İye (sometimes İne or Eğe; Chuvash: Ийӗ, İyĕ; Tatar: Ия, İyä; Yakut: Иччи, İççi; Turkmen: Eýe, Эе; Tuvan: Ээ, Ee; Uzbek: Ega, Эга; Ottoman Turkish: اي or ٳي; Russian: Ийе, Ije) is a spirit in Turkic mythology who is a guardian, patron or protector of a place, person, lineage, nation, natural assets or an animal. Although such spirits are called “masters” or “posessors”, they are not necessarily subject to worship.
The term means owner, master, lord, possessor in Turkic languages. Ezen (familiar spirit, protector spirit) has the same meaning (owner, possessor) in Mongolian language.
An İye guides, helps, or protects animals, individuals, lineages, nations, and even inanimate assets such as mountains or rivers. According to the shamanic worldview, everything is alive, bearing an inherent virtue and power. In this context power animals represent a person’s connection to all life, their qualities of character, and their power. They are the helping or ministering spirit or familiar which empowers individuals and is essential for success in any venture undertaken. It is believed that most persons have power animals, or tutelary spirits, which empower and protect them from harm – this is comparable to tutelary deities. In these traditions, the İye may also lend the wisdom or attributes of its kind to those under its protection.
Also each town or city had one or more İye, whose protection was considered particularly vital in time of war and siege. An İye is spirit who is regarded as the tutelary spirit or protector of a nation, place, clan, family, or person.
According to myths among the Turks collected by Verbitsky Vasily, Erlik wanted to create a world on his own and filling it with his own people. Then Ülgen was ordered to threw Erlik and his servants out of the sky, a battle occurred. Erlik was injured and cast into the underworld. His servants were cast out, falling from the sky like water drops and each of his servants became a spirit corresponding with the specific element it fell into. Thus whose who fell into fire became od-iyeler (Iye of fire), whose who fell into water became su-iyeler (Iye of water), etc.
- Su iyesi: Spirit of water.
- Od iyesi: Spirit of fire.
- Ev iyesi: Household spirit of house.
- Yel iyesi: Spirit of wind.
- Dağ iyesi: Protector spirit of mountains.
- Orman iyesi: Protector spirit of forest.
- Irmak iyesi: Owner of river.
- Abzar iyesi: Owner of courtyard.
- Yer iyesi: Sacred spirit of earth.
These are at the orter of other İyes.
- Aran iyesi, Damız iyesi, Kitre iyesi: Spirit of stable.
- Avul iyesi, Köy iyesi, Bucak iyesi: Spirit of village.
- Ağaç iyesi, Yığaç iyesi: Spirit of tree.
- Bulak iyesi, Pınar iyesi, Çeşme iyesi: Spirit of fountain.
- Değirmen iyesi: Spirit of mill.
- Ekin iyesi, Arış iyesi: Spirit of corn.
- Ergene iyesi, Urkay iyesi, Şahta iyesi: Spirit of mine pit.
- Mal iyesi, Sığır iyesi: Spirit of cattle.
- Kıla iyesi, Hayvan iyesi: Spirit of animals.
- Otağ iyesi, Çadır iyesi, Çerge İyesi: Spirit of tent.
- Söğök iyesi, Gur iyesi, Gömüt İyesi: Spirit of grave.
- Tarla iyesi, Basu iyesi, Etiz İyesi: Spirit of field.
- Toplak iyesi, Mescid iyesi: Spirit of mosque.
- Yol iyesi, Yolak iyesi: Spirit of road.
- Yunak iyesi, Hamam iyesi, Cağlık iyesi: Spirit of bath.
- Ören iyesi, Peg iyesi, Çaldıbar iyesi: Spirit of ruins.
- İn iyesi, Mağara iyesi, Ünkür iyesi: Spirit of cave.
- Bulut iyesi: Spirit of clouds.
- Kara iye: Spirit of underworld, comparable to a demon.