☑ Witch spain
Akelarre is the Basque word for the Sabbath of Witches (the place where witches hold their meetings). In the Basque language, Akerra means male goat. As presided over by a goat, Witches’ Sabbaths were envisioned.
The most popular etymology suggested is that the sense of the male goat’s meadow (larre) is (aker “buck, billy goat”). The Spanish Inquisition accused people of worshipping a black goat synonymous with Satan’s worship. An alternative theory may be that it was alkelarre originally, alka being a local name for the Dactylis hispanica herb. In this case, the first etymology would have been a manipulation of the Inquisition,1] the fact being that the Basques did not know during the 1609-1612 persecution period or later what the “akelarre” referred to by the inquisitors meant. The word “aquelarre” is first attested in 1609 in a Spanish language inquisitorial briefing, as synonym to junta diabólica, meaning ‘diabolic assembly’. Basque words, often transcribed by monolingual Spanish-language copyists into Spanish documents, were riddled with errors.
🔵 Akelarres del momento
Perhaps the least known to fans is this part of the Pyrenees and, perhaps because of it, it is the most hidden one. “As Ernest Hemingway, habitual of these lands, has written, we are facing “the most damnedly wild terrain of the Pyrenees.
One of the routes proposed for the RAK, potentially the most representative of the road bid, has been baptized with this name. The Path of the Akelarres is also a ‘stayed’ cyclist who was born with the intention of making some of the area’s routes known. Your route is an example, very challenging, of what this area can offer of itself, as it connects almost without rest nothing less than three special category ports (Lindux, Arnostegi and Artaburu). Along with these three colossi, the route has three far more accessible precious climbs (Sorogain, Orion, Lapizea) and also requires about 7 kilometers of ‘sterrato’ to cross part of the Irati forest in order for there to be anything.
🌏 Akelarres 2020
Between mythology and reality, witchcraft was here a social phenomenon during the XVI and XVII centuries, when hundreds of Navarrese men and women accused of possessing supernatural powers were persecuted and condemned to the stake, tortured until they confessed their alleged misdeeds and finally burned in the main squares of the towns turning those acts into authentic circuses.
About sixty towns in Navarre were visited by the Inquisition, hidden places, propitious for akelarres (a place “larre”, a character “ake”) where they say they gathered to dance, drink, eat and have sex, worshipping the devil, until dawn.
Many of them were denounced by their own neighbors and fear gripped the inhabitants of the whole region: anyone could be a witch or warlock. The houses were protected with dried thistle flowers to ward off evil spirits, becoming a symbol of home protection in Navarre.
Auritz/Burguete and Orreaga/Roncesvalles were enclaves of great witchcraft activity. There were numerous processes and persecutions, and it is here in Burguete, next to its church, where Jon (our Navarrese Torquemada) has concentrated about 40 inquisitors on pedals to start the “hunt” but not before putting them in background and reminding them that the lawyer Balanza condemned to the stake five witches of this town.
☀ Akelarres online
If we choose to go to the Cueva del Akelarre, we must say that it is actually an upper gallery of the Cueva Grande from where we will get one of the best views of the entire karst network. This cave is so named because it is located next to the meadow where witches and warlocks gathered to perform their akelarres on full moon nights, rites in which they were accused of making pacts with the devil, whose appearance was that of a goat, so this meadow is known by the name of “Akelarrea” or “Meadow of the goat”.
The circular path that borders the caves of Zugarramurdi runs parallel to the meadow of the akelarre until it enters a forest where we will meet again with the Orabidea stream, also known as the stream of hell (Infernuko Erreka), no need to explain the reason for its name. During this stretch of the route we will cross the stream several times through some footbridges until we reach some wooden stairs that will help us in our ascent to the viewpoint.