Tengerism is a way of life more than a religion. Because of this it is often difficult to define. Here are some things that Tengerists do to keep their home peaceful.


Keep a hoimor
A hoimor is a sacred place in your home where you keep your altar. Traditionally, hoimors were always on the North side of the tent opposite the door. (The door always faced south). Modern homes do not take the four directions into consideration so this might not work in your home. Try to have your hoimor away from doors, where there is little “traffic”. On your hoimor keep pictures of elder relatives who have passed on (ancestors), candles, offering cups or plates, and anything you consider sacred or appropriate.

Libate bottles
Whenever you open a liquor bottle, dip your right ring finger into it 3 times, each time flicking the liquid out. Once for Father Heaven, once for Mother Earth, and once to the ancestors. Then pour a shot and place it on your hoimor. After these libations, you may drink.

Offer incense
Whenever you light a stick of incense, wave it at your altar 9 times before you place it in it’s burner. This way you offer sacred smoke to the spirits and your ancestors.

Have ongons in your home
Ongons are spirit homes. Anyone can make an ongon, so you can get very creative. You will need a shaman, however, to empower your ongons.
The most common ongon is called the zol zayach. It is for the family and depicts a man and a woman. When blessings come to your family, add a token to the ongon or put some butter on it. Other ongons are for spirits of nature or animals. “Feed” them now and then with butter or sprinkle milk, tea, or vodka on them.

Clean your home
Before you pray or celebrate holidays, clean your house, apartment, or room. Clean and organize everything before ceremonies or holidays. I know this is not fun, but it is necessary. When you pray, the ancestors watch over you. These old spirits are very old-fashioned and traditional. A messy, dirty home angers them. You want them comfortable just like you would if your grandmother came to visit.

Smudge
After everything is cleaned, smudge yourself and your home. A quick way to cleanse yourself is to have a burning stick of incense or smudge bundle and pass it around yourself three times clockwise. Juniper and sage are the most common smudges used and is preferred over incense. If incense is used, it should be natural like sandalwood and not “sweet” like cherry or strawberry. Smoke takes your prayers to the upper world so you should always burn smudge or incense when you are praying.