Mongolian History

Religion of Genghis Khan

Religion of Genghis Khan

King of Great Mongol Empire, Genghis was Tengrist and had shamans to perform the state rituals and listened to the spirits of his ancestors on state affairs and when launching a campaign. His family greatly valued Shamanism. There was no other religion in Mongolia at that time. Even then, Genghis khan did not meddle with the religious affairs of the nation he conquered and it was free for the people to practice any religion in the empire.

There is a legend among Sharnuud tribe shamans that Chinggis’s son Chagatai and Chagatai’s queen were shamans, messengers of the eternal blue sky. A poem of the Sharnuud shamans goes as follows “Fire started by Chagatai shaman, Hearth tended by shamaness Tsankhulan”

The prime example of Genghis khan only worshipping the eternal blue sky is a quote from the secret history of the Mongols, “The Eternal Blue Sky granted me the right to rule over nations and its people”. From this, we can see that everyone, from herder to the emperor, used to worship the eternal blue sky. For example Shamans were in charge of keeping the hearth of the nation lit, make offerings to the state banners and to nature, make prophecies and other rituals while it was strictly banned for practitioners of other religions. Additionally, uniting Mongolian tribes under one banner was the prime goal of emperor Chinggis, so adopting any other religion would make this goal almost impossible to accomplish.

Fires or groups of shamans were formed and a number of ritual palaces were built. One of the shamans would lead the group was in charge of religious rituals and affairs. William of Rubruck mentioned that these leaders were almost like the Pope of Rome. Shamanists follow the will of the Eternal Blue Sky and have a deep respect for this religion which worships one’s ancestors and nature.

It was considered that emperor Chinggis is the founder of the Shamanist theory, for he formed the Great Mongol Empire under the guidance of the Eternal Blue Sky. Descendants of emperor Chinggis strictly followed the rule of only one eternal blue sky and only one ruler of men on the land.