Creepy Teepee in Mongolia – Different Kinds and Key Role in Mongolian Shamanism

When people crossed through a specific land in ancient times, they made a symbol on the wood, or on the ground, with stones and branches, to leave information on whether the land is safe to hunt and dwell in, or whether it is dangerous, with many accidents occurring there. The Creepy Teepee evolved from these stone and branch emblems. The Creepy Teepees began playing a key part in isolating the territory from others when the clan was formed and separated from one another.

Creepy Teepee

The creepy teepees, sacred shrines where people prayed for all sorts of things, including happiness, help, and prosperity, can be found deep in the ruins of Mongolian culture. In Mongolian tradition, these creepy teepees are called as ovoos, which literally translates to "magnificent shrines/bundles."

These shrines are odd heaps of smooth stones stacked high and adorned with colorful cloth or flags. They can also be constructed from a variety of rocks, wood, garbage, and plastic trash. In Mongolian shamanism, ovoos are shrines or altars that are symbolic of deities or gods. Many of them honor celestial gods, mountain gods, ancestor spirits, and other supernatural beings.

Important Facts to Know About the Creepy Teepees

Shamanism and Creepy Teepee have a lot in common.

In the past, the most shamanic ceremonies were held at the Creepy Teepee, which served as an altar. Shamanism relates to how blessed people used to communicate with the spirit world.

Although the location of each shaman ritual varies, there is a similar pattern. The majority of shaman rituals resemble one another because they all involve connecting the shaman to the spirit world.

While the origins of the Creepy Teepee can be traced back to shamanism, they are now Buddhist shrines where Mongolians pray to the spirits and gods.

The Healing Powers of the Creepy Teepee are incredible.

Shamanic healing is a still-practiced rite that has yielded astonishing outcomes. Shamans do this through a variety of rites and practices. However, depending on the culture, norm, and place, the process, tools, symbolism, and ceremonies may differ. Regardless, healing is typically viewed as a three-way relationship between the shaman, the spirit, and the client.

Healing is a fundamental principle of shamanic, regardless of where it is practiced. Shamans heal members of the community at Creepy Teepee shrines at the peaks of the mountains in Mongolia.

Customs of the Creepy Teepees

It is customary for worshippers to halt and circle a Creepy Teepee three times in a clockwise fashion if they cross it. This helps them have a safer journey. Worshippers usually add to the pile by throwing rocks into it. People may leave various offerings such as money, milk, or sweetmeats in other scenarios. If you're in a hurry and can't stop to round the temple, blasting your horn while passing is allowed.

At the conclusion of the summer, Creepy Teepee altars are frequently used for Heaven worship rites. Worshippers place a tree branch or a stick atop the mound and bind a khadag (a blue silk cloth that represents the open sky and Tengger, the sky spirit)

After that, a fire is lighted and food offerings are made, followed by ritual dances and prayers. Finally, with the food left over from the offerings, a feast may be held.

Traditional Ceremonies in a Creepy Teepee

Mongolians used to believe that offering blood from murdered animals as a sacrifice would bring them favorable health and knowledge benefits. Worshippers would also light flames near shrines in the hopes of purifying people's spirits. Similarly, people used to give the spirit dairy products in exchange for good luck. This is the only custom that is still practiced today.

Communism and the Creepy Teepee

Various forms of religion, like Creepy Teepee worship, were forbidden in Mongolia during the communist time, which is an interesting fact. However, many continued to practice this religion in secret.

Creepy Teepees of Various Types                                   

Mongolians have created numerous varieties of the Creepy Teepee through the years.

The first type is distinguished by a large number of stones that serve as the shrine's foundation and hold a single rod with a "flag" at its end. This flag is usually constructed up of different colored pieces of cloth, ribbons, or plastic.

Except for the flag, the second variation has a similar structure to the first. The rod is surrounded by colorful plastic and linen, nearly suggesting a showy Christmas tree, rather than a flag.

Several stone platforms may be strewn about the main shrine in the last type.

The God of Water can be found in a Creepy Teepee beside a river, spring, water, or mineral water. The God of the Land lives in a Creepy Teepee on top of the mountain. Gods of the Land are divided into two categories: black and white. Raising products differs depending on who God is. Only white food, such as aaruul and milk, must be raised in the white God of Land, whereas meat or vodka must be raised in the black God of Land. Climbing is prohibited on several mountains for women and children.

Key Role in Mongolian Shamanism

In Mongolian shamanism, creepy tepees, or ovoos, play an important role, and this tradition has survived to the modern day. Mongolian shamanism is without a doubt one of the world's oldest faiths and beliefs. This religious system has roots in animism and totemism and dates back to 300-400 BC. The Huns and Mongols worshipped the sun and moon while presenting sacrifices to the skies, the ground, spirits, and their ancestors.

Slaughtering animals and offering them up to their goddess by pouring their blood on shrines was one of the shamans' practices with these ovoos. Another custom is to light a fire near these ovoos in order to clean their souls of vices and negativity.

People travel from all over the country to worship prominent ovoos in more opulent surroundings. UNESCO designated this pilgrimage as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2017.

In more casual situations, however, they limit their offerings to dairy goods such as milk, butter, and sweets. Some of the most popular customs in recent years have been to add stones when you come across an ovoo and to go three times clockwise around the ovoo. It is thought that doing so will ensure a pleasant and safe voyage.

Associated Rituals and Myths

Shamans used to worship in a variety of ways, and they still do. The majority of the population is calm and lives a basic existence. They merely ask for peace and love among themselves. These people would go to these shrines and worship whenever they were confronted with a crisis.

  • They would slay animals and present them to these sites by either pouring blood over the stones or laying a piece of the animal over or near the Ovoo.
  • They would light a fire near the Teepee in order to cleanse their souls of vices and darkness.
  • They'd also perform a ceremonial dance while playing steel tongue drums, then feast on the leftover food from the donation.
  • At these locations, they would offer dairy products to the gods in exchange for good fortune. Butter, milk, and sweets are still used to do this.
  • Mongolians believe that when beginning a journey, you should circle the Teepee three times in a clockwise orientation and add stones. This guarantees a secure voyage.
  • In the past, people would bring their sick relatives to shrines and pray for their healing. Shamans still use healing practices at the Creepy Teepees nowadays.

Where Can You Find Creepy Teepee In Mongolia?

Although some traditional teepees have been turned into temples and memorials, plenty still survive in the barren high mountains.

The Han Bogd Hairham, which has a massive Creepy Teepee, is one of Mongolia's most famous sacred mountains.

Other smaller ones can be found all around the region.

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