Origins of Turkic Mythology
Ancestry of Turkic people goes far and wide from Tatars to Kazakhstan. From Caucasus mountains to Yakip people in north East Russia. Turkic people speak languages that belong into the subcategory of Turkish languages that are part of Altaic language group. Therefore Turkic mythology has elements from Tengrism (Central Asian shamanism). Tatar myths have influences from both Finno-Uralic shamanism and Indo-Iranian mythology. Later migration also brought elements from Islam which got mixed with existing Turkic polytheism. This list includes major and minor deities from Turkic mythology.
Turkish traditional costume from the times of Seljuk Dynasty.
Adaghan – God of mountains and protector of all creatures who live in mountains. His name means accepting the sacrifice.
Aisyt – Goddess of beauty. Worshiped as the mother god by the Yakut tribe in Siberia.
Akbugha – God of medicine, health and healing. Symbol of Akbugha is a white snake and according to the legend he had a pet snake.
Alaz/Alas-Batyr/Alaz-Khan – God of fire
Aq Yilan – Literally means ”white snake”. King of snakes.
Ak Ana – Primordial creator goddess. Also goddess of water.
Ay Ata – God of the moon.
Baianai – Goddess of hunt. Among the Yakut people in Siberia Baianai is the goddess of forest and happiness.
Boz Tengri – God of ground and steppes.
Burkut – Eagle god who symbolizes power and sun.
Chokqu – Goddess of good wishes and wish fulfillment.
Erlik/Erlik-Erlikhan – God of the dead and the underworld. One of the oldest gods of Turkic pantheon.
Etugen – Earth goddess. Her name is derived from Ötygen the holy mountain of the earth. One of the primordial Turkic goddesses.
Gun Ata – Sun goddess. Popular solar deity in Kazakh and Kyrgyz myths.
Hurmuz/Kurmez – God of souls. Common character in Mongolian myths and shamanic practice.
Inehsit – Goddess of childbirth who eased labor pains. Helper of women in labor.
Izih – God of wild animals. Izih was especially protector of freed animals.
Jayik – God of rivers. Known as Dayik in Altai mythology.
Kayra/ Kaira – Son of the sky god Tengri. Creator god and ruler of the universe.
Koyas/Kuyash – Son god. Son of Tengri and the earth goddess Etugen.
Kubai – Protector of children and giving birth.
Kyzaghan – God of war. Possibly Mongolian origins. Son of Kaira.
Mergen – Son of Kaira. God of knowledge, wisdom and abundance.
Od Ana – Goddess of fire and marriage.
Od Ata – God of fire. Spirit of fire in Mongolian shamanic traditions.
Qovaq – God/goddess of the sky. Bringer of the sun. Qovaq was hunted by Yelbehen who wanted to bring total darkness into the world.
Shalyk – god/goddess of hunt. Protector of forest and wild animals.
Su Ana – Water goddess. Suana appeared as a naked maiden who had elvish features.
Su Ata – God of water. Su Ata was an old man with frog-like face, greenish beard and body covered with algae and muck
Talai/Dalai – God of oceans. Talai was personification o f the world ocean which was seen as an enormous river encircling the world.
Tengri – Creator deity. God of the sky and ruler of the celestial world. Primal god of the Turkic mythology. Center figure in the Tengrist religion/shamanic practice.
Ukulan – God of water who ruled over rivers, springs, streams and fountains.
World of Turkic Myths and Legends
Turkic myths cover a wide area all the way from north eastern Russia to Caucasus mountains into the south coast of Turkey. Turkic myths are stories and legends told by people who speak Turkic languages. Because of the variety of cultures there is not one Turkic mythology but mythology is made of several different layers. Many of these stories have their roots in shamanic practices and early belief for animism. Mythical creatures are often spirits of nature and they have power to effect on the faith of humans.
Basty the Nightmare
Al Basty – Female demon. Personification of guilt who can be found from folklore throughout Caucasus mountains. Origins are in ancient Sumeria.
Archura – Forest spirit. Archura was a man who could change his size from a blade of grass to a tall tree. Protector of birds and animals. Dangerous towards humans.
Ardow – Water spirit. Ardow was a spirit of a human who had died drowning. They sucked people to swamps and lakes and killed animals that were standing next to still waters.
Azmyk – Road spirit who caused disorientation and lead person wonder aimlessly around. His name means to loose one´s way.
Basty – Spirit of nightmares. Evil spirit/imp/goblin in Turkic folklore who sat on people´s chest while they were sleeping bringing them nightmares.
Bichura – House spirit in Tatar/Turkic folklore. Every house was told to have Bichura. It was told that in it´s human form Bichura wore red dresses and that they could shapeshift themselves and take a form of a cat or a dog.
Chak – Impish devil character from Turkic folklore. He was told especially to corrupt peasants. He was most often pictured standing next to a willow tree or a at the edge of a swamp.
Chesma Iyesi – Cat shaped spirit who lived in wells and fountains. They temped children to pet them and then drowned them.
Erbörü – Turkic version of werewolf. Person in folklore who had ability to shapesift into a wolf either purposely, accidentally (being bitten by another werewolf) or after being cursed by someone.
Erbüke – Creature that was half-man, half-snake. Erbüke was believed to be a wise creature and king of the snakes.
Hortlak/Hortdan – Malevolent spirit of dead. Monster who lived in grave yards. Origins of Hortlak are in Azerbaijanese mythology.
Irshi – Fairy-like spirit. Often depicted as young beautiful women. They were radient, tall, winged, angelic spirits.
Karakoncolos – Boogeyman. In Ottoman Turkish myths they appeared in the beginning of winter ”days of the dreadful cold” standing in on dark murky corners asking seemingly ordinary questions from people passing by.
Susulu the Mermaid
Khyrtyq – Female demon who lived in swamps, thickets and bushes near rivers, streams and lakes. In Turkic myths she was told to be dangerous and blood-thursty.
Mhackay – Vampire-like creature in Turkic/Tatar mythology. It was believed that they owned two hearts and two souls.
Neme – Elf-like creatures in Turkic folklore. Keepers on nature, mountains, forests, caves and underground.
Orek – Zombie-like creature. Animated corpse who´s actions were controlled by a witch or a shaman.
Peril – Angelic fairies. They are kind and benevolent. Perils are beautiful, exquisite, winged fairy-like creatures. They lived in separate realm to humans but occasionally visited in the realm of mortals.
Shurala/ Şüräle – Forest daemon who lived deep in the forest. Shurala had long fingers, a horn in it´s forehead and woolly ody. He lured it´s victims into thickets and tickled them to death.
Yuxa the serpent queen
Susulu – Mermaid. Susulu had a upper body of a woman and tail of a fish. She was the daughter of the Sea King.
Ubir – Vampire who subsist by feeding on the life essence (in the for of blood) of living creatures.
Uylak – Spirit of an evil male cannibalistic witch/shaman . Uylak was a shapeshifter and could turn themselves into any animal or an object. They would often shapeshift into a horse, a moth or a wolf.
Yarbogha – Half-man, half-bull. They were told to be wild, savage and lustful.
Yaryond – Centaur-like creature. Half-human, half-horse. They were wild and lustful creatures.
Yuxa – The Serpent queen. According to a popular folk tale every 100 year old snake would transform into Yuxa. In legends and in fairy tales Yuxa would shape shift herself into beautiful young human maiden and would marry men in order to beget offsprings.
Pronounced as Nee-na.
Artist, illustrator, writer and a folklorist. Gryffinclaw. Comes from Finland. Likes cats, tea and period dramas.
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