's drum [http://www.sacred-texts.com/earth/boe/img/fig080.jpg] [http://www.nbi.dk/~natphil/Siberian.html] . The "World-tree" is growing in the centre and connecting the three Worlds:
Underworld, "Middleworld" and "Upperworld".] Tengriism (Tengerism, Tengrianism, Tengrianizm, Tengricilik) was the major belief of the Mongolsand Turkic peoplesbefore the vast majority joined the established world religions. It focuses around the sky deity Tengri(also Tangri, Tangra, Tanrı, etc.) and incorporates elements of shamanism, animism, totemismand ancestor worship. "Tenger" means sky in Mongolian language. Modern Mongoliansstill pray to "Munkh khukh tenger" (that means eternal blue sky). Therefore Mongolia is called as "land of Eternal Blue Sky("Munkh Khukh tengriin oron" in Mongolian). And also in modern TurkeyTengriism is sometimes called "Göktanrı" religion by some scholars. Even though there is insufficient research, Tengriism is thought to heavily influence the Alevibelief system. Today, there are still a large number of Tengriist people living in inner Asia, such as the Hakasand Tuvans.
In Tengriism, the
meaning of lifeis seen as living in harmony with the surrounding world. Tengriist believers view their existence as sustained by the "eternal blue Sky", Tengri, the "fertile Mother-Earth", spirit Eje, and a ruler who is regarded as the holy "spirit of the Sky". Heaven, Earth, the spirits of nature and the ancestors provide every need and protect all humans. By living an upright and respectful life, a human being will keep his world in balance and maximize his personal power " Wind Horse". Shamans play an important role in restoring balance when it is thrown off by disasteror spirit interference.
It is likely that Tengriism was the religion of the
Huns, Eurasian Avars, early Hungarians, and of the early Bulgarswho brought it to Europe. [http://library.usask.ca/theses/available/etd-01192005-154827/unrestricted/tezispdf.pdf] . It is still actively practised in Sakha, Buryatia, Tuva, and Mongolia, in parallel with Tibetan Buddhismand Burkhanism.
Ancient and Early Middle Ages writers report of a number of revolts caused by attempts to supplant or overthrow the traditional religion. One was reported in
Scythia Minorin the Crimea, when the Scythiannobles learned about their king's inclination toward Greek culture. Another revolt in 682 CE, reported in Armenian sources, was caused by the elteberof the Dagestani Huns, Alp Ilitver, conversion to Christianityfollowing a proselytizing mission by the Albanian bishop Israel. In that case, Alp Ilitver succeeded in demolishing sacred trees, destroying kurgan statuary, ruining sacral chapels, and suppressing a popular revolt. It was also reported that at the court of the Khazar Kagan, who was ethnically a Khazar, the power belonged to the Bulgar nobles, who maintained their traditional Tengriism and forcefully resisted any attempts to introduce Christianity, Judaism, or Islamas a state religion, to the point of secession.
Tengriism in Europe
Tengriism was brought to
Eastern Europeby nomadic tribes migrating or invading from the central Asian steppes. The faith was very closely connected to the nomadic lifestyle, so that in most cases people changed their religion after turning sedentary.
Bulgarsapparently called the sky god "Tangra". [ [http://en.zonebulgaria.com/mountains/tourism/esoteric/angrist_sanctuaries/ Tangrist sanctuaries] ] They named a large mountain in the Rila mountain range of Bulgaria after him, only in the 15th century it was renamed to Musala("Mountain of Allah") by the Ottomans.
There are few occurrences of the name in documents related to Bulgaria. One is in a late Turkish manuscript listing the names of the supreme god in different languages, which has "Tangra" for Bulgarian. [ [http://www.promacedonia.org/vb/vb_7.html promacedonia.com] bg icon] The other is in a severely damaged Greek language inscription from the times of Danube Bulgarian paganism. It is found on a
columnnear Madara, Bulgaria, which is believed to have been used as an altarstone. The inscription has been interpreted as saying "(Kanasubig)i Omu(rtag), ruler (from God), was ... and sacri(ficed to go)d Tangra ...(some Bulgar titles follow)." [ [http://www.ziezi.net/tangra/ The "Tangra" inscription near Madara] bg icon] In addition, Bulgarian historian Veselin Beshevliev has conjectured that the frequent Danube Bulgar runic sign ıYı stands for "Tangra", as it seems to disappear after the conversion to Christianity. Apart from that, Greek language inscriptions from pagan Danube Bulgaria generally use the Greek word θεός ("god"). Tengriism apparently disappeared in the region after the adoption of Christianityin the Danubian Bulgariaby Tsar Boris Iin 865 CE(and, presumably, with the adoption of Islamin Volga Bulgariain the 10th century).
Another piece of evidence suggesting that the Bulgars were Tengriist is the fact that the name of the supreme deity of the traditional religion of the
Chuvash, who are regarded as descendants of the Volga branch of the Bulgars, is Tură. This is generally considered to correspond to Turkic Tengri (and thus Tangra). [Tokarev, A. et al. 1987-1988. Mify narodov mira.] Nevertheless, the Chuvash religion today is markedly different from Tengriism and can be described as a local form of polytheismwith some elements borrowed from Islam.
*Brent, Peter. "The Mongol Empire: Genghis Khan: His Triumph and his Legacy". Book Club Associates, London. 1976.
* [http://www.Tengerism.org/ Circle of Tengerism: an organization dedicated to the preservation of Siberian and Mongolian shaman traditions]
* [http://aton.ttu.edu/OLD_TURK_DEITIES.asp Excerpt from "Tengrianizm: Religion of Turks and Mongols", by Rafael Bezertinov]
* [http://www.face-music.ch/bi_bid/historyoftengerism.html Shamanism (Tengerism) in Mongolia]
* [http://members.tripod.com/Mongolian_Page/shaman.txt Julie Stewart's course in Mongolian shamanism--introduction]
* [http://bogjejedan.blogspot.com/2005/08/avar-tengrism-in-croatia.html Bog je Jedan blog: Avar Tengrism in Croatia]
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