In this Picture, and on the extreme right of the picture, His Holiness Ogbaja KOK Onyioha, Spiritual Head of Chiism(Godianism) stands with the former Abia State Governor, Governor Ogbonnaya Onu, participating in ITU MMAI (the Pouring of Libations) in Umuahia Nigeria. As you can see, the gentleman pouring libations is using a liquid and pouring it on the ground.
There are three types of Libations:
A libation is a ceremony concerning the pouring of water. The sacraments differ from culture to culture and according to framework and rationale, but the libation is at all times a spiritual performance in which a swap is made connecting the living and the spiritual realms. Typically, it is connecting the breathing and the ancestors–or ethereal, such as saintly beings, divinities, fundamental forces, and so forth. Giving libation merely means to decant water (or wine) with the purpose that it be acknowledged by a spirit in the spiritual realm.
We as a rule pour to spirits that are in some way linked to us, whether through bloodlines, through apprenticeship and birthright, in the course of affection for and companionship, or in the course of spiritual unification. We can in addition offer libation to the significant energies that make up the character of our universe, such as the streams, the woodlands, the creatures in this planet. Once more, this fluctuates from culture to culture, but the process is consistently a constructive swap of energy forces.
Why Do Africans Pour Libations?
The offering of libation engages the pouring of liquid, such as water or wine, on the ground in a particular mold while reverence is paid to the ancestors.
However, Itu mmanyi or Libation is a sacrament set aside wholly for those that had positive impact in life by living good quality ethical existence. Pouring libation to a person we are giving veneration is summoning their disposition, deeds and way of life. We are soliciting additional supply so to speak of what they did while they were living.
To appreciate why libations is imperative, it is essential to comprehend that in the customary African universal mindset, all things have life within, and such life has intrinsic value in addition to influence.
Our ancestors grasped that all things in Creation came from Chineke, and as the rays of the sun are just smaller parts of the identical foundation, so is the creation and all its different beings and elements, a grouping of lesser reflections of the Creator. All of it is made from the same Stuff. They also believed, and still do, in re-ci-pro-city. This is the basis of the Hermetic Laws, which began in primordial Africa, and are mainly credited to being intricate and memorialized in manuscript by the grand theorist, originator, and doctor of medicine, Imhotep.
Re-ci-pro-city is the underpinning of equilibrium or balance. Without the first we shall not have the second. If we continue to take from others without giving anything back, something negative happens to the balance in our lives. If we suck up all the oxygen in the room without others getting a chance speak,it too affects our balance.
The spiritual realm gives so much to us. The Chiist believe in the presence of the ancestral spirits and graces of Chineke that intercede on our behalf as a result of asking, automatically, for all the blessing in the universe. Libations are our process we use to give thanks for our blessings. Our ancestors gave us our traditions and culture as well as our DNA.
Before you decide to pour libations, know certain things that are absolutely necessary for an effective excercise.
Before pouring any public libations, be sure to ask a noble elder to give you the permission to speak (Usually 60 years or more. You can never assume that you have their permission to speak on their behalf, no matter your status in life)
1. We never pour libations for those individuals whose lives ended as a result of causes that are not community sanctioned. In Nkporo, no funeral services incorporating community mourning is authorized by nde Eze(The leaders of the community).
2. Murderers and all such people of poor moral character do not receive libations. Such people are buried in “ugwu ifiri where people with such moral characters are buried and never mentioned in public and personal ceremonies.
3. Remember that part of pouring of libations is to call up the wisdom that people have achieved that we can borrow from. When a young child leaves this earth, they are not included in the libations ceremony because they had yet to achieve wisdom to share.
4. Libations are not offered for people who have low moral strengths, engaged in activities of ill repute, took their own lives. Again it is important to remember what you are trying to bring into your life and the life of the community so you do not want to drag in some bad spiritual forces.
5. We also do not pour libations to those who abused people’s lives. They too are not provided the dignity of a community funeral.
Three types of Libations
Itu mmai- Community Libations
Usually Needs hard liquor- During this process, it is high energy and used to uplift, encourage and initiate community action. It is usually preceded by call and answer! It is rousing and generates high emotional response.
Personal Libations- Usually poured in the privacy of your personal shrine. I have plants in my personal shrine and I use water. The water is life giving, creates growth nourishment for your plants, allows you the opportunity for personal reflection to heal your spirit, creating or creating unification with loved ones. You also target a specific grace of Chineke. Please visit our Facebook page Global Faith Ministries of Chiism and find out the specifics of these graces of Chineke under how to build your own Obasi. Remember that if you have specific artifacts that reflect these graces, use them instead of the candles.
Spiritual Libations in the Obasi Oha- Libation and prayer go hand in hand in the Obasi Oha. Here we pour libations with white wine beseeching Chineke and invoking the Ancestors. Additionally, we focus on all the 7 graces of Chineke…Amadioha, Fijoku, Imo Mmiri, Ekwuruochie, ALA, Kamalu, Ofo na Ogu. In the Obasi Oha, there are Alters in reverence to all these graces of Chineke and at some point in the spiritual ceremony, the worshipers are asked to approach the specific alters and pour libations and offer a personal individual prayer in honor of the graces that reflect the need they have, reflected by this grace of Chineke, and then return back to their seat.
Places where you can pour libations
a. In a plant or plants
b. On Mother earth
c. In and outside the shrine as I stated earlier
d. In a vessel placed either on the ground or on table.
e. Anywhere you wish to acknowledge and invoke the ancestors.
Libation can be caused to flow as often as one desires provided it is consistent for the ultimate results.
Pouring Libations Survived in the Diaspora
Libations fortunately did not die with slavery. As a matter of fact, the descendants of the Africans brought to the new world and enslaved, continue to practice libations though in different forms…transformed if you will. During slavery, the slaves were not allowed to practice their cultural rituals but in spite of these challenges the African American and Caribbean ancestors kept the practice alive. You notice that in many African programs, people still pour libations.
Many Afro-Caribbean who preserved the remnants of their traditions practice African religions such as Orumilaism, Santeria, Vodun, Lukumi, and more. The new members pour libations to their divinity and ancestors in countless sacraments both communal and clandestine.
What Happens When We Pour Libation?
When you pour libation for your ancestors it becomes easier for them to communicate with you and other living family members, as well as carry out any other important tasks they may have close to our dimension. As you pour libations you actually feel free to speak with them as you would the living. In so doing, the ancestors live.
Even the water used in libations is considered medicinal for the sick once poured and gathered to an appropriate Spirit. The water, or libation, restores the balance of energy between the living being and the spirit. (reciprocity) It represents our love and respect for those who have supported us; it is an act of nurturing, similar to the nurturing that they give us. Once we have honored the Spirits thus, we have changed the energy in our lives to open the way for them to return blessings and favors to us. Its like giving s gift for the one we received …clemency for clemency…Affection for affection etc.
Anyone can practice pouring libations. You can do so by water free of chemicals (spring water) on earth directly or in a plant or bowl. For those who have issues with a woman pouring libations…Women are priests
For a personal Libations: You pour water to:
• The four winds (east, west, and north, south) (Pour).
• Call the name of Chineke (Pour)
• Call the names of the 7 graces of Chineke…Anyanwu, Ala, Amadioha, Fijoku, Ekwuruochie/imo mmiri, ofo na ogu, Kamalu(Ask for their guardianship and support (Pour).
• Make wishes you wish to keep (truthfulness, love, and happiness) (Pour).
• Those wishes you would like to have( Marriage, long life, good health, children, means to raise them) (Pour)
• Call out the names of your ancestors and ask for their guardianship) (Pour)
• After doing these things you end with the phrase Ise, Ofo, and Yagazie! (which means …and so it is, I spoke in truth, and may all go well for us(me) now and always!)
• THE COMMUNTY LIBATION (ITU MMAI)
We call upon our ancestors Every where, the mothers of our mothers and their mothers and mother( ISE).
• We call you, fathers of our fathers and their fathers and fathers(ISE)
• Come and visit with us and see who we have become(AUDIENCE ISE)
• We hope the you are pleased with what we have done to mirror the good you did when your heart was beating and with each pulsation you created good for us and the community(AUDIENCE ISE)
• Help us as we strive to keep our Africanness alive. Stand before us, behind us and keep your loving hands around us to remind us that you will be with us to assure that we maintain our ways, we teach the children and we live according to dive law(AUDIENCE ISE).
• We pour libations to welcome you back into the fold, to offer us back your esteemed African spirit, a wealth of your immense acumen, valor, perseverance, and steadfast dedication to success in all we do(AUDIENCE ISE).
• We ask that you stand in the way of anything that will initiate a throwback of the horrors and confusion of our past (AUDIENCE ISE)
• We pour libations to pledge to our children and their children and those in the spirit world waiting for their turn to debut, that they will learn enough from us to prepare them to triumph over adversity and carry on to put a mark on the world as the descendants of greatness(AUDIENCE ISE).
• We Pour Libation to the Ancestors (AUDIENCE …ISE, ISE, ISE)
We pray that the Universe has heard us, the ancestors are proud of us and the Chineke is happy with us, (AUDIENCE…ISE, OFO YAGAZIE)
• Otito Nile Diri Chineke!
Before we discuss the other form of libations, the breaking of the Kola nut which is indigent to the Igbos of Nigeria, I remind you that our number here is (646) 716-5275. I will take a break for you to hear a song that I wrote were obi Di mma…which means be kind and gentle toward your fellow humans as you praise Chineke.
Otito Nile Diri Chineke!