International conference, Germany 2007

First International Inaugural Symposium:
Nature, Space and Sacred: Transdicplinary Perspectives
Organized by the European Forum for the Study of Religion and the Environment

Date: May, 2007
Place: Bamberg, Germany
Language: English

Who took part from Aigine RC: Dr. Gulnara Aitpaeva and Zemfira Inogamova

Participation in symposium was accomplished in the framework of “Traditional knowledge and values in Kyrgyzstan” program supported by The Christensen Fund (California, USA).

More than 40 scholars from Europe, Baltic region, Asia and US took part at the international symposium and contributed to discussions on issues of contemporary world such as, Global Warming, necessity to change social consciousness, reassessment of some main paradigms in theology, ecology, anthropology and other social and liberal arts.

Aigine members made a paper contribution for the conference:

Dr. Gulnara Aitpaeva on Spiritual Mission, Health and Sacred Sites Worship in Kyrgyzstan
The paper is aimed to explore how the acceptance or non-acceptance of the spiritual mission influences the health of practitioners of traditional Kyrgyz culture and what is a role of sacred sites in this process.

There is an axiom in Kyrgyz culture that health of people selected for spiritual service is directly connected with accepting/rejecting the duties of their destination. Only in a case of timely recognized and then accepted spiritual mission poets-improvisators, manaschys-reciters of the ancient epic, shaiykhs-guardians of sacred sites, traditional healers and some other groups which are capable to communicate with invisible and the other (next) world can live full-fledged life being physically healthy and socially recognized.

Modern scientific paradigms have not been able to clarify the connections between spirituality and health. The idea of studying this essential part of traditional Kyrgyz culture is at best ignored or at worst is understood as a psychiatric disorder.
My hypothesis is there are different kinds of traditional knowledge beyond the connections of spiritual mission and health. Usually process of recognizing and developing a supernatural gift is based on sacred sites worshiping and performing sacred rituals.

Zemfira Inogamova on ‘Keeping the Sacred a Secret’ Voices of people who worship at the Nyldy ata complex of sacred sites in Talas district (Kyrgyzstan); What are the ‘wrongs’ and ‘rights’ of presenting knowledge of sacred sites on maps to pilgrims?”

Sacred sites and the experiences, hopes and fears that practitioners have about sacred sites in relation to changing economic and social organization will be a main focus of this article. Specifically, in article will be raised the question of knowledge and control over knowledge of sacred sites. The hypothesis of this article is that-every community has its local ethics and certain claims in accordance with it. I will also dwell on issues of how people think about the sites and what kind of respect people show, and how they maintain control over these sites. In the article I will be discussing questions of cultural property rights, one of the main concerns of local practitioners who argue that sacred sites have to belong to all people who live in Kyrgyzstan and not to certain private owners.

This article will present the concerns of research respondents and will describe the uses of the sites in direct relationship to the kinds of rights that people feel they should have, along with any challenges or limits to those rights that people have experienced.

The local practitioners have extensive knowledge about the sites and were put in the center of the mapping project that was conducted in one of villages in Northern part of Kyrgyzstan. Project was carried out by members of Aigine Research Center in Kyrgyzstan. In this case the mapping work was a way to find out about knowledge that discussed how practitioners feel about the idea of mapping sacred sites and how do they think that their knowledge should be used. Hence, the article will be organized around people who are experts, and then talk about the mapping project as another tool that was used for my research. It also helped to reveal knowledge of cultural practitioners and expanded the conversation with the local experts, rather than the goal of the project.

For more detailed information about conference please refer to the following web site:

Informations about conference key note speakers and the detailed programme can be found on: