Akelarre (witchcraft)

Akelarre (Witchcraft)

Akelarre (witchcraft)

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Akelarre is the Basque term meaning sabbat, coven or ritual meeting of witches. It is also found in Spanish with the spelling aquelarre. It is the place where basque witches hold meetings.


The most common etymology is that meaning meadow (larre) of the he-goat (aker). The spanish inquisition accused people of worshipping a black goat, related to the worship of Satan.An alternative explanation could be that it originally was alkelarre, alka being a local name for the herb Dactilis hispanica. In this case, the first etymology would have been a manipulation of the Inquisition.

Nevertheless the black he-Goat or Akerbeltz is known in Basque mythology to be an attribute of goddess Mari and is found in a Roman age slab as a votive dedication: Aherbelts Deo (to the god Aherbelts) (see: Aquitanian language).

Places called Akelarre

  • Akelarre: a field of MaƱaria (Biscay).
  • Akelarrenlezea: a large cave of Zugarramurdi (Navarre). Actually the witches met outside the cave in the place of Berroskoberro. Some say that the goat talked to its worshippers from a hole in the stone outside the cave. Inside the cave, the widest part measures 120 metres. The river of "hell" crosses along the centre of the cave. It has been eroding the floor of the cave for centuries, the ceiling of the cave is already 12 metres high. A limestone oven from the XVIIIth century remains inside the......
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