The article is devoted to the study of contemporary religious beliefs of the Yakuts. The change from atheism and the ideology of scientific communism to neo-paganism and neo-shamanism took place with the active participation of representatives of the national intellectuals. In the post-Soviet period the renewal of Yakut White Faith is associated mainly with L.A. Afanasyev (Terise) and V.A. Kondakov. They created religious organizations registered by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation. L.A. Afanasyev created his teaching on the basis of the archival texts. According to V.A. Kondakov himself, he is a successor of the occult tradition of priests white shamans worshipped Aiy religion, which preserved in Vilyuisky District. Aiy religion is the ancient pagan belief of the Sakha people, including the reverence for the Higher Light Deities. The greatest of them is Urung Ai Toyon. His cult goes up to sun worship. In the Yakut culture the cult of horse also has great importance. The cult of horse is associated with the worship of serge hitching post, kumis holiday of Yhyakh (the New Year). In modern ritual actions the veneration of fire, houses and natural sites also play important role.

The cult of Aiy light deities in modern times can be found in the ceremonies during the national festival Yhyakh. In the post-Soviet period the revival of shamanism is associated with the awakening of interest in the methods of traditional medicine. Tengrism is a scientific term, according to the connection of the Yakut world with the Turkic-Mongolian nomadic world, and is associated with the teachings of Eurasianism. This idea is spread in Yakutia by A.I. Krivoshapkin and E.V. Fedorova. It is interesting that the propaganda of neo-shamanistic views held by the representatives of academic society who have scientific degrees: so mathematician V.I. Okoneshnikov is engaged in engineering shamanism, and publishes monographs and articles on the topic. Thus, the religious beliefs of modern Yakuts, besides the official religions, should be attributed to modern religious movements such as neo-shamanism and neo-paganism.

Keywords: white shamanism, Tengrism, shamanism, Aiy religion, engineering shamanism, sacred knowledge

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About the author


Vasily V. Ushnitsky – PhD (History), Research Associate at Sector for Ethnography, Institute for Humanities Research and Indigenous Studies of the North, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences;

1 Petrovskogo str., Yakutsk, Russia, 670007; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.