“The Sabbath of Witches” by Francisco de Goya

* For today’s entry, Patricia Telesco names “Akerbeltz” as today’s Goddess. However, my research revealed that Akerbeltz is a black he-goat known in Basque mythology to be an attribute of the Goddess Mari. [1] “From the Basque language ‘aker’ (male goat), and ‘beltz’ (black). He protects against illnesses and evil spirits and he sends beneficial force fluxes to animals placed under its protection. From his name comes the word ‘aquelarre’ that presently designs a secret meeting of evil witches adoring the Devil. But long ago, it was just an assembly of people celebrating in honour to this well-meaning being.” [2]

So, for today’s entry, I assume that Telesco’s attributes for Akerbeltz would be appropriate for the Goddess Mari, whom Akerbeltz is said to have originated from.

“Goddess Of The Rainbow” by Prairiekittin

“[Mari’s] themes are the harvest, charity, health, thankfulness, beauty and peace. Her symbols are rainbows, health and healing amulets.  This Basque Goddess attends the human body by protecting it from disease, encouraging health and offering healing when needed, especially when we overdo summer activities! Being a Goddess of earth and nature too, She sometimes appears as a rainbow, a bridge that takes us from being under the weather to overcoming circumstances.

The Tabuleiros has been celebrated for six hundred years in Portugal by honoring the harvest, giving thanks to the Goddess for Her providence and making donations to charitable organizations. The highlight of the day is a parade in which people wear huge headdresses covered with bread, flowers and doves – symbols of [Mari’s] continued sustenance, beauty and peace. These are retained by the wearer through the year to keep [Mari] close by, warding off sickness. A simpler approach for us might be to get a small rainbow refrigerator magnet or window piece that reflects this Goddess’s beauty throughout our home to keep everyone therein well and content.

Also, give a little something to someon in need today. Doing good deeds for others pleases [Mari] because it makes them healthier in spirit. She will bless you for your efforts with improved well-bing, if only that of the heart.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Mari is the Basque Goddess of the Moon.  She is the supreme Goddess of the Basque pantheon.  Mari is associated with the various forces of nature including the wind, storms, and lightning. She creates storms to chastise disobedient people.  She often travels across the sky as a fireball or as a blazing crescent going from one mountain peak to another. Sometimes Her chariot is being pulled by four white horses and other times, She is seen riding a white ram.  Mari has many homes on the high mountain summits and deep within the caves below.

Mari is a shape shifter who can appear as any animal, but sometimes will assume the shape of a white cloud or a rainbow. She is often pictured as a woman of fire or as a thunderbolt.  Legends revere Her as a prophetess and oracle; She is said to rule over sorcery and divination. She upholds the law code and is known to punish anyone who is guilty of lying and stealing. She condemns pride and boasting and ensures a high level of moral conduct. Her symbol is the sickle which is still used today to ward off evil. Mari protects the travelers and provides good council to humans.

Unfortunately, with the advent of Christianity, Mari was degraded into an evil spirit.

Mari is the daughter of the Earth Goddess, Lur, and the sister of the Sun Goddess, Ekhi.  The Thunder Spirit, Maju is Her husband, and they apparently live apart for when they do get together, there are severe storms of rain, hail, thunder and lighting. Although the Inquistion ruthlessly persecuted followers of the Goddess as ‘witches’, Mari somehow escaped destruction, and She continues to live on in some parts of Northern Europe.” [3]

In another blog entry, I read, “She is friendly and helpful, protecting travelers and herds and giving good council to those who need it. Legends connect Her to the weather. The Goddess of thunder and wind, She is the personification of the earth, similar to the Greek Gaia. Mari drives a chariot of four white horses across the sky and when She appears, She is a beautiful woman adorned with rainbows.

She does not only appear as a beautiful women but also as a flaming tree, a white cloud, a rainbow, a gust of wind, a bird, a sickle made of fire, moving from one mountain peak to another. She lives underground, normally in a cave in a high mountain(Anboto). Where she and her other half Sugaar meet every Friday in the night of the Akelarre or witch-meeting, to conceive the storms that will bring fertility to the land and the people. Mari is served by a court of sorginak (witches).” [4]

“Mari is the main character of Basque mythology, having, unlike other creatures that share the same spiritual environment, a god-like nature. Mari was regarded as the protectoress of senators and the executive branch.  Mari is often witnessed as a woman dressed in red. She is also seen as woman of fire, woman-tree and as thunderbolt. Additionally She is identified with red animals (cow, ram, horse) and with the black he-goat [Akerbeltz].

Margaret Bullen has noted ‘the myth of Mari brings together male and female attributes and qualities’, and that Mari is to be regarded as ‘a model of androgyny and a metaphor for liberation in which sexual difference should cease to be the basis for inequality’.” [5]





Fleurvb’s Blog, “Article 1: Isolated and earth-based mythologies“.

Gomez, Olga. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Akerbeltz“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Mari, Basque Goddess of the Moon“.

Wikipedia, “Akelarre (witchcraft)“.

Wikipedia, “Mari (goddess)“.



Suggested Links:

The Apricity Forum: A European Cultural Community, “Basque Gods and Creatures“.

Arcadia93.org, “Basque Paganism“.

Burns, Phyllis Doyle. BellaOnline: The Voice of Women, “Mari, Supreme Goddess of Basque Mythology“.

Dametzdesign.com, “Mari a Basque Goddess“.

Dashu, Max. Suppressedhistories.net, “The Old Goddess (Excerpt from the SECRET HISTORY OF THE WITCHES)“.

Gimbutas, Marija and Miriam Robbins Dexter. The Living Goddesses, “The Basque Religion” (p. 172 – 175).

Spencer, Krishanna J. Witchvox Article, “Subterranean Goddess: Mari of the Basques“.

Wikipedia, “Basque Mythology“.

Williams, M.A. Annette Lyn, M.A. Karen Nelson Villanueva and Ph.D. Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum. She Is Everywhere! Vol. 2: An anthology of writings in womanist/feminist spirituality, “Mari: God the Mother of the Basque” (p. 223 – 236).