Thursday, October 17, 2013

Altaic Tengrism & Shamanistic Burkhanism


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"Tengrism (sometimes stylized as Tengriism), occasionally referred to as Tengrianism (Turkish: Tengricilik, Azerbaijani: Tenqriçilik, Mongolian: Тэнгэр шүтлэг, Russian: Тенгрианство), is a modern term for a Central Asian religion characterized by features of shamanism, animism, totemism, polytheism, monotheism and ancestor worship. Historically, it was the mainstream religion of the Turks, Mongols, Hungarians and Bulgars. It was the state religion of the ancient Turkic states like Göktürks Khaganate, Avar Khaganate, Western Turkic Khaganate, Great Bulgaria, Bulgarian Empire and Eastern Tourkia."….

"The ancient religion of Tengriism is notably tied to the tribal peoples of Central Asia, including the Huns and Mongols. Based primarily on the belief in Tengri, the Sky God, and Eje, the Earth Mother, Tengriism is known to have been loosely collaborated, with no priests or clerics, and no attempts to convert others. By focusing on maintaining harmony with the surrounding environment, worshippers of Tengrii held the Earth's resources sacred, particularly water, which was scarce in the steppes of Central Asia where much of Tengriism's following was found. Although it is believed there are still adherents to Tengriism in parts of Asia in the present-day, an accurate count of their numbers has not been taken."….

"Tengriism is an ancient religion from Central Asia that incorporates elements of shamanism, animism, totemism and ancestor worship. In ancient times, Tengriism was the main belief of Turkic peoples, being the Huns, Xiongu and Bulgars, Hungarians, Siberians and Mongols, those of ancient Altaic origins. It is thought to be one of the oldest religions in the world……The religion focuses around the sky deity Tengri (Tangra, Tangri, Tanri) and can be considered monotheistic. Tengriists centre their beliefs around reverence for the sky. Khukh and Tengri translated literally mean “blue” and “sky” in Mongolian. Mongolians still pray to Munkh Khukh Tengri (“Eternal Blue Sky”). In modern Turkey, Tengriism is known as the Gök Tanrı (Sky God) religion……The ancient belief of Tengri comes from the Bronze Age and beyond, there is no solid date to confirm its beginnings. It is one of the only religions to represent a purely philosophical vision rather than religious dogmas, having never caused any wars or sought to convert the world. Tengriism enriches the soul with both endless freedom of human spirit and seamless harmony with the rest of the world and natural environment…..In Europe, Tengriism was the religion of the Huns and of the early Bulgars who brought it to the region. Tengriism is still actively practiced in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Sakha, Buryatia, Tuva, Mongolia and Turkey, alongside Tibetan Buddhism and Burkhanism."….

"Tengri is the chief deity of Tengriism, essentially, worship of Tengri is Tengriism. He is the core being, the Sky God (Sky Father) and is married to Mother Earth. The Göktürk Khans are the sons of Tengri sent to Earth, they have the kut, the mighty spirit granted to these rulers by their father. There are many common sayings amongst Tengriists, such as “by the will of the Eternal Blue Heaven.” Tengri controls the celestial sphere and is the creator of the universe and father of all. Tengri is symbolised by a pure, white goose, he represents reverence to the sky. He is fair and good and the well being of people depends on his mood. There is not a lot of information on Tengri as he is simply accepted as the Eternal Sky God, ruler of everything."…..

"The term Yer-Sub has two meanings, one the name of a goddess, the other the visible world. Yer-Sub exists in the middle of the Universe and she resides on Khangan Plato (Lanshan Mountain, Mongolia). This place is called “The Otuken Homeland.” Yer-Sub is depicted as a voluptuous, beautiful woman, who is patroness of the Homeland (Land-Water). Nature and all living beings are subordinate to her and is regarded as the second highest deity under Tengri. She is commonly called Yduk Yer-Sub (Sacred Earth-Water). The dominant role in determining the fate of people and nations belonged to Tengri, but natural forces yielded to Yer-Sub. On Tengri’s command Yer-Sub would punish people for their sins through natural disasters, bad crops etc."….

"Umai (Ymai, Mai, Omai)…..Umai is a female deity associated with benevolent deities and spirits. She is said to be a favourite wife of Tengri, she, like Yer-Sub, obeyed Tengri. Umai was the giver of special divine powers to mankind. Umai lived in the skies and radiated down to earth, he rays reached man and lived in him as a spark until death. This spark accounts for man’s vital energy and physical force, but it is not a kut (spirit) that gives man this energy but rather a divine power linking man to heavens sent by Tengri. Once the spark dies out, so does the person, accounting for the frailty of old age. ….After the ancient Turkic states disintegrated and people began to migrate, the Goddess Umai began to be considered only as a protector of pregnant women and small children, from malevolent earthly spirits. The reverence towards Umai was kept alive in the Altai until recent times. Today, some Altai say that when the kut of a child reaches the earth, he is weak and helpless, and therefore Umai descends with him from the heavens, and guards him in the womb. This is necessary as some times evil spirits get into the womb and ruin the child, causing an abortion. Umai is present at birth ensuring that the child and woman are strong and healthy, fending off evil spirits. Umai protects the child, educates and talks to him. When a child cries during a dream and sleeps restlessly, Umai is said to have left him. The name Umai also referred to the womb, placenta and cut umbilical cord. This highlighted Umai as a goddess of reproduction. It was to her that barren couples prayed for a child. Many people still believe that Umai resides in the umbilical cord."….

"Different religions are present in Altay. According to a 2012 official survey 27.6% of the population adheres to the Russian Orthodox Church. The second most popular religions are ethnic and nature religions, namely Rodnovery, Tengrism and Burkhanism, constituting altogether 13% of the population. 6% of the population follows Islam, 2% Hinduism (including Slavic Vedic, Krishnaite and Tantric movements), 1% are Old Believers and 1% Protestants. 25% of the population is "spiritual but not religious", 14% is atheist and 7.4% follows other religions or did not answer to the question. The traditional religion of the native Altaians is Tengrist shamanism, revived by modern Tengrist movements and Burkhanism. Ethnic Russians primarily practice Orthodox Christianity and Rodnovery (Slavic Neopaganism), but also Hinduism, while Kazakhs are traditionally Muslims. Tibetan Buddhism has also recently begun making some inroads by way of neighboring Mongolia and Tuva."….

"From 1904 until the 1930s, a new religious movement called Burkhanism (or Ak Jang, the "white faith") was popularized among native Altaians. The religion originated in Altai, and emphasized the "white" aspect of shamanistic practice. Burkhanism remains an important component of Altaian national consciousness, and is currently being revived in several forms along with indigenous Altai culture in general. Russian Pagan and Hindu followers often go on pilgrimages to Mount Belukha, which is considered to be the location of Shambhala both by some Pagans and locals of Altai. One can often find manifestations of shamanistic spirituality in the region; for example, at points along the Katun River, local believers in shamanic religions are known to tie white ribbons to nearby trees and leave offerings of coins or food to the spirits. Although shamanism is much less widely practiced today, it is regaining popularity as a result of new religious freedom following the collapse of the Soviet Union."….

Belukha Mountain (Russian: Белуха; Altai: Muztau), located in the Katun Mountains, is the highest peak of the Altai Mountains in Russia. It is part of the World Heritage Site entitled Golden Mountains of Altai…..Traditionally called Uch Sumer, meaning 3 peaks, it goes by many names among different Altaian and Kazakh tribes. Archaeologist and some scholars of Buddhist history and philosophy believe that Belukha may be Sumeru, the Central Asian mountain in Buddhist belief that is the center of Shambala (Shangri-la )... where only the spiritually advanced may enter. Belukha is also the headwaters of the sacred Katun River. There are shrines, burial sites, petroglyphs, and standing stones scattered all around the mountain."…

"The world of the shamans in Siberia and Central Asia, especially of the Mongol, Buryat and Tungus people (Evenks) is related with that of the Turk people in the High-Altai, the Altaic, Khakas and Tuva and with the Bon religion from Tibet. The tribes living in the northern part of Mongolia (Darkhad, Tsaatan, Khotgoit, and others), in the northeastern area of Mongolia (Buryat and Khamnigan) and in western Mongolia (Uriankhai) as well as some tribes living in Central-Mongolia, the Khalk still maintain the ancient shamanic traditions. These phenomena are still present today."…

"The central element in this is constituted by the worship of the Blue Mighty Eternal Heaven - "Blue Sky" (Köke Tengri, Erketü Tengri and Möngke Tengri). There are a total of 99 Tengris (sky-spirits) or heavenly creatures in the lower and upper world, in which Köke Möngke Tengri (Eternal Blue Heaven) is the supreme. He is the creator of the visible and invisible world. In the Asian mythologies such a monotheistic world is referred to by multiple Gods (Tengris, Burkhans and Lords). The next to Köke Möngke Tengri is the Qurmusata King. He has a special relation with the origin of fire. People said that: “Buddha struck the light and Qurmusata Tengri heated the fire”. The fire is sacred for this people. One of this rules (taboo) says: "Never stamp out the fire or put rubbish or water on it"."…..


October 2013

John Hopkins....Northern New Mexico


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