The Tribe Who Invite Spirit into All Parts of Life

By Christina Antonyan on Friday June 22nd, 2018

Image: Unknown

The Role of Spirit in Human Connections

The world is a vast mix of cultures and traditions. Nothing has a more lasting and profound impact on us than our families, communities, environment, culture, and beliefs. It’s fascinating to learn about the traditions and rituals that have been passed down for thousands of years from generation to generation. Of course, there are many traditions and rituals that are outdated and harmful, but that’s a different article.

I was recently introduced to the Dagara people located in West Africa. This tribe has no word for sex or divorce. Relationships in this tribe are not private. The term ‘our relationship’ is not limited to two people. The entire community is involved in, and responsible for, the relationship because the elders are guided by spirit to choose the couple for each other and support their relationship throughout the process with rituals. They believe that allowing others to be part of their relationship gives many more eyes to see and help overcome limitations. They believe that if we don’t reach out to friends and family, our reality becomes limited.


Community is a vital part of the Dagara people as it’s the spirit and guiding light of the tribe, whereby people come together to fulfill a specific purpose. The goal of the community is to make sure that each member of the community is heard and is properly giving the gifts they have brought to this world. Without this giving, the community dies. And without a community, the individual is left without a place where they can contribute. The community is a grounding place where people come and share their gifts and receive from others. When we don’t have a place to share our gifts we experience a blockage inside, which affects us spiritually, mentally, and physically in many different ways–we become stuck. We are left without a home to go to when we need to be seen.

Community is vitalCommunity is the spirit and guiding light of everyday life.

Romantic Love is an Illusion

The Dagara people believe that romantic love is an illusion because romance means hiding our true self in order to gain acceptance. This type of attraction cuts off spirit and community, leaving two people to invent a relationship by themselves. Romance ignores all the stages of a spiritual coming together, where the couple begins at the bottom of the mountain and gradually travels in unity to the top. This gradual process allows people to show their true identity and not foster anonymity which forces people to wear masks. The kind of passion, the kind of emotion and connection that Westerners look for from a romantic relationship, village people look for from spirit. The power of romantic love in the West is really a symptom of a separation from the spiritual.

Marriage: Two Worlds Come Together

Marriage in this tribe is a song of spirit inviting two people to come and share their spirit together. When two spirits come together and really share at the deepest level without having the mind to interfere, the two are bonded in a very strong, sincere, and loving way. When the relationship is disconnected from spirit, the ego overshadows the relationship in order to make each individual feel good at any cost.

Continual Renewal of Relationship

There is a need to periodically cleanse our relationship with our partner. There is always something in the self that is either overcompensating, pretending, giving in, or pushing too hard. Before communicating in deeper states of intimacy we need to create a safe space where we can both share frustrations and disappointments. In a ritual you draw a line of sacred space, call in spirit for guidance. There is no lying, no pretending, and no fake politeness. In this space, it’s sometimes best if you shout your frustrations because what you are saying is so real. If you carry anger or sadness into intimacy, you will transfer that energy to your partner. Rituals help to renew the relationship.

Romantic love is an illusionRomance means hiding our true self in order to gain acceptance.

Intimacy and Sex

In the village, children learn about intimacy and ritual from birth onward. As they mature it becomes crucial that they develop a profound understanding of these matters. At initiation, the elders guide the young deeper into intimacy, sexuality, and ritual so that they know what is awaiting them. They do not just wander into the unknown of adulthood and get wounded. The Dagara people don’t have a word for sex. Instead, the word for sex is going on a journey together as they invite spirit to join the sacred space that is created. In a sacred space, the couple admits that they don’t know what they are doing and give spirits the permission to be their guide and teacher.

When people recognise that they are spirit in a human body and that other people are spirits, they begin to understand that our bodies are sacred and that sexuality is far more than a means of pleasure. Sexual impulse creates an aim for physical pleasure only–intimacy will be short-lived.

Only a Sexual Relationship

The elders in the community believe that if a relationship with people around us is focused on sexual attraction, it diminishes our capacity for friendship and our eyes will not allow us to see others as they really are. People who are only involved in a sexual relationship carry within themselves a huge energetic hole from an early childhood wound that completely cuts them off from their true selves. Their hope is that the person with whom they are involved might give them the connection they crave. More often than not, the person they are reaching out to does not have a connection to the self either. And so you have two people who are disconnected at both the spiritual and the personal level. The relationship doesn’t have any kind of grounding force or foundation to hold it.

The importance of ritualImportance is placed on learning about intimacy and ritual from birth onward.


In the Dagara culture there is no word for gay or lesbian, instead, there is a word called gatekeepers. Gatekeepers are people who live a life at the edge between two worlds. The gatekeepers are people who are not called to be in a marriage. They do spiritual work on many levels, have access to mysteries that Elders don’t and are welcomed into both men’s and women’s circles. Everyone in the village respects them because without gatekeepers there is no access to other dimensions. The gatekeepers stand on the threshold of the gender line. They are mediators between the two genders. They make sure there is peace and balance between men and women. In the village gatekeepers don’t take sides, they simply act as the sword of truth and integrity. Most people in developed countries define themselves and others by sexual orientation.

The life of homosexual people in many countries is not at all easy, because most societies reject them. This is partly because a culture that has forgotten so much about itself will displace certain groups of people, such as the gay community, from their true roles.

The Dagara People

How do our hearts get hardened? By violence and avoidance of love. The Dagara people are mainly associated with the West African coastal countries of Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Togo. They don’t live with the amenities that developed countries offer such as electricity or water. Life happens outside of the home–they live very close to earth and nature and that is the gift they receive from such a place.

In the village, where life is directly inspired by the earth, by the trees, by the hills and rivers, the kind of relationship that exists between man and nature is directly translated in subtle ways into the building of the community and into the building of the relationships that exist between people.

The Dagara believe that people need rituals to release themselves, re-gather themselves, and replenish their strength. This is the way for spirit to begin moving through us again.

How do you feel about this article? Join the conversation.




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26 Responses to The Tribe Who Invite Spirit into All Parts of Life

  1. this is so beautiful. as a western born modern human…it makes my heart long for the comfort, support and true connection to spirit and one another <3 it also helps me have more compassion for my mental/spiritual suffering that resulted from feeling such a disconnect with my own family,society. what this article describes..THIS is LIFE! If I am reborn human, let it be with this kind of LOVE. until then ill do my best to GIVE <3

  2. I would like to know exactly what is meant by “at initiation, the Elders guide the young into deeper levels of intimacy and sexuality”. This article makes a lot of assertions about the Dagara people but it is unclear whether these assertions are fact, the interpretations of the author, or simply idealistic wishful thinking (nonsense based in the Noble Savage myth which is actually a form of racism). I would like to know how the author knows all of this information. The only hint we are given of the author’s authority on the topic is the line,”I was recently introduced to the Dagara people”. Well I was recently introduced to a Burmese person but that doesn’t make me an authority on Burmese relationships and spiritual practices. I feel like Uplift could be a bit more stringent about what if publishes and determine first whether they are just peddling misinformation or are printing articles of quality journalism.

    • I wonder the same. The article is no doubt self inspiring and ends up being a manifesto for an uplifted model of conjugal relationships, in fact for relationships in general.
      The author relegates “western” love to the level of selfish romance, while that is not actually what occidental culture aspires to.
      What she really needs is to educate herself more deeply and diligently on the higher western values cultivated by mature relationships. I suggest to her reading “Reflections on the Art of living” by Joseph Campbell.

    • I’m of the same opinion and concerns. Not just re: Uplift articles, but other sites out there as well, where opinion-based articles more suited to a travel blog are passed off as somehow informed by actual consultation with and learning from the ‘subjects’ of those somewhat fantasy driven viewpoints.

      There really needs to be a fairly high level of editorial rigour applied to such articles, especially where portraying cultures different from the writer, the publisher and the readers. You could start by encouraging (or requiring) authors to back up their claims, including interviews with the subjects of their article; in this case actual Dagara people.

      If Uplift wishes to be of true service to both its readers and to our culturally rich world, then adoption and application of higher standards will support that mission. On the other hand if it just wants to tiitillate and feed off the hunger of a disconnected audience, I guess you have the formula as-is.

  3. Very interesting! I’ve always felt this more spiritual sensibility over trite romantic notions of love and connection. As a bisexual, I find the concept of “gatekeeper” between genders as an interesting perspective. Thank you for the article!

  4. Thank you for sharing the point of view of an advanced people that have not yet had the opportunity to lose their way in pursuit of the addictions of the “developed world”. I hope a culture such as this can survived the pressure of the outside world. Can they have better health care and nourishment without the attendant risks of exposure to technology” Ron Hyman

  5. Understanding the Dagoba People even just a little…what a wonder-filled and even majestic way to view Selves, Spirit and living the Community Love that IS a fact for the Dagoba. I ended up feeling admiration…and a sadness that I am not part of this Way of Life. I’m ‘in’ the Western world. We NEED such thinking. Every ONE does count, and IS a part of the Spiritual Whole. Knowing there ARE advanced [!!!] human beings gives me Hope. May we learn these ways and become a part of the answers we seek…we, of the not-so-spirit-oriented ways of Being!

  6. I read this on my 70th birthday and it couldn’t have been more powerful,meaningful and perfect. It has laid a few thoughts and stepping stones towards a brighter future. With huge thanks and blessings Richard

  7. Love the article. We can learn a lot from them. This the “ original “ way of many indigenous people’s around the earth. We have become so materialistic, egotistical, carnal, opinionated, separated & divided from Spirit, Self, Each other & The Earth. Thank You for sharing. I have shared many places! 🙏🏾☀️💖

  8. Thank you for sharing at what I see is the perfect time. Mercy retrograde. So I enjoy the part that mentioned all the re’s. Great
    Article. I enjoyed it all. I look forward to the next read.

  9. Okay on a basic level it sounds reasonable but human feelings seem to be missed or ignored. What happens when two people fall in love? and how does this differ from just one. Where does jealousy go when this attraction is in our hearts? and there are many more “Why’s” that need to be answered and in the case described ignored. The human inside cannot ignore these feelings and the way in which we react (loss of appetite, anger, loss of sleep etc.) things that are real but not tangible. We are animals and like all animals pro-creation is our drive.

  10. Love this! This is the second thing I’ve read in a matter of days that has highlighted the need for ritual, particularly for the children growing up. There is so much to learn and to teach our children, that perhaps is not covered in our western culture so well. I love the idea of cultural integration and yet, I believe it’s us (western culture) who need the integration. These community type cultures are so much more ahead of us spiritually I believe. Thank you, Kirsten

  11. I loved reading this! Learning about other cultures is so important to me. I had a little trouble with the wording. I couldn’t tell if all of it was telling the readers what these people believe, or if it was adding in other thoughts, like the part about the deep hole because of a wound in childhood.
    Is this also their elders view, or a separate view added in? I would love to hear from the author in this.
    Some truly evolved ideas about intimacy here. Thanks for sharing with us!

  12. Sounds like a wonderful basis for a community. One small note: in the second-to-last last paragraph, you have: “relationship that exists between man and nature” – using “man” in that context instead of “humans” or “people” is quite dated usage (speaking as an editor). I’m sure that you’d like to be as inclusive as possible 🙂

  13. This is s beautiful article. Simplicity. Where heart leads and all trust heart to guide.
    A beautiful community respect.
    This is what western society needs to remember.
    Mother Earth is showing us the way.
    All we have to do is listen.
    Thank you mother.
    Thank you spirit.
    For this beautiful reminder ❤️🙏🌈🦋

  14. Thank you for the article. Amazing that they have so many similarities with tantric, conscious relationship views.

  15. Wonderful article! This is the type of info that are supposed to
    be shared around the internet. Disgrace on Gokgle for not positioning this submit higher!

    Come on over annd seek advice from my website .
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