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Arrow of God

Arrow of God


by Chinua Achebe

Arrow of God Religion Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

"There is no cause to be afraid, my son. You have seen Eru, the Magnificent, the One that gives wealth to those who find favour with him. People sometimes see him at that place in this kind of weather. Perhaps he was returning home from a visit to Idemili or the other deities. Eru only harms those who swear falsely before his shrine." Ezeulu was carried away by his praise of the god of wealth. The way he spoke one would have thought that he was the proud priest of Eru rather than Ulu who stood above Eru and all the other deities. (1.85)

Here we learn that Ulu is the highest god in all of Umuaro. There are other gods, but are lesser gods and are subservient to Ulu. Further, they all offer each other respect; we see Eru, the god of Wealth, paying respect to the deity Idemili.

Quote #2

In the very distant past, when lizards were still few and far between, the six villages – Umuachala, Umunneora, Umuagu, Umuezeani, Umuogwugwu and Umuisiuzo – lived as different peoples, and each worshipped its own deity. Then the hired soldiers of Abame used to strike in the dead of night, set fire to the houses and carry men, women and children into slavery. Things were so bad for the six villages that their leaders came together to save themselves. They hired a strong team of medicine-men to install a common deity for them. This deity which the fathers of the six villages made was called Ulu. Half of the medicine was buried at the place which became Nkwo market and the other half thrown into the stream which became Mili Ulu. The six villages then took the name of Umuaro, and the priest of Ulu became their Chief Priest. From that day they were never again beaten by an enemy. (2.2)

Umuaro was founded on a common religion. This traditional religion is what ties all people in the villages together and makes them brothers. But what is interesting about this story is also the fact that the villages made their deity in the past, using strong medicine. They needed protection and the gods of old were insufficient.

Quote #3

"Men of Umuaro, why do you think our fathers told us this story? They told it because they wanted to teach us that no matter how strong or great man was he should never challenge his chi. This is what our kinsman did – he challenged his chi."


"But let the slave who sees another cast into a shallow grave know that he will be buried in the same way when his day comes. Umuaro is today challenging its chi. Is there any man or woman in Umuaro who does not know Ulu, the deity that destroys a man when his life is sweetest to him? Some people are still talking of carrying war to Okperi. Do they think that Ulu will fight in blame? Today the world is spoilt and there is no longer head or tail in anything that is done. But Ulu is not spoilt with it. If you go to war to avenge a man who passed shit on the head of his mother's father, Ulu will not follow you to be soiled in the corruption. Umuaro, I salute you." (2.96-97)

One of the most important principles in Igbo religion is that you will never win a contest against your chi, your personal god. By going to Okperi and breaking another man's strength (his ikenga) in two, Akukalia tried to challenge his chi. By starting a war with Okperi, Umuaro is also challenging its chi. According to Ezeulu, Umuaro can never win this battle against itself.

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