What is Alusi? Who is Alusi?
The Igbo cosmology is divided into four parts, and one of the four of them is Alusi. The Igbos are one of the three major ethnic groups of Nigeria, in west Africa.
Alusi, know by some as Arusi and some as Arushi, are minor deities or gods worshiped in the Igbo tradition. They are many Alusi in the Igbo culture, and each has his purpose. They are associated with the Earth, the rivers, or the market place. They also act as forces for blessing, destruction, but then in it depends on the situation. Alusis are mostly represented by wooden figures and kept in their shrines. Rituals are being performed annually, some weekly, and each Alusi has its priest or priestess that listens and interprets their wishes.
Alusi is considered to be chi-ukwu’s incarnations in the world; it’s believed that they all sprang from Ala, the earth goddess. Then it’s believed that they are lesser deities, considered as the elements of chi-ukwu, and exist as long as they serve their purpose.
Alusis is mostly sacrificed animals to appease them or to seek favor from them. If they reject the sacrifice, that could be a warning for plaque, sickness, and so many other calamities befalling the land as it means that they are angry. Sometimes they might cause sudden deaths, depending on the weight of their anger. Sometimes the need for human sacrifice will be there.
When the world was asleep, in the Igbo tradition, when someone commits an abomination or when someone commits a shameful act. The alusis demand that they are killed or disposed to the evil forest, where it is believed that they belong to the gods. It could be thieves; it could be Babe born with teeth, it could be twins since it was thought that giving birth to more than one child is an animalistic act, as a human gives birth to one at a time. Therefore, they are considered less of a woman.
They are so many Alusis that we may or may not know but exists in the Igbo land.
1)Ala : also known as Ani or Ana, depending on the dialect. She is the goddess of the Earth. She represents the Earth and conserves everything chi-n-eke has created; she is the most respected Alusi of the Igbo tradition. The symbol of Ala is a python and a crescent moon.
2)Amadioha : Amadioha is the most popular God of the Igbo tradition, the God of thunder and lightning. He is considered the strongest of all Alusi. He is the most gentle and the cruelest when annoyed. A white ram represents him, but its colour is red.
3)Anyanwu: Like every other tradition, there’s always a deity that represents the sun, and that’s what Anyanwu is. The goddess of the sun is considered the goddess that promotes productivity, hard work, and man’s well-being.
You will notice that so many Igbos use this name as a surname because she was held of high esteem.
4)Ikenga: ikenga is believed to be the alusi promoting Time, success, and achievement. Ikenga’s symbol is ram’s horns, and its colour is red. It’s mostly owned by Men and occasionally owned by women. Ikenga literally translates as a place of strength. Ikenga is grounded in the belief that the power of man to achieve great things is endowed in his right hand; that’s the reason why our right hand is called Aka Ikenga. He is celebrated annually and often considered a tow faced god that has one eye in the future and the other in the past.
5)Igwe: Igwe is the alusi of the sky and is considered the husband of Ala; he produces rain to aid Ala’s productiveness.
They are so many other alusis, like; idemilli, Agwu nsi, Njoku Ji, Ndebunze, and so many others.
Igbo people will say “Igbo Amaka,” which means Igbo culture is beautiful.