Chilote mythology

The Chilote mythology or Chilota mythology is formed by the myths, legends and beliefs of the people who live in the Chiloé Archipelago, in the south of Chile. This mythology reflects the importance of the sea in the life of Chilotes.

Chilote mythology is based on a mixture of indigenous religions and beliefs from the natives (the Chonos and Huilliches) that live in the Archipelago of Chiloé, and the legends and superstitions brought by the Spanish Conquistadores, who in 1567 began the process of conquest in Chiloé and with it the fusion of elements that would form a separate mythology.

Chilota mythology flourished, isolated from other beliefs and myths in Chile, due to the separation of the archipelago from the rest of the Spanish occupation in Chile, when the Mapuches occupied or destroyed all the Spanish settlements between the Bío-Bío River and the Chacao channel following the disaster of Curalaba in 1598.

Hierarchy of mythical creatures

The highest rank belongs to the sea serpents Tenten Vilu and Caicai Vilu, who in a legendary, titanic battle, created the Archipelago. Below Caicai Vilu is the Millalobo as the king of the seas, and his wife, the Huenchula. Their three children, the Pincoy, the prince of the sea, and the Pincoya and Sirena chilota, princesses, aid them in the work of ruling the seas. Below these are the different mythical creatures, given ranks by the Millalobo.

Earthly creatures have no hierarchy.

Human Beings in Mythology

Certain people are said to have magical powers. Witches have the ability to fly and have various creatures such as the Invunche under their command. In addition there are machis, people who play an important role in Mapuche culture and religion, though their functions and characteristics for the Chilote are somewhat different.

Other creatures

Creature Description
El Basilisco This creature sucks the saliva out of its victim, killing the prey.[1]
El Caballo Marino Chilote He carries wizards and dead sailors to El Caleuche.[1]
El Caleuche "A phantom ship" that sometimes sails near the shore of Chiloé. It carries wizards and dead shipwrecked sailors. It is controlled by Millalobo's orders.[1]
The Camahueto A special calf with a silver horn. It is said that wizards can use it to cure "sexual dysfunctions".[1]
Cherruves With the body of a snake and the head of a human, he controls the "appearance of comets" and is responsible for bringing misfortune to whoever he visits.[1]
La Furia She arouses sexual desires in men. When she is "satisfied", she drains the victim of his energy, which kills him. She is married to El Trauco.[1]
Huallipenyi With the body of a goat and the head of a cow, it is symbolized with fog, and causes babies to have physical mutations when born.[1]
La Huenchula She is the wife of Millalobo.[1]
Meuler A lizard who causes storms and hides underground when the storm is active.[1]
Millalobo He has the body of a seal, and a head of a combination of a human and a fish. He is covered in gold, thus the name, meaning "golden wolf". He controls the population and actions of most sea creatures. His three children are La Pincoya, La Sirena, and El Pincoy.[1]
El Pincoy With the body of a seal and head of a man, he helps carry out his father's commands.[1]
La Pincoya She influences the outcome of the day's fishing; fish won't appear if she faces the shore, and fish will come if she faces the sea.[1]
La Sirena chilota With the tail of a fish and the upper torso of a beautiful blonde teenage girl, she is responsible for the herding of fish and the guiding of drowned souls to Caleuche. The daughter of Millalobo, and thus the sister of Pincoy and Pincoya.
El Trauco He "is aggressive to men" and arouses sexual desires in women. He is married to La Furia.[1]
La Vaca Marina La Vaca Marina: She lives in the sea, and is sexually attracted to bulls. When she sees one near the coast, she leaves the sea and seduces it, and returns to the sea with it.[1]
La Viuda She also arouses sexual desires in men. Unlike La Furia, she only kills the victim if he refuses to sleep with her.[1]

Legends and mythical creatures

Icon in the church of Dalcahue: Christ being surrounded by mythological creatures of Chiloé

Myths and mythical creatures of Chiloé, in southern Chile include:


The myths from Chiloe appear in The Luke Coles Book Series by Josh Walker, a Young Adult Urban Fantasy series where the myths form the base for much of the lore in the novels.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Baker, Thomas Jerome. "Chapter 3." Myths, Monsters, & Love From The South of Chile. N.p.: n.p., 2015. 16-19. Print.
  • Martinez Vilches, Oscar (1992). Chiloe Misterioso: Turismo, Mitologia Chilota, leyendas (in Spanish). Chile: Ediciones de la Voz de Chiloe. p. 179. ISBN 0-19-451308-4.
  • Isabel Vidal Miranda. Folklore, mitos y leyendas del archipielago de Chiloé. Mito, 1976. ‹See Tfd›(in Spanish)

External links

Caballo marino chilote

The Caballo Marino Chilote (chilote sea horse) is an aquatic creature of the Chilote mythology of Chile, that bears some resemblance to the hippocampus.Legend says that the "Caballo marino chilote" is an invisible creature, which could only be seen by those with magical powers.

The creature would look like a normal horse, but would have the longer snout, golden mane, four paws in the form of fins, and a long tail, similar to the tail of a fish. They can exist in various sizes, from dwarfs to giants. The Brujo Chilote (a type of sorcerer or warlock) would use a "Caballo marino chilote" as transportation to get to the Caleuche ghost ship.


The Caleuche is a mythical ghost ship of the north Chilote mythology and local folklore of the Chiloé Island, in Chile. It is one of the most important myths of the culture of Chile.


The camahueto is a figure from Chilote mythology of the Chiloé Archipelago of Chile that has the form of a calf or bull with a small horn on its forehead, similar to a unicorn's.

Coi Coi-Vilu

Coi Coi-Vilu or Caicai-Vilu (from Mapudungun Kaykayfilu: Kaykay a name, and filu "snake") is the Mapuche god of water (or goddess, in some versions found in Chiloé) and of all that inhabits it and is who rules the seas; according to Mapuche myths (later also found in Chiloé). This snake was a central figure in the Origin Of The Chiloean Archipelago. In Mapuche mythology, Coi Coi-Vilu is son of Peripillan (a Pillan).


In the Chilote folklore and Chilote mythology of the Chiloé Island in southern Chile, the imbunche or invunche (Mapudungun ifünche: "deformed person", also "short person") is a legendary monster that protects the entrance to a warlock's cave.

José de Moraleda y Montero

José Manuel de Moraleda y Montero (1750 - 1810) was a Spanish naval officer and cartographer known for his explorations of Chiloé and the archipelagos of Patagonia in the late 18th century. His name is remembered in the first-order waterway of Moraleda Channel and in a legend arising during his lifetime in which he was believed to be a sorcerer by local Chilotes.

Legend of Trentren Vilu and Caicai Vilu

The legend of Trentren Vilu and Caicai Vilu is a Mapuche flood myth that tells the story of a fierce battle between two mythical snakes, Trentren Vilu (trentren="related with the earth", vilu="snake") and Caicai Vilu (Caicai="related to water", vilu="snake"). It explains how the south of Chile came to have its accidented geography.

List of piscine and amphibian humanoids

Piscine and amphibian humanoids (people with the characteristics of fish or amphibians) appear in folklore and fiction.


Millalobo (from the mapudungun milla: "gold" and the Spanish lobo: wolf in allusion to the sea lion) is an important being in Chilote mythology. He is the most powerful being of the sea after Caicai and was chosen by Caicai to be his representative and govern all that resided in the sea.

Mythologies of the indigenous peoples of the Americas

The indigenous peoples of the Americas comprise numerous different cultures. Each has its own mythologies. Some are quite distinct, but certain themes are shared across the cultural boundaries.


The Peuchen (also known as Piuchen, Pihuchen, Pihuychen, Pihuichen, Piguchen, or Piwuchen) is a creature from the Mapuche mythology and Chilote mythology pertaining to southern Chile, a much feared shapeshifting creature which could instantly change into animal form.

It has often been described as gigantic flying snake which produced strange whistling sounds, while its gaze could paralyse an intended victim and permit it to suck its blood. It has often been reported as the cause of sucking blood from sheep.

The creature can be eliminated by a machi (Mapuche Medicine Woman).


The Pincoy is a male "water spirit" of the seas, belonging to the Chilote mythology of Chiloé, Chile.

It looks equivalent to a merman creature, his body would be like a large sea lion, colour bright golden, with handsome and manly human face and long golden hair, being magically attractive to the women. He is the son of Millalobo (mythical king of the seas of Chiloé) and the human Huenchula; his sisters, are the Sirena chilota and the Pincoya (which also is his wife). With his sisters he carries the dead from the sea unto the Caleuche. In addition, he is responsible of singing a beautiful and strange song, so that the Pincoya start her magical dance, for fertility of the sea.


The Pincoya is, according to local mythology, a female "water spirit" of the Chilotan Seas. The Pincoya is said to have long blond hair, be of incomparable beauty, be cheerful and sensual, and rise from the depths of the sea.

Pincoya storm petrel

The Pincoya storm petrel (Oceanites pincoyae) is a sea bird of the storm petrel family. The specific name commemorates the Pincoya, a female water spirit of the Chilote mythology. After being first brought to the attention of the world from photographs taken by Seamus Enright and Michael O'Keeffe in 2009 this species was finally formally discovered and examined in 2011 and scientifically described in 2013. It is known "only from waters near Chiloé Island (Reloncavi Sound and the Chacao Channel), Chile".

Sirena chilota

La Sirena chilota is an aquatic creature belonging to the Chilote mythology. Perhaps its origin is due to binding of the myths of the Sumpall of the Mapuche mythology and the Mermaid of European mythology. Like to the mermaids, the siren chilota is characterized by a body half fish and half woman, with blond hair and golden scales; and her human side would look like a very beautiful teen. She would be the youngest daughter of Millalobo (king of sea, in Chilote mythology) and the human Huenchula. Commissioned by her father, she has the task of caring for all fish. Also helps her siblings (the Pincoya and Pincoy) to carry the bodies of drowned sailors, toward the Caleuche, for the purpose of reviving the sailors and to be happy. Sirena Chilota have very large flukes and strong tails so they can swim long distances while carrying victims of tragedies. It is also said that a Sirena chilota's tears are very delicate and, if used in a spell, is very powerful.

Ten Ten-Vilu

Ten Ten-Vilu or Trentren-Vilu (from Mapudungun Trengtrengfilu: Trengtreng a name, and filu "snake") is the Mapuche god of Earth and Fertility (or goddess in some versions found in Chiloé); he has a generous spirit and is the protector of all life on Earth, and the flora and fauna and according to some Mapuche myths (later also found in Chiloé). This snake was a central figure in the Origin Of The Chiloean Archipelago. In Mapuche mythology, Ten Ten-Vilu is son of Antü (a Pillan spirit).

Warlock of Chiloé

The Warlocks of Chiloé ("Brujo de Chiloé" or "Brujo chilote" in the Spanish language) are semi-mythical characters in Chilote mythology and folklore who are equivalent to "male witches", and considered very powerful warlocks and sorcerers. The witchcraft of the Chiloé Archipelago has been practiced for ages, still a widespread belief among the population of the Chiloé, in Chile.

When the Spanish arrived in land of huilliches (Mapudungun means "southern people"), the kalkus and Machis had already been long established. In many cases when a Machi cured some incurable disease, their fame spread to far distant places. Also when a kalku from malevolent clans cast spells so intense that it drove more than one enemy mad no other doctor could help apart from members of a friendly tribe.

In the eighteenth century, José de Moraleda wished to prove his proficiency to these huilliches and establish that he was the most formidable sorcerer in the world. The locals didn't believe him and called upon the Machi Chilpilla, who lived in Quetalco, to confront this intruder to their lands. Moraleda was defeated and in recognition of this offered the Machi an enormous book of ancient witchcraft around the world. Further, Moraleda wrote that the natives of Chiloé were not as deplorable as he had believed and, in fact, were even better than some Chileans. This being the origin story of the "Warlock of Chiloé." A Brujo de Chiloé.

Modern day folklore throughout the archipelago of Chiloé says that there are Machis from who cure diseases which many doctors have considered untreatable, along with incurable misfortune from certain curses inflicted by "Warlock of Chiloé" of some black sect on persons who were defenseless from such spells.In the folklore of chiloé, also says that the evil "Warlock of Chiloé" sail in "the Caleuche" (a mythical and scary ghost ship).

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