Akerbeltz - The Horned One and The Devil

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

The Horned One and The Devil

Akerbeltz literally means “black he goat” in Basque, however “he” may really be “she” as some understand Akerbeltz to be a manifestation of the goddess Mari. Others perceive Akerbeltz as Mari’s companion or her alter ego, her twin soul; the nature of the close relationship between these two Basque spirits remains subject to debate.

Akerbeltz is ancient; Roman-era inscriptions refer to him. Akerbeltz dwells in mountain and underground caves, as does Mari. He protects flocks, especially from illness, raises storms, and leads a host of spirits. Akerbeltz reputedly presides over gatherings of witches every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Traditional Pagan offerings to Akerbeltz are modest, and include bread, eggs, and coins.

The Inquisition identified Akerbeltz as Satan and, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, claimed that witches offered him more dramatic sacrifices, such as their immortal souls.

The name Inquisitors gave to Basque witches’ sabbats was “Akelarre” or “Goat meadow.” Goya’s famed painting of that name depicts a witches’ sabbat presided over by a mammoth upright goat.

See Boch de Biterna; CREATIVE ARTS: Visual Arts: Goya; DICTIONARY: Akelarre, Sabbat; DIVINE WITCH: Mari.