Stars for the Turkmen – in the past and now

Stars for the Turkmen – in the past and now

The star sky always enticed people with its mysteriousness. Ancient people believed that the star can define destiny of human. In the Turkmen language there is an expression – «one who has found his star», meaning strongly taken roots on the earth, an unlucky person is named starless.

In medieval literary and historical sources there are mentions of stars and constellations. Ancient east astronomers put stars and their settlement data on boards – ziyja, and rural astrologers were able to forecast the weather unmistakably by stars. «Demirgazyk ýyldyzy» – northern (Polar) star in translation from Turkmen, owing to the immovability prompted to travellers a right way.

The Hungarian traveller across Turkmenistan Arminius Vamberi in the travelling notes marked: «We were guided in the afternoon by the sun, at night – across North star which Turkmens for its immovability name« Demirgazyk ýyldyzy ». The constellation of the Great Bear (Uly ýedygen) and her a dim star – Yashik, at the Turkic people is connected with image of seven brothers who have lost their sister.

The German ethnographer and traveller Richard Karutz who visited Mangyshlak, wrote an interesting legend about constellation of the Big Dipper. «Seven thieves have stolen the daughter of the tsar on the Pole Star, horses of the tsar (a star of the Small -bear) are adhered, and therefore the tsar cannot go and release the daughter». The Turkmen children’s playground rhyme says: «Ýedigenim ýedi ýyldyz, ýedi göçer, ýedi gonar. Sanasam sogaby bolar “-” Seven stars of the Big Dipper will dart off, again will return. Count their time seven, entreaties in the good will turn back ».

There is a belief that the one who, without breathing and without being mistaken, can say seven consecutive times words of this plain tongue twister, the thought desire will necessarily come true. According to beliefs of ancient Turks, a star of the Big Dipper is the star shining from windows of the huge tent erected in the sky by god Tanry. In verses of Turkmen poet Mahtumkuli there is a description of seven heavenly planets («sayyarlar»), called by seven stars «ýedi ýyldyzy».

From ancient east cosmology follows that the sky has seven layers. On the first layer the Moon (Kamar ay), on second Mercury (Otarit), the third Venus (Zokhre), further the Sun (Shem Gun), Mars (Myrrykh ) and Saturn (Zukhal) settles down. For inhabitants of the medieval East the astronomy had a huge value and for agriculture. Before the invention of hours, time of the next irrigation of lands grounds was defined in the afternoon by sun movement, and at night – by stars.

«Atsyz ýyldyz» (Anonymous star) of the Turkmen is connected with a belief in the magic foresight influencing destiny of human. Depending on its movement successful and unsuccessful days came to light. Having conceived to go to a long journey, people did not set out for a journey while aside laid route there was a given star. Our ancestors attributed to it negative value, and, following superstition, argued so: «If one goes for the bride towards the Anonymous star marriage can appear unsuccessful», therefore they always waited for a favourable arrangement of stars.

Certainly, not all medieval Turkmen sources have remained, many have at all got lost in time irrevocably. However and today the image of a star for the Turkmen still has important value. Stars decorate national flag, and in octahedral execution meet in architectural constructions of all cities of Turkmenistan. The most known “star” embodiments – the capital registry office framed with an octagonal star, the cultural -entertaining centre with a big wheel of “Alem” and the Ashkhabad television tower which is based on a huge eight-final star.

Selbi CHARYEVA

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