I love researching different spiritual practices from around the world, particularly relating to dreamwork and shamanism and I’m fascinated by indigenous tribes, their practices and their teachings.

One tribe that captures my imagination is the Onge tribe, from Little Andaman Island of India, who believe that a person’s smell is his life force and dreams are the soul manifesting in a person’s smell. A person’s smell, or life force, must be conserved to avoid depletion and illness.

The Onge say that as a person goes about his daily business, he leaves part of his personal aroma – his life force – in every place visited, and so during sleep, the person’s soul travels to all those places to recover the aroma, or life force, left behind.

The Onge population was decimated following contact with British colonists and Indian settlers. Today, the 112-strong Onge tribe shares the island with more than 18,000 settlers from India, Bangladesh and the Nicobar islands.

The Onge survived the 2004 Tsunami when thousands of others didn’t, claiming it’s thanks to their oral traditions passed down from generations that warned them to evacuate from large waves that follow large earthquakes.

After the Tsunami, the Onge abandoned their settlement area and moved to safer and higher grounds. Some say that when they felt the earthquake and saw the water level drop dramatically they gathered on the shore and hurled stones into the sea to trick the angry spirits (who they believed were shaking the pillar that holds up the sea) into believing that the Onge were in the water. They then quickly headed inland, safe from the waves that they knew would follow.


If you want to support indigenous tribes visit survivalinternational.org

With love, Karen 💕

Resources: DreamResearch & ResearchGate. Photo: Thrillophilia