The Surem are ancestral spirits of the Yaqui people, who are native to the Yaqui River Valley of Sonora, Mexico, but now also live in great numbers in Arizona. The Surem are small, peaceful, quiet beings who dislike noise, violence, and disharmony.

According to myth, one day a tree began speaking in a strange language. No one could communicate with the tree except for one very little girl who became the tree’s translator. The tree warned of the coming of Europeans and foretold that in the future, a new, repressive religion would be imposed. The tree offered the people a choice: to stay and meet the future or to leave and avoid it. Those who chose to leave became the Surem, immortal spirits who live within hills or beneath the sea. Those who stayed behind became the Yaqui who, forewarned, became bigger, stronger, and tougher in order to fight the anticipated Spanish invaders. In fact, the conquistador Diego de Guzman arrived in Yaquiland in 1533, exactly as the tree had foretold.




The Surem are ancestral spirits and allegedly can only be seen by the Yaqui or those of Yaqui ancestry. They are benevolent spirits who offer assistance when requested. They ride between realms on dragonflies.


  • Ancestors
  • Cihuacoatl


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.


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