The role of Father Sky in Siberian shamanism

In Siberian shamanism, the primary living beings are Tenger “Father Sky” and Gazar Ee “Mother Earth”. The peoples who worship Tenger venerate him in the form they see as the eternal, infinite blue sky. He does not take on a human form, although it’s believed that he has at least two sons. The cult of worshiping Father Sky and Mother Earth is common among all the peoples of Siberia, and is also found among many Native American tribes.
Weather is considered a direct expression of Tenger's character. He creates and maintains balance in the entire world, and natural changes in weather, such as the changing of seasons, are caused by him. Lightning is an expression of Tenger's anger or an indicator of the location of high spiritual energies. When a lightning strike is seen as a sign of anger, a shaman performs a special ritual around the place it struck to send it back to the heavens. Objects struck by lightning, as well as meteorites and ancient artifacts, are called Tengerin Us (Heaven’s hair). They contain a spirit called "utha," which represents concentrated heaven’s energy. Objects struck by lightning or meteorites can be placed in milk or an alcoholic beverage to imbue these liquids with the energy of the enclosed spirit. Shamans drink the prepared beverage in order to receive the power of the utha spirit.

No shamanic ritual begins without invoking Father Sky, Mother Earth, and the ancestors. In daily life, a person must always feel the presence of Tenger and live his life accordingly. For example, when opening a new bottle of alcohol, part of it must be poured into a vessel, taken outside, and offered to Father Sky, Mother Earth, and the ancestors. Similarly, the hostess of a home must offer milk and tea to the spirits. To do this, a woman walks around the yurt and lightly spills the drink three times in each of the four directions.

The role of the Tenger in determining the fate of each person is considered very large, which is colloquially expressed in phrases such as Tengerin boshig (the will of the Heavens). According to this tradition, women must always keep the kitchen and kitchen utensils clean, as allowing them to remain dirty is considered an insult to Tenger. On holidays and during the ritual of offering sacrifices to the mountain spirits, prayers are addressed to Father Heaven and a sacrifice is also performed. In special cases, a specific ritual of offering sacrifices only to Tenger is performed.

During ceremonies to summon rain, which are conducted in special temples dedicated to Tenger and the spirits of the mountains, people turn to him with prayers and also make sacrifices. Every person has the right to directly appeal to Tenger for help. However, when the mutual balance between a person and the world is disrupted due to a disaster or the intervention of a powerful spirit, only a shaman, with the help of his spirits, can restore his client's connection to Father Heaven and the balance in the Universe.

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