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Edo Women

Influence Of Deities On Culture

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By Ambrose Ekhuosuehi (Last update 25/09/2017)

DEITIES are gods or goddesses with limited or specialized spheres of influence or activity on the culture of the people. These gods are, however, not believed to have been incarnated as human beings but are of great local importance and are sometimes generally worshipped.

Edo people believe in the most High God-Osanobua, Osa, Oghene. Who created man little less than a god. Any person can pray to the Most High God for health, children, well-being and other benefits, but in general blood sacrifices seem to be un-usual, neither does He takes wine, drink or kola-nut. The music that is performed in the worship of the Almighty God is mostly vocal, though in the sacred worship instrumental ensemble may accompany the singing.

The blessing is a divine and life-giving action, the source of which is both word and gift. From the beginning until the end of time, the whole of God’s influence is blessing, very slow to chide, but speedy, swift to bless, despite people’s sin, offences which had brought a curse on the human history. Those who embraced the blessing of God inaugurated the history of salvation.

In the history of mankind, the great interest accorded to the study is strongly stimulated by a question of another order, which goes beyond the proper domain of nature but of discovering the meaning of such an origin as, is the universe governed by chance, blind fate, or by a transcendent, intelligent and mighty being.

“It is he who gave unerring knowledge of what exist, to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements, wisdom and fashioner of all things”. Still others have affirmed the existence of eternal principles, Good and Evil Light and Darkness, Locked in permanent conflict.

Sin, Evil is present in human history. Any attempt to ignore it or give the dark reality other names would be futile. The evil of sin unmasked in its true identity as humanity’s rejection of blessing even as it continues to weigh heavy on human life and history.

Sins cannot be clearly recognize and are tempted to explain it as merely a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the necessary consequence of an inadequate social structure. Only in the knowledge of Divine plan that sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created human beings.

The petition of the Redeemer to God Almighty asking Him not to take them out of the world, but to protect, deliver them from the evil one. In this petition, evil is not an abstraction, but refers to a person.

A murderer, a liar, a thief, a deceiver are in the power of the evil one. When a person ask to be delivered from the evil one, the person pray as well to be freed from all evils, past and future.
Along with deliverance from the evils that overwhelm humanity, the petitioner implores the precious gift of peace and the grace of perseverance in expectation “Deliver us from every evil and grant us peace in our days”.

The god of Iron-Ogun is worshipped mainly by Iron-smiths, brass-smiths and by warriors and specialist hunters.

Some individuals who are not smiths, hunters or warriors are recognized as priests and are believed to have more influence with the deity. People go to them with requests for special prayers.

Ogun worship is carried out with dancing and singing to the accompaniment of an instrumental ensemble. Traditionally music in honour of Ogun is played on single membrane-barrel shaped drum called Ogidan.

The god of thunder-shango is believed to throw thunder-bolts, from the sky when the god causes lightening to strike and to kill people who steal deceive or do evils. According to some culture Thur the son of Odin was defied for Thursday the fifty day of the week. The worship is carried out with dancing and singing to the accompaniment of an instrumental ensemble.

Traditionally, the drums are two medium sized, slightly with different pitches and the music in honour of shango is played on double membrane conical bata drums. Special gourd rattle called ukuse esango, sere sango is used only in shango ceremonies.

The god of medicine-Osun, whose assistance must be sought to ensure the effective use of all medicines and charms have their own shrines. The osun doctors are considered to be very good at curing diseases. The doctors who wear aba leglets, would dance to the beating of drums to the accompaniment of clapperless bells and ukoise gourd rattles and while dancing they perform magical tricks.

All magical practitioners can be subsumed under the name-Obo or Ebo which can be translated — “traditional doctors” Traditional Doctors are normally specialists in some branch of magical activities, such as curing, diving, combating witches and administering ordeal. They possess certain medicines which enable them to recognize and combat witch craft and evil one, evil doers in the society.

Traditional doctors who are specialists in different branches of magical activities often assemble to perform certain ceremonies which are believed, to enable them to practice their various arts.

On these occasions they sing about the strength of their medicines, to invoke different deities of land, water, sea and sky, such as ogun, shango with the Oko side horn to evoke spirits to take action on entreaties, prayers, petitions or curses.
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