Odinani is a traditional religious belief once entirely held by the Igbo people of Southern Nigeria. Unfortunately, only few practice this belief system and most of what is left of it is syncretised with Xianity.
When looking deeper into what is left of Odinani, one can see that the Sun was and still is central to this religion. Just like in most traditional African religions, there is a chief and supreme god that is beyond time and space, gender less and is the source that drives all. The universal life force. The Sun as always been a symbol of this.
In Odinani, the supreme god is called Chukwu (Chi Ukwu) or Chineke. These names mean "The Great Chi" and "The god that creates." The Igbo also see the sun as an agent of Chukwu. The sun as a physical manifestation of the life force.
Chi, in Igbo Cosmology, is the soul, the spirit double, and one's personal god. The Igbo correspond the sun with their own chi and it is held that chi may be invoked and called upon by facing the sun at daybreak. There is no surprise that chi also means daylight in Igbo dialect. They knew of the life force's communion with the sun.
In addition to building shrines in honor of their solar worship, the Igbo kept a physical representation of their personalized divine self. This is called Ikenga. It is one of the Igbo's most powerful icons. It is a horned figure that stands for personal power, achievement and success. It also is said to become activated through prayer (meditation) and sacrifice.
The horns symbolize the Mercury which is the perfected life force, the witch power and spiritual power. Many pagan gods are depicted with such.
In Odinani there are lesser divinities called Alusi, similar to the Orisha and Loa, that are seen as elements and channels to the supreme being.
One Alusi, or force of nature, is the goddess known as Ani. Her name is in Odinani and it means "Located deep in the Earth".
Ani is know to the Igbo to be the divine feminine goddess that rules earth and the underworld- the deep dark waters. She also rules over creativity, morality and fertility. The underworld is interpreted as the cosmic foot that heaven rests upon. Heaven is the crown chakra represented by the sky god, Igwe.
This is the kundalini shakti energy residing at the base of the spine. The python (Eke) is the sacred earthly representation of Ani and is referred to as "Mother" by the Igbos, still. Eke also means creative feminine force of fertility and so there is a link.
The serpent, python and cobra have been worshiped for thousands of years by ancient pagan traditions all over the world. It was our cosmic symbol of spiritual power and perfection.
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