Central Asian Mythology

Central Asian Creation and Devil-Tricksters

What is an example of a Turkic creation myth?

Before they migrated in the Middle Ages to Iran and Anatolia, the people of the Mongolian plateau practiced a religion sometimes called Tengriism, a name which refers to the Father Sky God Tengri ülgen, who presided with Mother Earth over the world. Tengri, as a great white goose, flew over the primordial waters and, urged on by the Great White Mother, undertook the task of creation. Tengri was lonely as he worked, so he created Er-Kishi to help him. Er-Kishi was evil, however, and interfered with Tengri’s creation, so Tengri departed for heaven, sending down sacred animals to guide the people he had created.

We can recognize these animals as personifications of the spirits that were sent to animate the world. In Tengriism, shamans maintained contact between this spirit world and heaven.


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