Aboriginal Australia – The Oruncha Men of Tribal Lore

IMG_1063In my study of the Oruncha Spirit Men I have come to appreciate that they are a powerful force to be reckoned with. There are two concepts of who or what the Oruncha Men were (or are). They are a tribal men, who lived apart from their tribe at times and practice their lore, not unlike the Kadaitcha men.

The Kadaitcha and/or Featherfoot are also men of power and authority, men who enforced the Lore of the Spirit world in their deeds and who are feared by the tribes and mobs of traditional tribal Australia. Even to this day they are feared by many of Aboriginal descent.

These three groups of men, the Kadaitcha, the Featherfoot and the Oruncha men attend to the tenets of the Lore-givers, or the Spirit Creatures and Creator beings of the Dreamtime. The role of the Kadaitcha or the Featherfoot is to uphold the Lore in the real world. It is however the Oruncha Spiritmen who inhabit, or are solely identified as the inhabitants of the sacred caverns. A place which the Kadaitcha and Featherfoot merely visit when occasion requires it.

The Oruncha are believed to be men more spiritual than physical. The Kadaitcha were the more physical representatives who lived in the open, out under the glare of the sun rather than in the shadows of the caverns. It are the Oruncha Spirit men, who are also Lore keepers, who live in the caverns and shadows who have most fascinated me and who I have focussed on in the upcoming ‘Spirit Children Series’. I first mention them fleetingly in my novels of ‘The Dreaming Series’ though the Kadaitcha men are the focus of that series.

The Oruncha Spirit Men of the caverns have been an elusive mob to find. Information about them has largely been lost and you can find only flashes of their history and deeds, which can turn up often unexpectedly. These things are strongly linked to the Serpents of Australian Aboriginal Lore, which we tend to identify as The Rainbow Serpent, but which were much more complex and diverse in their existence than we are led to understand today.

Common to the legends and stories I have heard and studied from many sources, and which I continue to study with a delighted fascination, is their elusive nature. These Oruncha Spiritmen inhabit the caverns of the underground and they can initiate the Shaman of Aboriginal Lore being that they are considered the strongest of the Lore-keepers.

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 7.12.19 amI have found that there are three ways of becoming a Shaman and each requires the guidance of mentors and Lore men. The first is to be born to a bloodline and be initiated into the mystics of the Lore by Elders and fathers in stages, worthy of the recipient. It was in this way that many of the strongest families of the Lore passed down the sacred objects, dance steps and songs and spiritual gifts. The strength of their powers were buried in these initiations, though in time the power of sacred objects and the knowledge in the dance and song were returned to the earth as there was deemed no longer any worthy initiates able to take the knowledge and power of this ancient Lore unto themselves.

The remnant ‘churinga’ or sacred objects of these powerful men can be found scattered through museums in Australia, their true power no longer inhabitant within the object on display. It is believed that by 1930 many of these powerful men, or men of high degree no longer lived amongst us, their strength lost to a world grown more material and banal.

The second way to becoming a Shaman was to be seen as a child to have the unique attributes common to the Lore men and to be recognized, trained and gifted by the Elders in matters of the Lore. The third is to be taken by the Oruncha Spirit Men during ceremony and to be gifted in various ways, with the powers and gifts of the Lore. This was done during initiation ceremonies and is considered the most powerful of the ways to becoming a Shaman. Young initiates were left near the sacred caves and caverns in the hope that the Oruncha Spirit men might choose them worthy of their spiritual gifts.

The Oruncha men are the Lore-keepers also and they, themselves, are a mystic breed or race about which it is hard to find information today as information on their lore is held sacred, if it even continues to exist.

Rainbow SerpentI have a belief that there are threads of commonality throughout religions and lores found throughout the world. If we are to accept that our basic threads of faith, belief, religion or lore are born of our very existence then we need to believe that they have a basic and common source. What history has made of these things in different societies down through time is open to interpretation. But what these beliefs are, or the foundation for these beliefs were, should have a common source.

In my research I attempt to step back beyond the development of civilizations some 5,000 years ago when there was the introduction of commerce and its marriage with religion and look at the possible foundation of mankind’s social development and back into our spiritual development.

Australian Aboriginal Lore is unique in that it has had very little influence from the rest of the world and it is readily acknowledged that it dates back to the dawn of man and his very first migrations some 50,000 years ago. It alone has developed singularly across a continent in time, a civilization or collective and interactive racial group, spread across the vast areas of the Australian continent. These groups were collectively isolated from the rest of mankind just like a society settled in or just outside of the garden of Eden, similar to that found in the annuls of Christianity and yet they have common threads in culture and the practice of their Lore across vast regions. This interestingly leads you quite naturally to what the base interpretation might have been of what was the ‘original sin’ of mankind for the world (just as an aside thought).

Trade with Asia undoubtably occurred as trade routes and song-lines existed across the vast continent but as the Tribal Aborigine valued little of the material world, they instead would gather what others valued and use this in trade for mostly practical items they might find useful. They instead had a very spiritual presence and belief and valued spiritual things over the physical world. They saw themselves as part of the spiritual world, not the physical and balance in all things in their world was essential to their wellbeing and this was of a community and individual concern. This was something that the Whitefella and Yellafella didn’t understand or appreciate at all in the era of trade and colonization.


In attempting to unravel the tenets of the Lore of the Oruncha Spirit men I have stepped back into the foundation of other beliefs as their Lore is sacred and secret and much has been lost through the ignorance of other more dominant civilizations who submerged and subverted the Aboriginal Tribes in our most recent history. This step in research has taken me back into the Indian legends, the Celtic and Druidic tales and the Norse histories along with Asian deities and others, here I sorted for threads of commonality.

In my research I was looking for Lore men (and women), law-givers and entities who were the foundation of knowledge and what I found was really fascinating. It led me into another world, another possibility and a new understanding in legendary history or pre-history. It led me to write The Spirit Children collection of tales as an interpretation of what I found, the stories of which I hope to release in 2014.

The first chapter of the first of the stories, The Lands Edge can be previewed at Wordpad.com. Originally titled ‘Song of the Serpent’ it has undergone a title change due to reader input and I would enjoy your comments as well. I hope you will step with me as we discover these new histories together and peel back the annuls of time and legend, revealing a new world, one hidden in plain sight. I very much enjoy bringing to your thoughts the concept and practicalities applied to the contemporary world, of a truly ancient and rich Lore, wrapped within the pages of fiction and adventure.

For further reading on Australian Tribal Aboriginal Lore see under the tab above:  Australia an Ancient Land and join me in my journey of discovery of the ancient Lore.


12 thoughts on “Aboriginal Australia – The Oruncha Men of Tribal Lore

  1. Miss Hawkins if your interested in the Oruncha Men and would like the opportunity to visit one of their caves and learn more from them directly email me.
    I was initiated by the Oruncha a few years ago while camping not even 20mins from suburbia after having gone bush to stop a friends uncle from committing suicide their, im a whiteman no koori in me at all but they saw me for me and whats truly in my heart. Ive been taken underground twice and an oruncha resides inside me now(much like animal totems[kobong],a bonding/possesion if will). The worlds changing as we all know and so while time the invitation is their as they value knowledge/truth/honesty and honourable deeds. What lies ahead effects them also, so there coming out a little more than usual but if wa t to know more then best learn it from them directly.
    Yours Sincerely, Mick 😇

    • Hi Paul/Mick, thank you for your comment. The Oruncha are Spirits of our Nation and Land, they belong to the land and are not an ‘Aboriginal property’. Culture or creed have very little reference in their world.
      Your experience of the Oruncha is remarkable, treasure it and learn from it… as I am sure you do.
      Thank you for your invitation, I respect it but must decline as I am not in need of such a privilege … Each persons journey is individual and valuable as we venture between worlds, journeys gifted us throughout life.

  2. Pingback: Aboriginal Australia – The Oruncha Men of Tribal Lore | Jan Hawkins Author

  3. Have you ever had anyone ask you about a dream and only referred to it as the “Spirit Man”?? Because if so I would very much appreciate any knowledge you have on the subject.

    • Hi Dustin, My understanding of the “Spirit Man” is that of what is termed of the “Shadow”. The “Shadow Men/Women” are those of another dimension who guide and advise us. The Kadaitcha are schooled to move about our world in such a way, a projection of their mortal existence. Many shaman/spirit men of different cultures are schooled in this and it is a powerful skill.

      My publications “The Dreaming” and “the Spirit Children” delve into this skill, with “The Dreaming Series” an introduction to the skills of Lore, and “The Spirit Children” introducing a path towards the Men of Lore. These fictional tales are written of research into the Australian Aboriginal Lore and the many facets of this ancient knowledge. In my understanding of Lore, there are three entities of existence. The physical, the spiritual (as in Spirit of belief as in a association with a creator), and the ‘Shadow’ which is the personal entity of a man or woman… likened to the concept of a ghost. It is a controversial position but my personal conviction. I hope this helps.


  4. I have encounters with a spirit that looks exactly the same as this photo.. while fossicking the first time I saw this spirit it had been raining one night I decided to take my light after the rain stopped to look for sapphires that shine after the dust had been washed away.. At one point I stopped in an old hole dug along time ago and had started to hear foot steps in the gravel about 5m away from me.. it was not an animal because of the recognized sound of walking. I was camping alone out in central qld past emerald when this appeared standing at the base of a tree no more than the 5m away.. The feeling i had at this time I have never felt, not affraid or the feeling of danger.. it’s eyes illuminated a red light that projected on to my shirt in the upper chest area.
    I am strong minded and not easily scared by many things. At first I thought wtf but was not feeling any reason to run or be affraid.. after a few minutes looking at this figure I walked up out of the hole and towards my camp about 50m away that I had been to for over 2 years while out there on and off fossicking and working in Blackwater.
    I then felt while walking away no more than 10m away from the spot I had been at. A strong gust of wind. Not a breeze or light wind gust, that made me turn back. It was gone.
    I was able to speak to an aboriginal man who lived in Blackwater who was my neighbour at the time who had told me that It was above me watching.. I looked every where around me while this happend, but up. I never told my neighbor that I stoped to look after feeling the strong gust of wind over me.. All he could tell me about what I had seen that it could of been a featherfoot or featherman.. I’m not sure exactly which one he said.
    I have been out to the same location for over 3 years for fossicking using the same spot as my camp located no more than 50m away from where this experience happend.
    I have encounters with this spirit at times while out there fossicking at night using a light to spit the gems stones shining.
    The aborigional neighbour told me never to follow it.. so I don’t.
    Never felt fear or concerns while seeing this spirit. I just keep to my self.
    At times I swear during the day while digging and fossicking out there I can hear aborigional singing to. Very faint but its a language you would recognise being Australian.

    • Hi there, the redness of the eyes is often an indicator for the little spirit men, such as the “jongorrie” who generally inhabit the forests or bush. Aus has many ancient spirit creatures about which we know little… but I agree… I would not follow this guy under any circumstances. The jongorrie is a trickster but is only small in stature and often grotesque in appearance, similar to the “gargoyle” however he also is a thief and can often be seen by children in particular. He loves the night hours and the shadows and is feared mostly by women for his appetites.
      It is great to hear you enjoy the gem fields… they are amazing places. The one gem found in aboriginal tribal lore is the opal which is believed to be very spiritual in a number of ways.

  5. have just finished reading the first book of the dreaming series, and enjoyed it greatly. as a white Australian, i have always had an interest and belief in the original owners of our country
    thank you for such an enjoyable insight

    • Thank you Luci for your comment. It is always great of hear from readers. Researching the Lore of our ancient tribal people for many years has revealed a new world in what was/is a deeply spiritual, tribal people and I have tried to bring this understanding to my readers in my writing. I hope you continue to enjoy the stories. The tales of the Oruncha Men, become a predominant feature of the following series ‘The Spirit Children’ and bringing an interpretation of this Lore into the light is one of my greatest pleasures in my storytelling.
      Travel well

  6. Pingback: Ancient Limestone Caves – Chillagoe FNQ | Jan Hawkins Author

  7. Pingback: A Story of the Kadaitcha and the Featherfoot of Australian Lore | Jan Hawkins Author

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