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God of the Lugbara, whose tribal territories stretch across the border of Zaire and Uganda. He is conceived of in two aspects: as transcendent Adroa, ‘god in the sky’, remote from mankind and onyiru, ‘good’; as immanent Adro, ‘god on earth’, close to mankind and onzi, ‘bad’. The fountainhead of all power and authority, this ambivalent creator deity established the social order through the tribal ancestors, whose ‘words’ represent cutomary law. The relationship between Adroa and the ancestors is obscure, though the Lugbara say: ‘We forget them and send a ram to the mountains.’

Propitiation of the immanent Adro was formerly achieved through child sacrifice, but since the 1930s rams have been substituted as victims. Adro dwells on earth, especially in rivers. Though invisible to ordinary people, he may become visible to a person who is about to die. Adro is tall and white; he has half a body—one eye, one ear, one arm, and one leg, on which he jumps about. His children, adroanzi, frequent streams, large trees, and rocks. Providing one does not look back at adroanzi, who like to follow human beings at night, there is no danger. Otherwise these guardian spirits of the dead will kill. Adro onzi, ‘bad God’, is clearly associated with death.

Subjects: Religion.

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