Bai-Ülgen or Ülgen (Old Turkic: Bey Ülgen; also spelled Bai-Ulgen, Bai-Ülgen, Bay-Ulgan, Bay-Ulgen, or Bay-Ülgen; Khakas: Ӱлген, Russian: Ульгень or Ульге́нь, Ottoman: اولگن) is a Turkic and Mongolian creator-deity, usually distinct from Tengri but sometimes identified with him in the same manner as Helios and Apollo. His name is from Old Turkic bay, "rich", and ülgen, "magnificent". Ülgen is believed to be without either beginning or end.
Planets, Stars, and Shamans
In Turkic and Mongolian mythology, the birch tree, regarded as a cosmic axis between earth and sky, was regarded as sacred to him, as was the horse (horse-sacrifice was a part of his worship). Ülgen symbolizes goodness, welfare, abundance, plentiness of food, water, etc. Furthermore, he created earth, heaven and all living beings. In addition, he controls the atmospheric events and movements of stars. He creates land for people to live on, the heads of both humans and animals and the rainbow. He was regarded as the patron god of shamans and the source of their knowledge.
It is believed that Ülgen has been created from Tengri (Tengere Kayra Khan). He is the highest deity after Tengri in the Mongo-Turkic pantheon. Often, Ülgen is compared with Tengri and at times they are thought to be on par, or even the same. In some sayings, the name/function of Ülgen may be (partially) interchangeable with that of Tengri.
Ülgen is described as the enemy of Erlik who is the god of evil and darkness. Ülgen assumes the protectorship of humankind against him.
Bai-Ülgen lives on the sixteenth floor of the sky above the stars, sun and moon in a golden house. Mere humans may never reach him, excepting shamans or kams, who possess astral powers. Animals are used for sacrifice in worship of him, especially horses. Once in every third, sixth, ninth, or twelfth year, a shaman may sacrifice a white horse as the first step of reaching Ülgen. Then he must ride its soul, penetrate through all the layers of heaven until he reaches Ülgen. Firstly, the kam (shaman) meets Yayık who is the servant of Ülgen. This entity informs the kam whether or not the offering has been accepted. If the sacrificial rite has been successful, the shaman is able to learn from the omniscient Ülgen of impending dangers, such as bad harvests.
Children of ÜlgenEdit
Ülgen has seven sons, named Akoğlanlar (White Boys) or Kıyatlar. They are "Karakush Khan, Karshyt Khan, Pura Khan, Burcha Kan, Yashyl Khan, Er-Kanym Khan, Bakty Khan". And he has nine daughters, that named Akkızlar and Kıyanlar. But no one knows their names. His daughters are source of inspiration for shamans.
They are the sons of Ülgen.
- Karshyt Han or Karşıt: The god of purity.
- Pura Han or Bura: The god of horses.
- Burcha Han or Burça Kan: The god of prosperity.
- Yashyl Han or Yaşıl Kan: The god of nature.
- Karakush Han or Karakuş: The god of birds.
- Kanym Han or Er Kanım: The god of confidence.
- Bakhty Han or Baktı Kan: The god of blessing.
- Horse Sacrifice and The Shaman's Ascent to The Sky, Adapted from: Mircea Eliade
- Altay ve Şor Mitolojisinde Ülgen Tanrısı
- Türk mitosları ve Anadolu efsanelerinin izsürümü, Zühre İndirkaş, Can Göknil, 2007
- Türk mitolojisi, Murat Uraz, Page 86
- Mitolojiden efsaneye: Türk mitolojisinin Türkiye'deki efsanelerde izleri, Muharrem Kaya
- Türk Söylence Sözlüğü (Turkish Mythological Dictionary), Deniz Karakurt, e-Book (OTRS: CC BY-SA 3.0)
- Çoban, Ramazan Volkan. Türk Mitolojisinde İyilik Tanrısı Ülgen’in İnanıştaki Yeri,Tasviri ve Kökeni (Turkish)
- Anokhin, "Materials on Shamanism of Altai", Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Leningrad 1924
- Tokarev, "Religion in the history of the world", Moscow 1986