Uralic neopaganism

Uralic neopaganism encompasses contemporary movements which have been reviving or revitalising the ethnic religions of the Uralic peoples. The rebirth has taken place since the 1980s and 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and alongside the ethnonational and cultural reawakening of the Uralic peoples of Russia, the Estonians and the Finns.[1] In fact, Neopagan movements in Finland and Estonia have much older roots, dating from the early 20th century.

Among the Uralic peoples of the Volga Federal District of Russia (the Volga Finns and Udmurts), scholar Victor Schnirelmann has observed two cooperating patterns of development of Neopaganism: the reactivation of authentic rituals and worship ceremonies in the countrysides, and the development of systematised doctrines amongst the urban intelligentsia rejecting Russian Orthodoxy as a foreign religion.[2] The Uralic Communion, founded in 2001, is an organisation for the cooperation of different institutions promoting Uralic indigenous religions.

Religions

Estonian native religion

The Estonian native religion (Estonian: Maausk, literally "Native Religion" or "Land's Faith"),[3] or Estonian Neopaganism, is the name, in English, for a grouping of contemporary revivals (often called "Neopagan", although adherents of Estonian native religion generally don't use the term[4]) of the indigenous Pagan religion of the Estonian people.

It encompasses "Taaraism" (Estonian: Taarausk literally "Taara Faith"),[5] a monistic religion centered on god Tharapita founded in 1928 by intellectuals as a national religion; and Maausk[5] as a much broader definition of "Native Faith", encompassing grassroots movements of local gods worship, nature worship and earth worship.[4] Both the kinds of the movement are administered by the Maavalla Koda organisation. According to a 2002 survey, 11% of the population of Estonia claim that "out of all the religions they have the warmest feelings towards Taaraism and Maausk".[6]

Finnish native religion

SwarzycaKruszwicka
The Tursaansydän, a Finnish Pagan symbol.

The Finnish native religion (Finnish: Suomenusko: "Finnish Faith"), or Finnish Neopaganism, is the contemporary Neopagan revival of Finnish paganism, the pre-Christian polytheistic ethnic religion of the Finns. A precursor movement was the Ukkousko ("Ukko Faith", revolving around the god Ukko) of the early 20th century. The main problem in the revival of Finnish paganism is the nature of pre-Christian Finnish culture, which relied on oral tradition and very little is left.[7] The primary sources concerning Finnish native culture are written by latter-era Christians. They may be biased, tainted or unreliable. The national epic is the Kalevala.

There are two main organisations of the religion, the "Association of Finnish Native Religion" (Suomalaisen kansanuskon yhdistys ry) based in Helsinki and officially registered since 2002,[8] and the "Taivaannaula" association headquartered in Turku with branches in many cities, founded and officially registered in 2007.[9] The Association of Finnish Native Religion also caters to Karelians[8] and is a member of the Uralic Communion.[10]

Mari native religion

The Mari native religion (Mari: Чимарий йӱла, Čimarij jüla), also Mari Neopaganism, is the ethnic religion of the Mari people, a Volga Finnic ethnic group based in the republic of Mari El, in Russia. Unlike other neopagan movements, the Mari native religion, called Marla, is probably among the only ones to have been practiced without interruption since the Neolithic. The religion has undergone changes over time, particularly under the influence of neighbouring monotheisms. In the last few decades, while keeping its traditional features in the countryside, an organised Neopagan revival has taken place.[11]

The Mari religion is based on the worship of the forces of nature, which man must honour and respect. Before the spread of monotheistic teachings amongst the Mari, they worshipped many gods (the jumo, a word cognate to the Finnish Jumala), while recognising the primacy of a "Great God", Kugu Jumo. In the 19th century, influenced by monotheism, the Pagan beliefs altered and the image of a Osh Kugu Jumo, literally "Great God of Light", was strengthened.

Subject to persecution in the Soviet Union, the faith has been granted official status since the 1990s by the government of Mari El, where it is recognized as one of the three traditional faiths along with Orthodox Christianity and Islam. Some activists claim that the Mari native religion believers are subject to pressure by Russian authorities as part of a wider campaign to Russify Mari culture. Vitaly Tanakov, an adherent of the faith, was charged with inciting religious, national, social and linguistic hatred after publishing the book The Priest Speaks.[12]

Mordvin native religion

Raskenj ozks-kirvactema
Ritual preparations for the Rasken Ozks, the Mordvin national worship ceremony.

The Mordvin native religion, also called Erzyan native religion, or Mordvin-Erzyan Neopaganism, is the modern revival of the ethnic religion of the Mordvins (Erzya and Moksha), peoples of Volga Finnic ethnic stock dwelling in their republic of Mordovia within Russia, or in bordering lands of Russia. The name of the originating god according to the Mordvin tradition is Ineshkipaz.

The Mordvins were almost fully Christianised since the times of Kievan Rus', although Pagan customs were preserved in the folklore and few villages preserved utterly the native faith at least until further missionary activities of the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th century and in the early 20th century.[13] The Neopagan revival was started in 1990,[14] alongside that of many other native religions in Russia, just in the verge of dissolution of the Soviet Union.

According to scholar Victor Schnirelmann 2% of the Mordvins adhere to the Mordvin native faith,[15] while more recent figures by the Evangelical database Joshua Project report a 5%.[16] Adherents of the Erzyan Mastor organisation organise the Rasken Ozks (Mordvin for: "Native Prayer"), a national Mordvin worship service held yearly, with participation also of members of the Mastorava organisation and other ones.[17][18][19]

Udmurt Vosh

Udmurt Vosh (Udmurt: Удмурт Вось, literally "Udmurt Faith") is the ethnic religious revival of the Udmurts, a Volga Finnic ethnic group mostly inhabiting their republic within Russia, that is Udmurtia. Amongst the Udmurts, as in other Finno-Ugric republics in the Volga region, the revival of Paganism is inextricably intertwined with the revival of national-ethnic culture and awareness.[20]

The Udmurtian Pagan revival circles sprang out of the Demen (Udmurt for "Society") movement which was established in December 1989 for the protection and restoration of the Udmurt ethnic culture.[14] Udmurt Vos as an institution was founded in 1994.[21]

According to 2012 statistics, 2% of the population of Udmurtia adheres to forms of Paganism. Victor Schnirelmann reported an adherence of 4% for the Udmurts alone. The Joshua Project reports a figure of 42%.[22]

Cooperation: the Uralic Communion

The Uralic Communion was founded in 2001 with the aim of facilitating joint work among adherents of the Uralic native religions. Founding members of the Communion include:

See also

References

  1. ^ Schnirelmann, pp. 199-209
  2. ^ Schnirelmann, p. 202
  3. ^ Maavalla Koda. The Estonian Native Religion.
  4. ^ a b Jüri Toomepuu. Maausk, the belief system of indigenous Estonians. Presentation at KLENK 2011, published on January 7, 2012. St. Petersburg, Florida.
  5. ^ a b Ellen Barry for the New York Times. Some Estonians return to pre-Christian animist traditions. Quote: «Craving an authentic national faith, Estonians have been drawn to the animistic religions that preceded Christianity: Taarausk, or Taaraism, whose god was worshiped in forest groves, and Maausk, which translates as "faith of the earth".»
  6. ^ Ahto Kaasik. Old Estonian Religion Archived 2011-08-11 at the Wayback Machine. Maavalla Koda.
  7. ^ Arola 2010, p. 26
  8. ^ a b Uskonnot Suomessa. Suomalaisen kansanuskon yhdistys ry.
  9. ^ Uskonnot Suomessa. Taivaannaula ry.
  10. ^ Maavalla Koda, "Uralic Communion" section. Quote: «In 10214 (2001) Maavalla Koda together with the representatives of Finnish (Suomen kansanuskon yhdistus ry.), Mari (Osh mari Chi mari and Sorta) and Erzya indigenous religions founded the Uralic Communion. The aim of the Uralic Communion is to establish contacts between different indigenous religions and to contribute to the maintenance and strengthening of these religions.»
  11. ^ Vladimir Napolskikh. Notes at the Margins: Neopaganism in Eurasia. // Eurasian Journal / Acta Eurasica. Number 1. Moscow, 2002.
  12. ^ Alexander Verkhovsky. Anti-Extremist Legislation and Its Enforcement. SOVA, 2007.
  13. ^ Filatov, Sergei; Shchipkov, Aleksandr. p. 234
  14. ^ a b Schnirelmann, p. 206
  15. ^ Schnirelmann, p. 208
  16. ^ Joshua Project. Mordvin-Erzya of Russia.
  17. ^ Republic of Mordovia. В селе Чукалы прошел эрзянский праздник "Раськень Озкс".
  18. ^ Uralistica News. Мордовские СМИ молчат о празднике «Эрзянь Раськень Озкс».
  19. ^ 2013-це иень «Раськень озкс». vaigel.ru.
  20. ^ Filatov-Shchipkov, 1997, p. 177
  21. ^ Taagepera p. 279
  22. ^ Joshua Project: Udmurt, Votyak.
  23. ^ Declaration of the Uralic Communion

Bibliography

External links

Caucasian neopaganism

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.

Estonian neopaganism

Estonian Neopaganism, or the Estonian native faith (Estonian: Maausk, literally "Native faith"), is the name, in English, for a grouping of contemporary revivals (often called "Neopagan", although adherents of Estonian native religion generally don't use the term) of the indigenous Pagan religion of the Estonian people.

It encompasses Taaraism (Estonian: Taarausk literally "Taara Faith"), a monistic religion centered on god Tharapita founded in 1928 by intellectuals as a national religion; and Maausk as a much broader definition of "Native Faith", encompassing grassroots movements of local gods worship, nature worship and earth worship. Both kinds of movements are administered by the Maavalla Koda organization. According to Ahto Kaasik, an unspecified 2002 survey revealed that 11% of the population of Estonia claimed that "out of all the religions they have the warmest feelings towards Taaraism and Maausk".

Finnic peoples

The Finnic peoples or Baltic Finns are Finno-Ugric peoples inhabiting the region around the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe who speak Finnic languages, including the Finns proper, Estonians (including Võros and Setos), Karelians (including Ludes and Olonets), Veps, Izhorians, Votes, and Livonians as well as their descendants worldwide. In some cases the Kvens, Ingrians, Tornedalians and speakers of Meänkieli are also included separately rather than being a part of Finns proper.

The bulk of the Finnic peoples are ethnic Finns and Estonians (more than 98%), who reside in the only two independent Finnic nation states – Finland and Estonia.Finnic peoples are also significant minority groups in neighbouring countries of Sweden, Norway and Russia.

Finnish neopaganism

Finnish Neopaganism, or the Finnish native faith (Finnish: Suomenusko: "Finnish Religion") is the contemporary Neopagan revival of Finnish paganism, the pre-Christian polytheistic ethnic religion of the Finns. A precursor movement was the Ukonusko ("Ukko's Faith", revolving around the god Ukko) of the early 20th century. The main problem in the revival of Finnish paganism is the nature of pre-Christian Finnish culture, which relied on oral tradition and of which very little is left. The primary sources concerning Finnish native culture are written by latter-era Christians.

There are two main organisations of the religion, the "Association of Finnish Native Religion" (Suomalaisen kansanuskon yhdistys ry) based in Helsinki and officially registered since 2002, and the "Pole Star Association" (Taivaannaula ry) headquartered in Turku with branches in many cities, founded and officially registered in 2007. The Association of Finnish Native Religion also caters to Karelians and is a member of the Uralic Communion.

Hungarian Native Faith

The Hungarian Native Faith (Hungarian: Ősmagyar Vallás), also termed Hungarian Neopaganism, is a modern Pagan new religious movement aimed at representing an ethnic religion of the Hungarians, inspired by taltosism (Hungarian shamanism), ancient mythology and later folklore. The Hungarian Native Faith movement has roots in 18th- and 19th-century Enlightenment and Romantic elaborations, and early-20th-century ethnology. The construction of a national Hungarian religion was endorsed in interwar Turanist circles (1930s–1940s), and, eventually, Hungarian Native Faith movements blossomed in Hungary after the fall of the Soviet Union.The boundaries between Hungarian Native Faith groups are often traced along their differing ideas about the ethnogenetic origins of the Hungarians, which have historically been a matter of debate. Many organisations acknowledge the commonly accepted theory that Hungarians originated among the Uralic peoples. Other Hungarian Native Faith groups, however, cultivate further links with Scythian, Sumerian, Turkic and other cultures.

Besides the elaborations developed within intellectual circles, the grassroots development of the Hungarian Native Faith largely relies upon the work of individual shamans or neoshamans, the táltos, whom have become popular in Hungary since the 1980s. Some Hungarian Native Faith organisations are supported by political parties of the right-wing, including Fidesz and Jobbik.

Karhun kansa

Karhun kansa is a religious community based on indigenous Finnish spiritual tradition. The community was officially recognized by the Finnish state in December 2013. "Karhun kansa" is Finnish for "People of the Bear". Bear is the most sacred animal in the Finnish spiritual tradition, and said to be the mythical ancestor of all humankind. Karhun kansa is part of Suomenusko ("Finnish Faith"), the contemporary revival of pre-Christian polytheistic ethnic religion of the Finns. Some members of Karhun kansa call their faith ´väenusko´ rather than ´suomenusko´. The first part of the term ´väenusko´ stems from a Finnish word ´väki´, which refers to people, and also both unseen and visible powers that are part of traditional Finnic mythology.

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.

Mari Native Religion

The Mari Native Religion (Mari: Чимарий йӱла, Čimarii jüla), or Mari Paganism, is the ethnic religion of the Mari people, a Volga Finnic ethnic group based in the republic of Mari El, in Russia. The religion has undergone changes over time, particularly under the influence of neighbouring monotheisms. In the last few decades, while keeping its traditional features in the countryside, an organised Neopagan-kind revival has taken place.The Mari religion is based on the worship of the forces of nature, which man must honour and respect. Before the spread of monotheistic teachings amongst the Mari, they worshipped many gods (the jumo, a word cognate to the Finnish Jumala), while recognising the primacy of a "Great God", Kugu Jumo. In the 19th century, influenced by monotheism, the Pagan beliefs altered and the image of a Osh Kugu Jumo, literally "Great God of Light", was strengthened.

Subject to persecution in the Soviet Union, the faith has been granted official status since the 1990s by the government of Mari El, where it is recognized as one of the three traditional faiths along with Orthodox Christianity and Islam. Some activists claim that the Mari native religion believers are subject to pressure by Russian authorities as part of a wider campaign to Russify Mari culture. Vitaly Tanakov, an adherent of the faith, was charged with inciting religious, national, social and linguistic hatred after publishing the book The Priest Speaks.

Mordvin Native Religion

Mordvin Neopaganism, or the Mordvin native religion or Erzyan native religion, is the modern revival of the ethnic religion of the Mordvins (Erzya and Moksha), peoples of Volga Finnic ethnic stock dwelling in the republic of Mordovia within Russia, or in bordering lands of Russia. The religion is often called Mastorava (Mordvin for: "Mother Earth"), from the homonymous epic poem or the mother goddess of the Mordvin pantheon. The name of the originating god according to the Mordvin tradition is Ineshkipaz.

The Mordvins have been almost fully Christianised since the times of Kievan Rus', although Pagan customs were preserved in the folklore and a few villages completely preserved the native faith at least until further missionary activities of the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th century and in the early 20th century. The Neopagan revival was started in 1990, alongside that of many other native religions in Russia, as the Soviet Union was on the brink of dissolution.

According to scholar Victor Schnirelmann, 2% of the Mordvins adhere to the Mordvin native faith, while more recent figures by the Evangelical database Joshua Project report 5%. Adherents of the Erzyan Mastor organisation organise the Rasken Ozks (Mordvin for: "Native Prayer"), a national Mordvin worship service held yearly, with participation also of members of the Mastorava organisation and other ones.

Polytheistic reconstructionism

Polytheistic reconstructionism (or simply Reconstructionism) is an approach to modern paganism first emerging in the late 1960s to early 1970s, which gathered momentum starting in the 1990s. Reconstructionism attempts to re-establish historical polytheistic religions in the modern world, in contrast with neopagan syncretic movements like Wicca, and "channeled" movements like Germanic mysticism or Theosophy.

While the emphasis on historical accuracy may imply historical reenactment, the desire for continuity in ritual traditions (orthopraxy) is a common characteristic of religion in general, as seen in Anglican ritualism, or in much Christian liturgy.

Religion in Russia

Religion in Russia is diverse with Christianity, especially Orthodoxy, being the most widely professed faith, but with significant minorities of Irreligious people, Muslims and Pagans. A 1997 law on religion recognises the right to freedom of conscience and creed to all the citizenry, the spiritual contribution of Orthodox Christianity to the history of Russia, and respect to "Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and other religions and creeds which constitute an inseparable part of the historical heritage of Russia's peoples", including ethnic religions or Paganism, either preserved or revived. According to the law, any religious organisation may be recognised as "traditional" if it was already in existence before 1982, and each newly founded religious group has to provide its credentials and re-register yearly for fifteen years, and, in the meantime until eventual recognition, stay without rights.The Russian Orthodox Church, though its influence is thin in some parts of the North Caucasian region and there are a lot of different religious movements in Russia, claiming the right to decide which other religions or denominations are to be granted the right of registration. Some Protestant churches which were already in existence before the Russian Revolution have been unable to re-register, and the Catholic Church has been forbidden to develop its own territorial jurisdictions. According to some Western observers, respect for freedom of religion by Russian authorities has declined since the late 1990s and early 2000s. Activities of the Jehovah's Witnesses are currently banned in Russia.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 there has been a revival and spread of Siberian shamanism (which also mixed in some cases very strong with Orthodox elements) , and the emergence of Hindu and new religious movements throughout Russia. There has been an "exponential increase in new religious groups and alternative spiritualities", Eastern religions and Neopaganism, even among self-defined "Christians"—a term which has become a loose descriptor for a variety of eclectic views and practices. Russia has been defined by the scholar Eliot Borenstein as the "Southern California of Europe" because of such a blossoming of new religious movements, and the latter are perceived by the Russian Orthodox Church as competitors in a "war for souls". It must be added that Borensteins commentary is very imprecise and inaccurate, as many of the religions of Russia have been traditional components for several hundred of years and formed the Russian cultural identities over a long period of time through strong ethno-cultural interactions.

Udmurt Vos

Udmurt Vos (Udmurt: Удмурт Вӧсь, literally "Udmurt Faith") is the ethnic religious revival of the Udmurts, a Finno-Ugric ethnic group inhabiting the republic of Udmurtia in Russia. Among the Udmurts, as in other Finno-Ugric republics in the Volga region, the revival of Paganism is inextricably intertwined with the revival of national-ethnic culture and awareness.The Udmurtian Pagan revival circles sprang out of the Demen (Udmurt for "Society") movement which was established in December 1989 for the protection and restoration of the Udmurt ethnic culture. Udmurt Vos as an institution was founded in 1994.According to 2012 statistics, 2% of the population of Udmurtia adheres to forms of Paganism. Victor Schnirelmann reported an adherence of 4% for the Udmurts alone.

Uralic

Uralic is an adjective which refers to a group of peoples and their culture. It relates to the Ural region of Russia.

Eskimo–Uralic languages

Indo-Uralic languages

Proto-Uralic homeland hypotheses

Proto-Uralic language

Uralic languages

Uralic mythologies

Uralic neopaganism

Uralic peoples

Uralic Phonetic Alphabet

Uralic–Yukaghir languages

Movements
Approaches
Institutions
By region
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