What Is Tengrism?

Tengrism is an ancient religion that is still practiced today in Central Asia. Religion includes practices such as ancestor worship, monotheism and shamanism. It is based on the belief that Tengri provides for every human being in the world as the eternal spirit of the blue sky and the fertile spirit of the earth. It is believed that the supernatural sovereign is the holy spirit of heaven, who is the creator of the whole world and of everything in it. Tengrism is still practiced in Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and the Turkish nations in Siberia as there are efforts to revive it after years of decline.


History of Tengrism

Tengrism has a rich past as it was among the influential religions of Central Asia. The Bulgarians and Huns who quickly spread religion in that region introduced religion into Eastern Europe. After the detection by the Uighuric khans, Tengrism lost importance as it was overshadowed by Manichaeism, which became the official religion. Genghis Khan was also instrumental in establishing this religion in the Mongol empires and conquered nations. However, his descendants turned to the Islamic faith and Tengrismo faced the competition of Islam. At one point this competition turned into violent clashes while Muslims tried to impose their beliefs on the followers of Tengrism


There are symbols that define Tengrism and have been demonstrated through scientific study. Some symbols are present in countries like Kazakhstan. The Gun Ana represents the sun, which is present in most flags. The goddess of fertility and virginity is given the name, Umay while the Tengrists recognize Bai-ulgan as the largest after Tengri. Other symbols include the flags of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Chuvashia and Sakha. The Gokturk coins also serve as symbols of religion.

Beliefs of Tengrism

Believers of Tengrism practice tolerance towards other people who enroll in different religions. It meant that they did not force their beliefs on other people by force or coercion. The tengrists believed that if they lived a righteous life devoid of any evil, they would have the authority to govern for eternity. People had to be subject to full adherence to the laws of Tengri. If they did not comply with these laws, Tengri would deprive himself of the privilege and become desolate. While monotheism is the central theme of Tengrism, other demi or spirits have been placed next to Tengri.

Rebirth efforts

The tengrism was slowly fading due to the influence of socialism. When Central Asia was part of the Soviet Union, there was active repression against any form of religion, apart from those sponsored by the state. After the fall of communism, the nationalist sentiments of the Turkish people contributed to raising attention to Tengrism. Furthermore, the tengristic societies were formed to advance the interest of this religion. Political leaders have also helped to raise awareness of the existence of tengrism.

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