The Tapestry of Early Turkic Myth is Woven with Tales of Wolves, Horses and a Great Tree of Life

The Tapestry of Early Turkic Myth is Woven with Tales of Wolves, Horses and a Great Tree of Life

Turkic peoples comprise a variety of ethnic groups living in northern, eastern, central and western Asia, northwestern China and some parts of eastern Europe. Historically they were established in China after the 6th century BC. Early Turkic people were nomad tribes who were dependent on their environment and trekking - reflected in their unique mythology and religious beliefs.  Mirroring the landscape they dwelled in, their spiritual world was also inhabited by wolves, horses, lone trees and a clear blue sky.

Nature and movement impacted not only on their ability to survive and thrive, or not, but also in creating a rich tapestry of cultural beliefs and a unique worldview. It seems that there was no religious consensus amongst ancient Turkic tribes, but the most popular of the belief systems associated with these groups is Tengrism. Some scholars argue ancient Turkic beliefs also included elements of Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism and Buddhism; probably due to their nomadic lifestyle putting them in contact with these and other cultures. The varying ideologies that were met combined to create a one of a kind perspective of the world and humanity’s place in it.

Göktürk petroglyphs from Mongolia (6th to 8th century AD). (Public Domain)


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