European Pagan Memory Day

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We are going to call them Basques because it's more immediate for communication, but they don't call themselves Basques but Euskaldunak and call their land Euskalkerri. As a mark of respct we should call them as they want to be called, but communication needs claim immediacy and this is favoured by the use of the word "Basque".

The Basques settled in that land when Visigoths invaded the Iberic peninsula. We should keep in mind that Visigoths were christians (Arian christian at that time, but converted to catholicism during the 7th century together with the Basques, just before the arrival of muslims). Basques became christians oppressed by Franks, who were catholic, from the north and by Visigoths from the south.

The Basque language is the only one in western Europe that doesn't belong to Indoeuropean languages' group.

Basque paganism is mostly a feminine one. This paganism recognized the magic in life and reproduction as they meant continuity of the life itself. Like in every other paganism, the presence of more than one consciousness causes conflicts that produce other consciousnesses. Without these Consciousnesses, other Consciousnesses wouldn't be born. This is true for all the Beings of nature and for the self consciousness of Nature-Being.

This is the first breath of paganism. The first blow taking Human Beings into the magic of life, leading them to go beyond the shape to penetrate the noumenia of the existence.

The Earth as the mother is the fundamental element of Basque religion with an absolutely original variation. The Earth-Being is called Lur, and allows the existence of Nature-Being and the development of all those Self Consciousnesses who form her. Lur was honoured by leaving pieces of gold in caves, so giving back to the earth what belongs to her. The original feature is that the earth-Lur was the home of Mari, "The Lady". Mari was considered an infernal deity; actually, Mari was the Vital Fource coming from inside the Earth to the surface. The Vital Fource originated by the Self Consciousness of the Earth. The Vital Fource that ensured bountiful harvests. The Vital Fource needed by the Nature-Being and by all the Self-Consciousnesses that compound her in order to nourish the changes to become. This Power of Being of the Earth-Being was a power that the Basque knew very well, whose memory was fading little by little with the spreading of christianity, which was killing the Basque's ability of to relate with the surrounding world and especially with the earth.

Basque paganism underwent incredible violence. First it underwent battles between catholic Franks and Spanish arian christians, then the fights between muslims and catholics Franks. The Basque people has been the only one succeeding in stopping muslims in western Europe but underwent religious tensions so hard that they lost their original perception of surrounding world.

Mari rises from the centre of the Earth to the surface like the springs so important to Roman paganism. But while the Roman recognized the divine in the springs, the Basque went beyond the relation between water and Vital Fource and focused their attention directly on Vital Fource. This was pushing her way from the centre of the Earth to the surface. Her husband was Maju, also known as Sugaar, the male principle of life. The encounter between the female principle of life and the male principle of life caused hail: it was the hail of consciousnesses throwing themselves in the infinite of changes. These consciousnesses moved slowly, like snakes crawling through the changes, growing and enriching themselves with every movement, with every acquisition of a new level of awareness.

The Basque considered the Self Consciousnesses of the Sun and the Moon as daughters of the Earth. Both were worshipped. Especially the Sun-Being with the name of Ekhi was honoured with libations. The Moon-Being was related to the world of the dead, to the dark becoming; lunar symbols were depicted on grave stones. The Moon was the Being of birth and changing. The Human Being didn't simply die, but changed and continued to live in the same places where s/he used to live when s/he was alive. To die during the crescent moon phase was considered favourable for the Human Being's change; that means that it favoured the life of the luminous body after the physical body's death.

The Basque paganism recognized the existence of Beings made only by Vital Fource, Beings who live for themselves and according to their own needs; during their life, some of them also favour the development of Human Being, while others prevent Human Beings from developing themselves, in order to favour their own development. These spirits were depicted in different ways according to how they related with Human Beings. The "evil" ones were depicted as monsters, like Torto, imagined as a being with only one eye (unable to see the way he could live together with Human Beings for development of both) or like Herensugue depicted as a seven headed snake (unable to decide a direction to which he could point his becoming). Galtxagorri and Etxajaunak were considered favourable spirit for Human Being.

Basque people made great of the behaviour the Human Being had while facing life. That behaviour built the luminous body that faced the physical body's death. Taking possession of what had been built by another Human Being could destroy the becoming. Deceiving people who was walking with them to build the future could destroy the becoming. Being not equal to themselves, going back on their word towards people who was walking with them could destroy the becoming. Hiding their irresolutions in facing life under boast of courage and determination they didn't have nor exert could destroy the becoming. Hiding their inability under being proud of nothing could destroy the becoming. At the end, Basques understood very well how our subjective behaviour towards the surrounding allowed to build their luminous body or destroyed it.

Since the whole Basque paganism was an ensemble of forces and powers constructing the future, the magic played a very important role as a way to construct the becoming itself. Like in every other king of paganism, we find Human Beings practicing magic and establishing relations with the everyday world and the magic in the surrounding world. In Basque paganism this is the role played by the Azti who, beside their participation in pagan festivals, had their own gatherings on Fridays, in the woods under moonlight.

At the end, the Basque paganism represents one of the higher points reached by paganisms in perceiving the magic of the surrounding. This gave to the Basque the strenght to stop first the arian christian and then the muslim.

The destruction of this paganism represents the end of the last pagan resistence in Southern Europe when christianity and islam arrived. After the Basques, paganism will survive only in northern countries. In Southern Europe paganism turned into witchcraft, last kind of resistence from which it's been possible to start rebuilding the modern paganism.

Claudio Simeoni


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