Eskimo Gods

All people, animals and plants have souls (anua). The anerneq was the part of a soul that went to the underworld, while the tarneq (taren-raq) was the physical embodiment of the soul. Taboos exist in order to ensure monetary prosperity, health and that animals will be available to hunters. Ritual ceremonies performed before, during and after hunting trips help to accomplish this. Each species of animal has a deity, called a Keeper or a Master. The Angakut is the Shaman of his tribe. He remembers the taboos and guides his people in the following of them. He interprets omens, causes of illness or lack of success in hunting or other ventures. Interpreting these signs indicates which taboo an individual, family or entire tribe has violated. Often, the shaman will enter a trance state using drum beating, chanting or other methods and thereby astrally travel to alternate realms of awareness to determine the causes of the negative event or circumstance. Adlivun is where the dead are purified before continuing on to the Land of the Moon.

Inuit mythology has many similarities to the religions of other polar regions. Inuit traditional religious practices could be very briefly summarised as a form of shamanism based on animist principles.
In some respects, Inuit mythology stretches the common conception of what the term "mythology" means. UWhile the dominant religious system of the Inuit today is Christianity, many Inuit do still hold to at least some element of their traditional religious beliefs. Inuit traditional cosmology is not religion in the usual theological sense, and is similar to what most people think of as mythology only in that it is a narrative about the world and the place of people in it.

The harshness and randomness of life in the Arctic ensured that Inuit lived constantly in fear of unseen forces. A run of bad luck could end an entire community, and begging potentially angry and vengeful but unseen powers for the necessities of day-to-day survival is a common consequence of a precarious existence even in modern society. For the Inuit, to offend an anirniq was to risk extinction. The principal role of the angakkuq in Inuit society was to advise and remind people of the rituals and taboos they needed to obey to placate the spirits, since he was held to be able to see and contact them. The anirniit were seen to be a part of the sila - the sky or air around them - and were merely borrowed from it. Although each person's anirniq was individual, shaped by the life and body it inhabited, at the same time it was part of a larger whole. This enabled Inuit to borrow the powers or characteristics of an anirniq by taking its name. Furthermore, the spirits of a single class of thing - be it sea mammals, Polar Bears, or plants - were in some sense held to be the same, and could be invoked through a sort of keeper or master who was connected in some fashion with that class of thing. In some cases, it is the anirniq of a human or animal who became a figure of respect or influence over animals things through some action, recounted in a traditional tale. In other cases, it is a tuurngaq, as described below.

Some spirits were by nature unconnected to physical bodies. These figures were called tuurngait (also tornait, tornat, tornrait, singular tuurngaq, torngak, tornrak, tarngek). Some were helping spirits that could be called upon in times of need. Some were evil and monstrous, responsible for bad hunts and broken tools. They could also possess humans, as recounted in the story of Atanarjuat. An angakkuq with good intentions could use them to heal sickness, and find animals to hunt and feed the community. He or she could fight or exorcise bad tuurngait, or they could be held at bay by rituals; However, an angakkuq with harmful intentions could also use "tuurngait" for their own personal gain, or to attack other people and their tuurngait.

Some Eskimo Gods;

Adlivun - The home of Sedna, goddess of the sea. This is where the dead are purified before continuing on to the Land of the Moon.

Akycha - Sun god of the Alaskan Eskimo.

Alignak - God of the moon, storms, earthquakes and tides.

Aningan - Moon god. Called Igaluk in Alaska.

Asiaq - Goddess of weather.

Idliragijenget - A sea goddess.

Idlirvirisong - The demonic cousin of the sun.

Igaluk - God of the moon.

Ignirtoq - Goddess of lightning. She made lightning by rubbing pieces of flint together.

Kadlu - The thunder goddess; sister of Ignirtoq. She made thunder by jumping on hollow ice.

Mallina - The sun goddess; sister to the god Anningat, the moon.

Nanook - The Bear god. (The Pleiades)

Negafok - The cold weather spirit.

Pana - She cares for the souls of the dead in heaven while they wait to be reincarnated.

Pinga - She takes the souls of the dead to heaven, and gives them to the care of Pana.

Pukkeenegak - Goddess of childbirth.

Sedna - The goddess of the sea. An earth mother figure who had been a child of giants. When her ravenous hunger led her to start eating her sleeping parents, they took her out to sea and cut off her fingers, which became whales, walrus, seals and fish. They then cast her into the depths of the ocean which she then ruled. Called Arnarquagsaq in Greenland and Nerivik in Alaska.

Tekkeitserto - God of hunting.


Pantheons Index