high regard by the Igbos, which is why many households take the name as their surname.
7. Njọkụ Ji
This is Yam’s guardian deity in Igboland (Yes, yams). Rituals were created in honor of the goddess of yams in several parts of Igboland, also known as ifejioku. She is asked to, during the farming season, for productivity. Children who were loyal to this goddess were called Njoku, and in life they were meant to be successful.
The Goddess of the Seas and the Ocean. The Idemmili culture is thought to have been located in the state of Anambra. It’s a shrine that can be located in that culture and is one of Igboland’s oldest shrines. It’s a secret glow, and there’s python (eke) worship going on. The killing of pythons in that area is also prohibited.
Without the God of Death, this list will be incomplete. He is regarded as the death god, literally meaning ‘the one who kills at night’. It is said that his victims are criminals and those who have committed abominations on the ground, and that he is known to be a brutal murderer.
You can get more knowledge from a custodian of history and culture in your hometown about their rites, mode of involvement and rules governing each of these gods.
We Africans need to embrace our cultures, by the way, even though we are unable to practice them. We should study our history, so that we can teach the world and unborn generations about it [without adulteration].