The existence of shamanism dates back to the early stone age. The re-applied version of shamanism in an updated form is today called neo-shamanism. In many sources it is written that the Turks are fond of shamanism, and even that shamanism is inherent only to the Turks. We told you what shamanism is, what are the symbols and rituals of shamanism. We also touched upon the topic of shamanism among the Turks.

You can also check out this content: “An Unexpected Journey: The Story of the Celts Who Ever Migrated and Settled in Turkey.”

What is shamanism?

Let’s answer a very curious question, what is shamanism? Shamanism is a belief system in which the shaman, considered the spiritual leader, communicates with the spirit world while in a state of trance. The main purpose of this communication with the spirit world is to guide spiritual energies and spirits into the world and receive various kinds of help from them, such as prophecy and healing.

Shamanism, which spread throughout the Asian continent, was mainly adopted by the nomadic peoples. According to shamanism, the world; It is divided into three parts: earth, sky and dungeon. In shamanism, where belief in the sky god dominates, spirits are divided into two good and evil. Some rituals are performed to communicate with good spirits. To protect yourself from evil spirits, you need to establish a balance between earth and sky. While the evil spirits are called Erlik, the good spirits are called Ulgen. Now that we have learned what shamanism is, let’s look at the duties of a shaman, the symbols and rituals of shamanism.

initiation into shamanism

what is shamanism

With shamanic initiation, shamanic candidates can become shamans after undergoing various trainings. According to the traditions of the Turkic shamanists (Yakuts, Altaians, etc.) of Siberia and Central Asia, the experience of “initial death” or “descent into hell”, which is called acceptance in Asian shamanic initiations, is carried out by spirits-patrons-guides in the afterlife, called the underworld. , or in the spiritual sky, performed on the floors. This experience is mostly done in sacred places like forests and caves, away from people.

Even if a candidate for shamanism undergoes preparatory training, he cannot become a shaman without experiencing this experience, called initiation. This experience can only be passed by shamanic candidates who have completed the necessary preparatory training. Preparatory training is given to shaman candidates who are indifferent to what is happening and suffering from seizures, as well as those who manifest divine and spiritual signs, such as prophetic dreams in holy places and communication with guardian-guide beings.

Having learned to use the tambourine in such a way as to facilitate entering the trance, the aspiring shaman enters the trance in order to experience death after undergoing painful trials. During this experience, which lasts for several days, the shamanic candidate is in a relaxed state of physical and mental bonds. These phenomena, referred to in initiations as the descent into hell or the second birth, are symbolized in shamanism as the separation of the body of a candidate for shamans by symbolic dismemberment and the subsequent connection of these parts or the reunification of his body by turning his bones into flesh.

During this period, called initiation, patron beings teach the shaman’s soul the things necessary for shamanism. Among the subjects taught are trade secrets, “secret language”, methods of healing and characteristics of diseases. When these processes are completed and the candidate emerges from the hypnotic sleep, he finds that he has some abilities and changes greatly. Now he sees not only with the eyes in his head, but also with the spiritual eye.

What are the symbols of shamanism?

what is shamanism

In shamanism, the shaman uses certain animal spirits to communicate with the gods of heaven and earth. Animal symbols such as horses, eagles, deer, geese, owls, crows, and white rabbits are at the forefront in the shaman’s journey to heaven, while animal symbols such as the snake, dog, and black rabbit are in his underground journey. There are also trees in shamanism that are considered sacred. The tree of life, which is considered a sacred staff between the world and the earth, is very important in shamanism. What makes this wand special is that it is the path to the spirits in the sky. In addition, the shaman uses this path in a state of trance. In shamanism, the tree of life rises from the middle of the earth, and the upper branches of the tree, which is considered the umbilical cord of the world, reach Ulgen’s palace. The tree of life, which is a very important symbol in shamanism, leads the shaman to the heavenly gods.

What are shamanic rituals?

what is shamanism

Although shamanic rituals are meant for things that are difficult to achieve, good results can be obtained from these rituals. Now that we have learned what shamanism is, let’s look at some of the shamanic rituals performed in the past.

circle ritual

First, the shamanists form a circle. In the middle of this circle is the shaman. Candles and incense are very important to this ritual. The shaman closes his eyes and plays the tambourines, while the rest kindle the fire. The shaman, entering the trance calmly and slowly, spits into the fires. Meanwhile, he contacts good spirits. Evil spirits can also come to some ceremonies and rituals. The shaman seeks the help of good spirits to exorcise evil spirits. After the end of the ritual, the shaman does not remember anything.

funeral ritual

According to shamanism, a deceased person may want to stop going to the other side and return to the world. For this reason, the dead, placed in a coffin, are not immediately buried. Firstly, they are shown for hours in different places. Thus, the deceased becomes confused and cannot find his way home again.

Shamanism among the Turks

old faith

While some former Soviet scholars accept shamanism as the original religion of the Turks, other scholars view shamanism not as a religion but as a kind of cult that rules over beings in another realm.

Chukchi, Yakut Turks and Yukagirs believe that a person has three souls. In case of death, one remains in the tomb, one descends into the “realm of shadows”, and the other ascends into the sky. The dead can be reborn on earth after some time has passed. The Uyghurs always refer to the rebirth event as “samsar”.

According to the traditions of the Yakut, Altai and Uyghur Turks, the three environments, consisting of the “place” where people live, the “dungeon” where the dead go, and the Holy Sky in the sense of spiritualism and the other world, are connected with each other. axis, called the pole, passing through their centers. This axis, called the pole, is located between the navel of the earth and the navel of heaven.

Shaman villages in Turkey

old faith

Shamanism is one of the oldest languages ​​of mankind, based mainly on magic and sorcery. When shamanism arose is unknown, since it has no scriptures and founders. However, its origin is believed to date back to 3,000 years ago. The Turks also believed in shamanism before Islam. Residents of 10 villages, including Takhtakushlar and Takhtajilar, migrated from Central Asia and reached the Balikesir Kaz mountains. These cultural treasures that came with these people are now on display in museums.

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