The word "shaman" probably originates from the Tungusic Evenki language of North Asia. According to ethnolinguist Juha Janhunen, "the word is attested in all of the Tungusic idioms" such as Negidal, Lamut, Udehe/Orochi, Nanai, Ilcha, Orok, Manchu and Ulcha, and "nothing seems to contradict the assumption that the meaning 'shaman' also derives from Proto-Tungusic" and may have roots that extend back in time at least two millennia. The term was introduced to the west after Russian forces conquered the shamanistic Khanate of Kazan in 1552. The term "shamanism" was first applied by western anthropologists to the ancient religion of the Turks and Mongols, as well as those of the neighboring Tungusic and Samoyedic-speaking peoples. Upon learning more about religious traditions across the world, some anthropologists began to also use the term to describe unrelated magico-religious practices found within the ethnic religions of other parts of Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Americas, as they believed these practices to be similar to one another
The Ancient Practice of Tengriism, Shamanism and Ancient Worship of the Sky Gods
In ancient times, people in Central Asia practiced a religion known as Tengriism, which focused on living in harmony with the natural universe. While this religion was founded and most widely practiced during ancient times, there are groups that still practice Tengriism to this day.
Tengriism (sometimes called Tengrism, Tengerism, Tengrianism, or Tengrianizm) is a religion that revolves around the sun deity Tengri, and focuses on balance with nature. The actual founding date of Tengriism has not been confirmed, but it is believed to have begun sometime around the Bronze Age, which lasted from 3,300 B.C. through 1,200 B.C. It is considered to be one of the oldest religions, and incorporates characteristics of shamanism, animism, totemism, both polytheism and monotheism, and ancestor worship. Those who practice Tengriism hold the belief that their very existence is sustained by the eternal blue Sky (Tengri), the fertile Mother Earth (Eje), and the holy spirit of the sky.
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