Igbo pre-Colonial Religion

In Pre Colonial Era, Igbo people believed in Odinani. It`s the common name for the traditional Igbo religious practices. 

The main characteristic of this religion is a monotheistic attribute. We believed in one God, but we also had a lot of spirits (Alusi or Arusi).

Igbo`s traditional beliefs in some contextual meaning can resemble Christian cosmology. They believed in one God called Chineke.

He was a creator of everything on the Earth. At the same time, the world was divided into Human and Spirit world. When people died, they traveled to the spirit world.

Each person has a guardian spirit which was called Chi. Chineke or Chukwu assigned these spirits to every person. 

The closest concept to Chi spirit is the guardian angel in Christianity. This spirit also follows the person into the world of spirits. Igbo people believed that they could speak with ancestors who lived in the spirit world.

Alongside with Chukwu as a supreme spirit, there were other lesser spirits:

- Anyanwu – it`s the sun god. Together with Amadioha, he controls the weather;

- Amadioha – it`s the god of Sky. He was also a god of justice, lightening and thunder.

- Ana or Anada (can also be called Ani or Ala)– it`s the Earth Goddess;

- Ikenga – It`s the god of time and achievements. He had control over blacksmithing and farming;

- Ekwensu – It`s the god of war that was mostly honoured amongst warriors.

Igbo in Pre Colonial era also had a system of priests. They were divided into two types:

- Hereditary priests. They were mere servants of one particular god or spirit.

- Seers. These priests were empowered with justice functions. They had symbols of power and almost limitless authority.

Igbo people also had ancestral shrines. They tried to keep in touch with their ancestors by providing them offerings. #IgboHistory


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