SORGIN 'witch’

Sorgin (Basque name for witch) is a wicked spirit who is under Etsai’s and Akerbeltz’s orders. Those who are bewitched, most of them women, due to the influence of this spirit, have special gifts and are evil. Sorgin is blamed for the unexpected bad harvest, for the breakdowns at the mills and foundries, for he mysterious illnesses and deaths, for the wreck of ships, for the evil eye, etc. These women act together and, some fixed days, they take part in the covens they hold at night. They go flying; so, they must first rub their bodies with an unguent which gives them this gift and say the following sentence: “Over all the bushes and beneath all the clouds”. Those covens are called Akelarreak in Basque and the origin of that word is in Zugarramurdi (Navarre), where the witches met in the land named akerraren larrea (in English “the pastureland of the billy goat”).

Those covens were held under the guidance of Akerbeltz (the black billy goat); in there, they rubbed their bodies with unguents and drank potions made with plants. They knew the factures of the plants very well: poisonous, medicinal, hallucinogen, etc. They danced to the sound of the music and have sexual relations among them. They despised Jesus Christ and they worshipped Akerbeltz; and they gave their opponents the evil eye or they cursed them.

Sorgin (witch) takes on the form of any animal whenever she wants, particularly, that os a cat.

According to an old story, a woman remained every night spinning a thread in her kitchen and, every day, a black cat appeared at her window. On night, instead of the woman, it was her husband who remained in the kitchen disguised as her wife and, when the cat appeared, he hit it with a stick. The next day, a neighbour broke his arm and that’s how the villagers knew that that woman was a witch.