Belief in Spirits among the Meru: The Good, the Bad and the Mysterious Nkoma

spirits in meru

Remember our story about God among the Ameru? Well, apart from God, the Ameru believed there were spirits, supernatural beings, roaming the earth. There were good spirits, there were bad spirits and there were spirits no one knew much about.

But we’ll agree on one thing: ALL spirits were to he feared, and no one dared mess with them.

Spirits of the Ancestors

According to The Meru, no one really dies. When you die, you become a spirit and you live free around the rest of the community, only not seen, although your works continue.

If you were a bad person, a sinner, then there was not resting in peace and people would say “Atûraga mîtî îrî îturo” (He’s always on the move carrying his building poles) because you cannot find a place to settle and build your spiritual hut. Be good, people! Imagine never resting. 🙂

The good ancestors settled and the Ameru prayed to them to help them in times of trouble. Actually, these ancestors were the intermediaries between the people and God. When you ate or drank anything, you were supposed to pour a little to be taken by the spirits of the ancestors.

Oh, even the good ones would punish relatives who did wrong to them or others. Like the good parents they were.

Nthaka CIA Ngai.

These were other good spirits called warriors of God, like angels sent to look after the people.

People could hear them at night sometimes, doing nthaka things like running around and driving invisible cattle.

Nkoma: The (sometimes) bad spirits.

The word Nkoma means devil, generally. But it also means mysterious spirits, demons. These are the ones witches activate to come mess you up, and they strike when disturbed.

Nkoma were known to live in hideouts like caves, thick forests and some trees. They could take many forms, you know, like pythons, or Columbus monkeys… and that’s why it was a big deal to kill pythons among the Ameru. The community would literally have to offer a sacrifice to appease the spirits if a python or Columbus monkey died, whether killed by humans or died from natural causes.

You know why big trees like the mugumo close to rivers were never cut down? Because they harboured these spirits and there’s no worse mistake than disturbing resting spirits.

spirit gnome

Let sleeping sprits lie.

Did you hear the story of the Mowlem Construction Company which juuzi tu which had a contract to tap water from a holy well in Akithi called Ncooro? Long story short, the spirits refused. They chased the watchmen with clubs and tampered with the machinery. The project had to be abandoned. Ask around.

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