The 7 Essential Tools of A Master of Reality

In ancient Igbo villages, there was an all-knowing person who cured diseases, gave prophesies, punished transgressors and pacified the gods.

This person was the dibia.

Igbo dibia


A dibia is the priest, healer, and diviner of a traditional Igbo community. He’s the intercessor between a community and the gods. A master of reality.

A modern dibia is more concerned with forming a partnership with his chi than mediating between a community and its deities.

A modern dibia may intercede spiritually on behalf of friends, family members and even total strangers, but his major objective is to develop his power to influence reality through his chi.

To become a dibia, you need 7 basic tools:

1. Personal shrine

A personal shrine is any place you reserve for communicating with your chi.

A bedroom can serve as a personal shrine

A shrine could be your bedroom, your car, your bathroom, or a temple. Any quiet place, free from interruption, may serve as your personal shrine.

bedroom as Odinala shrine

Your bedroom can serve as a personal shrine

You get better results from your rituals when you perform them in your personal shrine.

2. Energy

Ike, or energy, is essential for accomplishing anything in the physical and spiritual worlds.

A person with a high energy level will perform tasks faster and better than a low energy person.

The simplest form of spiritual energy is emotion. We create spiritual energy when we’re happy, joyful, sad or angry.

emotional energy

Your emotions generate spiritual energy

A dibia constantly replenishes his spiritual energy to maintain and increase his power to influence reality.

3. Words

Words channel your thoughts and desires to your chi.

A single word could be the difference between a successful ritual and a failed ritual.

Be precise with words when speaking to your chi.

4. Imagination

This is the highest faculty of onwe, the self.

Your imagination helps you create objects and events that don’t exist yet in the physical world.


Free your imagination

It connects you to the creative abilities of Chukwu, the Supreme Being who imagined the universe into existence.

Don’t suppress your imagination, let it roam free and it will surprise you.

5. Commitment

Dedicate yourself to developing a relationship with your chi.

You need commitment on your spiritual journey

When things don’t happen the way you want, you will feel frustrated.

You may think that your chi has abandoned you.

You may even say harsh words against it.

But stick to your chi. In sickness and in health, till death do you part.

6. Responsibility

A dibia bears full responsibility for his spiritual growth.

You may seek spiritual advice from another person, a book, or a blog like, but you—and only you—have to decide whether to fully implement the advice, to implement parts of it, or to ignore it completely.

Spiritual growth can’t be outsourced.

7. Diary

An Odinala diary chronicles your progress in working with your chi to achieve your goals.

Write down the rituals you performed and the results or non-results you got.

Odinala diary

Keep an Odinala diary

There are times when you’ll have a difficult problem and then discover the solution in your diary.

When you forget what you asked your chi to do for you, a diary quickly reminds you of your request.

Used together, these 7 tools will give you power over circumstances and the freedom to pursue your goals.


How to Get Spiritual Energy from the Sun

The sun is the brightest object in the sky and the center of our solar system.

Without the sun, Earth would be a frozen wasteland. No plants, animals, or humans would exist.

In Odinala, the sun is known as Anyanwu and it is regarded as the eye of Chukwu, the creator of the universe.

There are many practices and rituals associated with the sun in Igboland. One of the most significant is Itu Oba Anwu.

In the Itu Oba Anwu ritual, a dibia absorbs spiritual energy from the sun. The dibia smears his body with white chalk, which signifies purity, and stands in the early morning sun for four days.

This ritual increases the spiritual energy and awareness of the dibia.

How to get spiritual energy from the sun in Igbo traditional religion

You can absorb the sun’s energy without smearing yourself with chalk.

Here’s a simpler version of Itu Oba Anwu:

  1. Sit in your personal shrine. Close your eyes and imagine the sun shining brightly in the horizon and a single ray going straight to your heart.
  2. Take a slow, deep breath and imagine sunlight travelling along the single ray and entering your heart.

Imagine the light filling up your body, reaching every cell and tissue until your entire body glows brightly.

  1. Exhale slowly and imagine the light in your body fading out.

Take two more deep breaths. With each breath, you imagine light from the sun filling your body completely and then dimming.

Your body glows brightly as you inhale, and fades as you exhale.

I was apprehensive the first time I performed this ritual, trembling as I imagined sunlight flooding my body.

Was this really safe? I asked myself.

I shouldn’t have worried.

The Itu Oba Anwu ritual turned out to be a turning point on my spiritual journey. My self-confidence dramatically increased and I got better, more precise results from my rituals.

I’ve been performing the Itu Oba Anwu ritual every day for the past ten years. It’s an indispensable part of my morning routine.

If you want to take your spiritual capability to the next level, perform this ritual daily.

Communion: The Foundation of Your Spiritual Power

Communion is a combination of Odinala rituals and takes ten minutes or less to complete.

  1. Go to your personal shrine. Tell your chi your plans for the day and thank it for any goal it helped you accomplish.

Example: “Good morning, John. Thanks for helping me pay the rent yesterday. My plans for today are to have a meeting with an important customer and to redecorate my shop.

Help me have a fruitful meeting with the customer and give me the right ideas to redecorate the shop. Thanks.”

  1. You perform the Itu Oba Anwu ritual, drawing spiritual energy from the sun.

anyanwu ritual in odinala

Get spiritual energy from the sun

  1. You reinforce your protective light, imagining your entire body surrounded by bright light, which shields you from negative people and circumstances.


  1. Imagine yourself accomplishing your plans for the day. Feel the happiness and satisfaction that comes with successfully completing your tasks.

emotion in odinala

Feel happy

Using the example in the first step of the ritual, the shopkeeper visualizes having a successful meeting with the customer.

She sees herself shaking hands with the customer and smiling as she leaves the meeting.

She then visualizes being happy and satisfied with her redecorated shop.

  1. That’s it. You’re done.

Use ten minutes each morning to commune with your chi.

Commune with your chi every morning.

In good weather and stormy weather, bad mood and great mood.

Your chi is like a sword and communion is the grindstone that sharpens it.

If you truly desire to become a master of reality and experience miracles frequently in your life, then you have to perform communion each day.


Odinala isn’t a religion, it’s the iPhone of Spirituality

On October 4, 2011, Siri, the voice-controlled personal assistant was launched as a feature of the Apple iPhone 4S.

Siri helped iPhone users make calls, send text messages and email, schedule meetings, search the Internet, find local businesses, get directions and even perform calculations.

It was considered a breakthrough innovation for user-device interactions.

Your chi is like Siri. You can ask it to do things for you. But instead of answering back, your chi creates events and circumstances that match your requests.

At a fundamental level, Odinala and your chi have more in common with technology than religion.

Differences between Odinala and Popular Religions

There are 3 major differences between Odinala and most of the world’s religions.

First, Odinala has no clergy. You ARE your own priest.

Second, Odinala has no holy book. There are no written rules or rituals that you must follow in Odinala. There are oral traditions, but those can be changed if you so desire, as long as you’re getting results from them.

Third, Odinala is relatively unknown compared to popular religions. This makes it even better as a tool to achieve your goals.

There are only four essential beliefs in Odinala, and those beliefs are like LEGO bricks: you can use them to do anything.

You can use them to transform your life and become a better person.

You can use them to send subliminal messages to other people.

You can use them to generate ideas for your next business project.

You can use them to protect your loved ones.

There’s no limit to what you can do with Odinala.

It won’t solve all your problems. Sometimes, you have to take physical action to tackle problems.

But Odinala makes you realize that you’re not as weak and helpless as you thought.

You are a powerful being that can influence the world in a lot of ways and it would be a tragedy if you lived all your life without exercising those powers.

If now is not the right time to explore your spiritual powers, when is the right time?

If not now, when?


Chi: The Most Powerful Friend You’ll Ever Have

Many years ago, I was given an ultimatum by my city’s local government.

They gave me two weeks to pay the property taxes I owed or I would be charged to court and jailed.

I felt helpless. My bank account was almost empty. I knew I couldn’t pay the tax.

I presented the problem to a powerful friend of mine. This friend had helped me out numerous times in the past, and I was confident that he could solve my tax problem.

Deadline day reached, and I was still broke. I began to worry. My friend rarely failed me. Why hadn’t he bailed me out yet?

Depressed, I decided to go to the local government council and ask for more time. I got to the council and found the doors of the tax department locked.

A security guard approached me. I explained my mission to him.

“The tax department was disbanded yesterday,” he said.

I was stunned. “They don’t collect taxes anymore?”

“No,” he said. “It’s a routine reshuffle of staff. The department should reopen next week.”

Next week stretched to next month. By the time the new guys settled into their jobs, I had the money to pay all my taxes.

The Secret Helper

Paying tax was one of several difficult problems I’ve faced in the last ten years. I would ask my powerful friend for help, and the problem would be solved.

My friend not only solves my money problems, but

  • keeps me healthy
  • protects me from negative people
  • helps me recover or replace lost property
  • treats me like a king
  • and provides the inspiration I need to pursue my goals

The best part of our relationship is that my friend asks for nothing in return for helping me.

He goes with me everywhere I go, doesn’t complain about my constant requests for help, and can handle virtually any kind of problem I face.

Who is this powerful friend of mine?

Well, he has a lot of names.

Ancient Egyptians called him ka, the Romans named him genius and the ancient Greeks referred to him as daemon.

Pentecostal Christians call him ‘the Christ within’, traditional Yorubas of southwest Nigeria know him as ori, and traditional Igbos call him chi.

nsibidi symbol for chi

The symbol for chi in the ancient Igbo script, Nsibidi

Let’s stick with the Igbo name, chi.

Your chi is a very small, invisible part of Chukwu—the creator of the universe—that works for your success. It is your divine self and guardian spirit.

Every human has a chi, whether the person realizes it or not.

Your chi helps you achieve your akaraaka – mission, fate, purpose or destiny on Earth–and can assist you in solving daily problems like settling debt, paying bills, and healing broken relationships.

Your chi is genderless, but you may think of it as male or female.

How to Activate Your Chi

There is no aspect of your life that your chi cannot provide assistance. However, you have to activate it before it can help you.

First, you give it a location.

A traditional Igbo person usually locates his chi inside a statuette. I wouldn’t recommend that.

A statuette doesn’t give you the flexibility you need in the modern world.

A better strategy is to make your chi a part of you. Locate it inside you.

Imagine that you have a tiny bright star shining in your heart. That star is your chi.

chi as as star in the heart

Visualize your chi as a star shining in your heart

The next step is to name your chi.

Because it is a piece of the creator of the universe, your chi is connected to everything and every name. So you’re free to choose any name you want.

I would recommend using names that are intimate to you, like your middle name, or names that radiate power, like Jesus, Superman, Wonder Woman, or Rambo.

The most effective names have both power and intimacy. If you have an illustrious ancestor who performed great deeds in the past, you can name your chi after that ancestor.

You may change your chi’s name any time you wish.

The first name I gave my chi was John, my middle name. Later, I started using the name, Jupiter. Presently, I call my chi Ikenga, after a warrior-king in Igbo mythology.

Okay, you’ve located your chi and given it a name. What’s next?

You need a personal shrine.

A personal shrine is a place where you communicate regularly with your chi. It could be your room, bathroom, living room, car or a quiet section of your local library.

Don’t spend too much time picking a shrine. Any comfortable place where you’ll be free from interruptions will do. I use my bedroom as my personal shrine and it works great for me.

Challenging Your Chi

So, you’ve located your chi, given it a name, and picked a place that will serve as your personal shrine. The last step is to challenge your chi to prove its existence to you.

What’s the biggest financial problem you have right now? Is it earning an income?

Settling your utility bill? Paying rent?

Go to your personal shrine. Close your eyes and imagine that your chi is shining brightly as a star in your heart.

Talk to your chi like a friend, ask it to solve your biggest financial problem and give it a deadline—any time from twenty-four hours to one week—to solve the problem.

a person challenging his chi

Challenge your chi

Your conversation with your chi may go like this:

“Hello, I just learned about you and I want to know if you really exist and if you can help me solve my problems. I’ll call you Jane.

Jane, my rent is due in a week’s time and I can’t afford it. Help me pay my rent.
Thanks for listening, Jane.”

Don’t tell your chi how to solve a problem. It knows the right solution, and nine times out of ten, the right solution isn’t the one you’re thinking about.

When I had the tax problem with the local government, I thought the solution would be a loan from a friend or relative. But my chi solved the problem by giving me more time to pay the tax.

Present your problem to your chi and let it do its thing.

So, you’ve made contact with your chi and challenged it to help you solve a problem.

What’s next?

Either the problem gets solved within the deadline, or it doesn’t get solved. Accept my sincere apologies if your problem wasn’t solved. Please look for an alternative spiritual system. Odinala is all about results and if you don’t get results, there’s no point in practising it.

But if the problem was solved within the deadline….congratulations!

You’re ready for more adventures and problem-solving with your chi.

Akaraaka: The Purpose of Your Life

Every machine has a reason for existence.

Vehicles transport us from point A to B.

Phones enable us to communicate with people in distant places.

TV sets transmit entertaining and informative images and sounds into our homes.

But what about human beings? Do we have a purpose? Is there a reason for our existence?

Traditional Igbos believe that each person has a specific reason for being born.

A person’s purpose in life is called akaraaka in Igbo language.

akaraaka odinala

Akaraaka literally means ‘mark of the hand’ and depending on the context, could mean destiny, skill, talent, luck, palm line, fingerprint, or fate.

In Odinala, akaraaka is the agreement you had with your chi before you incarnated as a human being.

It is your mission and purpose here on Earth.

There are three main methods for finding out your akaraaka:

1. Divination

You consult a dibia, who performs divination rituals to uncover your akaraaka.

I don’t recommend this method. An unscrupulous dibia may tell you anything just to make money from you.

2. The second method is self-analysis. You ask yourself penetrating questions like:

• What excites me?

• What do I dream of every single day?

• When do I feel the most committed?

• What am I willing to die for?

• If I had unlimited time, money and resources, what would I do?

• If I could share one thing with the world, what would it be?

The answers you give to these questions will help you figure out your akaraaka. This is the method I prefer.

3. The third method is to take a personality test.

A good book on personality types is Please Understand Me II.

Written by psychologist David Keirsey, Please Understand Me categorizes people into four temperaments—the Artisan, the Rational, the Idealist and the Guardian.

The book profiles the traits, strengths, weaknesses and preferred career choices for each temperament.

You’ll find out your temperament and akaraaka after answering the Keirsey Temperament Sorter.

When you know your akaraaka, you become more motivated and persistent in pursuing your goals.

You let go of trivial issues and focus on activities that are important to you.

You will no longer compare yourself to your peers but will have an inner, unshakeable standard for living your life.



The 4 Basic Beliefs of Odinala

Odinala is the native religion of the Igbo people in southeast Nigeria. It aims to maintain harmony between mankind and spiritual forces.

There are no sacred texts of Odinala. But its teachings and beliefs can be found in the rituals, songs, names, proverbs, and customs of Igboland.

The most beneficial teaching of Odinala is that every human has a chi, a divine assistant.
Igbo traditional religion shrine

Odinala shrine

Ancient Igbos believed that life is easier when you work with your chi to achieve your goals.

Struggle and hardship were signs of a disconnection between an individual and his chi.

Each village and community in Igboland has its own peculiar form of Odinala.

An individual may develop his own version of Odinala based on these four beliefs:

  1. Chukwu kere uwa(God created the universe): Chukwu is the mysterious entity that created the universe.

Chukwu’s imagination is so powerful that His thoughts become real, manifesting into a limitless universe .

Chukwu is genderless, but may be referred to as ‘He’, ‘She’, or ‘It’.

  1. Mmadu niile nwere chi(Every human has a divine self): A small, invisible portion of Chukwu resides in every person.

This portion is called chi. Your chi connects you to Chukwu and helps you solve problems in the spiritual and physical worlds.

  1. Onye kwe chi ya kwe(If you believe, your god will believe):  Your chi works according to your faith and belief in it.

    The more committed you are to having a relationship with your chi, the more it helps you accomplish your goals.

    You can relate to your chi any way you like.

    You can relate to your chi anyway you desire.

You may view your chi as a master, a servant, a sibling, a lover, a secretary, a business partner, or a computer.

There are no limits to what your chi can do for you.

  1. Ala wu otu (The Earth is one): Odinala is a remnant of an ancient religion practiced by the first humans to walk the Earth.

This religion is not exclusive to Igbos. You’ll find different versions of Odinala across the world.

You will get results from Odinala no matter your background or location.

Odinala will work for the corporate executive in a New York skyscraper, the mountain climber in the Himalayas and the farmer in Nigeria.

You’re free to combine Odinala with another belief system, religion, or philosophy.

These four basic beliefs are the foundation of Odinala.


Ascent Part 3

He made it sound like it was the easiest thing to do.

Like I could prick myself, drain a few drops of blood into a bowl and hand it to him.

“They need it to rebuild your city,” the giant said.

“They? Who are they?” I asked him.

“Do you want to see your father or not?”

“I want to see him. But I don’t want to bleed.”

“Alright. Tell them when we get there.” He started walking toward the northern mountains.

I thought of running away in the opposite direction.

He could catch me with a few steps.

But even if I escaped, what would I do on my own? Go to Miri Lake and hope for the best?

I followed the giant. At least he knew where Father was.

“You never even asked for my name,” the giant said.

“You have a name?”


“Fire in the ocean?”

“Fire and the ocean.”

What kind of name was that? I thought.

I guess giants have special names to match their enormous size.

We arrived at the foot of the mountain.

I held my breath.

Don’t go to the mountain, I had been told from the moment I could walk.

Okunoshimili was a giant.

He could meet the gods without fear.

I was an ordinary boy.

Meeting the gods could end my life.

The mountain had a rugged look.

Apart from the boulders strewn along the base, there was nothing strange to be seen.

Then why was I nervous?

The ground shook.

I looked up and saw six giants approaching from the left side of the mountain.

Okunoshimili turned towards me. “Do you still want me to tell them you don’t want to bleed?”

The giants surrounded me.

One of them wore an iron cap.

“Didn’t you tell him?” the iron cap giant asked Okunoshimili.

“I tried to, but he wouldn’t give blood,” Okunoshimili replied.

“Blood is the first step. Knowledge is the second. You can’t have one without the other,” Iron Cap said.

The other giants grunted their approval.

A frail figure approached us.

She walked with stiff steps.


The day Belinna was marched off to the mountain, Father and I were harvesting yam at our farm, close to the city gate.

Belinna had been in the midst of soldiers and priests.

Just before they passed the city gate, Belinna stopped and waved.

I waved back.

Father turned away.

“Why didn’t you wave?” I had asked Father.

“The dead and the living have nothing in common. Belinna was picked as the bride of the gods this year. She would soon join the dead,” was his reply.

Seeing Belinna, I wondered if she had returned from the land of the dead.

“Don’t lie to the boy,” Belinna scolded Iron Cap. “Knowledge may come before blood. And you can have one without the other.”

She smiled at me. “Did the fire burn down every single house?”

“I don’t know.”

“The day I was offered for sacrifice, I wanted you and Ogadi to follow me,” she said.

Ogadi was Father’s name.

But few in Obodo used it.

Father was called Onyeozi, the messenger.

He was known for relaying difficult messages: the death of a family member, punishment from the
elders, the loss of position and power.

Father made bad news easier to accept.

“I wanted us to leave together,” Belinna continued. “To start a new life right here in the mountain.”

“With you? But you’re a…” My voice trailed off.

“A witch?” She sneered.” Is that what you wanted to say?”

She laughed.

The giants grinned at each other.

Belinna stopped laughing and pulled me close to her body, hugging me tightly.

I caught the scent of fresh lily on her body.”My dear, you’re a wizard too,” she whispered in my left ear, then let go of me.

“That’s why you survived the destruction of Obodo.” Her fingernails grazed my face. “That’s why the giants need your blood.”

I touched my face. Blood covered my fingers.

“I thought you said he had to give it willingly?” Iron Cap asked Belinna.

“I don’t need his permission,” she replied,” I’m his mother.” She lifted her white cloth and pressed it against my wounded cheek.

The pain subsided.

“This should be enough,” Belinna told Iron Cap, holding up the blood-stained cloth.

“Let’s go.”I waited for them to leave.

“Duru, I’m talking to you,” Belinna said.”Let’s go.”

I hesitated, then followed her up the steps cut on the mountain.

The sun’s rays got harsher the higher we climbed.

Sweat covered my face.

I became weary.

Belinna offered me a vase of water.

I took a sip.

“Feeling better?” she asked.

I nodded.

“Do you want me to carry you?”

I was on the verge of manhood, how would I look if a woman carried me up the mountain?

“I’ll walk by myself,” I replied, even though my legs ached.

The sky hung low with crisp blue clouds.

I peeked below.

“Don’t look down,” Belinna cautioned.

She took my hand and held it tightly.

We trudged up.

The mountain was harder to climb with each step I took.

I could hear myself panting.

I wasn’t sure I could continue.

My strength was failing.

Belinna carried me to the top.

The top of the mountain wasn’t what I expected.

It was dreary and cold.

A lone figure stood there.


I ran to him.

We embraced.

“You were here all by yourself?” I asked him.

“Yes,” he replied.

He looked subdued.

The clouds darkened.

Circular shadows appeared in the sky.

“They’re coming,” Belinna said.

“Who?” I asked.

“Who else but the gods,” she replied.

She seemed excited.

I was scared.

“Are they coming for us?” I asked her.

She put a finger across her lips.

The shadows grew bigger.

“Father, let’s go back down,” I pulled him towards the mountain steps.

He shook his head. “We stay here.”

I wasn’t sure I was ready to meet the gods.

I ran.

Father got to the steps first, grabbed and dragged me back to Belinna.

He held me as Belinna tied my hands and feet with twines.

She placed the blood-stained cloth on my chest.

I was terrified.

“Help me!” I shouted at Father.

He looked away.

The shadows descended on us.

I closed my eyes, expecting death.

Several moments passed.

I could hear the thumping of my heart.

I opened my eyes a bit.

The shadows had disappeared.

The sun was visible again.

I gazed at my hands and feet.

I was free of the twines.

I stood up, taller than I had ever been.

My hands were big and muscular, my legs as huge as tree trunks.

Bits and pieces of clothing were scattered around me.

“Wear this.” Belinna held an oversize gown.

I slipped into the gown.

“Follow me,” she said and went down the mountain steps.

“Where’s Father?”

“He’s gone.”


“I’ll show you.”

We descended the first ten steps.

Belinna pushed a rock by the side of the mountain, revealing a walkway.

She entered the walkway.

I followed her through a labyrinth and arrived at a wide enclosure, illuminated by a circle of torches.

“Meet the future of Obodo,” Belinna said.

I saw a giant huddled in a corner of the enclosure.

A female giant.

She stood up and approached me.

We faced each other.

She ran a finger along my forehead and giggled, “He’s handsome.”

“I told you,” said Belinna.

“I’m Amara,” the giant said to me.

I faced Belinna. “Where’s Father?”

She sighed. “You see your future wife and you only think about your father?”

“I want to know where he is.”

“He left with the gods. It was an exchange. They took him and made you a giant.”

“I didn’t ask to be a giant.”

“You don’t understand, do you? You’re not just a giant, you’re a human with the size and abilities of a giant. You have the strengths of both races and none of their weaknesses.”

I exhaled.

I couldn’t tell if I was happy or sad.

“Amara is a crossbreed like you. Both of you will start a new life in Obodo. You will have a family and rebuild the city. Okunoshimili and the other giants will assist you.”

A thought lingered in my mind.

“Who destroyed Obodo?” I asked Belinna.

“The gods,” she replied.

“The gods? Or you?”

“Does it matter? I asked the gods for a favour and they granted it. Just like they granted me a second chance when I was offered as a sacrifice.”

“So you’re the last human,” I said.

She laughed. “I am.”

Maybe Belinna was my real mother.

Maybe her dreams of a new Obodo would come to pass.

But she took Father away from me.

And I just couldn’t stand losing him.

I took one of the torches and threw it at Belinna.

She ducked.

I threw another.

The hem of her dress caught fire.

Belinna scrambled to put it out.

I threw two more torches at her.

“Why did you do that?” Amara asked.

“I hate her.”

Belinna was aflame.

I felt no pity for her.

Amara looked frightened.”Wha…What’s…your name?”

I wasn’t sure who I was anymore.

Duru? Or someone else?

I gave her the first name that came to my mind. “Onyeozi.”

Ascent Part 2

The giant sauntered toward the city gate. “Come.”

I shook my head. “I’ll stay here.”

He marched into Obodo.

I heard the rumbles of his feet and saw his head bobbing over scorched houses.

I trudged away from the city gate.

I hated getting wet.

But I didn’t have a choice this time.

I reached Miri Lake and dipped a finger in it.

The lake was cold.

I waded into it, shuddering as the water soaked my body.

Miri Lake had a charm that the streams and rivers around Obodo didn’t have.

Not only was it green, my favourite colour, but it was the home of Nanyi, the god of requests.

Unlike other gods and goddesses with elaborate shrines and pompous priests, anyone could approach Nanyi and make a request.

The water rose to my neck as I waded deeper into it.

I stepped on a bulky stone.

This was it.

I was with Nanyi.

Now, I had to dip below the surface and use the stone to draw a symbol of my request on the lakebed.

I had tried this once.

And ended up so scared and afraid of drowning that I abandoned the request and rushed out of the lake.

I had to do it right this time.

I thought of the symbol for protection.

A straight line surrounded by a circle.

Stories had been told of people who wrote the wrong symbols and were shocked by what happened next.

A farmer once wanted a large goat; he drew the wrong symbol and woke up the next morning with a wild dog sleeping beside him.

I dipped below the surface, touched the stone and tried to lift it up.

It didn’t budge.

I tugged at it.

The stone stayed put.

I felt an overwhelming urge to go back to the surface.

But if I went back up, I wouldn’t have the courage to dip again.

I had to lift the stone and draw the symbol or go back up and forget the whole thing.

I tugged with all my strength.

No success.

The urge to breathe overcame me.

I broke the surface and gasped for air.

“Do you prefer to drown than die in a fire?” The giant shouted from the shores of the lake.

I beckoned him over.

“I’ll stay here,” he said with a chuckle.

“Please! I need your help.”

“Don’t you know how to swim?”

“I want you to lift something for me,” I said.

The giant stepped into the lake.

He reached me with a few steps.

“Help me lift a stone.”

He glanced around. “Where is it?”

“Below. The bottom of the lake.”

“What do you want to do with it?”

“Make a request.”

“Why do you need a stone to make a request?” he asked.

“Just do it. Please.” The cold water was getting to me. “It’s beside my feet.”

The giant bent forward and reached beneath the surface.

I felt his huge hand brush against me.

He straightened himself.

The stone looked like a pebble in his hand. “Is this it?”

“Yes,” I muttered. “Quick, reach back down and draw the symbol for protection.”


A thought popped into my head.

I had to write the symbol myself.

If he did, then he was the one making the request.

I shivered with cold.”Give me the stone.”

“You don’t look well, let’s head back to land.”

“No, give me…”

He flicked the stone away like it was a grain of sand.

He plucked me from the water, threw me over his shoulder and carried me out of the lake.

I was torn between relief that I was no longer in water and anger that he didn’t let me use the stone.

“You should have given me the stone.” My voice shook.

Was it the cold or the rage?

“You look sick,” he said.

“I’m not sick.”

He put me back on the ground. “Are you ready to trade?”

I sighed.

I was enjoying the ride on his shoulders.

I couldn’t think of anything a giant would want from a boy like me. “What do you want?”

The giant scribbled three wavy lines in the sand.

Wavy lines meant something to drink.

“Water?” I asked him.

He shook his head.


“No,” he responded.

“Palm wine?”

The giant shaped his right hand like the claws of a tiger. “What happens when you dig your nails into your body and scratch?”

“I get marks on my body,” I replied.

“Is that all?”


“If you scratch deep, a red thing comes out,” he said.

I tensed. “Blood?”

“You got it.”

All the fears I felt before returned.

At the lake, I had felt comfortable around him. When he got me out of the water, I started trusting him.

The comfort and trust were gone.

“You want to see your Father, don’t you?” he asked.

I nodded.

“Then give me your blood,” he said.

Ascent Part 1

We knew this day would come.

The prophecies warned about it, the priests moaned about it, yet we didn’t think too much about it.

“We’ll spend the night here,” Father said.

I wanted to go back and fetch Mother, but Father wouldn’t hear of it. “She’s at peace now. Let her be at peace,” he said.

What did peace mean? I thought to myself.

For me, peace meant lots of food, laughter and running around in open fields.

What did peace mean to Father?



“How do you know when you have peace?”

He frowned.

He didn’t seem to like the question. “You know you have peace when you stop worrying about how to live.”

“Do we have peace now?”

“No,” he replied.

“Will we have it?”

“Enough questions.”

He moved away from me, curled up and laid his head on his left arm.

He didn’t look like he was at peace.

I still don’t know why he was the only person who knew when Obodo would be destroyed.

We had barely finished breakfast when he told me to get ready to leave Obodo. “Where are we going?” I asked him.

“Somewhere safe,” he said.

We then trekked to the city gate.

A few people asked us where we were going.

Father blurted out the answer. “Obodo will be destroyed today.”

The guards at the gate laughed.

A trader haggling with a fat man laughed.

We had passed the city gate and were a couple of steps away from Obodo when the first tongues of fire descended.

Father stood up abruptly from his resting spot. “Let’s head to the mountains.”

“We can’t go there,” I muttered.

He looked at me with determination in his eyes. “We will go there.”

We started walking toward the mountains.

I was in front, Father behind.

I had heard rumours that Father and the witch Belinna were lovers.

And that she had given him spells for divining the future.

Sometimes, I would come into our house and see Father making incantations.

He would act irritated and leave the house without saying a word to me.

I turned around and realized that Father was no longer walking behind me.

“Father!” I called out.

Fear washed over me. Where was he? Did he go back to Obodo? Did he stop to rest? I
retraced my steps.

I had never been without Father close by.

He was difficult.

But he was my father.

My heart was thumping. Why would Father go back?

I stopped a couple of yards from the city gate.

The fire burned still. But the screams had died out.

I watched the smouldering city gate, wondering if Father would emerge and tell me he had forgotten something.

I stood, confused and alone.

Something touched my right shoulder.

I gasped.

A giant stood a few feet away from me.

“Who are you?” he roared.

I was dumbstruck.

With a shaky hand, I scrawled the symbols of my name in the sand.

I had been taught to write my name at an early age.

Mother taught me that my name, Duru, could be represented by the symbols for di, master, and uru, profit.

The giant gazed at the symbols and bellowed with laughter. “Master of profit!”

I thought the symbols were funny too.

And if I wasn’t so scared, I would have laughed along with him.

The giant pointed at the ruins of Obodo. “Tell me, master of profit, where are the people who will buy your goods?”

“I’m not a trader. The symbols only represent my name,” I said.

The giant stamped his foot on the ground. “The symbols represent your occupation. You’re a trader.”

“No, I’m not. I’m just a boy from Obodo.”

I broke down.

I didn’t know whether I was crying because I was terrified of the giant.

Or because I couldn’t find Father.

The giant’s massive hand touched me.

“I know where your father is,” he said.

“You do?” I was elated.

“Yes,” the giant replied, “But first, we have to make a trade.”