Chiloe’s mythology is shaped by stories that are intrinsically linked to the region’s culture. Almost every tale depicts just how important the sea and the forest are to the chilote way of life.
Estimates say this mythology came about from a mix of the religious ceremonies practiced by the indigenous cultures that lived in the region (cuncos, chonos, payos and huilliches). Legends and beliefs in particular where Celtic in origin and arrived along with the Spanish conquistadors, who began the process of conquering Chiloe in 1567.
This fusion began to develop a new, unique brand of mythology, which grew over time and flourished all on its own, remaining independent from other beliefs and myths that were growing in different parts of Chile. The reason behind this phenomenon could be that the island was separated from the rest of the land owned by the Spanish after the disaster at Curalba in 1598.
Some researchers state that the cause behind the birth of chilote mythology is related to a need the residents of the archipelago had, a need to show who they were to the rest of the country. These stories are about their everyday lives and their particular view of the world and they allow their way of life and popular culture to live on in time.
Chiloe has many mythological characters. Most of them are zoomorphic beings, land or marine creatures. They also have the ability to morph their shape and appearance. They’re usually evil or capable of causing harm. One of the main divinities is the Trauco, a wicked dwarf that seduces women with a single look.
There’s also the Pincoya, a poetic representation of a fisherman’s love for the sea. Other important characters are the Basilisco, an animal that is half rooster, half snake, and the Camahueto, a beautiful calf with a golden horn on its forehead.