I'm doing research and am fascinated by Inuit mythology. I am looking for stories about the Torngarsuk, but am having a hard time finding anything that isn't general Wikipedia summaries. I'm trying to get a better standing of how it moves and interacts with the world for a story I'm writing. Are there any resources you might recommend? I really want to get this accurate. Thanks in advance!

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    Interesting question! Welcome to Mythology and Folklore!
    – Tom Sol
    Commented May 16, 2020 at 14:09

1 Answer 1


Tornarsuk was the "ruler of the torneit or guardian spirits" [1], but cited as "when something goes wrong or when something interferes with the best-laid plans, it is often attibuted to the evil spirit Tornarsuk" [2].

He is represented in several ways: as a bear, a creature with the size of a finger and sometimes as an invisible being. Some sources, however, cite him as a sea monster, a huge white bear, or even that his body is covered with eyes [3]

I found variations of his name as: Tornarsuk, Tornaq and Tungrangayak.

I was able to find two books that had more complete stories. They weren't of the god itself, but of events related to him. The texts are long, so I will only put the books references here, so you can search by them.


Tales and traditions of the Eskimo [4]: starting on page 58, the author explores how women become angakut (I understood this as shamans). They receive a guardian spirit from Tornarsuk, which they can summon in times of need. There are more mentions of him in the book, so a more thorough reading might be interesting.


A Winter's Tale [5]: This book has a short story involving the entity, and I found it particularly interesting.

It tells the story of Tuavituk, who was an Angakok, and claimed to be able to communicate with Torngak, the Great Spirit who ruled their fortunes. But one day, Tuavituk announced to the Eskimos that something displeased Torngak, and to punish them, he caused an storm. So, the ice and the food were carried away. The Eskimos would perish of starvation, unless Torngak were appeased. The story goes on. Starts on page 104.


[1] SKYES, Edgerton; KENDALL, Alan. Who's Who in Non-Classical Mythology. N. I: Routledge, 1993.

[2] COUNTER, S. Allen. North Pole Legacy: the search for the arctic offspring of robert peary and matthew henson. N. I: Simon And Schuster, 2018.

[3] COULTER, Charles Russell; TURNER, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities. Chicago: Routledge, 2013.

[4] RINK, Hinrich. Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

[5] WALLACE, Dillon. A Winter ́s Tale. 3. ed. New York: Outlook Verlag, 2018.

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