Turge Tree

As the ger is the center of the world, so the place of the fire is the center of the universe represented by the ger itself. The vertical axis represented by the column of smoke rising from the gal golomt also represents the turge or World Tree that shamans ascend to the upper world, with the smoke ring (tono) corresponding to the gateway to the upper world. In some shamanic rituals, such as the initiation of shamans in Buryatia, a tree will actually be erected inside the ger, beside the gal golomt and passing through the smoke hole. Among some Mongolian groups, such as the Buryats, the shaman literally climbs the tree; in others, such as the Dagurs, the shaman drums at the base and only ascends with his spiritual being....

The other important symbol of the world center is the turge tree, which creates an axis as well as a pole for ascent and decent. Siberian and Mongolian traditions locate the tree at the center of the world, but also in the south, where the upper and middle worlds touch. The tree is tended by the goddess Umai, and the ami souls of living things waiting to be born are believed to live as birds on this immense tree. By the World Tree, which some say “stands at he border of day and night,” the World River enters the middle world from its sources in the upper world. According to the traditions of the Altai, Bayan Ami, lord of the forest animals, will be encountered during the ascent of this tree and will grant the shaman geese to assist him on his journey to the upper world. The top of the turge tree touches the sky by the Pole Star, the Altan Hadaas, the sky nail that holds up the heavens. http://www.tengerism.org/cosmology.html