A long time ago, before Christianity and other religions took root in Meru following civilization, the Merus believed in God and the Supernatural. They believed in only one God, still do, to whom they offer prayers and sacrifices both in private and in public to ask for intervention in times of trouble and also for thanksgiving. Don’t let anyone tell you there were nonbelievers before the white man came.
But, God was referred to by many names. Let’s look at them and what they mean:
- Kini-Kiiru (Black gum) – This name always had me wondering what God has to do with black gums. But, it means “the toothless who is all handsome and merciful.” You know, like a great great grandfather who has grown old and lost all his teeth. He is like that old grandpa who loves and cares for all of us.
- Kaimba – The person who makes the roof. He who protects us and shelters us.
- Kiumbi – He is the creator of all things.
- Murungu – We are all used to this name in the modern age. Guess it’s the name the gospel people found and adopted. It means God the Almighty.
- Ngai – This means rain in Kimeru… not an exclamation mark (Ngai!). Merus believed rain was released by God from the heavens.
- Gitije – I had never heard if this, though I know a few people called Gitije. It means one who is praised and lives for ever and ever. Or as the Meru say, Kenya na Kenya.
One of these days, we will look at how the Meru sacrificed and prayed to Kini-kiiru.