The symbol of the coming year according to the eastern calendar – the White Metal Bull evokes special associations among the Turkmens, since the image of a bull occupies an important place in their ethnogenesis, material and spiritual culture. For all the complexity and multicomponent of the process of the formation of the Turkmen people, its core was the Oguz Turks, and according to one version, the word “Oguz” comes from the word “Okuz”, which means “bull” in Turkmen and other Turkic languages.
“The Turkmen consider Oguz Khan as their legendary ancestor, whose appearance was described as follows: “his legs… are like the legs of a bull, the loins are like the loins of a wolf, his shoulders are like the shoulders of a sable, and his chest is like the breasts of a bear”. A powerful bull served as an ongon or a cult image of Oguz Khan, which was reflected on a banknote of 100 Turkmen manats in 2009.
It is also interesting that some researchers associate the origin of the word “Oghuz” with the word “ak” – “white”, which in the Turkmen language means not only color, but is used in the meaning of “noble” or “good”, and “uz” – ancient the concept, in translation, possibly meant “man” or “people” and often duplicated the concept of “ir” or “er”, that is, “man”, “man”. It was used by various Turkic peoples, including the Turkmens, alone or in combination with other words, as a self-name.
Numerous archaeological finds on the territory of Turkmenistan testify to the cult significance of the image of a bull, dating back to ancient times. So, in Altyn-Depe – a settlement of the Bronze Age (2300-1900 BC), discovered in Southwestern Turkmenistan, a golden bull’s head with a moon in its forehead made of turquoise was found in a priestly tomb.
Fragments of the skeleton of a bull discovered in Chopan-Depe confirmed the version of scientists about the process of domestication of wild animals that began in ancient times.
Even then, the bull represented the main pulling force in performing the most difficult physical work and at the same time symbolized the birth of the corresponding ancient zoomorphic cult. This is confirmed by the figurine of a bull found in Chagylli-Depe and the alabaster bull-calf from Kara-Depe, now kept in the Hermitage (St. Petersburg, Russia).
Coming from ancient times, inspired by legends and totemic symbols, the perception of the image of a bull is reflected in the Turkmen culture of our time. As you know, the monument to the victims of the devastating Ashgabat earthquake is made in the form of a huge bronze bull, on the horns of which is a split globe. According to ancient beliefs, the Earth rests on the horns of a yellow (sary) bull, and when the sins of people overflow the cup of God’s patience, he tells the midge to tickle the bull’s nose, the bull waves its head, shaking the earth.
According to scientists, the concept of the bull as a zoomorphic support of the Earth exists in a variety of cultures. The bull was generally revered as one of the most sacred animals, which is the embodiment of the gods. Even the cave dwellers used the form of a bull to represent life energy.
Turkmens believe that the Year of the Ox will be kind and abundant, because this animal is a symbol of hard work and justice, reliability and constancy, which they value very much. Astrologers agree with this in their predictions about what the coming Bull is preparing for us. They note that the White Metal Ox is characterized by nerves of steel and an iron character, great willpower and restraint.
A year endowed with such an element happens once every 60 years. Considering the owner’s nerves of steel, the element of the year will be metal, and according to the horoscope, the element of the Ox is earth. The combination of the elements of earth and metal in the year is considered a very good sign. Therefore, as the famous meme says, release the bull!