THE MERMAID IN THE RELIGIOUS CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE PRESENT-DAY IGBO

AUTHOR: OBIDIGBO JUDE CHUKWUDI

DEPARTMENT: RELIGION AND HUMAN RELATIONS

AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA

This research work seeks to establish the existence of the mermaid among the Igbo in the light of the traditional religion that is strongly founded on her cosmology, and to prove that this religious conviction has endured in the religious consciousness and activities of the present-day Igbo, among whom the Christian missionary enterprise appears ‘most successful’. By this we mean that even though majority of the people appear to have adopted Christianity, belief in the mermaid is still very prevalent and indeed affects the daily lives of the people. We therefore have endeavoured to ask the question why. To answer this question, we have administered questionnaires to elicit responses from the literate populace across the Igbo geo-cultural zones. We have also granted oral interviews and held discussions with ex-cultists, priests of this deity and Christian exorcists (all whom are believed to have or have had direct contacts with the mermaid), the non-literate masses, as well as explored resources contained in both primary and secondary sources on this and other related subjects, so as to have a more detailed and balanced information on our subject-matter. Our methods of interpretation included culture-area, sociological, anthropological, comparative and ethical models in order to place our study in proper perspective. Besides discovering the universality of this belief, efforts have been made to highlight the similarities, misunderstandings, misgivings and mistrust between Igbo Christians and traditionalists in understanding this phenomenon and the practice of its cult. Our research indicates that belief in the mermaid is palpable among the present-day Igbo creating an aura of fear and confusion. Yet, while this being enjoys a near uniformity of opinions as to its existence, opinions as to its modes of operation and the morality of its actions differ rather loosely across religious affiliated lines. We have also discovered that in spite of the traditional opinion about the mermaid as an ambivalent being, the mermaid is understood today more as a capricious being better expelled than welcomed. This is largely due to the influence of Christianity and western civilization on the populace. However, we have advised a proper understanding of the problem of the mermaid and, since it is not clearly within man’s power to terminate the being of spirits, we also suggested that efforts should be geared towards alleviating or eradicating her negative influences whenever they arise, while waiting on the omniscient and omnipotent God.     

 TO VIEW THE FULL CONTENT OF THIS DOCUMENT, PLEASE VISIT THE UNIZIK LIBRARY WEBSITE USING THIS LINK, http://www.naulibrary.org/dglibrary/admin/book_directory/Thesis/11125.pdf

 

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