Klu are ancient water snake spirits who may or may not be identical to Nagas. Bon is the Tibetan spiritual tradition that predates Buddhism: according to some Bon creation myths, Klu created the world. (See Klugyalmo Sripé Tanla Phapa.)

Klu are profoundly associated with snowfall, precipitation and water. Every single Tibetan source of living water whether lake, pond, river or stream is inhabited by at least one Klu. Because water seeps beneath Earth and is subterranean, Klu also rule the regions beneath the surface of Earth: they have dominion over Earth’s hidden treasures.

Myths and legends of the Klu are collected in a Bon sacred text, the Klu-‘bum or “One-hundred thousand Subterranean Water Spirits.”

Because of their associations with water, Klu affect agricultural fertility but they also exert influence over human personal fertility, bestowing or withholding it, however an individual Klu spirit is inclined. Klu manifest their displeasure by causing various ailments, especially skin disorders or illnesses associated with excessive or otherwise troubled bodily fluids.

Klu are angered when water is polluted; treated disrespectfully; diverted (for irrigation or other purposes) or even just taken without asking for their permission. Frankly, Klu get aggravated easily. They’re emotional, sensitive, easily wounded; very much like human beings born under astrological water signs.

In some cases, the behaviour they dislike is reasonably easy to anticipate: the Klu perceive breaking the soil, as for instance when ploughing, to be disrespectful. Thus to avoid trouble, their permission is first ritually sought and gestures of appeasement made.

The Klu dislike certain types of human behaviour: they don’t like thievery, adultery and lying. They’re extremely sensitive to certain smells or foods. Monks and shamans subsist on grains and dairy products for weeks prior to addressing the Klu, foregoing alcohol, spices, onions, garlic and meat, all of which offend the Klu.

Sometimes it can be more difficult to avoid offending the Klu. The Klu live in beautiful subterranean palaces. Subterranean means underground: they’re not readily visible (and may be invisible to all but shamans or those permitted to see them). Sometimes the locations of these palaces are well known but not always. Here are some things that aggravate the Klu:

• Tombs or shrines built over their subterranean palaces

• Cremation of corpses in the vicinity of their palaces

• People having sex near their palaces

Should the Klu be offended, professional help may be required: trained Bon shamans are consulted to determine appeasement offerings.




Klu hibernate through the winter or try to anyway. They are very grouchy if disturbed or awakened. Klu awaken on the twenty-fifth day of the 1st Tibetan month.


Klu accept juniper incense (real juniper; they recognize synthetics); libations; dairy products including butter; grains including beer and cakes in the form of animals, birds or fish plus wool, silk, gold or turquoise ornaments.
Klu spirits bestow, heal and remove fertility and various skin ailments including acne.



Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.