Hasiera · Home
Ezaugarriak · Features
Oharrak · Notes
Sarrera · Introduction
Kirolak · Sports
Musika · Music
Janedanak · Gastronomy
Tokiak · Places
Historia · History
Politika · Politics
Albisteak · News
Nahas Mahas · Misc

buber.net > Basque > Folklore > Basque Mythology
For security reasons, user contributed notes have been disabled.

Basque Mythology

The following was translated from an article originally in Spanish at the Encyclopedia Auñamendi. Thanks to Enrique Batista for help with some of the translation.

Various levels or categories of myths exist, a function of the message they contain or the insufficient information we have about them.

a) Cosmogonic Myths. These types of myths reveal transcendental facts related to the origins, hierofanías(???) and the forces of Nature. Among the best-known in the Basque Country are: the ritual of water on the New Year, Urgoiena, the solstic rites connected to fire, and Mari, as a symbol of the fertility of the earth.

I. Urgoiena.
In the rituals celebrating the beginning of the New Year, this moment is exactly at the hour of the twelve strokes of the last day of the year. It produces miraculous effects, although difficult to confirm, that reveal the momentary supression of natural laws. According to beliefs recorded in Lecároz, at midnight, on Urtezar (New Year's Eve), the water of the river Urandia becomes wine and the boys go to look for girls. If they find the doors open, they threw water on those who were already in bed, on members of their own families, and on the young people. This event reminds us of an archaic practice which consisted of greeting the New Year by bring home water collected just before midnight. It must have been a fairly common ritual in Navarra, judging by the vestiges remaining today. Today, it is still practiced in the remote towns of la Barranca-Burunda. It wasn't so many years ago that it was lost in the valleys of Imoz and Larráun. Baztán conserves the last elusive verses of the water of New Year's Eve. The fact that the better conserved text is that of la Barranca-Burunda, becoming progressively worse as we approach the Pyrenees, indicates that the last phase of uprooting has taken place in a vertical sense, from north to south. Urdiáin is one o f the few towns that still concerves the ancestral rite of the offering of water. It is custom that the members of City Hall gather at the parochial house, where they spend hours in friendly company, until the clock of the tower sounnd the twelve strokes. At this moment, the boys, carrying a jug of water, "ur berria", sing the traditional song of the offering. The authorities exit the house and test the water offered by the boys. Thus the path of the New Year is officially initiated in Urdiáin. The parish priest, who before had entertained the councilmen with candies, gives a cake to the singers. In past days, the gift consisted of a roll, olatia, along with some coins. The object of desire has evolved with the times. Today, the youths offer the cake to the primary authority of the town, who symbollically accepts the gift, with an incision and a small piece. The mayor tries the cake and the singers retire.

II. Cult of the Sun.
The sun is a mythical element of primal order in the ways of thinking of the traditional world. It orbits in the firmament, emerging in the morning before going to rest in the breast of the mother earth. There are expressions such as «Eguzki amandrea badoia bere amangana», "Grandmother Sun goes toward her mother", that give understanding to this belief. The earth is regarded as immense, extending in all directions. Not even the Sun itself reaches the ends of the earth when, at the end of its path, it arrives at the western seas or the red seas (itxasgorrieta) where it enters the bowels of its mother, the Earth (according to reports of Elosua), from where it will leave in the morning. The traveller who walked the worlds (munduz-mundu) with his rooster, whose song announced the dawn, did not reach farther than the country in which the men, beating the rocks with their sticks, managed to force the Sun to leave every morning (story of Atáun). However, the Sun is not only a natural phenomenon that inspires more or less original cosmogonic theories in each age. It is the luminary that renews each day to the eyes of man the great scene of the world rescued from the shadows of the night, and it is also the maker of the light that illuminates the souls after death. Data remain that reveal sacred character the Sun had for archaic societies. In the morning and at night, they directed prayers to the Sun, in words that demanded transcendental virtue, and they treated it as sacred. Here is a prayer recorded in Azoleta (Valcarlos), and which a priest discreditted as an old wives tale, atso-kontua: O Iruzki Saindia, eman zahuzu biziko eta hileko argia! "Holy Sun, give us the light of life and death!" Upon the introduction of the Christian calendar in the West, the liturgical commemoration of the Birth of the Savior, Christmas, was introduced in the festival of winter, and the birth of John the Baptist replaced the celebration of the summer solstice festivals. This change would leave its mark on the Basque traditions. Some ancient practices disappeared, others became Christianized, and there are more than a few demonstrations that reveal the deep-rooted aspect these traditions had in their day, as elements of important myths that shaped the mentality of our ancestors. Despite the spectacularness of the joyful presence of the Sun on the morning of San Juan, these is a transcendental moment that recapitulates the prerogatives of the summer soltice. At midnight, nature is renewed, curses are neutralized, and sicknesses are healed, in virtue of the rites that are performed in this precise moment. It is equivalent to a new creation.

III. Mari.
The most prominent mythical being of the Basque traditions, without any doubt, is a beautiful woman: Mari. She habitually resides in the interior of the Earth and emerges at the surface in specific epochs via various caves and caverns. She alternates, therefore, moving from one mountain to another before the amazed look of man. Mari is beautiful and dressed in elegance, the quintessential essence of feminine guile. At other times, she adopts the form of different animals, or becomes a ball of fire crossing the horizon. The quality of her personal affects, such as her household furnishings, is considered the equivalent of solid gold, as prime example of the magnificance corresponding to her station. Haughty and arrogant in the defense of her interests, she allows no mortal to enter her dwelling, so that none of her personal goods are unduly appropriated. Mari has powers that allow her to reduce the stolen gold to coal with the simple contact of day light; and she knows how to turn tell the coal to turn into gold, the good services. At times it is risky to approach her, including her cave. She does not put up with the shepherds building their cabins in the environs of Supelegor. One such was pursued by the Lady, transformed into a raven, and although he escaped with his life, he died shortly afterwards as a consequence of the scare. The geography of Mari's influence was at one time more extensive than it is today. The children of la Burunda called the leftovers of the meal with bread that the men brought when they returned home «pan of Mari of the mountain», basoko Mariren ogia. And, to the south of Urbasa, in Améscoa, this custom continued until very recently: they used to tell the children «Eat the bread of the old woman of the mountain» or also, «bread of the little grandmother of the mountain». There are also areas where the traditions of this spirit are still very much alive, but where they do not use her name. They call her, simply, the Lady, Damea. Theses stories, however, are usually very similar and refer to the same person. Mari's spouse is Maju or Sugaar and her children are Attarrabi and Mikelats. According to the traditions of Arbizu, she continues to appear from time to time, the Lady of Aizkorri. She moved from the cave at Putterri, in Aralar, to the mountains of Cegama along the slope of the mount. The legends of Mari have, on the other hand, a very significant religious connotation. Repeatedly, the refusal of Christian practices by part of the protagonist is demonstrated; the origin of her marginalized life is even attributed to this rebellion.

b) Mythical beings. They can represent the exaltation of specific human values and some tangential manifestations of the cosmogonic myths: Roldán, Sansón, Gentules, Basajaun y Basandere, Herensuge, Tártalo y otros.

c) Progressive Heroes. They lack the complete capacity of the essential(???), since they deal with partial aspects of cultural progress. They refer to the origin of technology and the innovations important in the cultivation of the field: San Martín or Martin txiki, etc.

Interpretation of the Basque Mythology.
The study of the available information leads us to a variety of situations that have modified the radical concept and the appreciation of this myth. At first, myths were not spoken of, people simply lived immersed in them. Later, man separated symbolic thinking and the mythic concept of the universe, losing consciousness of the significant values that inspired that manifestation of the spirit. It is then that a people are found with traditional practices and specific customs giving by formulations that make no sense to them. Academics came to understand and value the testimony of the popular traditions and set upon the worthy task of systematic collection, which constitutes a valuable phase of invaluable interest. At present, without rejecting the effort of searching for unknown elements, study focuses on the deeper meaning of the myths, on the synthesis of the obtained results, and on the formulation of a general theory of comparative mythology.

Basque Mythological Repertoire collected by J.M. of Barandiarán.

Aari. Figure of the spirit that inhabits the abyss of Oiquina (Alava). Figure of one of the subordinate spirits of Mari. Tribute very acceptable to Mari.

Aatxe, Ahatxe, Aatxegorri. Cave-dwelling divinity who adopts the form of a young bull, bull or cow. Frequently a form of the god Mari.

Abellion. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Aberri. Male pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Adur, Adu. Luck, tendency, votud(???) magic of the magicians.

Aereda. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Agamunda. Abyss in Ataun (Guip.), abode of spirits and object of legend.

Ageio. Roman divinity of epoch.

Aherbelste. Local divinity of the region of Luchon, in the Roman epoch.

Aiar. Evil spirit in the oriental region of Vasconia.

Aide, Aideko, Aidetikako. Supernatural diety that interferes in human actions; responsible for the illnesses whose natural causes are not known.

Aidegatxo. Spirit that forms and controls the storms, in Laburdi.

Aiharra-Haio. Evil spirit in Laburdi.

Aitzgaizto. Summit of the mountain range of Leizadi in Ataun (Guip.), related to the genteel.

Aizkomendi. Dolmen and hill in Eguilaz (Alava).

Aizkora. The axe figures in our Mythology as a lightning rod during storms.

Aizkorri. Mountain where Mari inhabits a cavern that is extends, according to legend, to the mountain range of Aralar.

Aizkultzeta. Place of Alzola, Aia (Guip.), where there is an abyss of mythological tradition.

Aizpak. The concept of sister is very common, enabling the multiplication of the personality of mythological figures.

Akelarre, Akelarren-leze. Place before the cave of Zugarramurdi (Nav.); in this place is located the legend of the lamia in the pasture, which is repeated in numerous places of the Country.

Aker. Spirit or devil that appears in form of a he-goat in the assemblies of withces, he indoctrinates them and celebrates the black mass.

Akerbeltz. The figure of the black he-goat represents a spirit that, in certain aspects, seems replacing Mari.

Aketegi. Cavern of Aizkorri, where Mari dwells.

Alar. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Alarabi. Spirit of the mountains, in the region of Marquina (Vizc.)

Alardoss. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Alardost. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Albi. Great abyss of Aralar, through where the reprehensible enter their final resting place.

Aldabazar. Caserio of Aldaba, Tolosa (Guip.) where lived, according to tradition, the genteel.

Almora, Armura, Armorkora. Burial mounds of Cuartango (Alava), under which numerous dolmenes have been discovered.

Aloña. Mountain of Oñate (Guip.), where the cavern Gaiztozulo is found, dwelling of Mari.

Alotza. Place of the siecra(???) of Aralar, where a slab of menhir exists, thrust, according to legend, from Murumendi, by a genteel.

Altxerri. Cave of the mountain Beobategaña, in Aia (Guip.)

Amabirjiña-arri. Boulder in the pass of Igaratza, mountain range of Aralar with the tradition of an apparition of the Virgin.

Ames, Amets. The form that San Mamés and San Amés take in Cortezubi (Vizc.).

Amilamia. Spirit of the region of Salvatierra (Alava); it lives in the cavern of Lezao, in the mountains of Entzia.

Anboto. Mountain range above the Duranguesado, in (Vizc.), of great mythological tradition.

Ande. Female pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Andra Mari Arri. Boulder next to the Caserio Igone, in Amézqueta (Guip.)

Andre Dena Mariako Iturri. Spring in the forest of Ostabat (B. Nav.), where tradition says the Virgin appeared.

Anxo. Name of a spirit assimilated by that of Basajaun.

Araneko Arri. Hillock in the foothills of the Gorbea (Viz.), related to a legend of the caserio Arane of Orozco.

Arantzezu. Gipuzkoan sanctuary, at which spot numerous mythological legends are collected.

Arardo. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Arbeiza. Navarran town, where a well of mythological tradition exists.

Arbeldi. Caserio of Ataun (Guip.), related to the legends of the abyss of Agamunda.

Argi. The light as manifestation of the souls of the dead is found in the legends of many places of our geography.

Argiduna. Goblin in the form of the nocturnal light, in terminology of Ceánuri (Vizc.)

Arhe. Aquitanian divinity of the Roman epoch.

Arixo. Aquitanian divinity of the Roman epoch.

Arleze. Cavern in the mountain range of Andía, dwelling of the spirits called sorginak.

Armontaitz. Cave next to the caserio Ayarre, Aya, Ataun (Guip.), where the genteel lived.

Arpe. Caverns enjoy great importance in the mythological traditions of the Basques.

Arpeko Saindia. Name of a stalagmitic column of a cave of the mountain Zelharburu, in Bidarray (B. Nav.), of great mythological interest, and point of ancient pilgrimage.

Arpenino. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Arreo. Town of the municipality of Ribera Alta (Alava), where a lake is found from which, according to legend, the clouds leave to form storms; deep-rooted tradition in the valley of Cuartango.

Arretxinaga. In the hermita of S. Miguel of Arretxinaga, in Marquina (Vizc.), there exist inside some boulders renown for their curative properties.

Atrikulunka. Rock of the mountain Arguibel, in the confines of the valley of Baztán and of the Alduides, in a zone rich in monoliths, dolmens and cromlechs, as well as in mythological legend.

Arthe deo, Artae, Artahe. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Aska. Tracks and marks that allude to legends and beliefs.

Askaata. Term of Ataun, Guipúzcoa, where there exists an abyss guarded by the spirit Txaalgorri.

Askoa. Mountain of Ataun (Guip.), above the port of Lizarrusti, where there is a cavern inhabited, according to legend, by a basajaun.

Asto Ilunno. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Ata. Valley to the SE of the Mountain Range of Aralar, where there is found a anthropomorphic menhir thrown, according to tradition, by Roldán against Madoz, from S. Miguel of Excelsis.

Atarrabi. Mythical personage, one of the children of Marimunduko.

Atxular. Pedro de Axular was the object of a legend of Zugarramurdi, related to the spirit Etsai.

Atzulaur. Term of the mountain Itzine, in Orozco (Vizc. ), where there is a cave of mythical tradition.

Ausa. Ancient name of a mountain of the foothills of Aralar, above Zaldivia (Guip.); in it there was a castle dwelling of genteel.

Austokieta. Cavern of the mountain Otsabio, in Lizarza (Guip.), inhabited, according to legend, by a spirit that takes the form of a bull of fire.

Austarri. Monolith; The gods of fire and the home live next to it.

Auza. Mountain in the region of Baigorri; in one of its caves is tradition that there is a treasure, guarded by a snake and a he-goat.

Auzo. The concept of neighborhood has implia(???) in our mythological system.

Axleor. Natural refuge in the North side of the mountain Urrustei, in Dima (Vizc.); legend assigns it a refuge of the genteel.

Axo. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Azalegi. Cave and caserio of Alzay (Zub.), where the legend of the count of Zaro is located.

Azantzile. Name given to the apparition of a deceased in Arnegi (B. Nav.)

Azkenaldia. Final period, concept of the end of the world in the Basque mythological System.

Azti. Concept of magician or fortune-teller in numerous places of the Country.

Aztikeri. Notion of magic in our Mythology.

Baelisto. Divinity of the Roman epoch in the region of Angostina, Bernedo (Alava).

Baeserte. Pyrenean divinity, in the region of Comminges, of the Roman epoch.

Baicorrix. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Baios. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Balbe. The name given, in various places of Vizcaya, to death personified, or to the spirit that causes death.

Balzola. Cave in the neighborhood of the same name, in Dima (Vizc.), object of legends referring to the lantiñas(???) and to Sugoi.

Baratza. Name given to the plot adjacent to the house, that serves as orchard, related to the concept of burial and other aspects of the mythological System.

Bargota. Navarran municipality, where diverse traditions are located about the witch Juanis of Bargota.

Basajaun. One of the most important spirits of the Basque Mythology.

Basandere. Female spirit that appears at the entrance of some caves.

Basce Andoss. Eponimic divinity of the valley of Bassioué, in the Central Pyrenees, of the Roman epoch.

Begizko. Concept of "the evil eye", very common in all of the Country and abundant in the Basque mythological System.

Beigorri. Spirit that inhabits caverns and abysses, appearing from time to time on the surface, in the form of a red cow.

Belagile. Name given to witches in Zuberoa.

Berezko. Thing or phenomenon which produces itself by its self, in a spontaneous way.

Betadur. Magic force of the eyes; force of fascination that one casting the evil-eye throws on its object with only looking at.

Betizu. Wild cattle, disappeared this century; has inspired since old a part of the symbolic mythological material.

Bildur-Aize. Spirit related to dreams.

Birao. Name given to the curse. Spirit that seizes a person or animal by virtue of a formula, taking like an object the name of the person or animal.

Bocco Harauso. Pyrenean divinity, of the region of Comminges, of the Roman epoch.

Borienno. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch, in the valley of Barousse.

Buru. Caserio of Beasain (Guip.), where the Lady of Murumendi inhabited for a time.

Buruko. Pillow where the spirits of nightmares are formed, gaizkiñak.

Debru. Name of the devil, evil spirit in the Christian sense; abducting spirit of souls which adopts many forms.

Donibane. San Juan. Festivity related to the soltic beliefs, rites and cults, of great importance in the Basque mythological world.

Eate. Name given, in the Gipuzkoan Goierri, to the spirit of the storm, the fire, the floods and the hurricane-force wind.

Edelate. Pyrenean divinity, of the region of Comminges, in the Roman epoch.

Egoi. South wind, daughter, along with the North, of the Northwest wind.

Eguberri. Concept of Christmas, associated with the soltic rites of New Year and Christmas Eve.

Eguen. Thursday. Day of Egu, probably God of the sky and the light.

Eguzki. Sun. Solar light. The beliefs and solstic rites are of great importance in our Mythology, since the most ancient Basque tradition.

Eiztaria. Mythical figure of the hunter condemned to travel through the mountains and the valleys without rest, who appears in numerous legends.

Ekain. Cave in the mountain of the same name, in Owing (Guip.); important rock and archaeological site with paintings that report abundantly on the most archaic epochs of Basque beliefs.

Ele. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Erditse. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Erensuge. Evil spirit that adopts the form of a snake.

Ereñusarre. Rock situated between Ereño, Arteaga and Cortézubi, in Vizc.; on its slopes are found the caves of Atxondo, Elesu, Sagastigorri and Santimamiñe.

Erge. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Erio. Spirit that precipitates death.

Erle. The bee, in the Basque mythology, is a sacred animal.

Errolan. Roldán. The person, somewhere between historic and mythical, who has left a notable mark on Basque traditions and myths.

Etsai. Spirit of the devil, frequently under the form of a dragon; also of a bull, pig, horse or he-goat.

Etxajaun. Figure of the ancestor who reappears during the night; protector and benefactor of the home.

Etxe. House, nucleus of the family circle. Fundamental in the Basque mythological and anthropological system.

Etxeburu. Tomb in Izurtza (Vizc.), under which there is a cave of mythological tradition.

Etxekandere. Etxekoandre. Lady of the house; main personage of the cultured servant.

Etxekanderearen Baratza. Denomination in from Baja-Navarra of the plot of land adjacent to the domestic wall; there were buried the children who died before being baptised.

Eza. The negation. Lie about calculations, related to Mari.

Ezizen. Nickname used to name the secret or taboo things.

Fagus. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Fontes. Springs; had their worship in some places of the Pyrenees in the Roman epoch.

Gabonzar. Name given to the last day of the year in numerous places of Vizcaya and Guipúzcoa.

Gabonzuzi. Trunk of the tree, symbol of the Winter solstice and the festival of Christmas, which is found in numerous places of the Country, in the hearth for Christmas Eve, and to which many virtues are attributed.

Gaizkiñ. Evil spirit, causer of sickness, who materializes inside pillows. Familiar spirits in some places.

Gar. Eponimic divinity of the peak of Gar in the Pyrenees, of the Roman epoch.

Gari. Wheat; its cultivation is related to diverse myths.

Gauargi. In the zone of Régil (Guip.), spirit of the night that appears under the form of light or a luminous point. Benign spirit of the region of Ithurrotz (Zub.)

Gaueko. Spirit of the night. In some myths it is considered as genteel or a gentile divinity. It takes the form of a cow or a monster.

Gerixeti. Name that is given in some Bizkaian areas to the figure of the apparition of the deceased.

Gizotso. Man-wolf; monster that inhabits the forests, having different characteristics according to the region.

Gorospil. Summit in the confines of Baztán, Ezpeleta and Itxassou, in which is found a monolith with inscriptions, of magic tradition.

Gorri Txiki. Spirits of red color, in the region of Orio and Aya (Guip.), of probably familiar character.

Gurutze. Cross. Christian emblem, frequent in popular traditions, beliefs and symbols.

Herauscorritsehe. Divinity of the region of Tardets in the Roman epoch.

Herauso. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Herausu. Summit in Armendalitz (B. Nav.), where tradition assigns a dwelling of lamias.

Herensuge. Diabolic spirit that appears with the form of snake, very common in the mythological traditions of all of the Country.

Horolate. Eponimic divinity of Oro, Comminges, of the Roman epoch.

Idiatte. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Idinarru. Hide of the ox; the bag made of it is considered a measurement for cereals and currencies of gold in the legends.

Idittu. Nocturnal spirit that appears in the form of a bird that shoots fire from its beak, of a pig, an ass, a black ram, and from time to time in a human form; in numerous places of Vizcaya.

Igitai. Sickle. Used as protection against lightning bolts.

Igoin. Igone. Rock next to the caserio of the same name in Amézqueta (Guip.), setting of a legend of the apparition of the Virgin.

Ihizi. Wild animal. Various spirits take the form of wild animals in our mythological tradition.

Ilazki. Moon. Daughter of the Earth. Fundamental element of the Basque mythological System. She appears in a multitude of traditions related to death, agriculture and animal breeding. She is considered holy, and was the object of worship in the Pyrenees in the Roman epoch.

Ilbide. Road of the dead from the house to the church; route also considered sacred, by which goes the funeral entourage.

Ilix, Ilixo, Ilixon, Ilixor. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch, in Luchon.

Ilumber. Pyrenean diety of the Roman epoch.

Ilun. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch, in the region of Comminges.

Ilunbeta. Cavern of the valley of Arakil, at the foot of Aralar, in Navarra. Dwelling of Mari.

Iluberrix. Pyrenean spirit of the Roman epoch.

Iluro. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Illa. The month. In ancient times, it must have signified the moon. Notion very common in the mythological traditions.

Illargi-Belar. Flower of the wild thistle, lunar grass. Protector from the lightning bolts.

Illari. Stone of the dead, funeral stones, of ancient tradition in the Country.

Illeri. Cemetery; takes diverse names. Present in all mythological traditions.

Inguma. Nocturnal evil spirit related to dreamd; takes diverse forms according to the region of the Country.

Inhurria. Caserio of Beyrie (B. Nav.) linked to a known legend of Basajaun.

Inko. One of the old Basque names for God.

Intxixu. Spirit that lives in deserted areas or in caverns, according to the versions of different Gipuzkoan regions.

Iñauteri. Carnival; it takes different names along our geography.

Iñusturi. Thunder; it is produced by evil spirits.

Ipistekoarri. Mountain between Arrazola (Vizc.) and Aramaiona (Alava), that takes its name from the undertaker's stone existing there linked to tradition.

Irati. Mountainous and forested massif situated among the Navarran valleys of Salazar and Aezkoa, Baja NavarrA and Zuberoa; in this land numerous legends are situated.

Iraunsuge. Spirit represented by a dragon, snake or endriago (a mithological figure. The diccionary says that it is a beast with human face but extremities of various beasts. It's also a constelation between virgo and lion); a theme represented by variants all over the Country in legends and in literature.

Iscitt, Iscitto. Pyrenean diety of the Roman epoch.

Iturri. Fountain. Numerous fountains exist in the Country related to legends and beliefs, many of them Christian.

Iturriotz. Abyss near the caserio of the same name, in Ataun (Guip.), dwelling of a spirit. Hermita and fountain of the homonymous neighborhood of Aya, gifted with curative qualities.

Itzularri. Stone of vuelcos(???); monoliths of mythological tradition in Guipúzcoa and Laburdi.

Itzuliak. Ritual rodeos with beneficial reputations; they take different forms.

Ivilia. Divinity of Forua (Vizc.), in the Roman epoch.

Izugarri, Izuargi. Spector of the deceased.

Jarleku. Seat. Magical place of the house, symbolizes the family. Sepultur.

Jentil. Wild man inhabitanting mountains and forests; there are various mythical themes of diverse origin centered around this figure.

Jentillarri. Rocks which tradition says were thrown by the genteel; in numerous places of the Country.

Jentilbaratz. Peak in the pass of Alrateta, Ataun (Guip.) with the remains of a medieval fortress at the summit, where legend says the genteel are buried. Cromlechs in Arano (Nav.)

Jentileio. Hollow in the rock Layene, in Urdiain (Nav.), zone rich in legends and myths related to the genteel.

Jentiletxe. Name of dolmens in various places of Navarra, Guipúzcoa and Vizcaya.

Jentiletxeeta. Spot of the mountain Arrigorrieta, in Motrico (Guip.), setting of a legend that is repeated with variations throughout the Country.

Jentilzubi. Natural arch of the ravine of Kobalde, in Dima (Vizc.), related to the genteel.

Jentilzulo. Caves of Leiza (Nav.), refuge of the genteel. Cave in Orozco (Vizc.), dwelling of the lamiñas.

Jinkoa. Form of the man of God in Zuberoa, Baja Navarra and in Salazar (Nav.), mainly.

Kamaindegia. Cave of Lesaca (Nav.), of mythical tradition.

Karidadea. Name of diverse religious traditions.

Kixmi. Name that the genteel gave Christ.

Kurri-Kurri. Genteel of the region of Elduayen (Guip.)

Kurutze. Cross. Object of legends and of popular devotion in numerous places of the Country.

Kutun. Amulet, object with curative or protective powers; very frequent in Basque traditions and beliefs.

Kuuso. Scarecrows with the purpose of protection from evil spirits.

Labatz. Llar. It represents the family-house in specific traditional rites.

Labe. Oven of the house; appears in some legends.

Lacubegi. Divinity of Ujue (Nav.) in the Roman epoch.

Lahe. Female Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Lamin. Common name of a spirit of human form, generally female, with the feet of an animal. Very frequent in the mythology, their name and characteristics vary according to regions. They are found mainly in Vizcaya, the South of Guipúzcoa, the mountains of from Navarre and in Laburdi, Benabarra and Zuberoa.

Lanabes. Instrument. In Basque Mythology instruments figure often with magic characteristics and functions.

Lañaide. Fog. The form taken by the spirit of rage from time to time.

Laño. Cloud. Form taken in certain myths by the spirit of the storm.

Lañoargi. Symbol of Christ in the myth of Balenkaleku.

Lapar. Mountain of Lizarza (Guip.); from one of its abysses a spirit in the form of a red bull arose.

Lapurzulo. Name of two caves of the mountain Gorbea, related to mythological legends.

Larrun. Mountain next to Ascain (Lab.) object of several legends.

Lastai. Straw mattress. It has an important function during the funeral rites.

Latsari. Name given, in some places, to the lamias and other beings that wash clothes during the night in certain streams; base of several legends.

Lauso. Bluma(???). In some regions it is considered a portal of generally evil spirits.

Leherenn. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch, similar to Mars (Tuesday?).

Legor. Sterile. Rites related to sterility are numerous.

Leizadi. Mountain of Ataun (Guip.) where several caves are found, according to tradition, dwelling of genteel.

Leize. Abyss, cavern. Very frequent in the myths, generally as dwelling places of spirits.

Losa. Divinity of Lerate (Nav.) in the Roman epoch.

Loxa. Divinity of Arguiñariy (Nav.) in the Roman epoch.

Lur, Lurbira. Earth, mother of the Sun and of the Moon. One of the main spirits of the beliefs and mythical traditions of the Basques.

Lurgorr. Pyrenean divinity of the Roman epoch.

Maala. Holy Mary Magdalene. Protector of numerous hermitas of the Country, related to old mythical beliefs.

Maidalena. Mary Magdalene. Hermita of the comarea(???) of Tardets (Zub.), in ancient times a place dedicated to the divinity Herauscorritsehe.

Maide. Nocturnal spirit related to dreams; takes different characteristics according to the region.

Mairi. Spirit gifted with colossal forces, in Baja Navarra.

Mairu. Name give to the pagans; the legends and traditions related to them are very abundant, varying according to the zones of the Country.

Mairubaratza. Lithic monuments of the Stone Age, whose mythical origins are related to the mairus.

Malo. Scarecrows. Nocturnal spirit.

Maju. Subterranean spirit, husband of Mari.

Mamur. In Lesaca (Nav.), mysterious beings that help man in difficult tasks. Small spirits, in some places in the form of insects, of common and varied legend.

Mari. Female spirit, chief of the rest of the spirits, who adopts variuos forms and lives in many places in the Country; fundamental concept of Basque mythology, legends about her are numerous, describing her with different functions and attributes.

Mariturri. Spring between Arbulo and Orenin (Alava) of tragic tradition.

Marixilo. Cavern of the mountain Otaiko-lepo, in Biriatu (Lab.), related to Mati.

Markola. Rock in Cenarruza (Vizc.), related to legends of the genteel.

Maru. Legendary personages that inhabit the Mutumendi, in Beasain (Guip.)

Maruelexa. Old fortified area of Celtic origin in the summit of the Arrola, in Navárniz (Vizc.), related to a legend of San Juan.

Mateo-Txistu. Name of the legendary wandering hunter, whose myth has different versions in the Country.

Mayan. One of the names of Mari.

Mendikote. Mountain on Albistur (Guip.), in which the mine called «of the genteel» is located, as well as a cave dwelling of Mari.

Mendilautsia. Term in Isturitz (B. Nav.), where there is an hermita dedicated to Holy Eulalia, of mythical tradition.

Mikelats. Evil spirit, son of Mari and brother of Atarrabi.

Mikolas. Name of some construction devils; in Vizcaya mainly.

Mikeldi. Idol found in Durango (Vizc.) in the form of a bull related to teluric and selenic myths.

Mirokutana. Nocturnal spirit that adopts the figure of a dog, in Oyarzun (Guip.)

Mondarrain. Mountain of Laburdi; in which are found several abysses and caverns of legendary tradition.

Mozorro. Familiar spirits, in Albistur (Guip.)

Mugaarri. Terminals stones, often on lithic monuments, frequent in Basque legends.

Munoeta. Mound of Itxassu (Lab. ) related to a legend of hidden treasures.

Muntxaraz. House-tower of Abadiano (Vizc.) whose origins are wrapped in the legend of the ximelgorris.

Murko. Name of various dolmens in Alava, Guipúzcoa and Navarra.

Muru. Mutumendi. Mountain of Beasain (Guip.) related to the traditions of Mari.

Muskia. Mountain of Ataun (Guip.); on its summit exists a cavern related to the legends of Basajaun, Torto and Sugaar.

Ñaiñarri. Mountain of the range of Aralar, in which the cavern Marizulo is found.

Obantzun. Abyss of Berástegui (Guip.), object of a legend, located also in other places of the Country.

Odei. Thunder. Spirit of the storm.

Ogi. Bread; related to numerous myths.

Ogoño. Mountain in Elanchoche (Vizc.), where there is an abyss where they the lamiñaku lived.

Oiarzun. Echo; appears in many Basque myths.

Okina. Abyss of the place in Alava of the same name, referred to in several legends. Dwelling place of spirits.

Ola. The ironworks and the iron are frequent in the legends of a great part of Vizcaya and Guipúzcoa.

Olentzaro. Personage that represents Christmas Eve; adopts different names and variations.

Olerria. House of Aulestia (Vizc.), in which the genteel lived.

Ollaar. Rooster. In legend, its song indicates the retreat of the spirits to their day-time dwellings. The gaizkiñes adopt from time to time their shape.

Oneztarri. Stone of the lightning bolt, has an important role in the mythological explanations of atmospheric phenomena.

Oiñatz. According to legend, tracks of spirits and the genteel, abundant in the Country.

Oiñaztura. Lightning bolt. Force in the mythology, supernatural.

Opari. Offering. It has many forms in the numerous legends in which it appears, both as a pagan offering as well as Christian.

Orrazi. Comb; figures frequently as symbol in Basque legends and myths, related to Mari.

Osin. Name of certain magic wells, lakes and rafts, frequent in the legends.

Oskia. Pass between Anoz and Erroz (Nav.), where the rock Arkaitz is found, of legendary tradition.

Ostadar. Rainbow. It receives various names; focus of several beliefs and legends.

Ostebi. Heavenly rain, attributed to Ost, beneficial.

Ostegun. Thursday. Day of the sky, consecrated to the heavenly diety.

Ostiral, Ortziral. Friday; probably referring to the lunar divinity.

Ostri. Name of the firmament in the region of Ataun (Guip.). Personification of the heavenly light.

Otume. Caserio of Meñaka (Vizc.), whose construction legend attributes to the genteel.

Oyulari, Oihulari. Shouter. The way in which the spirits let themselves be known, shouting is abundant in the Basque Mythology.

Ozkar, Ozkarri. Thunder. Natural force frequent in the mythological tradition, related to the agriculture.

Pagobedeinkatu. Place that makes reference to a holy "haya", in Elousa (Guip.).

Pagobakoitza. Place in Urbia, Aitzgorri (Guip.), whose dolmens tradition says were built by the genteel.

Pagomari. Holy Haya [Haya is a specific tree], equivalent of Mary.

Patuek. Familiar spirits.

Peru. Name of a chestnut tree of the caserio Okana, in Mújica (Vizc.), of sacred character, related to Mari.

Prakagorri. One of the names of the familiar spirits.

Putterri. Peak of Aralar; in it is found a cave, dwelling of Mari.

Saaltse. Caserio of Ataun (Guip. ), Near which there is a cavern that tradition assigns a dwelling place of Mari.

Sakre. Curse; adopts different forms and expressions.

Salamón. One of the names of the wandering hunter.

Samartín. San Martín; appears in numerous legendary themes.

Samiel. San Miguel; numerous mythical themes exist that do reference to the saint of Aralar.

Sanadrián. Chapel or sactuary of protection in the tunnel or old road between Alava and Guipcoa, in Aitzgorri, connected with various legends.

Sandailli. Cave in the pass of Jaturabe, Oñate (Guip.) of mythical tradition.

Sandao Vimburo. Divinity of the Roman epoch in Arciniega (Alava).

Sansonarri. Stone of Samson; in Illarramendi, Tolosa (Guip.) thrust, according to tradition, by Samson, a myth that is applied to numerous rocks.

Santatri. Name given in some places of the Goierri to the mountain range of Aitzgorri; appears thus in some legends.

Sanurratu. Name of one of the healings carried out by the magicians, in Vizcaya, of great tradition in the popular beliefs Basques.

Selatse. Divinity of the Roman epoch in Barbarin (Nav.)

Semeola. Caserio of Alzola of Aya (Guip.); object of a legend related to the storm.

Sorgin. Witch; evil spirit; dieties in the service of Mari. They adopt a multitude of forms and variations.

Sorginetxe. Name given to the dolmen of Arrizala (Alava).

Sorsain. Sorgin in the role of attending to the birth of a boy in order to kill it.

Su. Fire. Fundamental element of the mythological beliefs; considered useful, it can be also damaging. Spirit related to the fires and the hailstorm.

Suarri. Flint; used in magic operations.

Sugaar. Male snake, spirit husband of Mari, frequent element in the legends; takes diverse forms and names.

Sugoi. Name of Sugaar in Arratia (Vizc.); takes human form from time to time.

Supelaur. Cave of the mountain Itzine, in Orozco (Vizc.). Dwelling of Mari.

Tártalo. Evil spirit, cyclops.

Tartaloetxeeta. Plain of the mountain Saadar (Cegama, Guip.), where there is found a dolmen, dwelling of Tártalo.

Tella. Tile. Symbol of the house and of property.

Torto. Name given to Tártalo in some legends.

Trikuarri. Dolmen in the place of the same name, Aralar and by extension, those of that mountain range; its construction is attributed, according to the place, to the genteel, the mairus, the mairis, the sorgines and to Tártalo.

Tulonium. Divinity of Happiness of Alava.

Tusuri. Name of the devil in Zuberoa.

Txaalgorri. Forms taken by the spirits in the region of Ataun (Guip.)

Txalaparta. Its use was related to rites and magical beliefs.

Txekorgorri. Spirit of the form of a red calf; figures as a theme in some legends.

Txelemon. Popular farse, of primitive solar symbolism, presented in the family and related to Mary.

Txilin. Chime; instrument used in ceremonies and magical rites.

Txingar. Coal of the hearth; considered blessed, serves as an amulet.

Ubedi. Abyss of Ataun (Guip.) related to the mythical cycle of Mari.

Ubendua. Bite produced on people by malign spirits.

Ulbelteso. Divinity of the Roman epoch in the region of Oyartun (Guip.)

Ur. Water; element with which numerous legends are associated.

Urgeldi. Lake, well. Used as dwellings by some spirits.

Urre. Gold; buried gold is an element of numerous legends.

Urtats, Urteberri. Año Nuevo; aparece de forma cristalizada en muchos mitos, como restos de ritos solares y telúricos arcaicos.

Urtezaar. Old year; related to rites and old beliefs.

Urtzi. Probably, an old Basque name for God.

Uvarna. Divinity of the Roman epoch in Cabriana (Alava).

Uxua, Ursua, Uxue, Ujue. In this Navarran place a cave is found related to an apparition of the Virgin.

Xuban. Divinity of the region of Comminges.

Yonagorri. Spirit of the peak of Anié, assimilated to Mari.

Zakur. Dog; animal little seen in the Basque Mythology.

Zaldi. Horse; some subordinate spirits take the form of the horse, it appears in numerous legends.

Zaldiarán. Summit of the mountains of Vitoria, related to stories of spirits.

Zanpantzar. Grotesque personage of the Carnival and Ash Wednesday; appears in some farces.

Zezen. Bull; inhabitant and guardian of certain abysses and caverns.

Zezengorri. Red bull; the subterranean spirits take at times its shape.

Zirpi-Zarba. Name of a genteel of Ai-iturrieta, Aya (Ataun, Guip.)

Zirri-Mirri. Name of a genteel of the region of Oyarzun (Guip.)

Zotalegun. First twelve days of January in some places; they represent the twelve months of the year in the cábalas(???) of metereological forecasts.

Zozomikate. The first two and a half days of April; in several legends.

Zubi. Bridge; appears, as a construction of the genteel and other spirits, in numerous legends and traditions.

Zuloko-Meza. Nichos, a menudo rupestres, relacionados con creencias, ya cristianizadas.(???)

Zupitaitz, Supitaitz, Suspenzaitz. Sandstone rock in the hill of Oiduegui, in Aralar; as with other megalithic remains of the area, related to old beliefs.

Zuzi. Torch of pine; appears in some myths.

We would define to mythology as the treatise of the myths and of the information, in general, related to them. Study of the ancient cosmogonic myths in which the gods and the classical heroes intervene. Together with popular stories that attribute to concrete beings the origin of a specific tribe, family or people, sobre los que ejerce su acción tutelar(???). Although in a less strict way, the legends of individual personages that embody the paternity of important knowledge and the establishment of technologies especially beneficial for humanity also constitute a chapter of Mythology. A mythology of the people is spoken of, in the sense of the literary vestments, the personages of the story, the characteristics of the environmental setting and the very language in which it is transmitted, which endow it with different characteristics in each case. Nevertheless, the basic structure of the fundamental myths is universal and is inspired by the religious conception of the creation. The literary tradition of some peoples and the oral traditions that has conserved the legacy of the previous generations causes the testimony of some cultures to be more representative than that of others. One must recall, nevertheless, that, at times, as Caro Baroja said (1971, I, 238), «la pérdida en la memoria de tradiciones viejas, ha dado lugar a la creación de tradiciones más modernas que pueden ofuscar al crítico, y más aún al hipercrítico: porque también tras la tradición modernizada hay un problema histórico; refleja también un interés dominante en una época».(???)



This page is part of Buber's Basque Page and is maintained by Blas Uberuaga.
Please report any problems or suggestions to Blas.
Eskerrik asko!