Spiritual Aspects in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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In Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, the beliefs of an afterlife and spirit world were strong factors in the daily events of an Ibo person’s life. These beliefs controlled their actions and thoughts all the time. The Ibo believed in not only personal spirits, but also in a supreme deity, the Creator of the world and the Ibo, as well as the minor gods and entities of the spirit world. To the Ibo, it was customary for one to approach a great and powerful man through his servants. Sacrifices were made to the minor gods and spirits, but when these fail to bring about the desired result, the Ibo went to the Supreme Deity for final intervention. Chukwu

The actual Supreme Deity, or God, of the Ibo religion was called Chukwu, which seems to be a corruption of the Asaba word Chi-ukwu, meaning the highest or the biggest Chi. The Ibo men therefore adore and worship two powers, one the biggest and highest power - the Ruler of the Universe, and the other power through which from Chuckwu/Chi-ukwu they derives their existence in this world, that is, their personal chi. On one of Mr Brown’s visits, Akunna says, •“You say that there is one supreme God who made heaven and earth.” “We also believe in him and call Him Chukwu” Chukwu is the greatest and most powerful of all the gods, he is the Supreme Being, and is worthy of fear and submission- this is what the Ibo believe. •“We make sacrifices to the little gods, but when they fail and there is no one else to turn to we go to Chukwu. We approach the great man through his servants. But when his servants fail to help us then we go to the last source of hope….We worry them more because we are afraid of their master.”

Agbala and his priestess
Agbala was known as the Oracle, one who foresees things, who has revelations of the future and the past. It is clear that Agbala held a very big role in Igbo society, because we see in the book that many people come to see it when they have good or bad fortune/ luck.Also known as the Oracle of the Hills and the Caves, she influences all aspects of Umuofian life (based in the real Oracle at Awka who controlled Igbo life for centuries.) Achebe writes: •Pg 15“The Oracle was called Agbala, and people came from far and near to consult it. They came when misfortune dogged their steps or when they had a dispute with their neighbors. They came to discover what the future held for them or to consult the spirits of their departed fathers.” All important gods had priests or priestesses, someone who was to act as a connection between the spirit world and the real world- someone to speak through. Achebe writes: •No one had ever beheld Agbala except his priestess….His priestess stood by the sacred fire which she built in the heart of the cave and proclaimed the will of the god.” The earth goddess

The earth goddess was believed to be the proprietor of fertility, produce and harvest. The Ibo believed that this goddess controlled how much crop they could produce. They made sacrifices and offerings to the goddess to make sure they had good harvests each year. They also observed the Week of Peace which was a week dedicated to the earth goddess in which everyone lived at peace with one another. Ezeani, the priest of the earth goddess, said to Okonkwo: •“…our forefathers ordained that before we plant any crops in the earth we should observe a week in which a man does not say a harsh word to his fellow neighbor” •“We live in peace with our fellow s to honor our great goddess of the earth without whose blessing our crops will not grow.”

They believed that by doing this, the earth goddess would bless their crops and cause them to grow. They also had the New Yam Festival which was a celebration of thanks to the earth goddess for a good harvest. Ezeani, the priest of the earth goddess, said to Okonkwo: •“The evil you have done can ruin the whole clan. The earth goddess whom you have insulted may refuse to give us her increase, and we shall all perish.” When...
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