MYSTERY OF IGBO COSMOLOGY - Onyeji Nnaji
The Mystery of Number, “Five” in the Igbo Cosmology.
From: Aspects of the Ancient African Metaphysics;
Topic: Igbo Geometries and the Metaphysics of Numbers.
Author: Onyeji Nnaji.
In the Igbo cosmology, the word Isee is a definite symbolic word as revealed through the Igbo language and culture. A human being has five fingers, five toes. The hands and feet are fundamentals to the survival in life as they are necessary in ensuring that man moves to places where he gets food and grapples on the food to sustain his life. To this view, the rhetoric that binds vocatives in the form of incantation (anchoring on the heart-lock: four) and the concomitant reprisal in the manner of affirmation that holds the human life bind to his original spiritual person, therefore defining existence and essences are unified by the corresponding echo: Isee!!!!! Therefore it stands that anytime a prayer is said in the Igbo land, the attendants who would want the fulfillment of the prayer unanimously affirmed the prayer by saying Isee! Five then becomes the language of the spirit, the language of the creator that indicates agreement to, not every sayings but those that carry creative power, indicate affirmation. It is even obvious when it is demonstrated dramatically as the Igbo affirm the prayers said in their midst. If a kolanut is broken and the Igbo say prayers, as soon as he mentions the blessings or wishes associated with lives, the attendants go in to affirm them thus: Isee! Then, dramatically, everyone points his fingers towards the soil. Put in another way, the spontaneity of the unanimous drama is an indication that Isee (five) is associated with the soil which is represented in the mystic concept as the primordial god, Ala.
Among the Igbo the number five has great symbolic significance. If a kolanut is broken and it has five lobes it means good luck to the sharer. It also refers to stability. Thus isee reflect axiomatic values, five definite realization on which the life of every Igbo rests. They are: life, children, wealth, peace and love (Ekwunife, 1990). Another word for the meaning of an axiom could be simply, self evidence. The principal of the axioms kept by the Igbo are derived from the natural law, and the Igbo ascribed the source and making of these law to the primordial goddess of the earth, Ala. Ala is the moral concomitance of the natural law and the exercise of authorities binding on these laws by Ala gave the ancient Igbo the impetus to ascribe reverence to Ala goddess as a primal god. This religious practice stood and still stands the Igbo different from every other ancient worlds, races, tribes and people. This primal goddess is represented everywhere among the Igbo communities with a stepped earth, and the geometry is five. Significant enough, Eze Nri clarifies that in the days of creation, Chukwu Okike eminently started his creation upon an anthill, for the earth was covered by water. It was on this anthill that the first man (believed to be the ancestor of the Igbo race) landed via a rope from the sky. From hence was the goddess Ala revered by the Igbo as the original being.
It was revealed that, as man continued to spread (moving to places) in the search for food and hunting of animals, it soon occurred to them to make a construction upon the anthill where Ala was worshipped. They made the constructions in the form of pyramids. But so amazing; the pyramids where of five significant steps. Till date, they still stand on the valley of the land of today Nsude in Enugu State, Nigeria. The ancient fathers of the Igbo community that lived in this area adopted these pyramids as symbols of the anthill that marked the beginning of creations and had it as the more credible trace of their paths as they continued in their vagrancy across people. This indirectly reveals the mystery of five in the Igbo cosmology. According to elders of Nsude, the ten pyramids were constructed at the time when human beings had no idea of constructing a place of living. The ancient Igbo ancestors lived in caves from where they set off in search of food and meat. Wherever night caught up with them they slept to continue from there the succeeding days. Professor A. E. Afigbo (1981) in his Ropes of Sand first muted the idea of the origin of Igbo Traditional religion, and I share his insight on the subject. He noted thus:
The history of the origin of Igbo traditional religion must be sought within Igbo history of origin. Igbo lived a hazardous wandering life of the hunter and gatherer of wild edible plants. The tradition of Nri disclosed how the Igbo entered a settled 1ife which brought him further development of skills. (P.9).
He further noted that the period was “the Age of Innocence when our earliest Igbo
ancestors walked with God and were fed divine substance as food: an Eternal Day
with no night, sleep or toil”.
Nsude, Agbaja Pyramids
Egyptian account of creation holds to this similar view alongside the Jewish Cabala. These later records intoned that God first raised a mound upon which He stood when He created all that was created. According to Egyptology, the pyramid in Saqqara was designed to commemorate this concept. Among the Jews of Israel, this culture – supposedly acquired from Egypt – is still celebrated with the gathering of sand to commemorate the same concept. The pyramid in Saqqara followed the same pattern to reveal the close relationship between the builders of the different pyramids at different places and time. stepped pyramid in Saqqara, Egypt. 2,630 BC.
On the contrary, the most significant god in Egypt is the sun; not Ala. If the original intention for this among the Egyptians were as stated above the historians supposedly had lost the knowledge of the history of the stepped pyramid. The mystery surrounding the pyramid and the ideology for setting up the pyramid xrays the history of the civilization of ancient Egypt herself. Therefore, the pyramid culture was adopted as the written code and a part-tracing diamond to the civilizers of the ancient Egypt. This was not the only thing Egypt lost about her history; she is till date ignorant of the original name of the land today called Egypt. But Nag Hammadi record has come to help in tracing certain part of the eluded history. At least, it gives explanations concerning the civilization of Egypt.
According to the record kept by Canadian Museum of History concerning the civilization of Egypt, it reveals that:
The seed of civilization were first sown along the bank of the Nile. This mighty river which flows north from the heart of Africa… In predynastic times, nomadic hunters settled in the valley and began to grow crops to supplement their food supply.
These nomadic hunters who settled at the bank of the Nile River were philosophers and scribes who made use of slate books and wooden axes; the same were people whose activities attracted the attention of the communities in the upland. These nomadic hunters were the civilizers of Egypt. The 2,000 year old Nag Hammadi Scriptures uncovered 1950s deep in the desert-sands of Egypt, adds the final missing links to the mystery of Igbo identity as associated with the civilization of Egypt. The document explains the feature of the people who gave Egypt her civilization. It tells about a people whose cosmology is rooted in the numbers four and eight, who emanated from the realm of the Eternal Day (as Afigbo also affirmed) where there was no Darkness, nor toil, nor sleep; a
“kingless generation with no kingdom over them because they are all kings (Igbo Enwe Eze); a people whose “most central symbol is the quadrangle” (the basic geometry of Igbo ichi); a people who “worship the Primal Goddess” (as in Ala/Ani); a people among whom “the three entities Father, Mother and Child exist as perceptible speech having within it three names abiding in three nnn” as in Nne, Nna and Nwa or Nwoke, Nwanyi and Nwata. “The First Sons of the true God--- the fourth generation, which is the most exalted, is kingless and perfect.” From creation, the Igbo was originally kingless,
Nag Hammadi was not the only proof of this. The ancestors of the Igbo race saw everyone with the equal content of the same god-man spirit each person carried. Egyptian records reveal this better and associate the same character to the characteristic Igbo society of the ancient communities. It remarks thus:
“In the beginning the beings had energy of royalty majesty,” literally a concept, idea or instinct which impinged itself in man and made him see himself as equal to his neighbour;” for they were all royalty”. That is the principle, and Egypt has the people of this principle as “the origin of world history and civilization.” Viz, that “all began with energy and energy is existence and the correct frequency of existence is the true definition of truth and love…”
This people were the teachers of the Egyptian knowledge of the old. The Igbo gained a settle lifestyle after they began to understand the principle of planting and harvesting – according to Eze Nri – then became organized into supper structure under the leadership of two distinct god-men; the theosophists and the theocrats. They had no king and were never organized under a sole leadership rather than the conceptual democratic lifestyle until the advent of the colonial masters.
An American anthropologist who studied the Igbo community of Onitsha as late as
1913 still found colossal evidence among the Igbo to entitle his book The King in Every Man. The later generation among these beings with energy of royalty was retained as priests and diviners, teachers and spiritualists. Chesi (1985:7), emphasizing the potency of rituals in Africa, asserts thus “people say that in former times all men carried a share of the gods in them, and vice versa. The task of the ritual is to activate and to intensify these shares so as to enable man to be divine for a certain period of time.”
Now, the stepped pyramid at Saqqara, perhaps were constructed as the more credible route towards tracing the part the civilizers had followed (their origin). Similar pyramids of five steps were placed in Saqqara as replicas of the original pyramids here in Nsude, which housed the primordial goddess Ala, and of course the primal mound of the mythical anthill. In the book, Before the Pyramids, compiled by a group of editors and authored by Emily Teeter, a mystery was uncovered bothering on the history of the great pyramid in Saqqara. The bookindicates that there was a label found containing a pictorial which was suspected to have been engraved on stones earlier. The label was very difficult to study, but the possible indication found was that it housed the secret binding on the existence of the stepped pyramid (P. 101). Of course, Djoser the third dynasty king of Egypt who ordered for a monument to be constructed did not know what a pyramid was when Imhotep instructed him to construct a pyramid. Because Djoser did not know what the pyramid was, he would possibly not know certain seals enclosed in the construction. Only Imhotep would know the inscriptions on this label as one of the remnant god-men. Imhotep was described as an architect, a priest and a healer; a god-man who had understanding of history, time and people. Nnaji has explained this label in his book Reminiscence. Judging from the periods of these pyramids, it was clear that the period of the civilizers, as Nag Hammadi and Book of the Dead revealed is different from the time of the Saqqara pyramid (2,630 BC).
The Nsude pyramids were constructed before the Igbo ancestors had a settled life; many centuries before industrialization in the ancient Igbo societies. In the twenty first century, an Iron Smelting Site was discovered in Lejja,
Lejja Iron Smelting Site. Over 4000 BC Enugu State of Nigeria. Lejja is located within the same area where the stepped pyramids where constructed by the ancient Igbo fathers. Out of the hips of the charcoal found in the site, a sample was collected and estimated in the Oxford University Accelerator Spectronometry Laboratory to have lasted more than 4,000 BC. If ordinary charcoal should be older than the Saqqara pyramid, it should be apparent that the owner of that industrial site (whoever he might be) did not live in isolated as he had outnumbered population whom he worked for. Of course, his ancestors also may have worked in the site. The document in the Canadian museum gives us another important information about the pyramids in Saqqara.
According to the Canadian records, “the feature of the pyramids (in Egypt) was
haped like the sacred mound where the gods first appeared in the creation story”.
he document reveals further thus:
Today, Egyptian archaeologists are still making important discoveries and the scientific study of the royal mommies shedding new light on the genealogy of the pharaohs. The ongoing deciphering of the hieroglyphic writings and research on the life of the peasants (the nomadic hunters) are also answering questions related to the evolution of Egyptian culture. Canadian Museum of History.
Every facet of Egytian records showed their indebtedness to these nomadic hunters, the god-men, the kingless society (the Never-been-ruled), the people who owned the pyramid culture and the people whose creation myth is anchored on the primordial mound; these were the philosophers, teachers and scribes who made use of scarified inscriptions on ancient stones: the people who gave ancient Egypt her civilization when she still retained her original name. Egyptology is now aware that the land of the rising sun is not in East Africa, instead West Africa. It is evident here that the history of the peasants (the hunters) who settled along the coastal region of the Nile River is necessary to almost (if not) all the answer concerning the evolution of the Egyptian culture and civilization.
The discovering made in Egypt is shading more light on the proof that the civilizers of Egypt were not Egyptians. It also indicates that it was possible the same civilizers were the dynastic race. Citing Petrie (1939, p.153) on the history of Egyptian civilization, Teeter asserts thus,
Petrie was a devotee of the “dynastic race” theory, believing that the founders of Egyptian civilization came from outside the country. In 1893/1894, he obtained from the Service des Antiquites permission to excavate at Koptos, where he believed the “dynastic race” would have first settled in the Nile Valley after entering Egypt… He was rewarded with the discovery of three larger-than-lifesize statues of local gods Min decorated with emblems (the same with Igbo Ukwu emblem) in low relief which where unlike typical “pharaonic” motifs. Petrie felt sure that those statues were very early in date –“prehistoric as he described them – and was pleased when two of the statues were assigned to him in the division of antiquities at the British Museum, but they were rejected as being “unhistorical rather than prehistoric” (Before. 18).
Petrie’s role in the discovering of early Egypt cannot be overestimated, although he did not have explicit information regarding the date or period of the things he founded. At last he concluded that “Egyptian civilization was the product of predynastic race who had entered Egypt in the predynastic period via Punt (Punt is in Egyptian mythology expressed as the land of the rising sun: the home of the gods) and became her rulers.” (Petrie 1939: 77-78) It is no longer strange to establish that Egypt was civilized by the god-men who left Igbo Ukwu in the age of the industrial evolution that swept across the east; around 500,000BC. (see Nnaji’s Earth-to-Earth). Teeter even asserts vividly that the “direct evolution of civilization in the Nile Valley from the Paleolithic time through Predynastic Egypt to a fully-fledged monumental civilization was already well attested.”
The Nsude pyramids were first excavated by the archaeologist, G.I. Jones in the early part of 1930s. He took the photograph of the pyramids which he kept in t e
museum of anthropology and archaeology at Cambridge University. The mystery of the number five is the mystery of the primordial goddess, Ala. The same is the mystery surrounding the anthill as weaved into play by the ancient Nri creation myth. This mystery is the meaning of the pyramid and the history of world civilization, democracy and governance. The five steps of the pyramids, as stratified, represent the basic meaning the Igbo hold as the principle of life; the axiom as stated at the beginning of this phase. They bother on life, children, wealth, peace and unity. It is in the Igbo culture alone that the five comprehensible cosmological models of the human body are recognized. These of course, exclude those models whose core precepts are now less propagated by giving their archive familiarities since ancient. The conviction ancient Igbo metaphysics have over life and creation are embedded in the Igbo geometrical concept and it is only through an added understanding of these geometries that their meanings can be deciphered.