Still-Bound: The Resistive Force of Dead Souls - Onyeji Nnaji
Copied from the book, Cosmic Chain, by Onyeji Nnaji
The human soul does not completely leave the environment where its body is deposited until the body is led to rest. Except the body returns to the earth, the soul would continue to move around the visinity of the body. In some Igbo communities with some certain trad-cultural observances, certain riguals are usually conducted before the soul of some elders are separated. The essence of such rituals is to spiritually disconnect the soul from it's involvement bodily. Some souls feel free and committed to their intent because of their intention to accomplish tasks or make sure that their instructions before death are followed precisely. Those souls which hover in order to accomplish their injunctions are referred here to as still-bound souls.
Two main factors are responsible for adults souls to be still--bound. Both factors have their sources traced to the activities of the body during lifetime. The most reoccurring fator is vengeance.many elders in the traditional Igbo society and beyond do not like the treatment given to dead bodies by morticians. Because they wouldn't want such actions to be matted on their body, they usually give instructions ahead of time on how their body should be treated. Morticians usually conduct surgery on dead bodies; this act is not usually welcomed in the Igbo setting as it is believed to hamper reincarnation. On the second reason, tradition disallows for certain elders at certain traditional position to be take to the body to the mortuary at death. Having informed his followers, the person's spirit stays back to watch the people keeping to their instructions.
In some cases some parents usually forbid some of their children from coming closer to their corpse or touching it for certain reasons. Mani instances of such conditions have always resulted from certain misconducts the concerned person in, which the father found to be demoting his personality and position in the society. This situation often creates concern because, in the traditional Igbo society, it is comsoconsi abominable for anybody not to see his father's dead body. It is to save one this shame and the accompanied scolding that many people tend to attempt flouting of the instructions given. The father understands this malignity too, or even better, so, to punish the person, he bans him or her from beholding his corpse.
The repercussions for daring to oppose this command does not wait for any distance; the punishment takes place instantly. There are countless instances where some parents had instructed heavily against taking their nodirbto the mortuary at death. Instances also abound where some of the children, for the sake of the plans they had made to enrich their Pockets with the parents' burial, hurriedly rushed to/and deposited the corpse in the mortuary. The consequences of such actions are on records. In the cause of this research documents of this book, I was told of a 1965 event where a girl was banned by her father from coming closer to his corpse.
The offence she committed was that she took to the family way before moving to her husband's house. The father did not care to know that it was her very husband that put on the family way. The man's anger was that she denied him the press he would get from fellow elders after he had taken good care of her before sending her to her husband. For as the tradition forbids, anyone who became pregnant in the father's house was usually denied the opportunity of Iru-mgbede. It used to be a time when parents fed their outgoing daughters sumptuously with assorted meat and different kinds of food. In Nkalaha, Iru-mgbede normally lastsed for one month, during which the bride was not allowed to do anything, only to eat, sleep, bath and exercise herself. Read detail of this in The Civilization of Nkalaha People.
Another condition that keeps spirits still--bound is rituals. Many elders do not part completely until certain rituals are performed to separese their spirit from their body. In Nkalaha, for instance, when any traditional elder dies, he is usually burried at a certain tell of the day while the sun is going down. After the burrial the accompanied rituals resumes in the succeedisu days. Nkalaha nelieve that a departed elder normally returns in the form of visitation. As he visits, he comes on the company of others who had died before him.
To sustain the situation .that dominates this routine visit, the relatives of the parted elder occasions a steady fire for them to warm their body during visit and also station attendant daughters to keep the fire on deadlessly. For seven market days which marks one Luna month, the fire will be on inside the deceased room. During this period, the attendants will be traditionally obliged to perform certain rituals. Morning and night, they throw pieces of food outside. Those are the time the spirits make their visit. s they visit they feed of the food thrown outside until the seven market days are over.
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