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Monday, November 4, 2013


The Bhutanese have a superstition that certain women have negative spirits ( a cultural gender discrimination). These bad spirits are called soendae. The soendae live within a person and thrive when they are able to make other people sick. The person who is the host has little knowledge of the negative spirit living within her. When a soendae has visited a person, that person becomes sick or sometimes even die if the remedies are not carried out in time. When one washes his or her body with a herb called tsoe (rubus), scratches appear on the part of the body that has been exposed to the soendae.
In certain parts of Bhutan, it is also believed that the soendaes maneuver in the form of small flames, hopping and wiggling from place to place. And if one is brave enough to whack it with a stick, the host becomes sick the next day. Bruises appear from the beating received.
It is also believed that soendaes have groups and they sit for meetings before they proceed with their hunt. If the hunt is unsuccessful, then the weakest soendae will have to sacrifice her child or her husband.

The dark clouds hovered in the distant horizon. Lightning flashed, crackling the bleak sky and the thunderous roar followed. Flames sparked, wiggled playfully and consumed themselves into forms out of the dark misty air. They gathered at a dark stone slab where they convene their usual meeting. It was hunting season.

Murmurs rose and fell and they dispersed.

Through the window a vague hazy scene of a family having dinner is seen. The view hovers from one window to the other zooming in and out on the people in the house; all the while the people are unaware of the visitor.
While the family is busy the one-year-old baby is crawling and is playing. The visitor tries to break in but at the door the guardian deity flairs so it hovers to a window. Seeing that the window is open, slips into the house and moves towards the baby. It observes the baby from a distance and sudden fear engulfs it. It sees the baby fearlessly munching everything in its path. It chews a comb, a doll, a steel mug, and goes on and on. Salivating and mauling with groans and cries it moves fearlessly. The soendae hovers back and in its ghostly paleness it almost disappears as fear strikes its very being. With a swirl of twist and zooms, it vanishes.

It is also believed that demons/ghost/witches/evil/soendae fear babies (1-2 years) because the baby knows no fear. It puts everything in its mouth; a basic survival instinct.


  1. Nice one. Got informed of Soendae.

  2. I am superstitious.
    I have heard of Soendoe but never really cared about it.
    After going through this story, it seems like women are the bearer of pain and they should be respected in every manner.


    1. I would say it is unfair; societal/ cultural gender discrimination. Thanks for stopping by Yeesi

  3. Interesting. I hadn't heard of soendaes.

    1. They are interesting but there is no literature or research as such. I think it would be interesting to find out more.
      Thanks for reading Lynda

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  5. As a child, i have seen my mom and aunts rubbing the rubus plant when they have pain in the back or arms saying that they got bitten by Soendoe and i found it funny. I feel funny about the fact that the rubus plants are rough and when they rub it on the skin ofcourse there will be scratches on it and they call it "soendoe scratch". Just my thought sir,not that i'm not supertitious :) I enjoy going through Sir's blog. :)