The Basque people, inhabiting the regions between northern Spain and southwestern France, have long been a subject of fascination for scholars and laypersons alike. Their unique language, Euskara, and distinct culture set them apart from their Indo-European neighbors, prompting many to delve into the intricacies of their beliefs, mythology, and rituals.

Beliefs and Mythology

The Basque mythology is rooted in ancient pre-Christian beliefs and practices. Although the Basque people eventually adopted Christianity, many elements of their traditional beliefs persisted, either assimilated into the new faith or practiced clandestinely. The myths and legends of the Basques are centered around nature and the elements, with deities and spirits representing various natural phenomena.

Key Deities and Spirits


The supreme goddess in Basque mythology, Mari is often referred to as the Lady of Anboto or the Mother of the Earth. She is the embodiment of Mother Nature and is associated with the weather, the harvest, and fertility. Mari is depicted as a beautiful woman, sometimes with the lower half of a serpent, who dwells in caves and mountains. She is married to Sugaar (also known as Maju), a serpent-like male deity who represents storms and lightning. The couple's union is said to create thunderstorms, a powerful symbol of their passionate relationship.


As mentioned above, Sugaar is Mari's consort and the god of storms and lightning. He is often represented as a dragon, serpent, or a fireball. Sugaar's role in Basque mythology revolves around his interactions with Mari and the balance they maintain in nature.


A goat-headed deity, Akerbeltz is the protector of animals, particularly livestock. He is also believed to ward off evil spirits and ensure a good harvest. Although he has been associated with witchcraft and pagan rituals, Akerbeltz is generally considered a benevolent figure in Basque mythology.

Lamiak (Laminak)

These supernatural beings are similar to nymphs or fairies, often depicted as beautiful women with bird or fish-like lower halves. They reside near bodies of water and are known for their singing and dancing, which can enchant humans. Lamiak are thought to be helpful spirits, assisting in the construction of bridges and other structures.

Unique Beliefs

One of the most intriguing aspects of Basque culture is the concept of "sorginak," or witches. The Basque people believed in the existence of witches, who were thought to have the power to cast spells and control natural forces. Witches played a significant role in Basque folklore and were feared and respected by the community. Witchcraft was often associated with the worship of ancient deities like Mari and Sugaar, as well as the performance of rituals and ceremonies.

The "Akelarre" is a unique Basque ritual, a gathering of witches presided over by the goat-headed deity Akerbeltz. These gatherings were believed to take place in secluded areas, often at night, where witches would participate in rites, dances, and feasting. The Akelarre was a means to maintain connections to ancient deities and practices, even as Christianity began to dominate the region.