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Tingan: Supreme Protector of the Land and Shrines

Tingan provides an “umbrella of protection” for all the shrines, the medicine work and rituals, including initiations, held at the East Coast Village.


This is a local program at the East Coast Village


Donations Welcome. Lodging Separate


Robert Walker, Tingan sob

it has been said...only tribes will survive

Many people in the West have lost connection to the land, to the tribe, and to community. As a result, many may feel lost and disconnected. With Tingan, we can always be physically and spiritually connected to home, and to each other.

Archaeological evidence shows that the primordial pattern for human beings is to gather in relatively tightly knit, clan-sized groups closely aligned with nature. Every indigenous tradition has a geographical location that they call “home” – their community, their tribe. They know that it is the place where they are physically and spiritually connected to the spirit of Mother Earth, and to each other.

In the Dagara tribe of West Africa, when a new village is established, the first thing that is done is to establish a Tingan shrine ( a tree) where the Tingan spirit will reside. Tingan is the spirit that allows an area of land to be safe for humans to inhabit and protects them from negative spirits and entities that are out in the wild, therefore providing an umbrella of protection for the villagers.

Tingan is the spiritual masculine aspect of the Earth element, and has a feminine aspect, Tenbalu, which we in the West have referred to as "Mother Earth".  In addition, Tingan brings in abundance and well-being to the people that are connected to their Tingan.

Tingan is connected to specific geographical location. Therefore, there are many Tingans, one in each village. Tenbalu is not restricted to any one geographical site, as it represents the spirit of Mother Earth under our feet. Tingan is the administrator and lawgiver for all things relative to the land, and also deals with serious life and death issues.

Come Home to Community, come home to tingan

Tingan is the Spirit to which villagers can make a commitment to the village, seek protection, and know that the land where this Tingan oversees is their spiritual home. Many people in our culture have lost that connection, to land, to the tribe, to community, and as a result may feel lost and disconnected. With Tingan, you can always come home.

As individuals, one cannot approach Tingan directly, or make a request on their own. To appeal to Tingan, one must do so via the Tingan sob, the initiated gatekeeper or priest of the shrine. The energy of Tingan is too great for individuals to appease, therefore the sob will assist with contacting Tingan, share the request, or perform the ritual requested.


During the Tingan celebration, we have a tradition of telling the story of our village, especially what has happened in the past year. Together, we also build the Ark of the Covenant, a symbol of our connection to Tingan as a community. The key feature of the Ark is that it weaves together our individual stories, the story of the village, and the story of the land.

The Ark is the home, the village and the earth combined. What sets us humans apart from the other mammals is that we have voice and fingers with which we can make, speak, and sing beautiful things. Our suffering turned into beauty is what feeds the Spirit world. The idea is that everything that gets tied to the Ark gets fed and infused with prayer and spirit, so it becomes a living representation of the earth and community.


  • Bring a potluck dish to share - enough for 8-10 people.
  • Bring a drum or percussion instrument - rattle, clappers, bells.
  • Bring your intention/request to Tingan
  • Bring coins of any denomination to offer to the shrine
  • Bring a donation to the Tingan sob (in a sealed envelope)

Please note: if staying overnight, lodging fee is required.

Frequently Asked Questions

This is a local event, where can I stay overnight?

I have never been on the Land, what do I need?

Do you provide meals? I have a special diet...

I need more information, who do I contact?

Donations welcome. Lodging options if staying overnight. Meals are potluck.