Hungarian mythology

Hungarian mythology includes the myths, legends, folk tales, fairy tales and gods of the Hungarians, also known as the Magyars.

Fastener
A 9th century fastener unearthed in Kirovohrad Oblast, Ukraine; the finding belongs to the possibly Hungarian "Subotcy find horizon"[1][2][3]

Sources of knowledge

Much of Magyar mythology is believed to be lost. However, in the last hundred years scholars of the history of Hungarian culture have tried eagerly to recover a significant amount of Hungarian mythology.[4] The most important sources are:

  • Folklore, as many mythical persons remain in folk tales, folk songs, legends, also special traditions linked to special dates, unknown elsewhere
  • Medieval chronicles such as codices and manuscripts
  • Secondary sources such as accounts about Hungarians by other authors (mostly before 850 CE)
  • Archaeological research

Mythological cosmology

Vilagfa
The World Tree carved on a pot

In Hungarian myth, the world is divided into three spheres: the first is the Upper World (Felső világ), the home of the gods; the second is the Middle World (Középső világ) or world we know, and finally the underworld (Alsó világ). In the center of the world stands a tall tree: the World Tree / Tree of Life (Világfa/Életfa). Its foliage is the Upper World, and the Turul bird dwells on top of it. The Middle World is located at its trunk and the underworld is around its roots. In some stories, the tree has fruit: the golden apples.

Upper World

The gods and the good souls live in the Upper World. Gods have the same rank, although the most important figure of them is Isten (Hungarian for "God"). He controls the world, shapes the fate of humans, observes the Middle World from the sky, and sometimes gives warning by lightning (mennykő). Isten created the world with the help of Ördög ("the devil" representing Evil). Other gods include: Istenanya ("Mother God"), also known as Boldogasszony ("Blessed Lady", literally meaning "happy/merry woman"; later identified with Catholicism's Virgin Mary), and Hadúr ("warlord" or "commander").

The major celestial bodies, (the Sun and the Moon), are also located in the Upper World. The sky was thought to be a big tent held up by the Tree of Life. The several holes in it are the stars. The Sun, Moon, and symbols of the cosmic word, are known from Hungarian grave findings from the period of Hungarian conquest.[5]

Middle World

The Middle World is shared among humans and many mythological creatures; the latter are often supernatural. There are ghosts of the forests and waters, who are ordered to scare humans. They have different names in different places. There are females, for example, the sellő (mermaid), which lives in water and has a human torso with the tail of a fish. The wind is controlled by an old lady called Szélanya (Wind Mother) or Szélkirály (Wind King). The Sárkány (dragon) is a frightening beast: he is the enemy of many heroes in fairy tales, symbolising the psychical inner struggle of the hero.The Sárkány usually has 1-7 heads. The lidérc is a ghostly, mysterious creature with several different appearances, its works are always malicious. The manók (elves / goblins) and the törpék (dwarfs) are foxy beings living in woods or under the ground. Óriások (giants) live in the mountains. They have both good and bad qualities. Favourite creatures are the tündérek (fairies), who are beautiful young virgins or female creatures (often depicted either as personified purity and innocence, or as playful and foxy). They aid humans, who sometimes can ask three wishes from them. Their opposites are the bábák, who are equated with catty old witches. (Bába means "midwife" in modern Hungarian, and originally they were wise old women, later equated with witches as Christianity became widespread.)

Underworld

The Underworld is the place of bad souls (this includes evil spirits and the souls of dead people who were cruel and evil in their lives) and the home of Ördög, creator of everything bad for humans: for example, annoying animals such as fleas, lice, and flies.

Religion

Research about the ancient Hungarian religion has led to that it was a form of Tengrism, a shamanic religion common among the early Turkic and Mongolian people, that was influenced by Zoroastrianism from the Persians and Hinduism and Buddhism whom the Huns and Avars had encountered during their westward migration. Another theory ties the religion to that of the Huns and Scythians of Central Asia due to similar or even identical legends to the Hungarian origin myth.

The shamanic role was filled by the táltos ("wise man / blessed scholar"). Their souls were thought to be able to travel between the three spheres via révülés (meditation). They were also doctors. A taltos was selected by fate; their slight abnormalities at birth (neonatal teeth, caulbearer, white hair, and additional fingers were believed to be the sign of a divine order. The steps of their introduction:

  1. Climbing up on the "shaman ladder / shaman tree" symbolized the World Tree;
  2. Drenching the ghosts: drinking the blood of the sacrificed animal.

They had the ability to contact spirits by specific rituals and praying. Thus, they interpreted dreams, mediated between humans and spirits, cured and removed curses, and had an ability to find and bring back lost souls. They directed animal sacrifices and guessed the reason of an ancestor's anger.

After death, the human soul leaves the body. The body is buried by relatives on the other bank of a river, looking towards east. If the soul had been good, it gets to the Other World (Túlvilág), for eternal peace. If it had been bad, it must suffer in the underworld (Alsó Világ / Alvilág), where Ördög ("the devil") and numerous evil ghosts live.

Figures

Deities

Arany Atyácska (god) Meaning "Golden Father." He was the consort of Hajnal Anyácska and father of Hadúr, Napkirály and Szélkirály.
Boldogasszony (Mother goddess) Also called "Istenanya." Her name means "Blessed Lady" or "Bountiful Queen". She was the goddess of motherhood and helped women in childbirth. After Hungarians were Christianized with the help of St. Gerard of Csanad, her figure fell out of favor for that of the Virgin Mary. In later years the name "Boldogasszony" and "Nagyboldogasszony" (Great Blessed Lady) was primarily used as a moniker for the Virgin Mary. She is also considered the "Queen (Regina) of Hungary".
Hadúr (god) Short for Hadak Ura, meaning "Warlord" or "Master of Armies" and was the war god in the religion of the early Hungarians. He was the third son of Arany Atyácska (Dear Golden Father) and Hajnal Anyácska (Dear Dawn Mother) and was also the metalsmith of the gods. He wore armor and weapons made of pure copper, which is his sacred metal, and it was said that he forged the Sword of God (Isten kardja) which was discovered by Attila the Hun and secured his rule. It was customary for the Hungarians to sacrifice white stallions to him before a battle.
Hajnal Anyácska (goddess) Meaning "Dawn Mother." She was the consort of Arany Atyácska and mother of Hadúr, Napkirály and Szélkirály.
Hold Atya (god) Meaning "Moon Father."
Isten (god) Meaning simply "God." Isten was the god of the sky and the head of the Hungarian pantheon.
Nap Anya (goddess) Meaning "Sun Mother."
Napkirály (god) Meaning "King of the Sun", he is the Hungarian sun god and is the oldest son of Arany Atyácska (Dear Golden Father) and Hajnal Anyácska (Dear Dawn Mother), brother of Hadúr and Szélkirály. He rides his silver-haired horse from East to West every day, seeing everything below him.
Ördög (god) He was the god of death, diseases and wicked things, and ruled the underworld realm Pokol.
Szélanya (goddess) Meaning "Wind Mother," she is the goddess of wind and female counterpart of Szélatya. She is a wise, elderly woman who lives in a cave on top of a huge mountain somewhere at the end of the world. She rides the winds and creates storms and whirlwinds.
Szélkirály (god) Meaning "King of the Wind", also called Szélatya ("Wind Father"), he is the Hungarian god of wind and rain and male counterpart of Szélanya. He is the second son of Arany Atyácska (Golden Father) and Hajnal Anyácska (Dawn Mother), brother of Hadúr and Napkirály. His armor and weapons are made of pure silver, his sacred metal.
Tűz Anya (goddess) Meaning "Fire Mother." The goddess of fire and the female counterpart of Tűz Atya.
Tűz Atya (god) Meaning "Fire Father," also called Tűz Apa. The god of fire and the male counterpart of Tűz Anya.
Víz Anya (goddess) Meaning "Water Mother." The goddess of water and the female counterpart of Víz Atya.
Víz Atya (god) Meaning "Water Father," also called Víz Apa. The god of water and the male counterpart of Víz Anya.

Animals and spirits

Csodaszarvas (animal) A central figure in the legends surrounding the origin of the Hungarian people. The name translates to "Miraculous Deer". According to Hungarian legend, preserved in the 13the century chronicle Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum by Simon of Kéza, while out hunting, the brothers Hunor and Magor saw a miraculous white stag (sometimes described as golden). They pursued the animal, but it always stayed ahead of them, leading them westward into Levedia, where they married two princesses and founded the Huns and Hungarian people. One of the main reasons for claims of religious and cultural ties between Huns and Hungarians is the stag and the brothers Hunor and Magor.
Bába (creature) Meaning "old woman", she was originally a good fairy who later degraded and became evil. Although she had magical abilities, she was not a witch (boszorkány). She was thought to live in fountains, and if young children went too close to her lair, she lured them in.
Boszorkány (witch) A hostile, harm-doing, supernatural old lady, the witch. She had an ability to transform, fly and curse. A boszorkány corrupted the animals, for example, soured the milk of the cows. For humans, she brought an abrupt illness. They "operated" in the night, or in the nightfall.
Bubus (spirit) A small being that lives in caves. See →Mumus.
Fene (spirit) The demon of illness. Today, a common saying still uses its name: "A fene egye meg!", which literally means "Let it be eaten by the fene!", and is uttered when something does not occur as one wishes. "Fene" is also considered the place where demons roam, i.e. the popular Hungarian curse "menj a fenébe!" is equivalent to the English "go to hell!".
Guta (spirit) A fearsome Hungarian demon who beats his victims to death, often associated with strokes, heart attacks, or sudden paralysis.
Lidérc (creature) A unique supernatural being of Hungarian folklore. It has three known varieties, which often borrow traits from one another: a miracle chicken or csodacsirke (the traditional form); a temporal devil or földi ördög; and a Satanic lover, ördögszerető.
Szépasszony (spirit) Meaning "Fair Lady", she is a female demon with long hair and a white dress. She appears and dances in storms and hail, and seduces young men.
Turul (animal) The great bird resembling to a falcon that was sent forth by Isten to guide the creation and destiny of the Magyar people. The first kings after St Stephen I. were the hereditiary of Turul ("Turul nemzetség")
Vadleány (creature) Meaning "Wild Girl", she is an elusive forest sprite who seduces shepherds, saps their strength and makes the forest rustle. She is usually nude and her long hair reaches the ground. She can sometimes be lured and caught with one boot (she tries to put two of her feet to one boot).
Griff (animal) Also known as griffin in other European countries, but without special features. In Hungarian mythology, it is similar to turul. Featuring in some fairy tales (like Fehérlófia, The son of the white horse), it is a cruel, greedy bird eating humans, but it's the only way to get back from Under World to Middle World.
Sárkány (dragon) Appearing in almost all folk tales, this creature breathes flame and guards captive women and treasure, but unlike Western counterparts, it is always man-shaped, wields a weapon (often multiple), can ride a horse, and has seven heads, sometimes three, 12 or 21 (relating to numbers in astrology). Dragons usually symbolized human behaviour or character, i.e. when the hero was fighting with him, he was fighting to overcome his own bad behaviour, habit or characteristic.

Heroes and human figures

Hunor and Magor (people) Legendary twin patriarchs of the Huns and Magyars (Hungarians), respectively. They were said to be the sons of the Biblical Menrot (Nimrod), or of Japheth according to a slightly different version of the legend.
Álmos (person) Son of Emese and Ügyek (or the turul bird). He was a semi-legendary figure born in c. 819 and the ancestor of the house of Árpád. Álmos ruled the Magyars in Levedia and Etelköz. His name means "dreamy" as his birth was foretold in his mother's dream (see the legend of his birth at Emese.)
Emese (person) Wife of Ügyek, mother of Álmos (meaning, "the one from/with the dream"). She was impregnated by a turul bird, which appeared to her in a dream and told her "a river will spring from your womb, which will flow and spread to a new land". The táltos (shaman) explained the dream as saying that she would give birth to a son, who would be the ancestor of a great ruling family in a foreign land.
Dula (person) Dula's name appears in the Legend of the Csodaszarvas. He is said to be a prince of the Alans. In fact, he probably was a kind of chief of the Volga Bulgarians.
Garabonciás (person) A male figure who learned magic, unlike the →táltos, who had the ability by birth. He is able to create storms. Some alumni were thought to possess these abilities as late as the 19th century.
Göncöl (person) A legendary táltos (shaman) who was believed to have medicine that can cure any illness. He, or his wagon (known as Nagy Göncöl) is represented by the stars of the Big Dipper.

Remnants in folklore

Comparative methods can reveal that some motifs of folktales, fragments of songs or rhymes of folk customs preserved pieces of the old belief system. Some records tell about shaman-like figures directly. Shamanic remnants in Hungarian folklore was researched among others by Vilmos Diószegi, based on ethnographic records in Hungary and comparative works with various shamans of some Siberian peoples.[6] Ethnographer Mihály Hoppál continued his work of studying Hungarian shamanistic belief remnants,[7] comparing shamanistic beliefs of Uralic language relatives of Hungarians[8] with those of several non-Uralic Siberian peoples as well.[9][10]

See also

References

  1. ^ Attila Turk, HUNGARIAN ARCHAEOLOGY, The new archaeological research design for early hungarian history, 2012, p. 3
  2. ^ Türk Attila Antal: A szaltovói kultúrkör és a magyar őstörténet régészeti kutatása. In.: Középkortörténeti tanulmányok 6. A VI. Medievisztikai PhD-konferencia (Szeged, 2009. június 4-5.). szerk.: G. Tóth P. –Szabó P. Szeged (2010) 284–285, és 5. kép,
  3. ^ Bokij, N. M. – Pletnyova, Sz. A.: Nomád harcos család 10. századi sírjai az Ingul folyó völgyében. AÉ. 1989, 86–98.
  4. ^ Hoppál, Mihály (2007). Shamans and Traditions. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. p. 77. ISBN 978-9630585217.
  5. ^ András Róna-Tas, Hungarians and Europe in the Early Middle Ages: An Introduction to Early Hungarian History, Central European University Press, 1999, p. 366
  6. ^ Diószegi 1998
  7. ^ Hoppál 1998
  8. ^ Hoppál 1975
  9. ^ Hoppál 2005
  10. ^ Hoppál 1994

Bibliography

  • (in Hungarian) Zoltán Pintér: Mitológiai kislexikon. Szalay Könyvkiadó és Kereskedőház Kft., 1996.
  • Diószegi, Vilmos (1998) [1958]. A sámánhit emlékei a magyar népi műveltségben (in Hungarian) (1. reprint kiadás ed.). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. ISBN 963-05-7542-6. The title means: “Remnants of shamanistic beliefs in Hungarian folklore”.
  • Hajdú, Péter (1975). "A rokonság nyelvi háttere". In Hajdú, Péter (ed.). Uráli népek. Nyelvrokonaink kultúrája és hagyományai (in Hungarian). Budapest: Corvina Kiadó. pp. 11–43. ISBN 963-13-0900-2. The title means: “Uralic peoples. Culture and traditions of our linguistic relatives”; the chapter means “Linguistical background of the relationship”.
  • Hoppál, Mihály (1994). Sámánok, lelkek és jelképek. Budapest: Helikon Kiadó. ISBN 963-208-298-2.
  • Hoppál, Mihály (2005). Sámánok Eurázsiában (in Hungarian). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. ISBN 963-05-8295-3. The title means “Shamans in Eurasia”, the book is written in Hungarian, but it is published also in German, Estonian and Finnish. Site of publisher with short description on the book (in Hungarian)
  • Hoppál, Mihály (1975). "Az uráli népek hiedelemvilága és a samanizmus". In Hajdú, Péter (ed.). Uráli népek / Nyelvrokonaink kultúrája és hagyományai (in Hungarian). Budapest: Corvina Kiadó. pp. 211–233. ISBN 963-13-0900-2. The title means: “Uralic peoples / Culture and traditions of our linguistic relatives”; the chapter means “The belief system of Uralic peoples and the shamanism”.

External links

Erlik

Erlik, Erlig, or Erlik Khan, (in Hungarian mythology equivalent to Ördög) is the god of death and Tamag (hell) in Turkic and Mongolian mythology.

Guta

Guta may refer to:

Guta (Music) a US Band est.September 1998 in Elizabeth City North Carolina by Edwin Sablon, Guitar,Lead Guitar,songwriter,singer,Jean Sablon Mandolin,Christian Mara drums, PJ Donahue Bass Guitar

Guta (spirit), a demon from Hungarian mythology

Guta Saga, a saga treating the history of Gotland before its Christianization

Guta language, a Kainji language of Nigeria, Naraguta in Hausa

Hadúr

Hadúr, or Hodúr in old Hungarian, short for Hadak Ura, meaning "warlord" or "lord of the armies" in Hungarian, was the god of fire, later became a war god in the religion of the early Hungarians (Magyars). In Hungarian mythology, he was the third son of Arany Atyácska (Golden Father) and Hajnal Anyácska (Dawn Mother), the main god and goddess. He had many brothers and sisters, including his two brothers: Napkirály (King Sun) and Szélkirály (King Wind). In Heaven, on the top of the World Tree on the first level there was the castle of Arany Atyácska, and Napkirály's Golden Forest below it, and Szélkirály's Silver Forest below it, and Hadúr's Copper Forest was the third. There he lived as a blacksmith of the gods. He is thought to be a great man with long hair and with armour and weapons made of pure copper, since copper was his sacred metal. He supposedly made the legendary sword, Sword of God (Isten kardja) which was discovered by Attila the Hun and secured his rule. It was customary for the Magyars to sacrifice white stallions to him before a battle.

King Matjaž

King Matjaž/Mátyás (Slovene: Kralj Matjaž, Hungarian: Mátyás király, Croatian: Kralj Matijaš) is a legendary king in Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia and in some other countries, based on pre-Christian traditions of Carantania and in course of centuries gradually linked to a real-life king, Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, who lived in the second half of the 15th century. He has also been linked to the leader of the peasant's army that fought against the Turks in the Battle of Kokovo in July 1478. A number of folk poems and stories about King Matjaž are known, the earliest ones originating in the western Slovene area of Tolmin from the 16th century. He is mainly represented as the king who is just and a defender of his people, and the bringer of the golden age of prosperity. It has been assumed that the legend was the basis for the name of the 1573 peasants' revolt leader Matija Gubec, actually named Ambroz Gubec.

Lidérc

A lidérc (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈlideːrt͡s]) is a unique supernatural being of Hungarian folklore. It has three known varieties, which often borrow traits from one another.

The first, more traditional form of the lidérc is as a miracle chicken, csodacsirke in Hungarian, which hatches from the first egg of a black hen kept warm under the arm of a human. Some versions of the legend say that an unusually tiny black hen's egg, or any egg at all, may become a lidérc, or that the egg must be hatched by placing it in a heap of manure.

The lidérc attaches itself to people to become their lover. If the owner is a woman, the being shifts into a man, but instead of pleasuring the woman, it fondles her, sits on her body, and sometimes sucks her blood, making her weak and sick after a time. From this source comes a Hungarian word for nightmare -- lidércnyomás, which literally means "lidérc pressure", from the pressure on the body while the being sits on it. Alternate names for the lidérc are iglic, ihlic in Csallóköz, lüdérc, piritusz in the south, and mit-mitke in the east.

The lidérc hoards gold and thus makes its owner rich. To dispose of this form of the lidérc, it must be persuaded to perform an impossible task, such as haul sand with rope, or water with a sieve. It can also be destroyed by locking it into a tree hollow.

The second variety of the lidérc is as a tiny being, a temporal devil, földi ördög in Hungarian. It has many overlapping qualities with the miracle chicken form, and it may also be obtained from a black hen's egg, but more often it is found accidentally in rags, boxes, glass bottles, or in the pockets of old clothes. A person owning this form of the lidérc suddenly becomes rich and is capable of extraordinary feats, because the person's soul has supposedly been given to the lidérc, or even to the Devil.The third variety is as a Satanic lover, ördögszerető in Hungarian, quite similar to an incubus or succubus. This form of the lidérc flies at night, appearing as a fiery light, a will o' the wisp, or even as a bird of fire. In the northern regions of Hungary and beyond, it is also known as ludvérc, lucfir. In Transylvania and Moldavia it goes by the names of lidérc, lüdérc, and sometimes ördög, literally, the Devil. While in flight, the lidérc sprinkles flames. On earth, it can assume a human shape, usually the shape of a much lamented dead relative or lover. Its footprints are that of a horse. The lidérc enters houses through chimneys or keyholes, brings sickness and doom to its victims. It leaves the house with a splash of flames and dirties the walls. Burning incense and birch branches prevent the lidérc from entering one's dwelling. In the eastern regions of Hungary and beyond, it is said the lidérc is impossible to outrun, it haunts cemeteries, and it must disappear at the first crow of a rooster at dawn.

List of war deities

A war god in mythology associated with war, combat, or bloodshed. They occur commonly in both monotheistic and polytheistic religions.

Unlike most gods and goddesses in polytheistic religions, monotheistic deities have traditionally been portrayed in their mythologies as commanding war in order to spread their religion. (The intimate connection between "holy war" and the "one true god" belief of monotheism has been noted by many scholars, including Jonathan Kirsch in his book God Against The Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism and Joseph Campbell in The Masks of God, Vol. 3: Occidental Mythology.) The following is a list of war deities.

Neopaganism in Hungary

Neopaganism in Hungary (Hungarian: Újpogányság) is very diverse, with followers of the Hungarian Native Faith and of other religions, including Wiccans, Kemetics, Mithraics, Druids and Christopagans.Szilárdi (2006) describes the movement as a postmodern combination of ethnocentric linguistic, national, religious and occasional political patterns of identity. Interest in the reconstruction of an ethnic religion for the Hungarians manifested for the first time in the early 20th century. A contribution to the popularisation of Pagan ideas in the Hungarian society was the tremendous success of the rock opera István, a király in 1984.

Prince Csaba

In Hungarian mythology, Prince Csaba was the youngest son of Attila, King of the Huns. A fierce and skilled warrior, he led the Huns to victory in all the battles they encountered over the ages.

But after Csaba's death, the Huns had no one to take his place. Seizing their chance, the enemies of the Huns launched an assault on the Hun kingdom. As they met on the field of battle, the enemy generals mocked the Huns, saying "and who will save you now that Csaba is gone?"

But no sooner had those words been spoken, a bright pathway consisting of stars appeared in the night sky and Csaba rode down at the head of an army from the heavens. Csaba and his army routed the Frankish invaders and saved the Huns once again, and three more times he returned down the "Skyway of the Warriors" to defend his people, and according to some versions of the legend, he was seen once more several centuries later leading Árpád and the Hungarians, brother tribe of the Huns, over the Carpathians and into the land that is today known as Hungary.

Consequently, the meaning of the Hungarian name Csaba (Csaba - "A gift from the sky" or "A gift from the heavens") is said to have been derived from this legend.

Shamanistic remnants in Hungarian folklore

Hungarian shamanism is discovered through comparative methods in ethnology, designed to analyse and search ethnographic data of Hungarian folktales, songs, language, comparative cultures and historical sources.

Song of the Miraculous Hind

Song of the Miraculous Hind (Hungarian: Ének a csodaszarvasról) is a 2002 Hungarian animated mythological and historical film directed by Marcell Jankovics. It tells the story of the Hungarian people, from the creation of the first humans to the time of Prince Géza, when the nation was Christianized. The narrative is told in five sections, each focusing on a different era. The film was produced by Pannonia Film Studio. It was released on Hungarian cinemas on 21 February 2002.

Szélanya

Szélanya (Turkish: Yel Ana, Old Turkic: Çel Ene or Cel Ana, "Wind Mother") is the Hungarian goddess or deity of wind. She is the daughter of Kayra, the primordial god.Her male counterpart is Szélatya.

Szélatya

Szélatya (or Szélkirály, Turkish: Yel Ata, Old Turkic: Çel Ede or Çel Ata, "Wind Father") is the Hungarian god or deity of wind. His female counterpart is Szélanya.

Sárkány (mythology)

A sárkány ("dragon") is a legendary and mythical creature in the Hungarian folklore and mythology, which mostly appears in the form of a scaly, winged, reptilian beast, but in some cases it could be a mixture of other beings.

Turul

The Turul is a mythological bird of prey, mostly depicted as a hawk or falcon, in Hungarian tradition and a national symbol of modern Hungary and Transylvania (now part of Romania).

Táltos

The táltos (Hungarian: [ˈtaːltoʃ]; also "tátos") is a figure in Hungarian mythology, a person with supernatural power similar to a shaman.

White horse (mythology)

White horses have a special significance in the mythologies of cultures around the world. They are often associated with the sun chariot, with warrior-heroes, with fertility (in both mare and stallion manifestations), or with an end-of-time saviour, but other interpretations exist as well. Both truly white horses and the more common grey horses, with completely white hair coats, were identified as "white" by various religious and cultural traditions.

World tree

The world tree is a motif present in several religions and mythologies, particularly Indo-European religions, Siberian religions, and Native American religions. The world tree is represented as a colossal tree which supports the heavens, thereby connecting the heavens, the terrestrial world, and, through its roots, the underworld. It may also be strongly connected to the motif of the tree of life, but it is the source of wisdom of the ages.

Specific world trees include égig érő fa in Hungarian mythology, Ağaç Ana in Turkic mythology, Modun in Mongol mythology, Yggdrasil (or Irminsul) in Norse (including Germanic) mythology, the oak in Slavic, Finnish and Baltic, Iroko in Yoruba religion, Jianmu in Chinese mythology, and in Hindu mythology the Ashvattha (a Ficus religiosa).

Égig érő fa

The égig érő fa ("sky-high tree"), also called életfa ("tree of life"), világfa ("world tree"), or tetejetlen fa ("tree without a top"), is an element of Hungarian shamanism and native faith, and a typical element of Hungarian folk art and folk tales, and also a distinct folk tale type.

Several of these tales have versions in the Transylvanian, Germanic, Romanian, Romani, Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Turkish and other cultures in Asia, but the origin of the Hungarian tales goes back to the táltos traditions of Hungarians. The "táltosok" (shamans) are the humans who are entitled to climb up the égig érő fa and wander in the seven or nine layers of the sky.

One version of these tale is about the "kiskondás" (small swineherd) who climbs up the tree to save the princess who is held captive by a dragon (as told in the Világhírű Szép Miklós tale). The tree is a frequent element of certain funny tales, in which for example a gypsy climbs up into the heaven and then down into hell.

The world tree often grows out of a reindeer or a horse. It often carries among its branches the Sun and the Moon. This latter concept is typical of Uralic and Siberian people. The tree often stands on the world mountain, with its top in the sky and its roots in hell, where snakes and toads live. In the tales birds often sit on the tree, for example eagles, hawks or the mythical Hungarian bird, the turul.

Ördög

The Ördög (Ürdüng in Old Hungarian and in Turkic mythology equivalent to Erlik) is a shape-shifting, demonic creature from Hungarian mythology and early Hungarian Paganism who controls the dark and evil forces of the world.

After Christianization, it was identified with the devil. It is often said in Hungarian mythology that Isten ("God" in Hungarian) had help from Ördög when he was creating the world. The Ördög is often thought to look somewhat like a Satyr or faun, a humanoid with the upper torso of a human male and lower portions of a goat: usually pitch-black, with cloven hooves, ram-like horns, a long tail ending in a blade, and he carries a pitchfork. He can also be distinguished by his overtly large phallus.He dwells in the underworld or hell (Pokol in Hungarian) constantly stirring a huge cauldron filled with souls of those who lived in sin. When he does come to earth, according to some legends, Ördög hides in the walls of victims and makes subtle noises that sound high pitched and even squeaky. In other legends, when he comes to earth, he takes the form of a fox, a dark flame or Hungarian shepherd with dark, sparkling eyes. It is his habit to make bets with humans to see if they become corrupted. His long-term goal is to collect more human souls (lélek in Hungarian).

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