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THE KHAKAS SYMBOLISM AND SHAMANISM (KHAM KIRTINIZI)

TİMUR B.DAVLETOV

The Khakas coat of arms consists of snow leopard [Khar Bars in Khakas] which is cult animal of Khakas Turks since the oldest times of history. Above it is golden symbol of Sun [Symbol of Sun has occupied one of the most important place in the spiritual life of the Khakassian people] or by other world Solarius [Qun Tangmazy] with four triangular corners outside which according to Khakassian traditional belief [Shamanism – Kham Kirtinizi] are several meanings.

By the way I have to say that you can see and find Solarius symbol on stones in forms of petroglyths belonged approximately to III-II millenniums B.C. [Okuneff Culture that is one of periods of southern Siberian archaeological culture]. These stones erected by our ancient ancestors are very similar to famous Stonehenge of Britain. Stones and steles’ name in Khakas are Khaia or Obaa, and they are widespread throughout the territory of Khakas Republic.

When you look with care at this Solarius symbol you may see that Qun Tangmazy is consisted of a quadrat and ring involved to each other (i.e., this is an external form of Solarius). This combination symbolizes man’s and woman’s beginnings. 

For example that four sharp corners symbolize four side of our earth, i.e., East, South, West, and North [Isker, Indir, Kider, paza Choghar - respectively]. At the same time, these corners are four natural seasons as spring, summer, autumn, and winter [Chaskhy, Chaighy, Qusqu, paza Khyskhy]. When we see to them through frames of a day, they are morning, daytime, evening, and night [Irten, Qundiz, Eer, paza Kharaa]. From ecologic point of view, these four corner represent four basic elements on earth as: air, water, land, and fire [Kee, Sugh, Chir, paza Ot]. Four corners also are  four basic stages of man’s life process as: birth, grow, age, and death [Tores, Ozis, Kiris, paza Olis]. There I have to mark that according to Kham Kirtinizi, Töres and Ölis are very close to each other in form a ring and due to that  man’s being process is perpetual, i.e., it has neither beginning nor end. There also such meanings as fear, clearness, power, and old age [Khorghys, Aias, Qus, paza Kires ], that stay before or at beginning of way of knowledge. Once more meaning of these four corners symbolizes an individual, a family, a society, a state [Kizi, Sübre, Chonnas, paza Il].  And finally four [Tört] in Khakas language means “to give birth, to produce, to begin a new life, to bring into existence, to create, to derive, etc.”.

There are two flags in Khakas Republic. I would like to write for you some links about our unofficial, i.e., national flag of Khakas people who is a minority in own motherland where it is an indigenious population. Our national flag has green colour which symbolized greenness of the nature and of life of humanity and represented the openness to development and improvement toward the future within harmony with environment. Green colour also represents the world tree [Pai Khazyng] of Shamanism. In centre of our national flag there also is Qun Tangmazy, three golden rings of which is three levels of our world: the Upper [Positive and white gods and ghosts], Middle [humankind], and Lower [Negative and black gods and ghosts] worlds. But due to Positive and Negative is very relative and uncertain concepts with undefinite and hard for prognosis borders in Kham Kirtinizi, the good has a possibility to be and contain the bad and evil; and the bad is available for using in positive aims and affairs. 

This situation may be seen in the most obvious form in the world tree philosophy. This tree is conditionally divided to three parts which are three stratum of the world. Leaves togetherwith branches of tree are Upper world that present positiveness and woman beginning; Middle world where live peoples is body of tree. Lower world is negativeness and the Lower world and represents man’s beginning. And due to fact that a humen live on Earth, i.e., in the Middle World [Orta Tilekei] they are under impact of both the Negative and Active and masculine forces from the Lower World [Alt Tilekei] and the Positive and Passive and feminine forces from the Upper World [Ust Tilekei]. 

Thus, according to Khakas Kham Kirtinizi philosophy humen lived on Earth may contain both the man and women beginnings at the same time and exclusiveness of function to give birth to a new object is not limited to women or other feminine representatives of the Nature because in Khakas shamanic tricosmogonic view of univers and existence both the Upper and Lower worlds may be source of new life and vital energies. I.e., leaves appears on branches of tree and in autumn when they fall down on to ground these leaves in next season give birth to new shoots of future trees who in sequence again give birth to new leaves or new lives as well.

Furthermore if our Earth is a place where humankind live and where powers of both the Upper World [Ust Tilekei]’ positiveness and the Lower World [Alt Tilekei]’s negativeness act, interact and meet each other then the main essence or the essential character of located in the Middle World the Universe’s nature should be synthesis of dialectical interrelatoin between the Upper and Lower, White and Black, Possitive and Negative, Passive and Active, Good and Bad, Day and Night, Light and Darkness, Forwards and Backwards, Upwards and Downwards, Increase and Decrease, Progress and Regress, North and South, East and West, Cold and Hot, Hardness  and Softness, Happiness and Sadness, Slowness and Fastness, the Future and Past, Birth and Death, Giving and Taking, Richness and Poverty, Cleverness and Idiocy, Presence and Absence, Existence and Nonexistence, Intuition and Intellegence, New and Old, Spring and Autumn, Summer and Winter, Youth and Old age, Harvest or Yield and Crop or Culture, Ideality and Reality, Fire and Water, Air and Vacuum, Stagnation and Vivacity, Plus and Minus,  Openness and Closeness, Revisionism and Conservatism, Left and Right, Health and Sickness, Height and Depth, Existentialism and Nihilism, Individualism and Communism, Lie and Truth, Wrong and Right, Idealism and Materialism, and many other to certain extent `relatively` opposite dualities . From this point of view a human is a living creature which internal world is based on above presented dialectical synthesis and universal relativity.

Together with that because of fact that without water from black soil the life of white and positive Upper world’s existence is impossible [and development by giving life to new generations through leaves growing (in human case Upperness and positiveness symbolize the woman’s beginning, and leaves of the tree of world are new generations in sense of continuation of humankind) is impossible too] and vice versa, positiveness and negativeness may execute and carry out the functions opposited to their adjectives. 

One obvious simple of such character is that of inter-crossing of so concepts as left and right sides of human body, i.e. while the control over left arm and leg belongs to right half part of human brain functions of right leg and arm are being conducted by the left half part of man’s brain. Therefore there mostly no any possibility to say with 100% of certainty and reliance what is good and what is bad.

Other feature of Khakas traditional view of world and existence is integrity and completeness of human existence and univers so a Khakas man is aware of himself mission and importance before preceding generations, i.e. ancestors and following ones, i.e. descenants in the name of continuous and undivaded cycle of eternal life.

I would like to introduce to you our ancient Runic [Turkic] writing alphabet dated by first centures A.D., and found and existed on stones throghout the Khakas steppe, but because of  I have no scanner utility I could not show them for you.

Also I would like to mark that at a present-day Shamanism expirienced an intensive revival process in Khakas land and among Khakas people thanks to that fortunate development in Khakas spiritual life a Khakas man has again begun to obtain their traditionalism which has during many thousands years been usual style of living and existence for their ancestors. 

Although Khakas people as far as other nations lived in Russia has been pressurized by economic and social scantiness and problems through this re-integration of inter-generational continuity between Khakas ancestors and descendants among Khakas nation there has spreaded and strengthened a feel of sustainability of life.

Timur Bulat DAVLET   [04 Ulger 2001]