For a very long time, the heavens were peaceful and glorious as all the Gods and Goddesses lived together in one part of heaven. However, each was individualistic, and therefore very independent. This then became the cause of a big problem in the heavens as jealousy and greed came upon the attitudes of the Gods and Goddesses.
And so the Gods and Goddesses began to want all of the powers of the other Gods/Goddesses, as it then became a question of who had more authority. The Gods became greedy. Things got worse and worse. Finally, it got so bad that the affairs of the universe began to suffer and became a threat to CHINEKE’s existence. CHINEKE, who was the benevolent creator of the universe, began thinking of how to solve the problem, and so came up with a Master Plan. Heaven was divided into equal parts, and each God and Goddess had a domain of their own, which the Igbo called a Holy homestead.
Now the God, IGWE and the Goddess, ALA whose domain consisted of the sky and earth, created mankind. ALA and IGWE created eight humans, four males and four females. In creating mankind, IGWE and ALA used four kinds of material; sticks from the Ofo tree as bones and clay and chalk for flesh. After they were formed and dried in the sun, ALA wrapped them in Umune leaves from the Umune tree for nurturing the five senses and sexuality. IGWE and ALA had the responsibility of educating the humans on the seven cycles of life and about CHINEKE, the benevolent creator of the universe.
They thought their creations about Sexual acts and birth, Babyhood, Childhood, Adulthood, Parenthood, Grandparenthood, Great grandparenthood and Ancestor-hood.ALA and IGWE went out in their garden-of-life to get the things necessary for the ceremony. The four women went with ALA to her garden and gathered food. Meanwhile, IGWE, and the four men went to his garden to gather more food.
ALA, being the Great Mother of nurturing, retired to her domain to prepare the food, including eight yams and goat meat given to her by IGWE.
Then the eight humans were brought together and were taught that the contribution of the energy of life, in the creation of mankind, comes from IGWE. On the other hand, ALA makes the rules of moral conduct; especially as related to the earth, called the laws of the land, thus is the authority of Umune. And IGWE enforces these laws, he is also the judge, police and priest, as well as a warrior-protector, thus is the authority of the Ofor.
The humans all asked questions about what concerns them as individuals, and received individual answers. When the food was prepared, ALA and IGWE invited the God AMADIOHA (the thunder and lightning God), ANYANWU (the sun God), EKWENSU (the Trickster God), and ONWA (the Goddess of the Moon). This was followed by the ceremony called the celebration of life where there was a big festival of music, dancing, singing, talking, trading, and everybody having a good time.
After observing how the Gods and Goddesses related to each other as equals and traded with each other, and how they all made a profit, the people learnt the laws of social and economic relationships based on social equality and personal freedom. The eight humans chose a Destiny to become a Wealthy people based on Family Values and Trade; and to that effect IGWE drew up for them seven Articles of faith.
The great creator, CHINEKE, created the universe and all therein using parts of HIM-HER-SELF, and is known as the God of wealth. The major members of the holy family – those that concerned humans, were ALA, IGWE, ANYANWU, AMADIOHA, EKWENSU, and the Goddess of Mysteries, ONWA (the Moon Goddess); who CHINEKE bonded together with laws of social equality and personal freedom. CHINEKE, the great creator, created the Human Spirit who was given a personal chosen destiny; this Spirit-Destiny was called a Person’s CHI. The Earth Goddess and Sky God, ALA and IGWE, were Husband and Wife and the humans were their created children.
The worship of ancestors became the guide in building the Igbo community.
Divine manners of Kinship and trade were the guide in their life as a people.
Negotiation, based on these articles of faith drawn up by IGWE then became the pathway to spiritual and economic Success and wealth. And so the people, and the Gods and Goddesses put their seal of approval on this destiny, and it became a holy contract between the spiritual world and a human being.
After the approval of these seven articles of faith, the eight humans left the celebration and went out into the world and multiplied into the Igbo nation. When the people reached the outside of heaven, they took the names of the values of IGWE and ALA. The four women took the names Determination, Fortitude, Peace, and Unity. The men took the names Justice, Truth, Trust, and Righteousness. They got married, and formed the original four Igbo couples and families.
The original humans created by IGWE and ALA were pure in body and spirit. They lived in perfect harmony, trade was perfect, and they were living in the paradise of the wealth of a perfect society. But then they started to have offspring and multiply with each new human having his own traits and trade, and soon jealousy and greed started to grow among them and turned the perfect and pure society upside down, and destroyed the perfect family relationships which were the legacy of the original eight. The Igbo community which was the beauty of the Gods was then falling apart.
The original eight were not affected, for they were too pure, and because they were the oldest in the Igbo society, all of the people held a meeting presided over by them. That was how the first Igbo government came into reality, and there, the original humans came up with a master plan. Their plan called for each of the original eight to create a ritual to restore people to the purity of the values of society. Since the original eight people were taught by IGWE and ALA in the holy homestead, they knew something about the ritual process. Each created a ritual to restore to society the value that they represented. After that, the original humans returned to live with IGWE and ALA in the Holy Homestead. And from there they became messengers between the people of the world and the spiritual world. And so ancestor worship became the ritual relationship to one of the eight values.
Modified By Chukwuka Nduneseokwu
Pictures (Scrulptures depicting different Igbo Gods)