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Al Basty (Turkish: Albastı; Tatar, Kyrgyz, Kazakh: Албасты, Chuvash: Алпастă, Azerbaijanese: Albasdı, Russian: Албасты́) or Al Kardai is an ancient female spirit, the personification of guilt, found in folklore throughout the Caucasus mountains, with origins going as far back as Sumerian mythology.
- Bashkort: Албаҫты
- Uzbek: Албасты́
- Altai: Алвасти́
- Turkmen: Албассы
- Kyrgyz: Албарсты́
- Nogai: Албаслы́
- Kumyk: Албаслы́
- Balkar: Алмасты́
- Tajik: Албасти
- Lezgian: Алпаб
- Chechen: Алмазы
- Yaghnobian: Албасты
- Çuvaşça: Алпастă
- Sogdian: Олбасты
- Russian: Албасты́
In Caucasus and Middle Eastern Folklore
In Sumerian Folklore
A variation of the Al Basti myth stretches back into Sumerian times as one of the names given to Lilith, the Biblical first wife of Adam, cast out of Paradise for her willfulness and independence. In this form much of the mythology surrounding Lilith has also been ascribed, in different accounts, to Al Basti, though with local regional variances taken into account.
In Turkish Folklore
In Turkish folklore Al Basti has been often confused as both a Mare, a Succubus, as well as any number of Middle Eastern female spirits which are told to enter a man's erotic dreams. However, the difference in the Al Basti legends is that she is not a sexual spirit, she rather visits those “who have guilty souls” and “come from families that have committed bloody crimes that have gone unpunished.”
According to scholar Özhan Öztürk those who Al Basti visits are said to wake up in “an intense fever ... She is also known to steal horses, who are found sweating and exhausted in the morning, and unable to provide a full day's work. Due to her torments, she is also known as the 'red mother'.”
In Armenian Folklore
There is a further version of Al Basti, referred simply as Āl, a “demon of childbirth who blinds unborn children and causes miscarriages and stillbirths to women who have committed crimes that have gone unpunished. In this form she appears as spirit of flame, with snake-like hair, brass fingernails and iron teeth ... [she] hides in damp places.” According to Ann and Imel there is a similar legend found in Afghanistan.
- Ann, Martha and Imel, Dorothy Myers. Goddesses in world mythology. ABC-CLIO, 1993. ISBN 0-19-509199-X, p 336
- Baring, Anne and Jules Cashford, eds. The myth of the goddess: Evolution of an image. Viking Adult, 1991. ISBN 0-14-019292-1. page 82
- Littleton, C. Scott, ed., Gods, Goddesses & Mythology. Tarrytown: Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2005, page 245
- Ozturk, Ozhan. Karadeniz Ansiklopedik Sozluk. 2 Vol. Heyamola Publishing. Istanbul. 2005 ISBN 975-6121-00-9, page 55
- Coulter, Charles Russell and Patricia Turner, eds. Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities. Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-7864-0317-9, page 212
- Ann, Martha and Imel, Dorothy Myers. Goddesses in world mythology. ABC-CLIO, 1993. ISBN 0-19-509199-X page 316