The yurt connects
The nomad tent (mong.: Ger, turk.: Yurt) is not only the center of a nomadic family’s life, but is a microcosm in itself. That’s why there is the Mongolian proverb „The yurt connects“. And all of you who will come together in a yurt with friends, family and colleagues, maybe to talk about some tough topics, will agree with this positive characteristic of the yurt. The yurt connects, it creates room, it blocks off and it is part of the nature, leads us back to reconnect with it, which is very important in your western world. It tells us a living history, its room is timeless, lets us feel the ground, earthing us. It calms us and demands our loving care and patience for its maintenance and preservation. Those who care for a yurt will benefit a lot from its flexibility and its weatherproof shelter.
The dome is the roof and symbolizes the sky. The entrance of the yurt is the „front“ and is always directed south. The spot behind the fireplace is called Hoimor. This is north („the back“) A table stands here and a totem (turk.: Ongun, mong.: Ongon) is place on it, together with offerings for the ghosts. The seats next to it are the most important seats in the tent. Clan elders, shamans and other venerable guests sit here.
- Right (west) is the men’s side of the tent. They sit here. Weapons and other manly tools and equipment will be stored here as well.
- Left (east) is the women’s side of the tent. Women sit here and place womanly items like kitchen tools or child’s beds. Adolescents stay near the women’s side. During the twentieth century the orientation of east and west appears to have changed, since many yurts are furnished mirror-inverted.
- In the center of the yurt is the fire pit, the most sacred place. This is the place of Golomt, daughter of Tenger. You have to show her respect. The yurt is the center of this cosm, and Gal Golomt, the fire pit of Golomt, is its center. The smoke column arising from the pit symbolizes the world tree, the opening in the roof is the entrance to the heavenly realm. The dream journey of shamans usually starts through this roof opening. Either the shaman climbs the world tree or he flies through the opening in the shape of a bird.
The small round beam of sunlight that falls through this opening turns clockwise, allowing you to tell the time. Also the inhabitants of the yurt move clockwise only, to prevent the balance to be disrupted. During rituals the shamans also move clockwise.