Spiritual practices

In this section we have included everything that is connected to the sacred knowledge of people, spirituality, related rituals and customs. The main parts of this section are sacred sites as a quintessential expression (which is always renewed and adapted) of ancient spiritual practices of people, living in the territory of Kyrgyzstan, and of kyrgyzchylyk as an institution, which is traditional, but at the same time reflects all changes occurring in all spheres of human life, and which includes in itself spiritual and ritual practices. One can also find here traditional or folk medicine, since on its basis there lie the “principles” of healing with the help of spirits and powers from above.
There exists a sometimes harsh and critical discourse in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan about the propriety of the forms of traditional Islam which have developed in our territory up to this time. One of the main oppositions is kyrgyzchylyk and musulmanchylyk, where the latter accuses the former of “incorrectness”, particularly in relation to the widespread practices of pilgrimage to sacred sites and healing and prophecy. On our website you can find protocols of meetings, where this opposition was discussed, as well as opinions of our informants concerning this issue.
Here you can also find the stories of Manas tellers, poets, and the representatives of other kinds of art. In Kyrgyz traditional culture reciting and talent are inseparable from the understandings of supernatural manifestations, such as kasiet (special gift from above) and ayan (sign from above, which is given in the dreams or the waking hours of carriers of the kasiet).
Succession, which was mentioned earlier, is one of the main dimensions of the transmission of traditional knowledge. The institution of ustat-shakirt (master and apprentice) in the spiritual and reciting practices was and remains a vital aspect in the formation and development of the carriers of spiritual traditional knowledge. One section of this website introduces the stories of our interviewers about their mentors and students.
Another section is devoted to information taken in the process of getting messages from above, which we call spiritual information or kaiyp ilimi. From the first months of the activities of our center people started coming to us and brought their manuscripts or books, which are written as a result of inspiration from above.
At the moment we are working on the analysis of the collected materials. On the basis of the materials, which we will be publishing, we invite people for discussions. Each of the books that we published (The first one was published in 2007 in Kyrgyz and English, as a result of the research in Talas oblast, and second – in 2009, in Kyrgyz, Russian and English, on Issik-Kol) contains the articles of Aigine workers, who analyzed various aspects, such as kyrgyzchylyk and musulmanchylyk, talk with spirits, the place and role of mullahs in pre-Soviet society and etc.[1], on the basis of the materials, collected by Aigine between 2005-2009.

[1] See, for example in the book “Sacred Sites of Issik-Kol: spiritual power, pilgrimage and art”, Aigine, Bishkek, 2009 articles of Aitpaeva G.. The discourse on pilgrimage to sacred sites among Kyrgyz Muslims (pp. 224-237), Aldakeeva G. The role of spirits in Kyrgyz culture (pp. 237-245).