Beliefs, myths and legends

The mythology of Chiloe is formed by the myths, legends and beliefs of the inhabitants of the Archipelago of Chiloe, in the South of Chile. In this mythology, that is still present in the 21st century, it is reflected the importance that the ocean has in the life of the “Chilotes” .

The chiloen mythology was created from a mixture of ancient religions that the native people had (both “chonos” and “huiliches”) who populated the area and from the legends and superstitions brought from the Spanish conquerors who in 1567 started to conquer the island. And with this the fusion of beliefs gave birth to its own mythology.

This mythology has grown and maintained throughout the years, because of its isolation from the rest of the Chilean beliefs and myths. This is primarily due to the isolation that the archipelago had when the Spanish came to conquer the rest of the country, and additionally when all the cities between the river Bio-Bio and the Chacoa chanal were abandoned or destroyed from the natives “mapuches” during the disaster of “Curalaba” in 1598.

Among the mythological characters the highest status belongs to “Tenten Vilu and Caicai Vilu” whom in a legendary and titanic fight created the Archipelago. Below “Caicai Vilu” is “Millalobo” as the king of the ocean along with his wife “Huenchula” and their three children, “Pincoy” as the prince of oceans, the “Pincoya” and the Chiloean mermaid as the princesses; who help in the task of controlling the ocean. “Millalobo”, is also in charge of assigning minor ranges to a variety of mythological marine creatures. In the mythology there are also human beings. Within this mythology, there is also a belief in witches, who possess the capacity to fly and who have under their mandate various creatures such as the “Invunche”. Also the chiloens search for the “machis” who is a person that has an important role in the native mapuche culture and religion, though in Chiloe he has some different characteristics and functions. Normally the mythological characters are divided among their description as aquatic and terrestrial. Among the aquatics there is “Caicai Vilu (ocean snake), “Huenchula”, “Millalobo”, “Pincoya” “the Mermaid”, “Tempilcahue” and “Caleuche” which is a ghost ship. Among the terrestrial characters there is “Basilisco”, “Camahueto”, Fiura” “Condena” Llorona”, “Trauco” and “Voladora”.