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Tengrism (also known as Tengriism, Tengerism, or Tengrianism) is an ancient ethnic and state Turko- Mongolic religion originating in the
Eurasian steppes The Eurasian Steppe, also simply called the Great Steppe or the steppes, is the vast steppe ecoregion of Eurasia in the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome. It stretches through Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Europe ...
, based on folk
shamanism Shamanism is a religious practice that involves a practitioner (shaman) interacting with what they believe to be a spirit world through Altered state of consciousness, altered states of consciousness, such as trance. The goal of this is usually ...

shamanism
,
monotheistic Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciou ...
at the imperial level, and generally centered around the titular
sky god The sky The sky is the panorama obtained from observing the universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy. ...
Tengri Tengri ( otk, 𐰚𐰇𐰚:𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃, Kök Teŋri/Тeŋiri, lit=Blue Heaven; Middle Turkic Middle Turkic (''Türki'' or ''Türkçe'') refers to a phase in the development of the Turkic language family, covering much of the Middle Ages ...
. The term also describes several contemporary Turko-Mongolic native religious movements and teachings. All modern adherents of "political" Tengrism are monotheists. It was the prevailing religion of the Turks, Mongols,
Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages * ...

Bulgars
,
Xiongnu The Xiongnu (, ) were a tribal confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty A treaty is a formal ...

Xiongnu
,
Huns The Huns were a nomadic people A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation which regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherers, pastoral ...

Huns
, and, possibly the
Magyars Hungarians, also known as Magyars ( ; hu, magyarok ), are a nation and ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has ...

Magyars
, and the
state religion A state religion (also called an established religion or official religion) is a religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whethe ...
of several medieval states:
Göktürk Khaganate , conventional_long_name = First Turkic Khaganate , status = Khaganate (Nomadic empireNomadic empires, sometimes also called steppe empires, Central or Inner Asian empires, were the empires erected by the bow and arrow, bow-wield ...
,
Western Turkic Khaganate The Western Turkic Khaganate () or Onoq Khaganate ( otk, 𐰆𐰣:𐰸:𐰉𐰆𐰑𐰣, On oq budun, Ten arrow people) was a Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at le ...

Western Turkic Khaganate
,
Eastern Turkic Khaganate The Eastern Turkic Khaganate () was a Turkic peoples, Turkic khaganate formed as a result of the internecine wars in the beginning of the 7th century (AD 581–603) after the First Turkic Khaganate, Göktürk Khaganate (founded in the 6th ...
,
Old Great Bulgaria Old Great Bulgaria or Great Bulgaria (Medieval Greek: Παλαιά Μεγάλη Βουλγαρία, ''Palaiá Megálē Voulgaría''), also often known by the Latin names ''Magna Bulgaria'' and ''Patria Onoguria'' ("Onoğurs, Onogur land"), w ...

Old Great Bulgaria
,
Danube Bulgaria
Danube Bulgaria
,
Volga Bulgaria Volga Bulgaria ( tt, Идел Болгар, chv, Атӑлçи Пӑлхар) or Volga–Kama Bulghar, was a historic Bulgar state that existed between the 7th and 13th centuries around the confluence of the Volga The Volga (; russian: В ...

Volga Bulgaria
, and
Eastern Tourkia (Khazaria)
Eastern Tourkia (Khazaria)
. In ''
Irk Bitig ''Irk Bitig'' or ''Irq Bitig'' ( otk, ), known as the ''Book of Omens'' or ''Book of Divination'' in English, is a 9th-century manuscript book on divination Divination (from Latin ''divinare'', 'to foresee, to foretell, to predict, to pro ...
'', a ninth century manuscript on divination, Tengri is mentioned as (God of Turks). According to many academics, Tengrism was a predominantly
polytheistic Polytheism is the worship of or belief in multiple deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It ...
religion based on shamanistic concept of
animism Animism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Rom ...

animism
, and during the imperial period, especially by the 12th–13th centuries, Tengrism was mostly
monotheistic Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciou ...
.
Abdulkadir Inan Abdulkadir Inan (russian: Абдулкадир Инан; ba, Әбделҡадир Инан, ''Äbdelqadir İnan''; 26 September 1889 – 1 October 1976, Istanbul ) , postal_code_type = Postal code A postal code (also k ...
argues that Yakut and Altai shamanism are not entirely equal to the ancient Turkic religion. Tengrism has been advocated in intellectual circles of the Turkic nations of Central Asia (
Kyrgyzstan russian: Киргизская Республика, Kirgizskaya Respublika , image_flag = Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg , image_coat = Emblem of Kyrgyzstan.svg , symbol_type = Emblem , motto = " ...

Kyrgyzstan
with
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan ( kk, Қазақстан, Qazaqstan; russian: Казахстан, Kazakhstan), officially the Republic of Kazakhstan,; russian: Республика Казахстан, Respublika Kazakhstan, link=no) is a country located mainly in ...

Kazakhstan
) and Russia (
Tatarstan The Republic of Tatarstan,; tt, Татарстан Республикасы, Tatarstan Respublikası or simply Tatarstan,, tt, is a Republics of Russia, republic of Russia located in Eastern Europe. It is a part of the Volga Federal District ...

Tatarstan
,
Bashkortostan The Republic of Bashkortostan,; ba, Башҡортостан Республикаһы also called Bashkiria, is a republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an orga ...

Bashkortostan
) since the
dissolution of the Soviet Union The dissolution of the Soviet Union, also negatively connoted as rus, Разва́л Сове́тского Сою́за, r=Razvál Sovétskovo Sojúza, ''Ruining of the Soviet Union''. (1988–1991) was the process of internal political, ...
during the 1990s. Still practiced, it is undergoing an organized revival in
Buryatia The Republic of Buryatia ( rus, Респу́блика Буря́тия, r=Respublika Buryatiya, p=rʲɪsˈpublʲɪkə bʊˈrʲætʲɪjə; bua, Буряад Улас, Buryaad Ulas, , mn, Буриад Улс, Buriad Uls) is a federal subject ...
,
Sakha (Yakutia)
Sakha (Yakutia)
,
Khakassia Khakassia (russian: Хака́сия; Khakas: ), officially the Republic of Khakassia ( rus, Респу́блика Хака́сия, r=Respúblika Khakásiya, ; Khakas: , tr. ''Khakás Respúblikazy''), is a federal subject (a republic A ...
,
Tuva Tuva (; russian: Тува́) or Tyva ( tyv, Тыва), officially the Tyva Republic (russian: Респу́блика Тыва́, r=Respublika Tyva, p=rʲɪˈspublʲɪkə tɨˈva; tyv, Тыва Республика, translit=Tyva Respublika ...

Tuva
and other Turkic nations in
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region, constituting all of North Asia, from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. It has been a part of R ...

Siberia
. Altaian
Burkhanism Burkhanism or Ak Jang ( alt, Ак јаҥ), is a new religious movement A new religious movement (NRM), also known as a new religion or an alternative spirituality, is a religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, ...
and Chuvash
Vattisen Yaly Vattisen Yaly ( cv, Ваттисен йӑли, ''Tradition of the Old'') is a Chuvash faith and beliefs''. Chuvash Culture Portal. contemporary revival of the ethnic religion In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion ...
are movements similar to Tengrism. Tengri can either refer to the sky deity or refer also to other deities (compare this with the concept of
Kami (often taken to mean "gods A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the laws of nature. This term is attributed to non-physical entities, such as angel ...
). Tengrism is centered on the worship of the ''
tngri In the pantheon of Mongolian shamanism, tngri (also ''tengri'', ''tegrí'') constitute the highest class of divinities and are attested in sources going back to the 13th century. They are led by different chief deities in different documents and a ...

tngri
'' (gods), ''
Tengri Tengri ( otk, 𐰚𐰇𐰚:𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃, Kök Teŋri/Тeŋiri, lit=Blue Heaven; Middle Turkic Middle Turkic (''Türki'' or ''Türkçe'') refers to a phase in the development of the Turkic language family, covering much of the Middle Ages ...
'' (Heaven, God of Heaven) being one of them. In the Mongolian folk religion, Genghis Khan is considered one of the embodiments, if not the main embodiment, of Tengri's will.


Terminology and relationship with shamanism

The forms of the name ''Tengri'' ( otk, Täŋri) among the ancient and modern Turks and Mongols are ''Tengeri'', ''Tangara'', ''Tangri'', ''Tanri'', ''Tangre'', ''Tegri'', ''Tingir'', ''Tenkri'', ''Teri'', ''Ter'', and ''Ture''. The name Tengri ("the Sky") is derived from otk, Tenk ("daybreak") or Tan ("dawn"). Meanwhile,
Stefan Georg Ralf-Stefan Georg (November 7, 1962 in Bottrop) is a German linguist. He is currently Professor at the University of Bonn in Bonn, Germany, for Altaic languages, Altaic Linguistics and Culture Studies. Education Georg earned an M.A. in Mongol ...
proposed that the Turkic ''Tengri'' ultimately originates as a loanword from Proto-Yeniseian ''*tɨŋgɨr-'' "high".
Mongolia Mongolia (, mn, Монгол Улс, Mongol Uls, Mongolian script, Traditional Mongolian: '; literal translation, lit. "Mongol Nation" or "State of Mongolia") is a landlocked country in East Asia. It is bordered by Russia Mongolia–Russia ...

Mongolia
is sometimes poetically called the "Land of Eternal Blue Sky" () by its inhabitants. According to some scholars, the name of the important deity
Dangun Dangun (; ) or Dangun Wanggeom (; ) was the legendary founder and god-king of Gojoseon, the first Korean kingdom, around present-day Liaoning, Manchuria, and the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. He is said to be the "grandson of heaven" ...

Dangun
(also Tangol) (God of the Mountains) of the
Korean folk religion #REDIRECT Korean shamanism #REDIRECT Korean shamanism Korean shamanism or Korean folk religion, also known as Shinism or Sinism ( Tosok Shinang) or Shindo (; Hanja: 神道, "way of the spirits/gods"), is the polytheistic and Animism, animistic ...
is related to the Siberian ''
Tengri Tengri ( otk, 𐰚𐰇𐰚:𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃, Kök Teŋri/Тeŋiri, lit=Blue Heaven; Middle Turkic Middle Turkic (''Türki'' or ''Türkçe'') refers to a phase in the development of the Turkic language family, covering much of the Middle Ages ...
'' ("Heaven"), while the bear is a symbol of the Big Dipper (Ursa Major). The word "Tengrism" is a fairly new term. The spelling ''Tengrism'' for the religion of the ancient Turks is found in the works of the 19th century
Kazakh
Kazakh
Russophone This article details the geographical distribution of Russian-speakers. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union The dissolution of the Soviet Union, also negatively connoted as rus, Разва́л Сове́тского Сою́за, r=R ...
ethnographer
Shoqan Walikhanov , ''Shoqan Shyńǵysuly Ýálıhan''; russian: Чокан Чингисович Валиханов, given name Muhammed Qanafiya kk, Мұхаммед Қанапия , known_for = Kazakh historian, ethnographer, and civil servant , occupat ...
. The term was introduced into a wide scientific circulation in 1956 by
Jean-Paul Roux Jean-Paul Roux, PhD (5 January 1925 – 29 June 2009) was a French Turkology, Turkologist and a specialist in Islamic culture. He was a graduate of the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales, the École du Louvre, and the ...
and later in the 1960s as a general term of English-language papers. ''Tengrianism'' is a reflection of the Russian term, ' ("Tengriánstvo"). It is introduced by Kazakh poet and turkologist Olzhas Suleymenov in his 1975 book ''AZ-and-IA''. Since the 1990s, Russian-language literature uses it in the general sense, as for instance, reported in 1996 ("so-called Tengrianism") in the context of the nationalist rivalry over
Bulgar legacy
Bulgar legacy
. The spellings ''Tengriism'', ''Tangrism'', ''Tengrianity'' are also found from the 1990s. In modern
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
and, partly, Kyrgyzstan, Tengrism is known as the ' or ("Sky God religion"); the Turkish (sky) and (God) correspond to the Mongolian (blue) and (sky), respectively. Mongolian ' is used in a 1999 biography of
Genghis Khan ''Chinggis Khaan'' ͡ʃʰiŋɡɪs xaːŋbr>Mongol script The classical or traditional Mongolian script, also known as the , was the first Mongolian alphabet, writing system created specifically for the Mongolian language, and was the most ...

Genghis Khan
. In the 20th century, a number of scientists proposed the existence of a religious imperial khagan cult in the ancient Turkic and Mongolian states. The Turkish historian of religion
Ziya Gökalp Mehmet Ziya Gökalp (23 March 1876 – 25 October 1924) was a Turkish sociologist, writer, poet, and politician. After the 1908 Young Turk Revolution The Young Turk Revolution (July 1908) of the Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ota ...

Ziya Gökalp
(1876–1924) wrote in his ''The History of Turkish Holy Tradition and Turkish Civilization'' that the religion of the ancient Turkic states could not be primitive shamanism, which was only a magical part of the religion of the ancient Türks (see a historiography of the problem: ). The nature of this religion remains debatable. According to many scholars, it was originally
polytheistic Polytheism is the worship of or belief in multiple deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It ...
, but a
monotheistic Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciou ...
branch with the sky god Kök-Tengri as the
supreme being In monotheism, monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Ted Honderich, Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxfo ...
evolved as a dynastical legitimation. It is at least agreed that Tengrism formed from the diverse folk religions of the local people and may have had diverse branches. It is suggested that Tengrism was a monotheistic religion only at the imperial level in aristocratic circles, Fergus, Michael; Jandosova, Janar. Kazakhstan: Coming of Age Stacey International, 2003, p. 91: *"... a profound combination of monotheism and polytheism that has come to be known as Tengrism." and, perhaps, only by the 12th-13th centuries (a late form of development of ancient animistic shamanism in the era of the Mongol empire). According to
Jean-Paul Roux Jean-Paul Roux, PhD (5 January 1925 – 29 June 2009) was a French Turkology, Turkologist and a specialist in Islamic culture. He was a graduate of the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales, the École du Louvre, and the ...
, the monotheistic concept evolved later out of a polytheistic system and was not the original form of Tengrism. The monotheistic concept helped to legitimate the rule of the dynasty: "As there is only one God in Heaven, there can only be one ruler on the earth ...". Others point out that Tengri itself was never an Absolute, but only one of many gods of the upper world, the
sky deity The sky The sky is the panorama obtained from observing the universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy. ...
, of
polytheistic Polytheism is the worship of or belief in multiple deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It ...
shamanism, later known as Tengrism. Tengrism differs from contemporary
Siberian shamanism 350px, Tuvan shaman Tash-ool Buuevich Kunga consecrating an ovoo. A large minority of people in North Asia, particularly in Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographica ...
in that it was a more organized religion. Additionally the polities practicing it were not small bands of hunter-gatherers like the Paleosiberians, but a continuous succession of pastoral, semi-sedentarized khanates and empires from the Xiongnu Empire (founded 209 BC) to the Mongol Empire (13th century). In Mongolia it survives as a synthesis with Tibetan Buddhism while surviving in purer forms around Lake Khovsgol and
Lake Baikal Lake Baikal (; russian: Oзеро Байкал, Ozero Baykal ; bua, Байгал далай, Baigal dalai; mn, Байгал нуур, Baigal nuur) is a rift lake A rift lake is a lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized i ...

Lake Baikal
. Unlike Siberian shamanism, which has no written tradition, Tengrism can be identified from Turkic and Mongolic historical texts like the
Orkhon inscriptions The Orkhon inscriptions, also known as the Orhon inscriptions, Orhun inscriptions, Khöshöö Tsaidam monuments (also spelled ''Khoshoo Tsaidam'', ''Koshu-Tsaidam'' or ''Höshöö Caidam''), or Kul Tigin steles ( zh, t=闕特勤碑, s=阙特勤 ...
, ''
Secret History of the Mongols ''The Secret History of the Mongols'' (Middle Mongol Middle Mongol or Middle Mongolian, was a Mongolic languages, Mongolic koiné language spoken in the Mongol Empire. Originating from Genghis Khan's home region of Northeastern Mongolia, it di ...
'', and ''
Altan Tobchi The ''Altan Tobchi'', or ''Golden Summary'' (Mongolian script The classical or traditional Mongolian script, also known as the , was the first writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication ...
''. However, these texts are more historically oriented and are not strictly religious texts like the scriptures and sutras of sedentary civilizations, which have elaborate doctrines and religious stories. On a scale of complexity Tengrism lies somewhere between the
Proto-Indo-European religion Proto-Indo-European mythology is the body of myths Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an ...
(a pre-state form of pastoral shamanism on the western steppe) and its later form the
Vedic religion Vedic religion or Vedic Hinduism may refer to: *Historical Vedic religion The historical Vedic religion (also known as Vedicism, Vedism or ancient Hinduism), and subsequently Brahmanism (also spelled as Brahminism), constituted the religiou ...
. The chief god Tengri ("Heaven") is considered strikingly similar to the Indo-European sky god *Dyḗus and the East Asian
Tian ''Tiān'' () is one of the oldest Chinese terms for heaven and a key concept in Chinese mythology Chinese mythology () is mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of ...

Tian
(Chinese: "Sky; Heaven"). The structure of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion is actually closer to that of the early Turks than to the religion of any people of neolithic European, Near Eastern or Mediterranean antiquity. The term "shamanism" was first applied by Western anthropologists as outside observers of the ancient religion of the Turks and Mongols, as well as those of the neighbouring Tungusic and Samoyedic-speaking peoples. Upon observing more religious traditions across the world, some Western anthropologists began to also use the term in a very broad sense. The term was used to describe unrelated magico-religious practices found within the ethnic religions of other parts of Asia, Africa, Australasia and even completely unrelated parts of the Americas, as they believed these practices to be similar to one another. Terms for 'shaman' and 'shamaness' in Siberian languages: *'shaman': ''saman'' (Nedigal, Nanay, Ulcha, Orok), ''sama'' (Manchu). The variant /šaman/ (i.e., pronounced "shaman") is Evenk (whence it was borrowed into Russian). *'shaman': ''alman, olman, wolmen'' (Yukagir) *'shaman': (Tatar, Shor, Oyrat), (Tuva, Tofalar) *The
BuryatBuryat or Buriat may refer to: *Buryats, a Mongol people *Buryat language, a Mongolic language *Buryatia, also known as the "Buryat Republic", a federal subject of Russia {{Disambig Language and nationality disambiguation pages ...
word for shaman is ''бөө'' (''böö'') , from early Mongolian ''böge''. *'shaman': ńajt (Khanty, Mansi), from
Proto-Uralic Proto-Uralic is the reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new company *''Perestroika'' (Russian for "reconstruction ...
*nojta (cf. Sámi
noaidi A noaidi ( sme, noaidi, smj, noajdde, sma, nåejttie, sms, nōjjd, sjt, niojte, sjd, noojd/nuojd, italic=yes, sje, nåjjde) is a shaman Shamanism is a religious practice that involves a practitioner (shaman) interacting with what they be ...
) *'shamaness': (Mongol), (Yakut), ''udagan'' (Buryat), ''udugan'' (Evenki, Lamut), ''odogan'' (Nedigal). Related forms found in various Siberian languages include ''utagan'', ''ubakan'', ''utygan'', ''utügun'', ''iduan'', or ''duana''. All these are related to the Mongolian name of Etügen, the hearth goddess, and Etügen Eke 'Mother Earth'.
Maria Czaplicka Maria Antonina Czaplicka (25 October 1884 – 27 May 1921), also referred to as Marya Antonina Czaplicka and Marie Antoinette Czaplicka, was a Polish cultural anthropologist who is best known for her ethnography of Siberian shamanism. Czaplicka ...

Maria Czaplicka
points out that Siberian languages use words for male shamans from diverse roots, but the words for female shaman are almost all from the same root. She connects this with the theory that women's practice of shamanism was established earlier than men's, that "shamans were originally female".
BuryatBuryat or Buriat may refer to: *Buryats, a Mongol people *Buryat language, a Mongolic language *Buryatia, also known as the "Buryat Republic", a federal subject of Russia {{Disambig Language and nationality disambiguation pages ...
scholar Irina S. Urbanaeva developed a theory of Tengrist esoteric traditions in Central Asia after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the revival of national sentiment in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.


Historical Tengrism

The first time the name Tengri was recorded in Chinese chronicles was from the 4th century BC as the sky god of the
Xiongnu The Xiongnu (, ) were a tribal confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty A treaty is a formal ...

Xiongnu
, using the Chinese form 撑犁 (''Cheng-li''). Tengrism formed from the various Turkic and Mongolic folk religions, which had a diverse number of deities, spirits and gods. Turkic folk religion was based on
Animism Animism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Rom ...

Animism
and similar to various other religious traditions of Siberia, Central Asia and Northeast Asia.
Ancestor worship The veneration Veneration in Noto St Conrad of Piacenza (San Corrado) Veneration ( la, veneratio; el, τιμάω ), or veneration of saints, is the act of honoring a saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as havi ...
played an important part in Tengrism. The cult of Heaven-Tengri is fixed by the Orkhon, or
Old Turkic script The Old Turkic script (also known as variously Göktürk script, Orkhon script, Orkhon-Yenisey script, Turkic runes) was the alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word ...
used by the
Göktürks The Göktürks, Celestial Turks or Blue Turks ( otk, 𐱅𐰇𐰼𐰰:𐰉𐰆𐰑𐰣, Türük Bodun; zh, 突厥 ''Tūjué''; Wade-Giles: ''T'u-chüeh'') were a nomadic confederation of Turkic peoples in medieval Inner Asia. The Göktürks, un ...
("celestial Turks") and other early
khanate A khaganate or khanate was a political entity ruled by a Khan (title), khan, khagan, khatun, or khanum. This political entity was typically found on the Eurasian Steppe and could be equivalent in status to tribe, tribal chiefdom, principality, ...

khanate
s during the 8th to 10th centuries. Tengrism was the religion of several medieval states, such as the
Göktürk Khaganate , conventional_long_name = First Turkic Khaganate , status = Khaganate (Nomadic empireNomadic empires, sometimes also called steppe empires, Central or Inner Asian empires, were the empires erected by the bow and arrow, bow-wield ...
,
Western Turkic Khaganate The Western Turkic Khaganate () or Onoq Khaganate ( otk, 𐰆𐰣:𐰸:𐰉𐰆𐰑𐰣, On oq budun, Ten arrow people) was a Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at le ...

Western Turkic Khaganate
,
Old Great Bulgaria Old Great Bulgaria or Great Bulgaria (Medieval Greek: Παλαιά Μεγάλη Βουλγαρία, ''Palaiá Megálē Voulgaría''), also often known by the Latin names ''Magna Bulgaria'' and ''Patria Onoguria'' ("Onoğurs, Onogur land"), w ...

Old Great Bulgaria
,
Danube Bulgaria
Danube Bulgaria
,
Volga Bulgaria Volga Bulgaria ( tt, Идел Болгар, chv, Атӑлçи Пӑлхар) or Volga–Kama Bulghar, was a historic Bulgar state that existed between the 7th and 13th centuries around the confluence of the Volga The Volga (; russian: В ...

Volga Bulgaria
, and
Eastern Tourkia (Khazaria)
Eastern Tourkia (Khazaria)
Turkic beliefs contains the sacral book ''
Irk Bitig ''Irk Bitig'' or ''Irq Bitig'' ( otk, ), known as the ''Book of Omens'' or ''Book of Divination'' in English, is a 9th-century manuscript book on divination Divination (from Latin ''divinare'', 'to foresee, to foretell, to predict, to pro ...
'' from
Uyghur Khaganate The Uyghur Khaganate (or Uyghur Empire or Uighur Khaganate, self defined as Toquz-Oghuz country; otk, 𐱃𐰆𐰴𐰕:𐰆𐰍𐰕:𐰉𐰆𐰑𐰣, Toquz Oγuz budun, Tang-era names, with modern Hanyu Pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often a ...

Uyghur Khaganate
. Tengrism also played a large role in the religion of
Mongol Empire The Mongol Empire of the 13th and 14th centuries was the List of largest empires, largest contiguous land empire in history and the second largest empire by landmass, second only to the British Empire. Originating in Mongolia in East Asia, the ...
s as the primary state spirituality.
Genghis Khan ''Chinggis Khaan'' ͡ʃʰiŋɡɪs xaːŋbr>Mongol script The classical or traditional Mongolian script, also known as the , was the first Mongolian alphabet, writing system created specifically for the Mongolian language, and was the most ...

Genghis Khan
and several generations of his followers were Tengrian believers and "Shaman-Kings" until his fifth-generation descendant, Uzbeg Khan, turned to Islam in the 14th century. Old Tengrist prayers have come to us from ''
the Secret History of the Mongols ''The Secret History of the Mongols'' (Middle Mongol Middle Mongol or Middle Mongolian, was a Mongolic languages, Mongolic koiné language spoken in the Mongol Empire. Originating from Genghis Khan's home region of Northeastern Mongolia, it di ...
'' (13th century). The priests-prophets (''temujin'') received them, according to their faith, from the great deity/spirit ''Munkh Tenger''. Tengrism was probably similar with the folk traditions of the
Tungusic peoples Tungusic peoples are an ethno-linguistic group formed by the speakers of Tungusic languages The Tungusic languages (also known as Manchu-Tungus and Tungus) form a language family spoken in Eastern Siberia and Manchuria by Tungusic peoples. Many T ...
, such as the Manchu folk religion. Similarities with
Korean shamanism #REDIRECT Korean shamanism Korean shamanism or Korean folk religion, also known as Shinism or Sinism ( Tosok Shinang) or Shindo (; Hanja: 神道, "way of the spirits/gods"), is the polytheistic and Animism, animistic ethnic religion of Korea wh ...
and
Wuism Chinese shamanism, alternatively called Wuism (; alternatively ''wū xí zōngjiào''), refers to the shamanism, shamanic religion, religious tradition of China. Its features are especially connected to the ancient Neolithic cultures such as ...
as well as Japanese
Shinto Shinto () is a religion which originated in Japan. Classified as an East Asian religions, East Asian religion by Religious studies, scholars of religion, its practitioners often regard it as Japan's indigenous religion and as a nature religion. ...

Shinto
are also evident. According to Hungarian archaeological research, the religion of the
Magyars Hungarians, also known as Magyars ( ; hu, magyarok ), are a nation and ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has ...

Magyars
(
Hungarians Hungarians, also known as Magyars ( ; hu, magyarok ), are a nation and ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has ...
) until the end of the 10th century (before Christianity) was a form of Tengrism and Shamanism.István, Fodor
A magyarok ősi vallásáról (About the old religion of the Hungarians)
Vallástudományi Tanulmányok. 6/2004, Budapest, p. 17–19
Tengrists view their existence as sustained by the eternal blue sky (Tengri), the fertile mother-earth spirit ( Eje) and a ruler regarded as the chosen one by the holy spirit of the sky. Heaven, earth, spirits of nature and ancestors provide for every need and protect all humans. By living an upright, respectful life, a human will keep his world in balance and perfect his personal
Wind Horse The wind horse is a symbol of the human soul in the shamanistic Shamanism is a religious practice that involves a practitioner who is believed to interact with a spirit world through altered states of consciousness An altered state of cons ...
, or spirit. The Huns of the northern Caucasus reportedly believed in two gods: Tangri Han (or Tengri Khan), considered identical to the Persian
Esfandiyār Esfandiyār or Espandiyār ( ae, Spəntōδāta-; pal, Spandadāt; ) is a legendary Iranian peoples, Iranian hero and one of characters of Ferdowsi's ''Shahnameh''. He was the son and the crown prince of the Kayanian King Goshtasp and Queen Kat ...
and for whom horses were sacrificed, and Kuar (whose victims are struck by lightning). Traditional Tengrism persists among the Mongols and in some Turko-Mongolian regions of Russia (
Sakha Sakha, also known as Yakutia or Yakutiya,; sah, Саха Сирэ, r= Saqa Sire, p= saˈxa sɪrjə), and officially known as the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) ( rus, Республика Саха (Якутия), r= Respublika Sakha (Yakutiya), p= ...

Sakha
,
Buryatia The Republic of Buryatia ( rus, Респу́блика Буря́тия, r=Respublika Buryatiya, p=rʲɪsˈpublʲɪkə bʊˈrʲætʲɪjə; bua, Буряад Улас, Buryaad Ulas, , mn, Буриад Улс, Buriad Uls) is a federal subject ...
, and
Tuva Tuva (; russian: Тува́) or Tyva ( tyv, Тыва), officially the Tyva Republic (russian: Респу́блика Тыва́, r=Respublika Tyva, p=rʲɪˈspublʲɪkə tɨˈva; tyv, Тыва Республика, translit=Tyva Respublika ...

Tuva
) in parallel with other religions.


Orkhon inscriptions

According to the
Orkhon inscriptions The Orkhon inscriptions, also known as the Orhon inscriptions, Orhun inscriptions, Khöshöö Tsaidam monuments (also spelled ''Khoshoo Tsaidam'', ''Koshu-Tsaidam'' or ''Höshöö Caidam''), or Kul Tigin steles ( zh, t=闕特勤碑, s=阙特勤 ...
,
Tengri Tengri ( otk, 𐰚𐰇𐰚:𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃, Kök Teŋri/Тeŋiri, lit=Blue Heaven; Middle Turkic Middle Turkic (''Türki'' or ''Türkçe'') refers to a phase in the development of the Turkic language family, covering much of the Middle Ages ...
played a big role in choices of the kaghan, and in guiding his actions. Many of these were performed because "Heaven so ordained" ( otk, Teŋіri yarïlqaduq üčün).


Arghun's letters

Arghun Arghun Khan ( Mongolian Cyrillic: ''Аргун хан''; Traditional Mongolian: ; c. 1258 – 10 March 1291) was the fourth ruler of the Mongol empire's Ilkhanate The Ilkhanate, also spelled Il-khanate ( fa, ایل خانان, ''Ilxān ...
expressed the association of Tengri with imperial legitimacy and military success. The majesty (''suu'') of the khan is a divine stamp granted by Tengri to a chosen individual through which Tengri controls the world order (the presence of Tengri in the khan). In this letter, "Tengri" or "Mongke Tengri" ("Eternal Heaven") is at the top of the sentence. In the middle of the magnified section, the phrase ''Tengri-yin Kuchin'' ("Power of Tengri") forms a pause before it is followed by the phrase ''Khagan-u Suu'' ("Majesty of the Khan"): Arghun expressed Tengrism's non-dogmatic side. The name ''Mongke Tengri'' ("Eternal Tengri") is at the top of the sentence in this letter to
Pope Nicholas IV Pope Nicholas IV ( la, Nicolaus IV; 30 September 1227 – 4 April 1292), born Girolamo Masci, was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3  ...

Pope Nicholas IV
, in accordance with Mongolian Tengriist writing rules. The words "Tngri" (Tengri) and "zrlg" (zarlig, decree/order) are still written with vowel-less archaism:


Tengrism in the ''Secret History of the Mongols''

Tengri is mentioned many times in ''
the Secret History of the Mongols ''The Secret History of the Mongols'' (Middle Mongol Middle Mongol or Middle Mongolian, was a Mongolic languages, Mongolic koiné language spoken in the Mongol Empire. Originating from Genghis Khan's home region of Northeastern Mongolia, it di ...
'', written in 1240. The book starts by listing the ancestors of Genghis Khan starting from Borte Chino (Blue Wolf) born with "destiny from Tengri". Borte Chino was either a heavenly wolf, a real man with the totemic name of a wolf or
Modu Chanyu Modun, Maodun, Modu (, c. 234 – c. 174 BCE) was the son of Touman and the founder of the empire of the Xiongnu. He came to power by ordering his men to kill his father in 209 BCE. Modu ruled from 209 BCE to 174 BCE. He was a military leader un ...
. Bodonchar Munkhag the 9th generation ancestor of Genghis Khan is called a "son of Tengri". When Temujin was brought to the Qongirat tribe at 9 years old to choose a wife, Dei Setsen of the Qongirat tells Yesugei the father of Temujin (Genghis Khan) that he dreamt of a white falcon, grasping the sun and the moon, come and sit on his hands. He identifies the sun and the moon with Yesugei and Temujin. Temujin then encounters Tengri in the mountains at the age of 12. The
Taichiud The Tayichiud ( Mongolian Cyrillic: Тайчууд, Taichuud) was one of the three core tribes of the Khamag Mongol Khamag Mongol ( mn, Хамаг монгол, Khamag mongol, lit=the whole Mongol; ) was a major Mongolic tribal confederation (kh ...
had come for him when he was living with his siblings and mother in the wilderness, subsisting on roots, wild fruits, sparrows and fish. He was hiding in the thick forest of Terguun Heights. After three days hiding he decided to leave and was leading his horse on foot when he looked back and noticed his saddle had fallen. Temujin says "I can understand the belly strap can come loose, but how can the breast strap also come loose? Is Tengri persuading me?" He waited three more nights and decided to go out again but a tent-sized rock had blocked the way out. Again he said "Is Tengri persuading me?", returned and waited three more nights. Finally he lost patience after 9 days of hunger and went around the rock, cutting down the wood on the other side with his arrow-whittling knife, but as he came out the Taichiud were waiting for him there and promptly captured him.
Toghrul Toghrul ( mn, Тоорил хан ''Tooril han''; ), also known as Wang Khan or Ong Khan ( ''Wan han''; ; died 1203) was a Khan (title), khan of the Keraites. He was the blood brother (anda (Mongol), anda) of the Mongol chief Yesugei and served ...

Toghrul
later credits the defeat of the Merkits with Jamukha and Temujin to the "mercy of mighty Tengri" (paragraph 113). Khorchi of the Baarin tells Temujin of a vision given by "Zaarin Tengri" where a bull raises dust and asks for one of his horns back after charging the ger cart of Jamukha (Temujin's rival) while another ox harnessed itself to a big ger cart on the main road and followed Temujin, bellowing "Heaven and Earth have agreed to make Temujin the Lord of the nation and I am now carrying the nation to you". Temujin afterward tells his earliest companions Boorchi and Zelme that they will be appointed to the highest posts because they first followed him when he was "mercifully looked upon by Tengri" (paragraph 125). In the Battle of Khuiten, Buyuruk Khan and Quduga try using zad stones to cause a thunderstorm against Temujin but it backfires and they get stuck in slippery mud. They say "the wrath of Tengri is upon us" and flee in disorder (paragraph 143). Temujin prays to "father Tengri" on a high hill with his belt around his neck after defeating the Taichiud at Tsait Tsagaan Tal and taking 100 horses and 50 breastplates. He says "I haven't become Lord thanks to my own bravery, but I have defeated my enemies thanks to the love of my father mighty Tengri". When Nilqa Sengum the son of Toghrul Khan tries to convince him to attack Temujin, Toghrul says "How can I think evil of my son Temujin? If we think evil of him when he is such a critical support to us, Tengri will not be pleased with us". After Nilqa Sengum throws a number of tantrums Toghrul finally relents and says "I was afraid of Tengri and said how can I harm my son. If you are really capable, then you decide what you need to do". When Boorchi and Ogedei return wounded from the battle against Toghrul, Genghis Khan strikes his chest in anguish and says "May Eternal Tengri decide" (paragraph 172). Genghis Khan tells Altan and Khuchar "All of you refused to become Khan, that is why I led you as Khan. If you would have become Khan I would have charged first in battle and brought you the best women and horses if high Khukh Tengri showed us favor and defeated our enemies". After defeating the Keraits Genghis Khan says "By the blessing of Eternal Tengri I have brought low the Kerait nation and ascended the high throne" (paragraph 187). Genghis sends
Subutai ), Middle Mongolian: "Sube'edei", Сүбэдэй , occupation = General , title = Örlög baghatur, Noyan of a Mingghan , spouse = , partner = , children = ...
with an iron cart to pursue the sons of Togtoa and tells him "If you act exposed though hidden, near though far and maintain loyalty then Supreme Tengri will bless you and support you" (paragraph 199). Jamukha tells Temujin "I had no trustworthy friends, no talented brothers and my wife was a talker with great words. That is why I have lost to you Temujin, blessed and destined by Father Tengri." Genghis Khan appoints
Shikhikhutug Shigi Qutuqu ( mn, Шихихутуг, Shikhikhutug) was a high-ranking minister of the Mongol Empire in its early years and a stepbrother of Genghis Khan, the empire's founder. Life According to ''The Secret History of the Mongols'', Shigi Qutuqu ...
chief judge of the Empire in 1206 and tells him "Be my eyes to see and ears to hear when I am ordering the empire through the blessing of Eternal Tengri" (paragraph 203). Genghis Khan appoints
Muqali Muqali ( mn, Мухулай; 1170–1223), also spelt Mukhali and Mukhulai, was a Mongol general ("bo'ol", "one who is bound" in service) who became a trusted and esteemed commander under Genghis Khan ''Chinggis Khaan'' ͡ʃʰiŋɡɪs xaː ...
"Gui Wang" because he "transmitted the word of Tengri when I was sitting under the spreading tree in the valley of Khorkhunag Jubur where Hotula Khan used to dance" (paragraph 206). He gives Khorchi of the Baarin 30 wives because he promised Khorchi he would fulfill his request for 30 wives "if what you say comes true through the mercy and power of Tengri" (paragraph 207). Genghis mentions both Eternal Tengri and "heaven and earth" when he says "By the mercy of Eternal Tengri and the blessing of heaven and earth I have greatly increased in power, united all the great nation and brought them under my reins" (paragraph 224). Genghis orders Dorbei the Fierce of the Dorbet tribe to "strictly govern your soldiers, pray to Eternal Tengri and try to conquer the Khori Tumed people" (paragraph 240). After being insulted by Asha Khambu of the Tanguts of being a weak Khan Genghis Khan says "If Eternal Tengri blesses me and I firmly pull my golden reins, then things will become clear at that time" (paragraph 256). When Asha Khambu of the Tangut insults him again after his return from the Khwarezmian campaign Genghis Khan says "How can we go back (to Mongolia) when he says such proud words? Though I die I won't let these words slip. Eternal Tengri, you decide" (paragraph 265). After Genghis Khan "ascends to Tengri" (paragraph 268) during his successful campaign against the Tangut (Xi Xia) the wheels of the returning funeral cart gets stuck in the ground and Gilugdei Baatar of the
Sunud The Sunuds (Khalkha-Mongolian: ''Сөнөд''/Sönöd; ; English: Sonid, Sönid) are a Southern Mongol subgroup. They live in Sonid Right Banner Sonid Right Banner (Mongolian language, Mongolian: ''Söned Baraɣun qosiɣu''; ) is a Banner (I ...
says "My horse-mounted divine lord born with destiny from Khukh Tengri, have you abandoned your great nation?"
Batu Khan Batu Khan (c. 1205–1255),; mn, Бат хаан, ''Bat haan'', tt, Бату хан, ''Bá dū'', russian: хан Баты́й also known as Tsar BatuJack Weatherford ''Genghis Khan'', p. 150. in the Russian historiography, was a Mongols, Mo ...
sends a secret letter to Ogedei Khan saying "Under the power of the Eternal Tengri, under the Majesty of my uncle the Khan, we set up a great tent to feast after we had broken the city of Meged, conquered the Orosuud (Russians), brought in eleven nations from all directions and pulled on our golden reins to hold one last meeting before going our separate directions" (paragraph 275).


Contemporary Tengrism

A revival of Tengrism has played a role in search for native spiritual roots and
Pan-Turkism Pan-Turkism is a political movement that emerged during the 1880s among Turkic intellectuals of the Russian region of Baku Governorate (modern-day Azerbaijan) and the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey), with its aim being the cultural and poli ...
ideology since the 1990s, especially, in
Kyrgyzstan russian: Киргизская Республика, Kirgizskaya Respublika , image_flag = Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg , image_coat = Emblem of Kyrgyzstan.svg , symbol_type = Emblem , motto = " ...

Kyrgyzstan
,
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan ( kk, Қазақстан, Qazaqstan; russian: Казахстан, Kazakhstan), officially the Republic of Kazakhstan,; russian: Республика Казахстан, Respublika Kazakhstan, link=no) is a country located mainly in ...

Kazakhstan
,
Mongolia Mongolia (, mn, Монгол Улс, Mongol Uls, Mongolian script, Traditional Mongolian: '; literal translation, lit. "Mongol Nation" or "State of Mongolia") is a landlocked country in East Asia. It is bordered by Russia Mongolia–Russia ...

Mongolia
, some autonomous republics of the
Russian Federation Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country in the world, covering over , and encom ...

Russian Federation
(
Tatarstan The Republic of Tatarstan,; tt, Татарстан Республикасы, Tatarstan Respublikası or simply Tatarstan,, tt, is a Republics of Russia, republic of Russia located in Eastern Europe. It is a part of the Volga Federal District ...

Tatarstan
,
Bashkortostan The Republic of Bashkortostan,; ba, Башҡортостан Республикаһы also called Bashkiria, is a republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an orga ...

Bashkortostan
,
Buryatia The Republic of Buryatia ( rus, Респу́блика Буря́тия, r=Respublika Buryatiya, p=rʲɪsˈpublʲɪkə bʊˈrʲætʲɪjə; bua, Буряад Улас, Buryaad Ulas, , mn, Буриад Улс, Buriad Uls) is a federal subject ...
,
Yakutia Sakha, also known as Yakutia or Yakutiya,; sah, Саха Сирэ, r= Saqa Sire, p= saˈxa sɪrjə), and officially known as the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) ( rus, Республика Саха (Якутия), r= Respublika Sakha (Yakutiya), p ...

Yakutia
, and others), among the
Crimean Karaites The Crimean Karaites or Krymkaraylar (Crimean Karaim: Кърымкъарайлар, ''Qrımqaraylar'', singular къарай, ''qaray''; Trakai Trakai () (see names section for alternate and historic names) is a historic city and lake resort ...
and
Crimean Tatars Crimean Tatars ( crh, , ) or Crimeans ( crh, , ), are a Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (disambig ...

Crimean Tatars
. After 1908
Young Turk Revolution The Young Turk Revolution (July 1908) was a constitutionalist revolution in the Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that control ...
, and especially the proclamation of the Republic in 1923, a nationalist ideology of
Turanism Turanism, also known as pan-Turanianism or pan-Turanism, is a Nationalism, nationalist cultural and political movement proclaiming the need for close cooperation or political unification between (culturally, linguistically or ethnically related) p ...
and
Kemalism Kemalism ( tr, Kemalizm, also archaically ''Kamâlizm''), also known as Atatürkism ( tr, Atatürkçülük, Atatürkçü düşünce), or The Six Arrows ( tr, Altı Ok), is the founding ideology of the Republic of Turkey.Eric J. Zurcher, Turkey: ...
contributed to the revival of Tengrism. Islamic censorship was abolished, which allowed an objective study of the pre-Islamic religion of the Turks. The Turkish language was purified of Arabic, Persian and other borrowings. A number of figures, if they did not officially abandon Islam, but adopted Turkic names, such as
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk Kemal Atatürk (or alternatively written as Kamâl Atatürk, Mustafa Kemal Pasha Pasha or Paşa ( ota, پاشا; tr, paşa; sq, Pashë; ar, باشا), in older works sometimes anglicized as bashaw, was a higher rank in the Ottoman O ...

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
(''Atatürk'' — "father of Turks") and the historian of religion and ideologist of the Kemalist regime
Ziya Gökalp Mehmet Ziya Gökalp (23 March 1876 – 25 October 1924) was a Turkish sociologist, writer, poet, and politician. After the 1908 Young Turk Revolution The Young Turk Revolution (July 1908) of the Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ota ...

Ziya Gökalp
(''Gökalp'' — "sky hero"). The prominent Turkish writer and historian Nihal Atsiz was Tengrist and the ideologue of Turanism. The followers of Tengrism in the paramilitary organisation
Grey Wolves The wolf (''Canis lupus''), also known as the gray wolf or grey wolf, is a large canine Canine may refer to: Zoology * dog-like mammals (i.e. members of the canid subfamily Caninae) ** ''Canis'', a genus including dogs, wolves, coyotes, a ...
, mainly inspired by his work, replace the Arabic designation of the god "Allah" with the Turkish "Tanri" in the oath and pronounce: "''Tanrı Türkü Korusun''" (''Tengri, bless the Türks!''). The most famous modern ideologues and theorists of Tengrism are (1944–2018), (1938–2003),
Aron Atabek Aron Qabyşūly Edigeev (; 31 January 1953 – 24 November 2021), better known as Aron Atabek (), was a Kazakh writer, poet and dissident. He was a leader of an independent Alash National Freedom Party, and the president of the political council ...
, (1955–2010), Rafael Bezertinov, Shagdaryn Bira, , (1947–2018), Mongush Kenin-Lopsan, (1958–2016), Choiun Omuraliyev, Dastan Sarygulov, and
Olzhas Suleimenov Olzhas Omaruly Suleimenov ( kz, Олжас Омарұлы Сүлейменов, ''Oljas Omaruly Súleımenov''; russian: Олжа́с Ома́рович Сулейме́нов) is a Kazakhs, Kazakh Soviet Russian-language poet, Turkologist, Kazakh ...
. The poet, literary critic and Turkologist Olzhas Suleimenov, the eulogist of the Kazakh national identity, in his book ''AZ-and-IA'' that was banned after publication in 1975 in Soviet Kazakhstan, USSR, presented Tengrism ("Tengrianstvo") as one of most ancient religions in the world. Tengrism has very few active adherents, but its revival of an
ethnic religion In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...
reached a larger audience in intellectual circles. Former Presidents of Kazakhstan
Nursultan Nazarbayev Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev ( kk, Нұрсұлтан Әбішұлы Назарбаев, Nūrsūltan Äbışūly Nazarbaev, ) or Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev (russian: Нурсултан Абишевич Назарбаев, link=no, ; born ...
and Kyrgyzstan
Askar Akayev Askar Akayevich Akayev ( ky, Аскар Акаевич Акаев, script=Latn, italic=no, Asqar Aqayeviç Aqayev; ; born 10 November 1944) is a KyrgyzKyrgyz, Kirghiz or Kyrgyzstani may refer to: *Things related to Kyrgyzstan *Kyrgyz people *K ...

Askar Akayev
have called Tengrism the national, "natural" religion of the Turkic peoples. So, during the 2002 trip to
Khakassia Khakassia (russian: Хака́сия; Khakas: ), officially the Republic of Khakassia ( rus, Респу́блика Хака́сия, r=Respúblika Khakásiya, ; Khakas: , tr. ''Khakás Respúblikazy''), is a federal subject (a republic A ...

Khakassia
, Russia, Akayev spoke out that a visit to the
Yenisei River The Yenisey (russian: Енисе́й, ''Yeniséy''; mn, Енисей мөрөн, ''Yenisei mörön''; BuryatBuryat or Buriat may refer to: *Buryats, a Mongol people *Buryat language, a Mongolic language *Buryatia, also known as the "Buryat R ...

Yenisei River
and the runic steles constituted "a pilgrimage to a holy place for the Kyrgyz" just as the pilgrimage to Mecca. Presenting Islam as foreign to the Turkic peoples, as Semitic religion together with Christianity and Judaism, adherents are found primarily among the nationalistic parties of Central Asia. Tengrism may be interpreted as a Turkic version of Russian neopaganism, which is already well-established. It partly semilar to the
new religious movement A new religious movement (NRM), also known as a new religion or an alternative spirituality, is a religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is ...
s, such as
New Age New Age is a range of spiritual or religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religi ...
. In Tatarstan, the only Tengrist periodical ''Beznen-Yul'' (Our Path) appeared in 1997, and also works a theorist of Tengrist movement Rafael Bezertinov. He writes:
Today it's hard to even say who the modern Turks and Mongols. Their names are 90% Arabic, Persian, Greek, Jewish, etc; religion is Semitic (Arabic, Christian, Jewish) and Indian; many do not know their philosophy and traditions; live by the laws and lifestyle of the West; clothes and their food is western; the alphabet is western; forgotten your kind and ancestors; they do not know the history of their folk; many city residents do not speak their native language. Who are they really and what do they have own for today? Only hereditary genes ...
The Yakut philologist Lazar Afanasyev-Teris, PhD has founded Tengrist organisation "Kut-Siur" (at present, Aiyy Faith) in the 1990–1993. The headquarters of the International Fund of Tengri Research is also located in
Yakutsk Yakutsk (russian: Якутск, p=jɪˈkutsk; sah, Дьокуускай, translit=Djokuuskay, ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the municipality holding primary status in a Department (country subdivision), department, count ...
. Several
KyrgyzKyrgyz, Kirghiz or Kyrgyzstani may refer to: *Things related to Kyrgyzstan *Kyrgyz people *Kyrgyz language *Kyrgyz culture *Kyrgyz cuisine *Yenisei Kirghiz *The Fuyu Kyrgyz language, Fuyü Gïrgïs language in Northeastern China {{Disambig Languag ...

Kyrgyz
politicians are advocating Tengrism to fill a perceived ideological void. Dastan Sarygulov, secretary of state and former chair of the Kyrgyz state gold-mining company, established in 2005 the Tengir Ordo—a civic group promoting the values and traditions of Tengrism—and an International scientific center of Tengrist studies. He based on the ideas of one of the first ideologists of pre-Islamic religion in the post-Soviet space, the Kyrgyz writer Choiun Omuraliyev alias Choiun uulu Omuraly, described in his book ''Tengrism'' (1994). Another Kyrgyz proponent of Tengrism, Kubanychbek Tezekbaev, was prosecuted for inciting religious and ethnic hatred in 2011 with statements in an interview describing Kyrgyz mullahs as "former alcoholics and murderers". At the same time, the Kyrgyz authorities do not go for the official registration of "Tengirchilik" (Теңирчилик) and other Tengrist associations. The ideology of de-Judaization and the revival of Tengrism is imbued with the works of the leaders of the
Crimean Karaites The Crimean Karaites or Krymkaraylar (Crimean Karaim: Кърымкъарайлар, ''Qrımqaraylar'', singular къарай, ''qaray''; Trakai Trakai () (see names section for alternate and historic names) is a historic city and lake resort ...
and
Krymchaks The Krymchaks (Krymchak language, Krymchak: , , , ) are Jewish ethno-religious communities of Crimea derived from Turkic languages, Turkic-speaking adherents of Rabbinic Judaism.Crimea Crimea; crh, Къырым, translit=Kirim/Qırım; grc, Κιμμερία/Ταυρική, translit=Kimmería/Taurikḗ is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural ...

Crimea
, who traditionally professed forms of
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
(Igor Achkinazi (1954–2006), (1922–2019), and others). They are related to Tengrism or are part of it also movements within the framework of the anti-shamanistic
Burkhanism Burkhanism or Ak Jang ( alt, Ак јаҥ), is a new religious movement A new religious movement (NRM), also known as a new religion or an alternative spirituality, is a religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, ...
(Ak Jang) that arose in 1904 in (its famous proponents were the painter
Grigory Gurkin Grigory Ivanovich Gurkin (russian: Григо́рий Ива́нович Гу́ркин; 24 January 1870 – 11 October 1937) was a Russian landscape painter, the first professional artist of Altay people, Altay ethnic origin. He is notable for ...
and poet , 1938–2020) and the ethnic faith
Vattisen Yaly Vattisen Yaly ( cv, Ваттисен йӑли, ''Tradition of the Old'') is a Chuvash faith and beliefs''. Chuvash Culture Portal. contemporary revival of the ethnic religion In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion ...
in
Chuvashia The Chuvash Republic (russian: Чувашская Республика — Чувашия, Č''uvašskaja Respublika – Čuvašija''; cv, Чӑваш Республики, Ç''òvaş Respubliki''), or Chuvashia (russian: Чувашия Č''uva ...

Chuvashia
, Russia. Some of the Slavic Bulgarian proponents of the Native Faith in
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
identify themselves with the descendants of the Turkic
Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages * ...

Bulgars
and revive Tengrism. They are incorporated into the "Tangra Warriors Movement" (Bulgarian: Движение "Воини на Тангра"). Articles on Tengrism have been published in social-scientific journals. In 2003 in
Bishkek Bishkek ( ky, Бишкек, Bişkek, بىشکەک, ), formerly Pishpek and Frunze (russian: Фрунзе), is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyz Republic). Bishkek is also the administrative centre of the Chuy Regi ...

Bishkek
, the Tengir Ordo Foundation held the first international scientific symposium on Tengrism "Tengrism—the worldview of the Altaic peoples". The conference "Tengrism as a new factor for the identity construction in Central Asia" was organized by the French Institute for Central Asia Studies in Almaty, Kazakhstan, 25 February 2005. Since 2007, every two years, International scientific conferences "Tengrism and the epic heritage of Eurasian nomads: origins and modernity" have been held in Russia, Mongolia and other countries (the first was sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Spiritual Development of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia)).


Symbols and holy places

A symbol used by many Tengrists, representing the runic spelling of god Tengri and "shangrak" (an equilateral cross in a circle), depicting the roof opening of a
yurt A traditional yurt (from the Turkic languages The Turkic languages are a language family of at least 35 documented languages, spoken by the Turkic peoples of Eurasia from Eastern Europe and Southern Europe to Central Asia, East Asia, Nort ...

yurt
, and a shaman's drum. Many world-pictures and symbols are attributed to folk religions of Central Asia and Russian Siberia. Shamanistic religious symbols in these areas are often intermixed. For example, drawings of world-pictures on Altaic shamanic drums. See also: *
Flag of Chuvashia The flag of the Chuvash Republic ( cv, Чӑваш Республикин ялавӗ, ''Çovaş Respublikin yalavö''; russian: Флаг Республики Чувашия, ''Flag Respubliki Chuvashia''), in the Russia, Russian Federation, is one o ...

Flag of Chuvashia
*
Flag of Kazakhstan The current flag of Kazakhstan or Kazakh (Qazaq) flag ( kk, Қазақстан туы, ) was adopted on 4 June 1992, replacing the flag of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. The flag was designed by Shaken Niyazbekov. Description The natio ...

Flag of Kazakhstan
*
Flag of Kyrgyzstan The flag of the Kyrgyz Republic ( ky, Кыргыз Республикасынын Мамлекеттик Туусу, Kyrghyz Respublikasynyn Mamlekettik Tuusu, The State Flag of the Kyrgyz Republic) consists of a red field charged with a yellow s ...

Flag of Kyrgyzstan
* Flag of Sakha Republic *Göktürk coins *Gun Ana — the sun (featured in most flags) *Tree of Life The tallest mountain peaks usually became sacred places. Since the time of the Turkic Khaganate, this is ''Otgontenger'' in Mongolia—perhaps, the ''Otuken'' of the old inscriptions, state ceremonies are held were. Among others: ''Belukha Mountain, Belukha'' (or Üch-Sümer) in Russia's Altai, ''Khan Tengri'' alias Jengish Chokusu in Kyrgyzstan (not to be confused with the modern Khan Tengri), and ''Burkhan Khaldun'' in Mongolia, associated with the name of Genghis Khan. Symbolic mountains are man-made shrines-ovoos.


Beliefs

Tengrism was an animistic all-encompassing system of belief that includes medicine, religion, a reverence of nature, and ancestor worship. Tengrism as a monotheistic religion was only at the imperial level in aristocratic circles.


Gods

Tengrism is centered on the worship of the
tngri In the pantheon of Mongolian shamanism, tngri (also ''tengri'', ''tegrí'') constitute the highest class of divinities and are attested in sources going back to the 13th century. They are led by different chief deities in different documents and a ...

tngri
(gods) and the sky deity Tengri (Heaven, God of Heaven). This is similar to Taoism and Tengri is often linked to the Chinese
Tian ''Tiān'' () is one of the oldest Chinese terms for heaven and a key concept in Chinese mythology Chinese mythology () is mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of ...

Tian
. ''Kök Tengri'' (Blue Sky) is the sky deity and often considered as the highest god, father of gods, similar to Susanoo. It is known as ''Tangara'' to the Yakut. Other deities include: *Umay (The Turkic root umāy originally meant 'placenta, afterbirth') is the goddess of fertility and virginity. Umay resembles earth-mother goddesses found in various other world religions and is the daughter of Tengri. *Öd Tengri is the god of time being not well-known, as it states in the Orkhon stones, "Öd tengri is the ruler of time" and a son of Kök Tengri. *Boz Tengri, like Öd Tengri, is not known much. He is seen as the god of the grounds and steppes and is a son of Kök Tengri. *Kayra is the Spirit of God. Primordial god of highest sky, upper air, space, atmosphere, light, life and son of Kök Tengri. *Ülgen is the son of Kayra and Umay and is the god of goodness. The Aruğ (Arı) denotes "good spirits" in Turkic peoples, Turkic and Altaic languages, Altaic mythology. They are under the order of Ülgen and do good things on earth. *Mergen is the son of Kayra and the brother of Ülgen. He represents mind and intelligence. He sits on the seventh floor of the sky. Since he knows everything, he can afford everything. *Erlik is the god of death and the underworld, known as Tamag. *Ay Dede is the moon god. The highest group in the pantheon consisted of 99 ''tngri'' (55 of them benevolent or "white" and 44 terrifying or "black"); 77 "earth-spirits"; and others. The ''
tngri In the pantheon of Mongolian shamanism, tngri (also ''tengri'', ''tegrí'') constitute the highest class of divinities and are attested in sources going back to the 13th century. They are led by different chief deities in different documents and a ...

tngri
'' were called upon only by leaders and great shamans and were common to all the clans. After these, three groups of ancestral spirits dominated. The "Lord-Spirits" were the souls of clan leaders to whom any member of a clan could appeal for physical or spiritual help. The "Protector-Spirits" included the souls of great shamans and shamanesses. The "Guardian-Spirits" were made up of the souls of smaller shamans and shamanesses and were associated with a specific locality (including mountains, rivers, etc.) in the clan's territory.


Three-world cosmology

As in most ancient beliefs, there is a "celestial world", the ground and an "underworld" in Tengrism. The only connection between these realms is the "World tree, Tree of Worlds" that is in the center of the worlds. The celestial and the subterranean world are divided into seven layers (the underworld sometimes nine layers and the celestial world 17 layers). Shamans can recognize entries to travel into these realms. In the multiples of these realms, there are beings, living just like humans on the earth. They also have their own respected souls and shamans and nature spirits. Sometimes these beings visit the earth, but are invisible to people. They manifest themselves only in a strange sizzling fire or a bark to the shaman.


Heavenly world

The heavens are inhabited by righteous souls, the Creator and the protector deities. The celestial world has many similarities with the earth, but as undefiled by humans. There is a healthy, untouched nature here, and the natives of this place have never deviated from the traditions of their ancestors. This world is much brighter than the earth and is under the auspices of Ulgen another son of Tengri. Shamans can also visit this world. On some days, the doors of this heavenly world are opened and the light shines through the clouds. During this moment, the prayers of the shamans are most influential. A shaman performs his imaginary journey, which takes him to the heavens, by riding a black bird, a deer or a horse or by going into the shape into these animals. Otherwise he may scale the World-Tree or pass the rainbow to reach the heavenly world.


Subterranean world

The underworld is the abode of wicked souls, Ifrit, ifrits (devils) and evil deities. There are many similarities between the earth and the underworld and its inhabitants resemble humans, but have only two souls instead of three. They lack the "Ami soul", that produces body temperature and allows breathing. Therefore, they are pale and their blood is dark. The sun and the moon of the underworld give far less light than the sun and the moon of the earth. There are also forests, rivers and settlements underground. Erlik, Erlik Khan (Mongolian: Erleg Khan), one of the sons of
Tengri Tengri ( otk, 𐰚𐰇𐰚:𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃, Kök Teŋri/Тeŋiri, lit=Blue Heaven; Middle Turkic Middle Turkic (''Türki'' or ''Türkçe'') refers to a phase in the development of the Turkic language family, covering much of the Middle Ages ...
, is the ruler of the underworld. He controls the souls here, some of them waiting to be Reincarnation, reborn again. Extremely evil souls were believed to be extinguished forever in Ela Guren. If a sick human is not dead yet, a shaman can move to the underworld to negotiate with Erlik to bring the person back to life. If he fails, the person dies.


Souls

It is believed that people and animals have many souls. Generally, each person is considered to have three souls, but the names, characteristics and numbers of the souls may be different among some of the tribes: For example, Samoyedic peoples, Samoyeds, a Uralic tribe living in the north of Siberia, believe that women consist of four and men of five souls. Since animals also have souls, humans must respect animals. According to Paulsen and Jultkratz, who conducted research in North America, North Asia and Central Asia, two souls of this belief are the same to all people: * ''Nefes'' (''Breath'' or ''Nafs'', life or bodily spirit) * Shadow soul / Free soul There are many different names for human souls among the Turks and the Mongols, but their features and meanings have not been adequately researched yet. * Among Turks: Özüt, Süne, Kut (mythology), Kut, Sür, Salkin, Tin, Körmös, Yula * Among Mongols: Sünesün, Amin, Kut, Sülde In addition to these spirits, Jean Paul Roux draws attention to the "Özkonuk" spirit mentioned in the writings from the Buddhist periods of the Uighurs. Julie Stewart, who devoted her life to research in Mongolia described the belief in the soul in one of her articles: * Amin ruhu: Provides breathing and body temperature. It is the soul which invigorates. (The Turkish counterpart is probably ''Özüt'') * Sünesün ruhu: Outside of the body, this soul moves through water. It is also the part of soul, which reincarnates. After a human died, this part of the soul moves to the world-tree. When it is reborn, it comes out of a source and enters the new-born. (Also called ''Süne ruhu'' among Turks) * Sülde ruhu: It is the soul of the self that gives a person a personality. If the other souls leave the body, they only loss consciousness, but if this soul leaves the body, the human dies. This soul resides in nature after death and is not reborn.


Tengrism and Buddhism

The 17th century Mongolian chronicle
Altan Tobchi The ''Altan Tobchi'', or ''Golden Summary'' (Mongolian script The classical or traditional Mongolian script, also known as the , was the first writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication ...
(''Golden Summary'') contains references to Tengri. Tengrism was assimilated into Buddhism in Mongolia, Mongolian Buddhism while surviving in purer forms only in far-northern Mongolia. Tengrist formulas and ceremonies were subsumed into the state religion. This is similar to the Shinbutsu-shūgō, fusion of Buddhism and Shinto in Japan. The Altan Tobchi contains the following prayer at its very end: The figure of the God of War (Daichin Tengri) was iconographically depicted in Buddhist-influenced form and carried into battle by certain armies even in the modern era. During the Napoleonic Wars the Kalmyks, Kalmyk prince Serebzhab Tyumen (1774-1858) and 500 Kalmyks of his Second Cavalry Regiment, as well as 500 Kalmyks of the First Regiment of Prince Jamba-Taishi Tundutov, carried the yellow banner of Daichin Tengri (as well as Okhin Tengri) through the battles of Borodino, Warsaw, Leipzig, Battle of Fère-Champenoise, Fère-Champenoise (1814) as well as the capture of Paris. In early 1921 the Buddhist Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg (1886-1921) was reportedly recognized as the God of War (Daichin Tengri) by the Bogd Khan of Mongolia. James Palmer in his book "The Bloody White Baron" quotes Ossendowski who claims that Baron Ungern's imminent death in 130 days was foretold on three separate occasions. First by two monks in the "Shrine of Prophecies" of Urga (Ulaanbaatar) who cast dice and came up with the number 130, then by the Bogd Khan himself who said "You will not die but you will be incarnated in the highest form of being. Remember that, Incarnated God of War, Khan of grateful Mongolia" and finally by a female shaman in the ger of the Buryat prince Djambolon. Ossendowski relates: File:Иллюстрация к статье «Калмыцкое войско». Военная энциклопедия Сытина (Санкт-Петербург, 1911-1915).jpg, Banner of Daichin Tengri carried into battle during the Napoleonic Wars File:Kalmyk princes Tyumenevy (by K. Hampeln).jpg, Serebzhab Tyumen (seated) carried the Banner of Daichin Tengri into the Battle of Fère-Champenoise (1814) File:Ungern-Sternberg-1920.jpg, Baron Ungern was called the God of War (Daichin Tengri) by certain Mongols


Tengrism and Islam

Tengrism is based on personal relationship with the gods and spirits and personal experiences, which cannot be fixiated in writings; thus there can be no prophet, holy scripture, place of worship, clergy, dogma, rite and prayers. In contrast, orthodox Islam is based on a written corpus. Doctrines and Sharia, religious law derive from the Quran and are explained by hadith. In this regard, both belief systems are fundamentally distinct.Aigle, Denise (2014). ''The Mongol Empire between Myth and Reality: Studies in Anthropological History'', BRILL p. 107 When Turks converted to Islam, they probably assimilated their beliefs to Islam via Sufism, identifying Dervishes as something aking to shamans. Scholars recently argued that an orthodox Islam simply did not existed during the Medieval period and has been a product of Modernism, Modernization, thus there has been no strong distinction between Islam and Pre-Islamic Turkic beliefs when the first Turkic empires converted. First contact between shamanistic Turks and Islam took place during the Battle of Talas against the Chinese Tang dynasty. Many shamanistic beliefs were considered as genuinely Islamic by many average Muslims and are still prevalent today. Turkic Tengrism further influenced parts of Sufism and Folk Islam, especially Alevism with Bektashi Order, whose affilation to Islam became disputed in the late Ottoman period. Modern Tengrists oppose Islam, Christianity and
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
as Semitic people, Semitic religions imposing a foreign religion to the Turks. And, according to some ones, by praying to the god of Islam the Turkic peoples would give their energy to the Jews and not to themselves (
Aron Atabek Aron Qabyşūly Edigeev (; 31 January 1953 – 24 November 2021), better known as Aron Atabek (), was a Kazakh writer, poet and dissident. He was a leader of an independent Alash National Freedom Party, and the president of the political council ...
). It excludes the experiences of other nations, but offers Semitic history as if it were the history of all humanity. The principle of submission (both in Islam as well as in Christianity) is disregarded as one of the major failings. It allows rich people to abuse the ordinary people and makes human development stagnant. They advocate
Turanism Turanism, also known as pan-Turanianism or pan-Turanism, is a Nationalism, nationalist cultural and political movement proclaiming the need for close cooperation or political unification between (culturally, linguistically or ethnically related) p ...
and abandonment of Islam as an Arab religion ( Nihal Atsiz and others). Prayer from the heart can only be in native language, not Arabic. On the contrary, others assert that Tengri is indeed synonymous with Allah and that Turkic ancestors did not leave their former belief behind, but simply accepted ''Allah'' as new expression for ''Tengri''. Aron Atabek draws attention to how the Islamization of the Kazakhs and other Turkic peoples was carried out: runic letters were destroyed, physically persecuted shamans, national musical instruments were burned and playing on them was condemned, etc. Muslim Turkic scholar Mahmud al-Kashgari, around the year 1075, whom he considered Tengrists as "infidel", offered this view: "The infidels — may God destroy them! — call the sky Tengri, also anything that is imposing in their eyes call Tengri, such as a great mountain or tree, and they bow down to such things." Sociologist Rakhat Achylova studied how aspects of Tengrism were adopted into a Islam in Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyz form of Islam.


Tengrism and Christianity

Hulegu Khan sent a letter in Latin to King Louis IX of France on April 10, 1262 from his capital Maragheh in Iran. Kept in the Vienna National Library as MS 339 it is both an invitation for joint operations against the Mamluks as well as an imperious command to submit. The letter provides key insights into the Mongols' understanding of Tengrism's relationship to Christianity as well as furnishing one of the first Latin transcriptions of Tengri. Only a few sentences from the lengthy letter are shown below (those with relevancy to Tengrism): The letter largely propounds the usual Mongol ideology and understanding of Tengrism with mentions of the supreme shaman Kokochu Teb Tengri. All meanings of Tengri including the sky, the most high God and "a god" are implied in the letter. Jesus Christ is called ''Misicatengrin'' or Messiah-Tengri in the letter. The ''Misica'' is from Syriac ''mshiha'' (Messiah, Christ) as opposed to Arabic ''masih''. Another Syriac word in the letter is ''Barachmar'' (greetings). This points to the well-known Nestorian heritage within the Mongol Empire which used Syriac as its liturgical language. The Mongolian letter of Arghun Khan to Pope Nicholas IV (1290) also uses the word Misica for Christ. William of Rubruck reported that Arig Boke, brother of Hulegu Khan, used the word Messiah near Karakorum in 1254 (Then they began to blaspheme against Christ, but Arabuccha stopped them saying: "You must not speak so, for we know that the Messiah is God"). There are elements of syncretism between Tengrism and Nestorian Christianity with overlapping notions of monotheism and a traditional view of Christ as ''Misicatengrin'' probably dating back to the Keraites, Keraite conversion in 1007. In Hulegu's letter Tengrism takes the overarching, non-dogmatic role and contains Nestorianism as a compatible subset, in line with the religious pluralism practiced by the Mongols. Hulegu himself was not strictly a Christian, although his wife, his general Kitbuqa and mother were Nestorians. He was a Tengriist whose Nestorian interests were of the Mongol, syncretic type. His successor Abaqa Khan would take part in the Ninth Crusade with the future Edward I of England, King Edward of England in 1271 and also storm the Krak des Chevaliers in February 1281 with the Hospitallers of Margat.


See also

* Nardoqan * Heaven worship * Hungarian Native Faith * Manzan Gurme Toodei * Native American religion * Religion in China * List of Tengrist movements * List of Tengrist states and dynasties * Uralic neopaganism


Footnotes


Bibliography


Secondary sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * —— (2005). 'Political Background of the Old Turkic Religion' in: Oelschlägel, Nentwig, Taube (eds), ''"Roter Altai, gib dein Echo!"'' (FS Taube), Leipzig, pp. 260–65. * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Vol. 149 (149-1), pp. 49–82Vol. 149 (149-2), pp. 197–230Vol. 150 (150-1), pp. 27–54Vol. 150 (150-2), pp. 173–212
* ——. ''Tengri.'' In: ''Encyclopedia of Religion'', Vol. 13, pp. 9080–82. * * * * * * * * *


Modern Tengrist authors

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


International Fund of Tengri Research
— official website
TÜRIK BITIG
— Turkic Inscriptions and Manuscripts, and Learn Old Turkic Writings — website of Language Committee of Ministry of Culture and Information of the Kazakhstan, Republic of Kazakhstan {{Paganism Tengriism, Turkic mythology Asian shamanism Asian ethnic religion Monotheistic religions