AKERBELTZ 'billy-goat black'

This spirit has appearance of a black billy goat. He is the protector of the domestic animals and the guide of witches and wizards. Sometimes, he appears showing his positive features and, some other times, he shows us his dark side.

When he shows us his good side, his gifts are similar to Mari’s and he acts also as some other spirits guide. In addition to those gifts, he cares for the domestic animals left under his protection and he can even cure the diseased. That’s why in certain county houses, a black billy goat is traditionally raised so that he will protect the rest of the domestic animals.

It seems that this spirit was worshipped in the Basque Country long time ago, even before the arrival of Christianity. In the 3rd century A.D., the name Aherbelste appears in certain Roman inscriptions could be linked to Akerbeltz and that, at that time, Akerbeltz would be worshipped as a God who actually protected their domestic animals.

When this God led the meetings of witches and wizards, he was called Aker or Akerbeltz and, he would show his darkest side. Those meetings were called Akelarreak (witches’ covens). The covens were named after the places where they were held (pasturelands for the goats). In those meetings, the witches’ and the wizards worshipped Aker every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and put themselves under his command. This God has an attitude against the Christianity religion and he expressed his point of view to his followers. While Christianity was expanding, those who wanted to keep the old believes based on Nature took part in the covens. In fact, it seems that it became a 26 th and 17 th century movement against the existing social organization and against the Christian religion.

According to the legends, Akerbeltz or Aker used to be worshipped in those covens while they parodied the Christian mass. His followers used to offer him bread, eggs and money. It seems also that, after Akerbeltz had drinking and the eating, Akerbeltz would dance with the witches to the sound of the Basque flute. And, after too much drinking, the akelarre would end by all participants having sexual intercourse with the rest in an orgy. Al the end, all the witches and wizards returned home to follow Aker`s orders.