Circassian mythology is the body of myths, tales, and beliefs belonging to the Circassian people. Circassians are a Northwest Caucasian ethnic group, mainly inhabiting the Republic of Adygea in Russia, and Safa Kasasi in Turkey.

Circassian Holding a Horse by Its Bridle

Circassian Holding a Horse by Its Bridle, c. 1858. Oil on canvas. 32,4 x 40,6 cm. Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, Tokyo. Photograph by Lluís Ribes Mateu

The Evolution of Circassian Mythology

The Circassian folklore is an amalgamation of the unique cultures that have held sway over the region for centuries. Parts of the folklore date back to pagan times, notably those relating to the gods and goddesses of nature. Islam, which arrived in the region in the 15th century, also had a significant impact on Circassian folklore. The traditional Islamic folklore and beliefs soon blended with the older pagan ones. This blending resulted in a new tradition that represents the unique diversity of the Circassian area. Today, Circassian legends and myths tell the stories of countless gods, magical creatures, and heroes. These stories reflect the society's collective consciousness and offer insights into the mystical beliefs, values, and customs of the Circassian people. Folklore is an essential part of the Circassian identity and plays a vital role in preserving the cultural heritage of the region.

Origins in Circassian Mythology

According to Circassian mythology, the universe was created by a group of deities, with each god and goddess assuming a specific role in the process. Khakuchu, Djangar, and Ersyz are credited with the main responsibility of creating the universe, while Taša played a smaller role, starting the essential element of fire. The sky god, Minigir, was responsible for the creation of the world, while the goddess Nalbek oversees the earth, nurturing the planet and ensuring its continuity. This unique blend of gods and goddesses working together to create the universe ensures that each element of the world, from the sky to the earth, is in harmony, reflecting the Circassian people's values of communal living and respect for nature.

The Mythology of Circassian Gods and Goddesses

The Circassian pantheon is a fascinating aspect of Circassian culture. It comprises of 12 gods and goddesses, each with a unique role in the creation and preservation of the universe. Satana, the god of fire, is one of the most vital gods in the pantheon. He is responsible for keeping the hearths of homes and the hearts of man burning. Psakhu is another critical god in the pantheon, known as the god of thunderstorms. The Circassians believe that when Psakhu sends lightning bolts down to earth, he is expressing his anger towards evil forces. Chane is the god of fate and destiny, which underscores the importance of destiny in the Circassian way of life. However, for those who respect the will of the gods, Chane is considered to be a kind and benevolent deity. Lastly, Gushgen is the god of hunting. This god has been worshipped for centuries by Circassian hunters who seek his blessings before setting out on a hunt. Overall, the Circassian pantheon is rich in beliefs and traditions, showcasing the importance of various elements in their lives.

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"Circassians from Kfar Kama" by DJ Adam photographer

Folk Tales of Circassian Mythology

Circassian mythology is rich in folklore and traditions, and it has a vast collection of folk tales that have been passed down from one generation to another. These stories play a crucial role in preserving the ancient culture and belief system of the Circassian people. Among these tales, the story of "Ubykh and the Serpent" stands out as a popular one. This legend involves a confrontation between the God of bravery, Ubykh, and a mighty serpent. The battle between these two figures represents the eternal struggle between good and evil. Another fascinating tale is that of "Sosruquo." This story revolves around a young boy who transcends the limitations of his youth and becomes a hero by overcoming numerous challenges. These tales are not only captivating but also offer a glimpse into the Circassian society's values, beliefs, and history.

Circassian mythology has not only played a significant role in shaping the cultural and social identity of the Circassian people, but it has also become a source of inspiration for many contemporary works of art, including literature, music, and film. The stories of the gods and goddesses, passed down through generations of Circassians over hundreds of years, continue to fascinate and enthrall audiences today. These tales, filled with adventure and magic, provide valuable insight into the beliefs and values of the Circassian people, as well as significant events that have occurred throughout their history. It is not surprising that Circassian mythology has become such a beloved and integral part of the Circassian culture, as it continues to provide inspiration and entertainment for future generations.


Nart Saga