MARI, THE MOTHER
OF OLD EUROPA
The Basque language is what remains of the ancient language in western Europe before the Indo-European invasions. It is the only native language which has been able to overcome the incoming invasions and their cultural influence for the last 3,000 year. The Basques have shown a great ability to incorporate that influence without losing their cultural identity. In fact, they are a remarkable and exceptional case in the history of the European politics and culture. Without any doubt, their traditions come directly from the Neolithic Age. Many cultural features of ancient Europe (the religion of the Goddess, the use of the Moon calendar. the matrilineal kinship and the responsibility of women in the agriculture) survived until the beginning of the 20th century (...). The native legal system did not give men preference over women.
Marija Gimbutas, “The living Goddesses”.
According to the famous archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, Mari, is the clear example of how the first Europeans saw the World. Being the Mother Goddess in the European Paleolithics Ager, Mari, represents the core of the Basque Mythology and all humans and all spirits are under her order. According to the legends, she is the personification of the natural phenomena and all the animals; and she lives in the most sacred place in the Basque land.
Moreover, some features link the myth of Mari with the Paleolithic Age. The most remarkable one is her connection with the coves, in general, with the underground. Often, she turns into certain underground spirits and animals and this is related to the artistic and cultural expressions produced in the caverns of the area located in the Bay of Biscay and the Pyrenees. This feature is similar to the beliefs of other native cultures. In these cultures, caves are considered to be the entrance to Ama Lurra’s womb because all creatures are born in there.
According to J.M. Barandiaran, the strong link between the Earth and Mari makes us believe that she is Ama Lurra’s personifications. In fact, she lives underground, in the caves; she produces the natural phenomena and she prevails over the spirits who live underground.
Marija Gimbutas says that, although the Mother Goddess of Old Europe was the personification of all the natural creatures, forces and cycles, she took many roles and looks (of creatures and animals). This facture comes true in Mari’s case. She often turns into an animal underground and, on the ground, she turns back into a woman; she also flies lookin like a woman and like a sickle in fire.
The goddess Mari was the expression of the natural forces as worshipped by the native communities. Mari represents the birth, the rest of the natural creatures and the life cycle. That is the only reason to change her appearance so often.
Mari produces the atmospheric phenomena (strons, rain, hail, winds, etc) because she is the personification of Nature and, many times, she sends them from the deep of Ama Lurra, from the caves and chasms where she lives. The abundance of the revest depends on those atmospheric phenomena.
Sugaar is Mari’s husband and he is the personification of manhood. Like Mari, he lives underground, in the caves, and he also flies across the sky like a snake in fire, and looking like a flash of lightning. On Friday, as mari and meet, they produced terrible thunderstorms.
The relationship between Mari and Sugaar is a vestige of the primitive Europe at the beginning, the dragon was seen as Ama Lurra’s lover and, that was also connected to the sacred marriage in the Neolithic Age. In many European legends, like in the Basque ones, the dragon lives in a cave (the primitive people believed that is was Ama Lurra’s womb) and, therefore, it is in there that the two forces who create life meet together. Later, Christianity changed the meaning of the myth of the dragon.
Guillermo Piquero “La Europa indígena” (http://www.europaindigena.com)