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Jezebel

Turkish Shamanic Traditions 1

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Turkish people have Shamanic roots. I would love to share some Turkish folk believes which are still alive in Turkey and in other Turkish countries.
 
- To 'cut' nightmares, place a pair of scissors or a knife under your bed.
- If you see a nightmare, don't talk about it. Tell it to a running water. We believe that water will take it away far from us.
- 'Sefa' and 'Cefa': Sefa means pleasure, happiness. Cefa means rigor, sadness. If you wish to learn how your life will be like, plant two same length leeks into one pot. Name one of them sefa, the other one cefa. Mark them with different color ribbons to discriminate them. Which one grows longer, your life will be full of it. 
- Kurşun Dökmek (Pouring Lead): It's a well-known tradition in Turkey to protect a person from evil eyes. Person who will be protected sits on the ground. Two people hold a sheet over him/her. A piece of (about 200 grams) lead is melted on an oven. It is replaced to another vessel including water, over the sheet. It's done. Some people also read lead's shape and divine. Some pour this water (after it got cold) on a dog. If the dog shakes itself and gets rid of water that means the ritual was succeed.
- Tespih: It means prayer beads. Tespih is so important to Turkish people. They have come in our life with Islam. But there are a lot of usages of them. In Islam they are used for dhikir (mantra) workings. On the other hand Turkish people also use them as pendulums. They use them to find the direction of kiblah (Mecca). Besides they are used to learn the sex of unborn babies, to get answers of yes/no questions etc.
- Knocking on Wood: While we are talking about unwanted possibilities, we knock on wood. We aim to make a sound and prevent evil spirits to hear us.
- Wish-fullfilling Trees: Before Islam, our ancestors used to believe in Gök Tengri (Sky God). Trees are the connections between earth and sky. We still make a wish and tie a piece of cloth to a branch of a tree to send our wishes to sky.
- Kırk Uçurma: There was a myth about Alkarısı. Alkarısı is a creature who can cause a lot damage (such as postpartum depression) to newborn babies and their mothers. After a childbirth the first 40 days are critical. The mother and her baby stay at home during these 40 days. If they can get over it, they can go out. But before a special rite should be done. A wise woman (generally the eldest woman of the family) goes to the mother's house. She collects 40 stones and 40 seasonal flowers on her way. She puts them into baby's bath water and washes the baby. There are some varieties about it. Some also adds a gold or different things into this water. After this ritual mother and baby visit houses and accept gifts like sugar, flour, wheat, milk, eggs.
 
There are numerous believes like these. I just tried to give some examples as my English skills allow me. I hope you will enjoy reading it. 

I wrote this article long time ago. I wanted to share it and see similarities with your local traditions. Some of them are well-known in Turkey, some of them I just heard from my family members. I hope I posted it in a right place. :)
Edited by Jezebel
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Very interesting, the lead pouring ritual sounds pretty dangerous, sort of like scrying with candle wax.

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Thank you for sharing these practices. I'll be following this thread. Out of curiosity, are these practices found in turkish tengriism or are they're other types of shamanic practices not related?

 

I'm only somewhat familiar with the Mongolian version but have a strong interest in other regional practices. I'm also interested in Turkish folk practices in general but it's hard to find any info where I live.

 

Before my illness one of my major hobbies was belly dancing (started out Turkish style and my instructor was into folkloric dance styles from turkey and Central Asia). I'm a history nerd and so when I learned of Turkish tengriism I was naturally hooked!

 

Hope you don't mind all these questions lol

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They all are related to Turkish Shamanism from different Turkic tribes. But I am not sure about which tribes were the origins because there isn't any written evidences from that times. I've learned them from my family, even other Turkish people who I know, have no idea about some of them (such as Sefa and Cefa). Pouring lead, knocking on wood, wish-fullfilling trees are well known traditions. I heard that some European countries have pouring lead tradition but it is a little bit different, still the ideas behind two traditions are the same.

Actually in past we used to have other deities too (for example Erlik Han, Bay-Ülgen, Umay Mother, Ötügen, Ay Ata). But it is covered because of some political reasons. They teach us how Tengrism was similar to Islam, and how easly Turkish people have accepted Islam. In past a Turkic tribe (Yakut Turks I think, but not sure) became Jewish in reaction to Arabians. But our historians don't mention it, they don't mention about our polytheist ancestors neither.

Edited by Jezebel

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A most interesting article. I really enjoyed reading about this. Have you written more on Turkish Magick? 

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Thanks so much for sharing this! I'm super interested in shamanic and folk beliefs in that area as I'm half Armenian, and the village my family was from is now considered part of Turkey! Lots to consider and look into after reading this! 

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