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Observations placeholder

Mircea Eliade - The vault of the sky gods



Type of Spiritual Experience


A number of cultures are mentionned here including the Inuit and Siberian shamanism so I have had to group them under one source

A description of the experience

Mircea Eliade – Patterns in Comparative religion

… the supreme God of the Arctic peoples... is above all an omnipotent god, often the only one and master of the universe.  But the celestial nature of his theophanies is clear and ancient; and like the sky gods of the 'primitives', this Supreme God too shares the religious life of the Arctic peoples with lower gods and spirits.

The Mongol name for the Supreme Divinity is tengri, which means 'sky' – compare too tengeri of the Buriats, tangere of the Tatars of the Volga, tingir of the Beltirs, Tangar of the Yakuts and probably tura of the Chuvashes.

Among the Cheremisses, the sky god is called Yume, originally 'heaven'.  The most common name among the Ostyaks and the Voguls is Num-Turem – 'Turem the most High '-  or 'Turem who dwells on high'.  Further south, among the Irtysh Ostyaks, the name of the sky god comes from senke whose original meaning was 'luminous, shining light'; for instance Num-Senke, Yem-Senke etc

Other titles and epithets of the sky god complete our definition of his nature and functions.  The Beltirs address their prayers to 'the most merciful Khan' (Khaira-Kan) and to the Master.  The Tatars of Minusinsk call their supreme god 'Creator of the Earth'; the Yakuts 'the wise  master creator' or 'the most high master'; the Tatars of the Altai 'the great' or ;'the very great' and in their invocations he is even 'white light'.  The Ostyaks and the Voguls add to the name Turem the qualifications 'great', 'luminous', 'golden', 'white', 'mist high', 'Lord Master my father, 'good golden light from on high' and so on.  In prayers and written texts the sky god is often called 'Father'.

Simply to list these names and titles shows the celestial sovereign and creative character of the Uralo-Altaic supreme god.  He dwells in the sky,  in the seventh heaven or the ninth or the sixteenth (Bai Ulgen).  His throne is to be found in the highest place in the sky, or on top of the cosmic mountain.  The Abakhan Tatars even speak of the 'vault' of the sky god, the Buriats of the 'house blazing with gold and silver' and the Altai peoples of a palace with a 'golden door' and a 'golden throne'.  The god has sons and daughters and is surrounded by servants and messengers whom the shaman meets on his ecstatic ascent into heaven


The source of the experience

Siberian shamanism

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps