Akerbeltz – Black Goat
Akerbeltz, goat spirit and horned deity, lives in the mountains and caves of the Pyrenees. Akerbeltz is generally considered a virile, male spirit closely associated with Mari. He may be her companion, alter ego, or even twin soul; however, some perceive Akerbeltz to actually be a path of Mari.
Regardless of their relationship, Akerbeltz is ancient: Roman inscriptions reference him. Akerbeltz protects flocks from danger and disease; he raises storms and leads a host of spirits. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Inquisition engaged in devastating witch hunts in Basque country; they identified Akerbeltz with Satan and accused women of offering him their souls.
Akerbeltz manifests as a black goat; the goats presiding over sabbats in Spanish artist Francisco Goya’s Witchcraft Paintings may be understood as portraits of Akerbeltz.