Modern Xtian Methods Of Casting, Binding Evil Spirits Are Strange To Igbo Tradition
Those that grew up in the Igbo communities earlier than 1980s were used to seeing sacrifices placed at road junctions. Until the colonial masters widened our footpaths to roads, the paths crossed to form junctions as the new colonial roads.
Junctions are described as where two or more paths or roads meet. The type of junction or intersection determines its spiritual significance and the kind of sacrifice dropped at them. A T-shaped junction (i.e an intersection where a road terminates at the angle of 90 degrees to another road) is of more spiritual significance than a junction where two paths or roads intersect.
It was believed that the spirits or demons ply the same roads as humans and would usually stop or pause at road junctions. Even though the spirits are invisible to humans except to “dibia” or diviners wearing “nzu” or whitish chalk on each of their eyelids, it is a general feeling that the spirits see humans and the sacrifices placed for them as food of appeasement.
A sacrifice in Igbo land is a prescription by a diviner or “Ọgba afa” as an appeasement to a named evil spirit troubling a patient or their client which is responsible for the unfavorable condition or sickness of a human person.
The diviner prepares the sacrifice for the client who would be instructed on the particular road junction to drop the sacrifice preparation and the timing.
The sacrifice dropped on the road junctions are expected to be eaten or accepted by the responsible evil spirit. As the sacrifices are placed on the roads, the named spirit responsible for the problem would be deemed to have been appeased.
Items used for the preparation of sacrifices include palm wine, pigeon, goats, chicken, food items etc., and more recently, powder, lipsticks, mirrors, sweets and soft drinks. After all, the spirits have modernized in their diets.
Never mind that I and some of my naughty friends, while in our teens, would always hunt for and descend on biscuits, soft drinks and sweets sacrificed to the ogbanje spirits at road junctions. My friends and I and the birds especially the sparrows and vultures transported the sacrificial items to the spirits.
The diviners and their clients were happy when they notice that their sacrificial preparations have been devoured or have disappeared.
Don’t men of God help in transporting our tithes and offerings to God?
Let no man cast a stone at me and my spiritual friends.
Even when the diviner or exorcist visits the home of a patient or client that needs spiritual cleansing, it is all about pleading, cajoling and persuasion of the menacing undesirable spirits to depart their host.
After adequate begging, the spirit being pursued might even speak through the mouth of the possessed announcing the scale and nature of sacrifice it needs to vacate the possession of their host or abode.
The native doctors that specialized in freeing young ladies of marine spirits would take the afflicted to the bank of the river and would beg mammy water or the river goddess to release the allegedly possessed subject.
Also, native doctors trying to reset the brains of some young boys adjudged disoriented or suffering from “agwụ” or “àghánānā” offer sacrifice of white fowls and/or a he-goat to Agwụ deity with a lot of pleadings and cajoling.
Traditional exorcism is all about begging the undesirable spirits to leave its host. The exercise is full of incantations just like when christians speak in tongues. Only the wordings differ.
Having witnessed numerous traditional ways of exorcism or luring the undesirable spirits out of the possessed, I was shocked when I came to Lagos, to see the way the christians harass and hound the undesirable spirits by way of “casting and binding”.
While the traditional Igbo people used pleading, negotiation and sacrifices to exorcise the undesirable spirits, Christians use pure violence and threats against the targeted demons in a bid to consign them to the bottomless pit as they attempt to free their “patients” or “customers” adjudged possessed by evil spirits or demons.
Both the ancient methods applied by our native Igbo people and that of the christians seem to achieve the same desired result of dislodging the undesirable spirits.
There is every likelihood that the evil spirits or demons cast out by threat would regroup, re-energize, re-arm and become more radicalized and infectious.
My uncle, Nnanyị Ozuomee, would say that whenever an appropriate appeasement is done, a menacing spirit is kept at bay as no man or dibịa has the power to exterminate a demon or an evil spirit.