Also found in: Wikipedia.



The people who live on the Polynesian island of Tikopia, which is located to the southeast of the Solomon Islands, regard their dreams as significant indicators of supernatural influences. Considerable attention is paid to dreams, and it is believed that an accurate interpretation of them can throw light on the events of normal waking life. It is very common to share one’s dreams with others, although there is no ritualized context in which to tell them. Dreams are usually reported in a casual way, at any time of the day. Some dreams are not given particular significance, however, and many of them are not reported in public at all.

According to the Tikopia explanation of dreams, which rests on a more general theory of a mobile soul, every person embodies an intangible entity (which may be designated the spirit, or life, principle) capable of leaving the body during sleep and wandering abroad, transmitting its experiences to its mortal owner upon its return. The mobility of the spirit explains dreams of visits to distant places. The spirit can also journey to the heavens and have contact with persons long dead.

Many dream experiences stem from the intrusion of spiritual beings who have never belonged to humankind, but who counterfeit familiar forms in order to deceive the dreamer. To this kind of spirit is attributed dreams of physical oppression, such as nightmares. The experiences of people in dreams are considered proof of the existence of spirits, and much of the information about supernatural beings is derived from dreams in which they appear. Violent dreams with an unpleasant aftereffect are very common among the Tikopia, although the significance given to such dreams varies, and they may even be entirely neglected.

Some dreams are regarded as being of more importance than others, especially those concerned with fishing (a major economic sphere) and with birth, sickness, and death. These are aspects of human life peculiarly liable to chance, and some degree of advance assurance about them (provided by dreams) is usually welcomed. In Tikopia the value and the meaning of a dream tends to be a function of the immediate practical situation of the dreamer and his family, to whom it is generally told. The dream is discussed in this context, and its relevance determined.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Patrick, passed close to Tikopia, one of the New Hebrides.
On the 10th of February, 1828, the Astrolabe appeared off Tikopia, and took as guide and interpreter a deserter found on the island; made his way to Vanikoro, sighted it on the 12th inst., lay among the reefs until the 14th, and not until the 20th did he cast anchor within the barrier in the harbour of Vanou.
Cluster 11 (Oceania): Cook islands northern; Banks, Torres islands; Santa-Cruz islands; Southern Vanuatu; Mangareva; Tokelau; Niue; Rotuma; Truk district; Ifaluk, Lamotrek, Satawan; SE New Guinea Melanesians; Palau; Yap; New Caledonia; Maori, Moriori; Tahiti, Society islands; Hawaii; Samoa; Tuamotu; Cook islands southern; Gilbert, Nauru, Banaba; Tuvalu (Ellice); Marquesas; Tonga; Ulithi, Ngulu; Ponape district; Rennel, Tikopia, Taku, etc.; Marshal Islands; Lengua, Sanapana; Queensland; Atsugevi; Southern Australia; Bushmen; Central Australia; Western Australia; Arnham Land; SE Australia.
See also DIAMOND, supra note 22, at 291, 294, 299 (describing the success of population limits in Japan and the Pacific island of Tikopia).
Girard cites myths from nations across the world that involve hidden sacrifice and in which scapegoats emerge as gods, including Claude Levi-Strauss's Ojibwa and Tikopia tales in his Totemism, Euripides's The Bacchae, and Philostratus's Life of Apollonius of Tyana, as well as Inca and Hindu practices, Romulus and Oedipus, and many others.
Climax, for us, evokes 'thrill' or 'drama.' But we have cultures, like the Tikopia, where life is lived on an even emotive plane without thrill or climax.
The impact of Cyclone Zoe on the isolated Tikopia and Anuta Islands in 2002 (situated in the eastern province of Temotu, Solomon Islands), for instance, clearly overwhelmed traditional settlement, housing, and agricultural practices.
The storm also struck the remote islands of Anuta and Tikopia on 12 March, causing extensive damage.
When Hocart and Rivers ventured to the New Hebrides and Tikopia, their extensive survey methods became more circumspect.
Tikopia Islanders inhabit a tiny island so far from any neighbors that they were forced to become self sufficient in almost everything, but they micromanaged their resources and regulated their population size so carefully that their island is still productive after 3,000 years of human occupation.