Mother Earth in Rome
Mother Earth in Rome
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Cult of Cybele
Lion Pair
Festival Calendar
Sibylline Books of prophecy
Artemis her  maiden as triple goddess
Triple Goddess
Frame Drum
Christian Campaign Against
There were many other Roman goddesses  with feastdays although the wisdom  associated with them is often unclear as their history faded with the rise of Cybele and Isis. Among the most prominent were  Ops & Bona Dea
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King Midas
According to one legend, Cybele coupled with a mortal king, named Gordius, the Phrygian king of Gordium, and became the mother of Midas, the founder of Ancyra and the famous king with the golden touch.
Isis Rising
Golden Ass Neoplatonist Aepulius
Triple Goddess
In Rome during the 1st and & 2nd centuries, female worshipers were expect to worship either Cybele or Isis while the hierarchy gravitated to a new mystery religion to another old deity Mithras

Dating Fat Tuesday

Goddess [what's new]
Goddess [children's books]
Goddess calendars
In Homer, Rhea is the mother of the gods, though not a universal mother like Cybele, the Phrygian Great Mother, with whom she was later identified.

Rhea_ the Titaness daughter of Uranus, the sky, and Gaia, the earth, in classical Greek mythology. In earlier traditions, she was strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, the Great Goddess and later seen by the classical Greeks as the mother of the Olympian gods and goddesses, though never dwelling permanently among them on Mount Olympus. Rhea was wife to Cronus and mother to Demeter, Hades, Hera, Hestia, Poseidon, and Zeus.

Virgil called her, Berecyntian Cybele, alluding to her place of origin. He described her as the mother of the gods.

According to Livy in 10 CE, an archaic version of Cybele, from Pessinos in Phrygia, as mentioned above, that embodied the Great Mother was ceremoniously and reverently moved to Rome, marking the official beginning of her cult there. Rome was embroiled in the Second Punic War at the time (218 to 201 BCE). An inspection had been made of the Sibylline Books and some oracular verses had been discovered that announced that if a foreign foe should carry war into Italy, that foe could be driven out and conquered if the Mater Magna were brought from Pessinos to Rome. Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica was ordered to go to the port of Ostia, accompanied by all the matrons, to meet the goddess. He was to receive her image as she left the vessel, and when brought to land he was to place her in the hands of the matrons who were to bear her to her destination, the Temple of Victory on the Palatine Hill. The day on which this event took place, 12 April, was observed afterwards as a festival, the Megalesian.[3]

Under the emperor Augustus, Cybele enjoyed great prominence thanks to her inclusion in Augustan ideology. Augustus restored Cybele's temple, which was located next to his own palace on the Palatine Hill.  In Roman mythology, Cybele was given the name Magna Mater deorum Idaea ("great Idaean mother of the gods"), in recognition of her Phrygian origins. Occupying this site today is the sanctuary was rededicated to the Mother of God, as the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

The Temple of Cybele or Temple of Magna Mater was a temple on the Palatine Hill in Rome. This, the main temple of Cybele or Magna Mater in Rome, was erected after the Roman embassy brought back her icon from Pessinus in 204 BC. was restored by Augustus ( in 3 surviving intact from the Augustan era until the fourth century. Nearby Octavian [Augustus] in return for the victory over Sextus Pompeius at the Battle of Naulochus in 36 BC and over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium 5 years later, built his Temple of Apollo Palatinus
In Greek mythology Adonis (Greek: Άδωνης, also: Άδωνις) is an archetypal life-death-rebirth deity of Semitic origin[citation needed], and a central cult figure in various mystery religions.[1] He is closely related to the Egyptian Osiris, the Semitic Tammuz and Baal Hadad, the Etruscan Atunis and the Phrygian Attis, all of whom are deities of rebirth and vegetation.
The most detailed and literary version of the story of Adonis is Ovid, Metamorphoses, x
Zeus raped the goddess Cybele after she disguised herself as a rock, and Agdistis was conceived.
Ejaculation is the ejecting of semen from the penis, and is usually accompanied by orgasm. It is usually the result of sexual stimulation, which may include prostate stimulation. Castration is any action where a male loses the functions of the testes or a female loses the functions of the ovaries. Castration was frequently used in certain cultures of Europe, the Middle East, India, Africa and China, for religious or social reasons. After battles in some cases, winners castrated their captives or the corpses of the defeated to symbolise their victory and 'seize' their power. Castrated men — eunuchs — were often admitted to special social classes and were used particularly to staff bureacracies and palace households: in particular, the harem. Castration also figured in a number of religious castration cults. Other religions, for example Judaism and Islam, were strongly opposed to the practice. Removal of only the testicles had much less risk than the entire organ. In Europe, when females were not permitted to sing in church or cathedral choirs in the Roman Catholic Church, boys were sometimes castrated to prevent their voices breaking at puberty and to develop a special high voice.
Cybele began as a hermaphrodite or an organism that posses both male and female genitalia. A reference to the great architect of the universe being beyond gender
Claudius 4th Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty
In Ancient Roman religious tradition, the hilaria (Greek: ἱλάρια; Latin: hilaris, "hilarious") were festivals celebrated on the vernal equinox to honor Cybele
Aventine Hill is the center of mystery cult in early Rome and was a rougher section as portrayed in the HBO-TV  series Rome, in which the Aventine is the home of Lucius Vorenus. In season two Vorenus and his friend  Titus Pullo seek to maintain order over the various gangs competing there for power.
Link List
The Cult of Cybele
The Cult of Magna Mater
By Anders Sandberg
Gallae by
Castration through the ages @
religious participation of Roman women @
Saturn in Rome by
The World of the New Testament
The Roman Empire

© Max Dashu 2004
Ovid Book X @ well illustrated
Satan's Throne Revealed @
Attis & Cybele @ paganizing faithof
Attis by Carlos Parada
Origins of Hermaphrodite
Origins of April Fools Day @ museumof
Easter by religious
Juno by the


"...Who is then the Mother of the Gods? She is the source of the intellectual and creative gods, who in their turn guide the visible gods: she is both the mother and the spouse of mighty Zeus; She came into being next to and together with the great Creator; She is in control of every form of life, and the Cause of all generation; She easily brings to perfection all things that are made. Without pain She brings to birth ... She is the Motherless Maiden, enthroned at the very side of Zeus, and in very truth is the Mother of All the Gods ..."

Emperor Julian II
- - from an Oration to Cybele composed at Pessinus in Asia, some 1116 years after the founding of Rome.

The traditional mother goddess of Anatolia was Cybele, and the Greeks living in Ionia associated Cybele with their younger goddess Artemis. The resemblance lay mainly in the fact that both goddesses gave fertility to fields, humans, and animals. Cybele lacks the attributes of youth and virginity normally associated with Artemis, but both play the central role of mother goddess and addressing concerns of women such as  protection against one's enemies, the healing of grave illnesses, guardianship of the dead, a granter of boons and a giver of the gift of prophecy.  The goddess came to be called the Ephesian Artemis. Later, the Romans associated their mother goddess Diana with the goddess Artemis of Ionia. Cybele signified the unknown, the unconscious and mysterious, the magical and intuitive qualities women in particular are considered to have which she shares with other goddesses such as Astarte, Luna, Hecate, Kali and particularly today's Black Madonnas
Triple Goddess
Artemis, Cybele and Hecate were worshiped as  Maiden, Mother and Crone
Cynthia, queen of the mysteries of the night, if as they say thou dost vary in threefold wise [here regarded as a triple goddess Diana/Artemis, Trivia/Hekate, and Luna/Selene] the aspect of thy godhead, and in different shape comest down into the woodland … The goddess stooped her horns and made bright her kindly star, and illumined the battle-field with near-approaching chariot.
Statius, Thebaid, 10.365
Many of the priests and priestesses were great healers. Their secret was to first study the patient, and then almost instinctively know the right herbs or methods to heal the disease. They often wandered the countryside or parks, studying the plants (and animals) of the Mother, seeing which would work best for which disease.


During the trials of the Second Punic War, the ancient image of Magna Mater or Cybele was relocated to Rome about 204 B.C. and was carefully moved by the matrons of Rome to the Temple of Victoria on the Palantine Hill until a Metroon was built in 191 B.C. With this, Rome unleashed mystic and syncretic forces we will never fully understand. Cybele became one of many goddess cults in Rome, although her ancient history as "Mother of the Gods" and her castrated priests and other attendants were radical departures from the norm, the international City Rome had long accommodated many  different cults, only rarely suppressing any one. This exotic cult thus enjoyed the support of the state and its ceremonial temple is where St. Peter's now stands.

Cybele's myths, in stark contrast to the later Roman Catholic church total repression, embraced sex and spirituality, give an earthier caution against lust and other sins of excess,  and show gender as less important to the soul than love. Her legacy as the original great mother goddess lent such immense power to her presence such that Rome was willing to believe only her embrace could defeat the invasion by the North African people and their general Hannibal. Cybele's priests also embraced the public praising through the power of dance and song much like their rival counterparts who worshipped to the other cross-cultural goddess of 1000 names, Isis.

Mother goddess. Cybele (Kybele) was a Phrygian (Turkey today) mother goddess, who was worshipped in Greece and Rome. She had often being equated with the two other Greek mother goddesses – Rhea (Ops) and Demeter (Ceres). Magna Mater was really no stranger to Roman religion, as the mate of Saturnus and with Tellus Mater, the traditional Mother Earth. Cybele was so revered that she was often called "The Mother of All" or "The Great Mother of the Gods".

During the second Punic War, Hannibal was having much success subduing towns and villages in Italy and was approaching Rome. The Senate consulted the Sybilline Books and learned that, should a foreign enemy invade Italy, he could be deterred only if the worship of the "Mother of Mount Ida" were brought to Rome.

"if the Mother of Mount Ida is transferred from Pessinus to Rome, the foreign enemy that has invaded Italy, will be driven away and vanquished."
following the instructions of the Sibyl at Cumae and the Oracle at Delphi. It is said that when the king at first refused the favour to the Roman envoys, the voice of the goddess herself was heard saying these prophetic words:

"It was my own will that they should send for me ... let me go, it is my wish. Rome is a place meet to be the resort of every god."

 Always ones to hedge their bets, the Romans sent a delegation to the oracle at Delphi. A treaty was made with Philip V of Macedon and he permitted the Romans to bring back to Rome both the statue and a black meteorite that personified the divine Cybele.

The Mother of Mount Ida was transferred from Pessinus to Rome on a ship built of pine trees from Mt Ida, through Tenedos, Lesbos, the Cyclades, Euboea, Cythera, around Sicily and then to Ostia (chief port of Rome).

Caesar Augustus the first Roman Emperor [63 BC –  AD 14] rebuilt the Roman Temple after it burnt down, and he acknowledged Cybele as chief divinity of the Roman Empire reversing his uncle Julius Caesar who had been very accommodating to the Egyptian Great Mother Goddess Isis

Cult of Cybele

Early Rome becomes the home of many GLBT Pride Parades featuring wild music, chanting, and frenzied dancing.

Cybele's religion was a bloody cult that required its priests and priestesses as well as followers to cut themselves during some rituals. The cult was a mystery religion, which meant that it's inner secrets and practices were revealed to initiates only. The priests castrated themselves at their initiation; there was wild music, chanting, and frenzied dancing. Cybele's retinue included many priestesses, including Amazonian, transgendered female priests as well as traditional masculine functionaries such as the dendrophori (tree-bearer) and cannophori (reed-bearer), and transgendered males known as the Gallae.

During the Republic and early Empire, festival days in March and April were celebrated with eunuchs preceding the goddess through the streets, banging cymbals and drums, wearing bright attire and heavy jewelry, their hair long and 'greased'.

Priests and priestesses were segregated, their activities confined to their temples, and Roman citizens were not allowed to walk in procession with them. Neither Roman citizens nor their slaves were allowed to become priests or priestess in the cult. No native-born Roman citizen was to be allowed to dress in bright colors, beg for alms, walk the streets with flute players or worship the goddess in 'wild Phrygian ceremonies'.

Attis was worshipped as the god of vegetation and fertility and was seen as consort of Cybele.

At its peek, the Cult of Cybele was rivaled only by that of Isis, and there were temples in all provinces of the Empire.

Her dedication day or dies natale is celebrated on 10 April (IV ID APR) as the culmination of the Megalensia festival.



Cybele is often shown enthroned with her two lions, Ferox and Atrox, often riding the quadriga drawn by them ... or holding the symbols of the tympanum (ritual or frame drum) or torch of immortality. The rose is also among Her emblems, as violets represent Attis, Her child and sometime consort known as well by many names among different times and peoples.

Cybele was sometimes referred to as Dindymene or Dinymenian Mother because she was born on Mount Dindymus. Zeus had ejaculated on the ground somewhere around Mount Dindymus, where an offspring sprung out of the ground, with both male and female sex organs.

The gods fearing this creature upon reaching adulthood had the hermaphrodite being castrated, thereby causing the creature to become a female being. The creature became the mother goddess, named Cybele. The gods threw away the severed phallus, and instantly an almond tree grew on that spot.

Cybele is known by serveral epithets, such as Magna Mater and Mater Deum (deum = deorum, a syncopated poetic form). Her home was said to be Mount Ida, near the city of Troy.

Cybele was a wife and consort of Attis, another  Phrygian god, who also can be seen as her son. Attis was the god of vegetation and fertility. Cybele was a friend of all. She fell in love with prince Attis, but their love-story was tragic. The intense love of the divine Cybele was too much for the mortal prince, and he went mad, castrated himself and died.
"A woodland Phrygian boy, the gorgeous Attis, conquered the towered goddess [Rhea-Cybele] with pure love. She wanted to keep him as her shrine’s guardian, and said, ‘Desire to be a boy always.’ He promised what was asked and declared,

"If I lie ... may the love for which I break faith be my last love of all."

Attis met the Naiad Sagaritis and turned her into his sweetheart. But the Mother of the Gods, who was well informed, by wounding the Naiad's tree destroyed Attis' sweetheart as well, since her fate was dependent on the tree's.
"Ah, perish the parts that were my ruin."
Attis according to Ovid

Ovid tells us that Cybele took Attis as a lover, demanding perpetual fidelity. When Cybele discovered Attis making love with a river nymph, Attis was ashamed and castrated himself with a stone and was transformed into a tree

One day, Nana, the daughter of the river god Sangarius, was playing under the almond tree, when one of the almond seeds fell on her laps. The seed disappeared and Nana became pregnant. Nana gave birth to a son named Attis, whom she exposed in the wild. Attis was saved, because the infant suckled by a goat.

Attis grew to be a very handsome youth, whom Cybele fell in love with. However, Attis' father had the youth betrothed to the daughter of King of Pessinus. Jealousy had caused Cybele to drive the king and Attis mad where they castrated themselves and died. Cybele regretted her part in causing Attis' death, so she had the body preserved. Attis was buried in Pessinus where a pine tree grew.


21st century eunuchs

Male-to-Female transsexuals are repeating the drama but it is more centered in the ego's search for self than service to a higher power. This new twist has men seeking chance to express the female inside who  better represents their true self.

 "Now, thanks to hormone treatments and further advancements in modern surgery, every guy who’d rather be a gal can have his weenie whacked off and delicately transformed into a tunnel of love – complete with pulsating orgasmic potential."

Jason Scott,

Since a woman always has a right to change her mind medical technology for testicular cancer treatments now offers  testosterone implants, chemical and mechanical erection enhancers, and even implanted testicle prosthetics transsexuals with changes of heart.

In another tradition Attis castrated himself as stated above. Attis' passion was celebrated on the 25th of March, exactly nine months before the solstice festival of his birth, the 25th of December. The time of his death was also the time of his conception, or re-conception. To mark the event when Attis entered his mother to beget his reincarnation, his tree-phallus was carried into her sacred cavern. Thus the virgin mother Nana was actually the Goddess herself: she who was called Inanna by the Sumerians, Mari-Anna by the Canannites, Anna Perennea by the Sabines, and Nanna, mother of the dying god Balder, in northern Europe

 The god died and was buried. He descended into the underworld (Hell). On the third day he rose again from the dead. His worshippers were told: "The god is saved; and for you also will come salvation from your trials."

Attis was depicted in his death throes drenched in blood, then serene after his resurrection, androgynous, released from his worldly sins and surrounded by solar rays. Or he was shown as a child, naked and dancing for joy.

Hilaria Carnival: This day was the Carnival or Hilaria, also known as the Day of Joy. People danced in the streets and went about in disguise, indulging in horseplay and casual love affairs. Thus was the Sunday; the god arose in glory as the solar deity of a new season. Christians ever afterward kept Easter Sunday with carnival processions derived from the mysteries of Attis. Like Christ, Attis arose when "the sun makes the day for the first time longer than the night." Cybele festival calendar


the singing and dancing castrati

Transgendered males known as the Gallae were an important part of the retinue supporting the worship of Cybele joining retinue included many priestesses, including Amazonian, transgendered female priest/esse/s as well as traditional masculine functionaries such as the dendrophori (tree-bearer) and cannophori (reed-bearer), Gallae is derivative of Latin for chicken or rooster and these eunuchs were known for their perfumed hair  and dressed with oils.

Frenzied fans (a word derived from the Latin fanatici, for maddened worshippers of Cybele) had already been generated by grand opera in the late-seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when castrati sang female roles and were the dizzy object of coterie speculation and intrigue. Modern mass media immensely extended and broadened that phenomenon. Outbursts of quasi-religious emotion could be seen in the hysterical response of female fans to Rudolph Valentino, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and the Beatles.
Eroticism mixed with death is archetypally potent"


Camille Paglia

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The Gallae originated from Phrygia (part of Asia Minor), a territory that included Mount Ida, Troy, Pessinus and Pergamum. The worship of Cybele spread to the Greek mainland through trade, and by metragytes, who were roaming gallae. They would wander the countryside, begging for alms and telling fortunes. On the whole however the gallae were shunned by the Greeks.

In 205 BCE Cybele was imported to Rome. The gallae and their head priest the Battakès went with Her.


The Romans later added the position of archigallus as high priest of the Mother-worship cult of Cybele. This position was reserved for a  Roman citizen and an official duty  incompatible with castration. Romans were not allowed to serve as priests of Cybele until the time of the Emperor Claudius. [10 BC –54 AD fuled 41AD till death)

Two rituals should be noted in particular -- the Taurobolium and the Criobolium. These involved sacrifices of a bull or ram respectively to produce a baptism of blood. The initiate would stand underneath the sacrificial animal in a pit. It was then slaughtered and the blood poured up the person beneath it. Sometimes the testicles of the animal would be removed as well. Instead of the initiate castrating themselves, the animal was sacrificed and castrated instead.
Gaius Valerius Catullus
We’re going to gain the mountaintop,
And be writhing joyously, out of our minds,
Like nests of incense-addled snakes,
In the courtyard of my mother, Cybele’s, fort.
And here before we start, before you all I'll prove my mother-love,
I’ll tear my own balls off for MOTHER DEATH, for MOTHER DEATH”

More from Poem 63 from Catullus

Her attendants were the mythical youths, called Corybantes. Before her priests would serve in her temple, the galli would dance themselves into a frenzy before they castrate themselves in the memory of her consort Attis.
More about Corybante Dance. This myth allowed room for a transgendered wing of the priesthood devoted to Cybele
Mountains and caves were sacred to Magna Mater, and her temples were often built near them. By sleeping in a temple many women hoped to get help from the goddess, who was said to help mothers and children. Midwifes were tied to the cult, and many priests were healers. The priestesses were more involved with her ecstatic side, celebrating her secret mysteries behind locked doors. Practically nothing is known about them, except that they were exclusively women only


Festival Calendar

Her annual holy days observed the vernal equinox of the first days of Spring as did Easter and Passover

Temple of Cybele, or Magna Mater


the temple of Cybele on Vatican Hill
15 March Canna Intrat  (procession of the reed-bearers and flute-blowers)
Cybele and Attis
Apuleius wrote that the devotees of Cybele

 "went . . . forth, shouting and dancing . . . they bent down their necks and spun round so that their hair flew out in a circle; they hit their own flesh; finally, every one took his two-edged weapon and wounded himself in divers places. Meanwhile, there was one . . . who invented . . . a great lie, noisily . . . accusing himself, saying that he had displeased the divine majesty of the goddess . . . wherefore he prayed that vengeance might be done to himself. And therewithal he tools a whip . . . and scourged his own body . . . so that you might see the ground wet and defiled with the womanish blood that issued forth abundantly''
(The Golden Ass, VIII).

The brotherhood of cannophori went into procession through the streets, carrying reeds cut from the banks of the Almo. This was the beginning of nine days of penitence when people abstained from bread, pomegranates, quinces, pork, and fish. Milk was mainly drunk instead. A six year old bull is sacrificed.

22 March -Arbor intrat [equinox]- (entrance of the sacred pine tree; burial of Attis in effigy strapped to a stake)

  A pine is felled representing the death of the god. The acolytes and initiates proceed to the Temple of Cybele with the sacred pine bearing the effigy of the god in its branches (the god is on the tree).  The tree is laid to rest at the Temple of Cybele. The following day was a "day or mourning" and lamentation. The Salli (who were priest dancers of Mars) went in procession sounding their trumpets and beating their shields.

24 March - Sanguis

The "day of blood"

 (a day of mourning, sacrifice, and bloodletting)

 The sacred pine tree and an effigy of Attis is buried in a tomb and a day of mourning, fasting, sexual abstinence, self-flagellation and self-mutilation commemorating the Mother's grief follows People would beat their breasts with pine cones and cut their arms and shoulders with knives.

"the Day of Blood," on which the novices sacrificed their virility. Wrought to the highest pitch of religious excitement, they dashed the severed portions of themselves against the image of the cruel goddess''
---Sir J. G. Frazer (The Golden Bough, IV: II, i).

The High Priest playing the part of Attis draws blood from his arm and offers it as a substitute for a human sacrifice. That night the tomb is found brightly illuminated but empty, the god having risen on the third day. Initiates undertake the Mysteries and are baptized in bull's blood at the Taurobolium to wash away their sins whereupon they are "born again". They then become ecstatic and frenzied and recruits to the priesthood, castrate themselves in imitation of the god. . This was performed with broken pottery, sharp flint, and glass (in later times only the testicles were removed)   After that the initiates were left in the temple during the night. In many cases they saw visions sent by the Goddess, affirming their initiation.

At the close of March 24, the priests reverently removed the sacred effigy from the tree, and laid it in the tomb, The older as well as the newly desexed initiates watched and fasted all through the long night, until the dawn of March 25.

Hilaria Carnaval

the day of Attis' resurrection

in honour of Cybele, the mother of the gods

March 25

The Romans celebrated hilaria, as a celebration of the rebirth of Attis honoring the first days of Spring following the vernal equinox, or the first day of the year which was longer than the night.

The winter with its gloom had passed away, and the first days of a better season was spent in rejoicings.  Opening the season, the statue of the goddess was carried, and before this statue were carried the most costly specimens of plate and works of art belonging either to wealthy Romans or to the emperors themselves.


A festival Gallai
"A further irritating factor was that the gallus indulged in an extravagant personal appearance. On the day of blood (dies sanguinis) he forever discarded his male attire; henceforth he wore a long garment (stola), mostly yellow or many coloured with long sleeves and a belt. On their heads these priests wore a mitra, a sort of turban, or a tiara, the cap with long ear flaps which could be tied under the chin. The chest was adorned with ornaments, and sometimes they wore ornamental reliefs, pendants, ear-rings and finger-rings. They also wore their hair long, which earned for them the epithet of "long-haired," they sometimes dedicated a lock of hair to the goddess. By preference they had their hair bleached. On the day of mourning for Attis they ran around wildly with disheveled hair, but otherwise they had their hair dressed and waved like women. Sometimes they were heavily made up, their faces resembling white washed walls. The galli were also very conspicuous when they showed themselves in the city outside the temple precincts. With a procession of enthusiastic followers they wandered about begging; in exchange for alms they were prepared to tell people's fortunes (vaticinari); they performed their dances to shrill music of the pipes and the dull beat of the tambourine. When the deity entered into them and they were possessed by divine power they flogged themselves until the blood came."
(Vermaseren, Cybele and Attis, p. 97).
"The evidence supports the suspicion of Arnobius (Adversus Gentes, V, 17) that other and even more revolting ceremonies were performed: for there were secret rituals which only the emasculated initiates could witness. These consisted of a sacramental meal in which the novices ate out of a drum and drank from a cymbal [the form of their Eucharist]
---Clement of Alexander, Exhortation, II.

The tomb was then opened; and a great shout of joy went up from the assembled worshipers: for the tomb was empty, the god was not there. He had been resurrected from the grave into eternal life. the resurrection of Attis and the onset of spring is celebrated with a sacramental meal and a day of joy and feasting. With the resurrection, the people gave themselves over to an unrestricted Saturnalia of joy, gaiety, and sexual license.

 Processions of overwrought mourners, bearing images upon their breasts, following the statue of the goddess through the streets; driven to the highest

 pitch of frenzy by the wild and discordant music of fifes, cymbals, tambourines and kettledrums, they screamed and whirled and leaped about like dervishes, and slashed themselves with knives and swords.

The festival ended with a procession bearing the sacred black stone to the river Almo, where it was washed and purified; after which it was returned amidst singing and rejoicing to its sacred place within the temple. Those who castrated themselves become Galli—cocks—dress in women's clothes and wear perfumed oils.

26 March - A quiet day of rest and recovery;

27 March - Lavatio (day of ablution)

The Goddess was asked if she would return to Rome, and then taken back the way. A procession was made with Cybele's Idol along the Appian Way until the Almo river was reached. Then the idol would be dipped into the river, rubbed with ash and then washed.  The conclusion of the festival with a procession in which the statue of the goddess, meteorite embedded in her brow, is majestically carried to her temple and a series of religious dramas and entertainments follows.

Clay statues of the gods were made in ancient times just as statues of saints are sold today at Catholic shrines. Attis was depicted in his death throes drenched in blood, then serene after his resurrection, androgynous, released from his worldly sins and surrounded by solar rays. Or he was shown as a child, naked and dancing for joy. Cybele was depicted much like the virgin Mary with a baby or babies.

April Fool Carnival
April Fool Carnival April 1 and the carnival of the April Fool, or Carnival King, or Prince of Love, all originally synonymous with Attis.

"The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year."

---Mark Twain

He was also identified with Green George of the Old Roman Pahilia, honored on Easter Monday with sacrificial hanging of the god's effigy on a sacred tree.

Prior to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1564, April 1st was observed as New Year's Day throughout the Roman Empire and as far away as India. The New Year was originally celebrated from March 25 to April 1. The first accounts of April Fools day do not occur till the 16th century so it is left to the historians to speculate how the Feast of Fools evolved. The most popular theory was that the general populace played tricks on or had tricks played on them by those who refused to shift their Spring New Year date to the Winter Solistice date of January 1st.

Ludi Megalesiaci  4-10 April
At the Ludi, plays were held in temporary wooden theatres constructed before the Magna Mater's temple. At least four plays by Terence and one by Plautus (the two great Roman comic playwrights some of whose work survives) were performed at these Ludi.
There is some evidence that the plots of the plays sometimes treated themes in the mythology of the Magna Mater. Gradually, however, the Ludi began to feature mimes, which could have been of a bawdy or politically satiric nature.  In addition to theatrical performances, these Ludi came to include spectacles (horse races and perhaps other athletic competitions) in the Circus Maximus, in the valley between the Palatine and Aventine hills, visible from the goddess' temple.
While lesser competitions were held on the 4th through the 9th, the big day was the 10th when the chariot races were held. On that day, according to Ovid's description (Amores 3.2. 43 ff.) the Romans led a parade of statues of the gods from the Capitol down through the Forum and then through the markets to the Circus Maximus.

Roots of Easter
Easter can be celebrated anywhere from March 22Download to April 25. This is because the early observation of Easter was determined by early churches to be on the first Sunday following the full moon that occurs on or following the spring equinox (March 21).

Symbols of Easter-the colored Easter egg, the rabbit, and the Easter lily are all part of the Easter holiday. These symbols all came from the celebrating the victory of spring over winter, of life over death, with rituals to the Gods and Goddesses. Most pagan cults had a holiday to celebrate the rebirth of life in the annual cycle and most of what people commonly associate with Easter is pagan in origin; the rest is commercial. / -

The citizen of the first-century world could adopt the philosophy of neo-Platonism, or that of the Pythagoreans, the Epicureans, the Cynics or the Stoics. He or she could join the new cults, those of Asclepius, or Dionysus or that of Orphism, or become initiates of the mystery religions of Isis, Cybele or Mithras.
If a Jew, he or she could embrace cultic religion, worshipping or offering sacrifices in the Temple or attending the great Jewish feasts. He (less so she) could throw in his lot with the Zealots to fight for national liberation from the Romans. He could retire, on the other hand, from political or national life to lead a monastic life as an Essene, awaiting God's supernatural intervention in history, his sending of the Messiah, the dawn of the apocalyptic age, the restored temple, the new heaven and the new earth.
By the cusp of the 5th century it was time to consolidate under a chosen prophet and the winner was Jesus and Christianity. Roman Emperor Theodosius (379-95) consolidated Christian dominance once and for all with his 380 decree,

"We brand all the senseless followers of the other religions with the infamous name of heretics, and forbid their conventicles assuming the name of churches."

 A series of fourteen edicts followed, one per year, that both outlawed all pagan creeds in competition with Christianity and mandated the destruction of their temples. The most notorious of the measures against pagan religions imposed by Theodosius, in either 389 or 391, was the destruction of the Temple of Serapis located in Alexandria. The grand metal and bejeweled statue of Serapis was totally smashed, and the famous and irreplaceable library of Alexandria adjacent to the temple was also destroyed at the same time.

St. Peters Cathedral in the Vatican is built right on top of the old temple of Magna Mater, the first and last Great Mother Goddess. While the old shrine of Mithras can be found here your imagination is needed to imagine the shrine to the oldest widely worshipped deity who emerged from the first city at Catal Hüyük, 8000 years ago.


The Cult of Magna Mater, the Great Mother, is probably the oldest religion of all.

This statue is over 8,000 years old and is the mother goddess Cybele about to give birth sitting on a throne formed by 2 leopards.

It was found at Çatal Hüyük  [Catal Huyuk] in present day Turkey near the site of the city of Ephesus. The world's oldest city and according to the Old Testament,  the area of Mount Ararat in Turkey that the Ark of Noah came to rest and the people began to repopulate the earth after the great flood following the ice age. Great Age of Cancer

Lion Pair
Most often Cybele's (Rhea's) symbol is a pair of lions, the ones that pulled her celestial chariot and were seen often, rampant, one on either side of the gateways through the walls to many cities in the ancient world.
Cybele had always a strong affinity for the great cats, and her priestesses retain it to some extent. By praying to the Mother they can make all great cats look upon them as their friends, and also obey them. Egypt also made a strong association between the goddess and cats.
According to Ovid, it was Cybele transformed the heroine Atalanta and her husband Hippomenes or Melanion into lions, because Aphrodite had caused the newly wedded couple to defile her temple. Cybele harnessed the lions to her golden chariot.

 Bastet's festival of intoxication was documented by Herodotus in the 5th century

Dionysus Agdistis
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Agdistis was born when Zeus masterbated on Cybele's sacred rock (Zeus had tried, unsuccessfully, to seduce Cybele). His spilled semen impregnated the earth with the hermaphrodite. Later, because of this, Cybele gave birth to Agdistis, who was androgynous and immensely strong.  Because Agdistis was uncontrollable, Dionysus managed to trick him into emasculating himself. Dionysus castrated Agdistis by tying his male genitals to a tree while Agdistis slept; the genitals were torn off when Agdistis moved to wake.

A great river of blood pours forth from Agdistis's wound and is absorbed by the earth from which spring forth all manner of flowers.

From Agdistis's blood, a pomogranate tree sprang up. Nana, a king's daughter, ate its fruit and gave birth to Attis. Although both Cybele and Agdistis lusted after him, Attis was ordered to marry the Phrygian king Midas' daughter. In a jealous rage, Agdistis drove the wedding party crazy. The princess cut off her breasts and Attis cut off his genitals. From the blood, violets sprang up, and an almond tree

Christian Parallels

Attis was a typical "god without a father," the Virgin's son. He grew up to become a sacrificial victim and Savior, slain to bring salvation to mankind. His body was eaten by his worshippers in the form of bread [the Eucharist of Attis]. He was resurrected as "The Most High God, who holds the universe together." Like his priests he wasThe Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets castrated, then crucified on a pine tree, where his blood poured down to redeem the earth. (Walker, The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, p. 77)

Many religious historians believe that the death and resurrection legends were first associated with Attis, many centuries before the birth of Jesus. They were simply grafted onto stories of Jesus' life in order to make Christian theology more acceptable to Pagans. Others suggest that many of the events in Jesus' life that were recorded in the gospels were lifted from the life of Krishna, the second person of the Hindu Trinity. Ancient Christians had an alternative explanation; they claimed that Satan had created counterfeit deities in advance of the coming of Christ in order to confuse humanity.

The priesthood of Cybele was composed of castrated males, which parallels the celibate priesthood of Catholicism. The basilica of Saint Peter’s, according to some, stands upon the former site of Cybele’s main temple in Rome. The ruins of another temple to Cybele / Magna Mater can still be seen today in Rome on Palatine hill.

Black Meteorite
"Varro states that the goddess was brought from a shrine called the Megalesion in the city of Pergamon while Ovid located the Mother's home on Mount Ida near the ancient city of Troy, which was under Pergamene control at that time. Livy seems to combine the two traditions in reporting that the Romans sought the help of the Pergamene king Attalos I in obtaining the goddess from Pessinous. Precisely what the Romans obtained is described in several sources: it was a small dark sacred stone not formed into any iconographic image, that had fallen to the shrine of Pessinous from the sky."
---Roller, In Search of God the Mother, p. 265.
Sibylline Books:
Legend has it that some time after the founding of Rome, the Sibyl at Cumae offered nine of her prophetic books for sale to Tarquinius Superbus, the Seventh (and last) legendary King of Rome. Tarquinius refused to pay what was demanded, so the Sibyl burned three of the books. When he still refused to pay the price, the Sibyl burned another three, and Tarquinius finally paid as much for the three as she had demanded for the original nine. The books were kept in three Temples, those of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva on the Capitoline Hill. Thereafter, the Sibylline Books could only be consulted by an act of the Senate.
“First thing of all is to revere the gods, especially Ceres: to her greatness dedicate the yearly rites. . . . Let no-one put his sickle to the corn without a wreath of oak-leaves on his head, or giving Ceres an impromptu dance, and singing verses to her bounteousness”

(Virgil, Georgics I. 338 - 50).

Greek Adoption
The Greeks colonised Asia Minor after the Trojan War and found worship of the Goddess everywhere. She was absorbed into their mythology about the 8th century BCE , though not willingly at first. Various stories tell of how a priest of Cybele appeared in Athens attempting to spread the religion. He was killed by the locals by being thrown into a pit. A plague followed and they received an oracle bidding them to appease the murdered man. This they did by building the Metroon (temple of the Mother), which also served as a repository of laws.

"Together come and follow to the Phrygian home of Cybele, to the Phrygian forests of the goddess, where the clash of cymbals ring, where tambourines resound, where the Phrygia n flute-player blows deeply on his curved reed, where ivy-crowned maenads toss their heads wildly."

Frame Drum

Frame drums are among the oldest and most versatile of drums. Most cultures have some type of frame drum; the Egyptian Riq, the Brazilian pandeiro, the kanjira from south India, the middle eastern tar and bendir ,and the native American versions are but a few of the available frame drums. They are very similar to  tamborines.
Pan drums have a simple structure with strong spiritual and entertaining effects. They are usually round, made of wood with animal skin and sometimes metal rings or plates incorporated into the drum to provide jingle.
An introduction on how to play pandeiro @
A star in the great 21st century world unity parade - Carnaval San Francisco
Christian Campaign Against
The early Christians were determined to destroy the cult and St Augustine condemns Her as a "demon" and a "monster" and the Gallae were "madmen" and "castrated perverts". In the 4th century CE Valentinian II officially banned the worship of Cybele, and many of her followers perished at the hands of zealous Christians.

Justinian continued the persecution of the cult and the Gallae. Under his reign, transgendered persons, and those indulging in same sex eroticism had their property confiscated, sacred texts burned, temples raised; they were tortured, forced to commit suicide, or burned alive. It made its last appearance under the pagan revival of Eugenius in AD 394

By the start of the 6th century CE, the Cult and the ancient Gallae were extinct. Elements of the cult were transferred into Christianity in a manner similar to that of Isis. There is a much of Cybele and Isis in the Virgin Mary.

"The Dead Pan"
Crown'ed Cybele's great turret
Rocks and crumbles on her head;
Roar the lions of her chariot
Toward the wilderness, unfed,
Scornful children are not mute
"Mother, mother, walk afoot
Since Pan is dead."

--- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

There is a long discussion in Hippolytus (Refutation of All Heresies, V, i-v), who wrote about 210 A. D., concerning the Naasenes, one of several Christian heresies deriving certain tenets from the Phrygian mystery.

According to them, when Jesus declares that "there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake," he was simply repeating an injunction which had been taught throughout Asia Minor by the cult of Attis for more than a thousand years. Hippolytus elaborates by adding that, according to the Naasenes, "the ineffable mystery of the Samothracians, which it is allowable" only for "the initiated to know" was precisely the same as that proclaimed by Christ when He declared, "If ye do not drink my blood, and eat my flesh, ye will not enter the kingdom of heaven." This flesh-and-blood sacrament, states Hippolytus, is according to the Naasenes, called Corybas by Phrygians as well as by those "Thracians who dwell around Haemus." Hippolytus continues that Attis prohibited all sexual intercourse and quotes his Naasene source as follows: "Hail, Attis, gloomy mutilation of Rhea. Assyrians style thee thrice longed-for Adonis, and the whole of Egypt calls thee Osiris, . . .; Samothracians, venerable Adam; Haemonians, Corybas; and the Phrygians name thee at one time Pappa, at another time God . . . or the Green Ear of Corn that has been reaped" (Ibid., V, iv)

"Myths of the Great Goddess teach compassion for all living beings. There you come to appreciate the real sanctity of the earth itself, because it is the body of the Goddess."

–-- Joseph Campbell

Cybele in Comics - The Marvel Comic Book Character

Very little has been revealed about Cybele's past. She married Zuras, ruler of the Eternals of Earth, before the rise of the civilization of ancient Greece. Zuras and Cybele had one known child, Azura, who later took the name Thena. Although Cybele was the consort of Zuras, she evinced no interest in participating in the great events of Eternals history, such as their encounters with the Celestials
likeness(es)  are Trademarks of Marvel Character, permission pending


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