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The cosmology of Turkic and Altaic people.
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The plains and steppes of Inner Asia are home to plenty of nomadic tribes. While the Mongols have become more (in)famous historically as fierce conquering barbarian hordes with the help of Genghis Khan, these people like everyone else also have their own religion and culture. This page deals with the mythology of the Altaic people which also includes the Bulgars, Huns, Siberians and Turks. Worth knowing is that originally the belief practice consisted of totemism, animism, shamanism and ancestor worship, however eventually it incorporated elements from other religions as well such as Taoism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and even Judeo-Christianity. Go also check out the pages of the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans to find out more interesting information about the religions and mythologies of the other Far East Asian civilizations.

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  • The Creator: Bai-Ulgen or Ulgan who created the universe and believed to be without either beginning or end.
  • Everybody Hates Hades: Erlik Khan, who was originally a god of death and the underworld, was eventually re-interpreted as a demonic Big Bad to oppose Tengri, Lord of the Eternal Blue Sky.
  • Food God: In Pi Shashin, a strain of Tengriism found in parts of Mongolia, the deity Pi is often associated with baked goods.
  • God of Good:
    • Bai-Ulgen in Turkic mythology is the god of goodness, welfare, abundance, and plenty.
    • Two of his sons might qualify as well: Karshyt Han and Bakhty Han, the gods of purity and blessing, respectively.
  • Heaven Above: The sky is considered the realm of Tengri, whose name literally translated means "heavenly or sky father". This is also true for most other Indo-European cultures and mythologies.
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  • Hell: Mongolian shamanism has Kasrygan, where those whose bad deeds in life outweigh their good ones are sent. It is a giant cauldron filled with boiling black tar where sinners float. The worst ones sink to the bottom and suffer there forever, while those who have committed at least some good in their life have a chance to reach the surface. Those in Heaven who benefited from these sinners' good deeds can send spirits to the surface of Kasrygan to pull them up by the hair and bring them to paradise.
  • An Ice Person: Ayaz Baba, whose name literally translates to "frost father" is a god of frost and snow associated with winter seasons, depicted commonly as an old man with a long white beard and the blue-robes of a shaman. Depending on which versions of the myths you read, he is either a son of Tengri (the Thunderer and Top God of Altaic myth), or is simply another aspect of him.
  • The Marvelous Deer: The deer is a sacred animal in tengrist religion. Certain people claim that their distant ancestors centuries ago followed a golden elk or a stag with golden antlers into the Carpathian Basin.
  • Mother Goddess: Umay is the goddess of nature and the earth, as well as virginity, fertility, child care and motherhood. She looks over and protects all women and children.
  • Noble Bird of Prey: The raptorial birds (eagles, hawks and falcons) are all considered sacred animals alongside wolves, tigers, deer, bulls, horses, sheep and boars.
  • Noble Wolf: In old Turkic mythology, the wolf was the Turkic people's ancestor and the Turks' primary symbol throughout the centuries. Even today the gray wolf is Turkey's national animal.
  • Sand Worm: The Olgoi-Khorkhoi (Mongolian Death Worm), a legendary beast said to inhabit the Gobi Desert, is a 2-4 foot long worm capable of spitting acid and able to electrocute prey.
  • Satanic Archetype: Erlik was originally simply the god of death and the afterlife. However with the introduction of Abrahamic religions and Buddhism he was eventually turned into a God of Evil.
  • Top God: Tengri the Sky Father, to the point that the religion (tengrism) is named after him.
  • War God: Turko-Siberian mythologies have Kyzaghan, whose name basically translates to the word for "fury" in most Turkic languages. He's also described commonly as wielding a spear and riding upon a red horse. This makes him somewhat reminiscent of Odin, who also embodies these aspects of combat.
    • One could conceivably make a case for Tengri himself, who was often prayed to by Turks and Mongols for success in battle. Some Turkic dastans (sagas, essentially) describe Tengri taking the form of a white wolf in the mortal world, which was heralded as a sign of victory in a coming fight.
  • Warrior Heaven: Uchmak.
  • World Tree: The Világfa, which literally translated means "world tree".

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