Adyghe Habze or Circassian Habze (Adyghe: Адыгэ Хабзэ /adəɣa xaːbza/), alternatively spelled Khabze, Khabza, or Xabze, also called Habzism, is the philosophy and worldview of the Adyghe people (called Circassians in English), a nation of North Pontic stock native to historical Circassia (modern-day Russia's European federal subjects of Adygea, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, Krasnodar Krai, and Stavropol Krai). The native philosophy was influenced by Hellenic religion and philosophy.
The belief system takes its name from the Circassian epic Nart Saga, originally orally transmitted, which has heavily contributed to the shaping of Circassian values over the centuries. Although historically Christianised and Islamised, the period of the Soviet Union contributed to a severe weakening of religions in the area, especially among the Circassians. During this time and after the fall of the Soviet regime, the revival of Habzist worldview was supported by Circassian intellectuals, as part of a rise in nationalism and cultural identity in the 1990s and, more recently as a thwarting force against Wahhabism and other Islamic fundamentalism.
The movement has developed a following especially in Karachay-Cherkessia (12%) and Kabardino-Balkaria (3%), according to 2012 statistics. Practitioners and advocates have faced radical Islamist persecution.
On 29 December 2010, a prominent Kabard-Circassian ethnographer and Habze advocate, Arsen Tsipinov, was murdered by Islamist radical non-Circassians who had accused him of mushrik (idolatrous disbelief in Islamic monotheism) and months earlier threatened him and others they accused as idolaters and munafiqun ("hypocrites" who are said are outwardly Muslims but secretly unsympathetic to the cause of Islam) to stop "reviving" and diffusing the rituals of the original Circassian pre-Islamic faith.
On 11 May 2018, a book about Habze (with focus on the code of conduct, code of honour, and traditions of the Circassian people) entitled الاديغة هابزة-العادات الشركسية or Адыгэ хабзэ (in Circassian) was released. It was written by Circassian language expert Zarema Madin Gutchetl and translated by Nancy Hatkh.
"Habze" (Хабзэ) is a Circassian compound made up from хы "khy", meaning "vast" or "universe", and бзэ "bze", meaning "speech", "word", "language". Thus, its meaning is roughly "language of the universe" or "word of the cosmos", comparable to the concept of Dharma.
An important element is the belief in the soul (psa) of the ancestors, who have the ability to observe and evaluate the affairs of their offspring. The concept of physical pain or pleasure in the Hereafter (Hedryhe) is absent: the soul is granted spiritual satisfaction or remorse for one's chosen path in life in front of himself and his ancestors.
Therefore, the goal of man's earthly existence is the perfection of the soul, which corresponds to the maintenance of honour (nape), manifestation of compassion (guschlegu), gratuitous help (psape), which, along with valour, and bravery of a warrior, enables the human soul to join the soul of the ancestors with a clear conscience (nape huzhkle). The souls of the ancestors require commemoration: funeral feasts are arranged (hedeus) and sacrifice or memorial meal preparations (zheryme) are practiced and distributed for the remembrance of the dead souls.
Caucasian Neopaganism is a category including movements of modern revival of the autochthonous religions of the indigenous peoples of the Caucasus. It has been observed by scholar Victor Schnirelmann especially among the Abkhaz and the Circassians.List of Neopagan movements
Modern paganism, also known a "contemporary" or "neopagan", encompasses a wide range of religious groups and individuals. These may include old occult groups, those that follow a New Age approach, those that try to reconstruct old ethnic religions, and followers of the pagan religion of Wicca.List of religions and spiritual traditions
While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who defined it as a
[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic."
A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category." Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviours, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences.Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.Modern Paganism
Modern Paganism, also known as Contemporary Paganism and Neopaganism, is a collective term for new religious movements influenced by or derived from the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe, North Africa and the Near East. Although they do share similarities, contemporary Pagan religious movements are diverse, and no single set of beliefs, practices or texts are shared by them all. Most academics studying the phenomenon have treated it as a movement of different religions, whereas a minority instead characterise it as a single religion into which different Pagan faiths fit as denominations. Not all members of faiths or beliefs regarded as Neopagan self-identify as "Pagan".
Adherents rely on pre-Christian, folkloric and ethnographic sources to a variety of degrees; many follow a spirituality which they accept as being entirely modern, while others attempt to reconstruct or revive indigenous, ethnic religions as found in historical and folkloric sources as accurately as possible. Academic research has placed the Pagan movement along a spectrum, with Eclecticism on one end and Polytheistic Reconstructionism on the other. Polytheism, animism and pantheism are common features in Pagan theology. Rituals take place in both public and in private domestic settings.
The Pagan relationship with Christianity is often strained. Contemporary Paganism has sometimes been associated with the New Age movement, with scholars highlighting both similarities and differences. From the 1990s onwards, scholars studying the modern Pagan movement have established the academic field of Pagan studies.Sefer Bey Zanuko
Sefer Bey Zanuko (? – 1 January 1860) was a Circassian nobleman and independence activist. He took part in the various stages of the Russo-Circassian War both in a military and a political capacity. Advocating for the cause of Circassian independence in the west and acting as an emissary of the Ottoman Empire in the region. By the end of his life Zanuko had emerged as the leader of the Circassian independence movement.Vattisen Yaly
Vattisen Yaly (Chuvash: Ваттисен йӑли, Tradition of the Old) is a contemporary revival of the ethnic religion of the Chuvash people, a Turkic ethnicity of uppermost Bulgar ancestry mostly settled in the republic of Chuvashia and surrounding federal subjects of Russia.
Vattisen Yaly could be categorised as a peculiar form of Tengrism, a related revivalist movement of Central Asian traditional religion, however it differs significantly from it: being the Chuvash a heavily Fennicised and Slavified ethnicity (they were also never fully Islamised, contrarywise to most of other Turks), and having had exchanges also with other Indo-European ethnicities,The Chuvash are not simply Finns Tatarized in language, but show evidence in face form, nose form, and in the scarcity of true blondism, that the Turkish influence did bring some mongoloid traits. Their religion shows many similarities with Finnic and Slavic Paganisms; moreover, the revival of "Vattisen Yaly" in recent decades has occurred following Neopagan patterns. Thus it should be more carefully categorised as a Neopagan religion. Today the followers of the Chuvash Traditional Religion are called "the true Chuvash". Their main god is Tura, a deity comparable to the Estonian Taara, the Germanic Thunraz and the pan-Turkic Tengri.The Chuvash Traditional Religion has an unbroken continuation, having been preserved in a few villages of the Chuvash diaspora outside Chuvashia until modern times. In the late 1980s and early 1990s together with the demise of the Soviet Union a cultural and national revival blossomed among the Chuvash, and its leaders gradually embraced the idea of a return to indigenous Paganism, also supported by Chuvash intellectuals. The identitary movement looked to movements in the Baltic states for inspiration.
The national movement, meanwhile embodied in a Chuvash National Congress, carried on its "national religion" idea during the 1990s. Intellectuals started to recover and codify ancient rituals and started practicing them among the population both in cities and countryside villages, declaring themselves the guardians of tradition and the descendants of elder priests.