Igbo Culture: Understanding the Ancestral realm.
So ‘ahumarachi’ means a special mark that the gods/fate knows you by. The background to this is that reincarnation is a thing in some Igbo cultures. People can permanently become ghosts known as Ancestors once dead. This is normal across many cultures on earth. But the Igbo culture goes further, in some parts of Igbo land, it is believed that a person alive can reincarnate another person!
Yes, a grandmum, for instance, can reincarnate a granddaughter while she is still alive. So how do they know who reincarnated who within the family? The older person reincarnates, the younger if at least one of their ahumarachi appears in the same spot in their bodies.
If this happens, the younger person will be named after the older person and treated with the same respect in the family as that old person.
There are no concepts of heaven, hell, or eternal damnation. So what happens to people who didn’t reincarnate? They stay in the spirit world and serve as mini gods called ancestors. Each family can, with the help of a diviner, consult their ancestors if they run into problems.
So what does this ancestral land look like?
Yes, that’s what it looks like. That movie got it right. Notice a few things in the above picture, the skies aren’t bright, yet it’s not dark—a twilight. The second is that ghosts in Igbo can most times be white in dressing or wear white paint on their skins, especially when they aren’t in their traditional garb. The concept of dark or black ghosts came with Christianity.
So with that birthmark on a person’s body, the ancestors, fate, and the gods can track them wherever they may go on earth. An Igbo person can pray to any of these ancestors in times of trouble, especially the one that reincarnated them.
If a dead person is not buried at all or not buried with the complete cultural rites, it is believed that the ghost of this person gets stuck in the chasm and have to roam about the spirit world restless until the humans do a proper burial. If there is no proper burial done, the ghost of this dead person may start causing unexplained problems in the lives of the living members of the family. So rather than a good-bye party, the Igbo burial is a send-forth party. Till today, Igbos still throw a huge feast during a person’s burial.
Source: The Ancestral realm – David partner.