Selections from “365 Goddess”

March 25

Hilaria (Rome)


Themes: Love; Health; Humor; Victory; Strength; Relationships

Symbols: Pine; Meteorite Stone; Key

About Cybele: A black stone that personified this Roman earth goddess is credited with a successful battle against Hannibal. It this strength, especially in difficult relationships, that Cybelle augments in us as this month draws to a close.

Legend tells us that Cybelle loved a shepherd named Attis who went mad and killed himself. Cybelle, in distress, asked Jupiter to restore him. Jupiter responded by making Attis into a pine tree. Symbolically, this allowed him to eternally embrace Cybelle, with his roots in the earth.

To Do Today: Following the story of Cybelle and Attis, this festival begins in sorrow over Attis’s death and ends in joy. Today, laughter and fun activities are considered healthy. So, rent a good comedy flick, go out to a comedy club, or something that really uplifts your spirit. Your laughter invokes Cybelle’s attention and blessings.


March 27

Smell the Breeze Day (Egypt)


Themes: Air; Health

Symbols: A Pot; Turquoise; Musk; a Star; Wind; Cow Images

About Nut: This great Egyptian sky goddess bears a star-spangled belly that stretches over the earth like a protective atmosphere. Today she breaths on us with a late-March zephy bearing health and well-being.

Legend tells us that when Ra went to escape the earth, Nut offered her aid by becoming a huge cow who lifted him into heaven. When Nut found herself dizzy from the effort, four gods rushed to her aid. They later became the four pillars of creation – the four winds.

To Do Today: If the weather permits, I highly recommend a brisk, refreshing walk. Breathe deeply of the air, which has rejuvenating, healthy energies today. As you exhale, repeat the goddess’s name, Nut, and listen as she responds in the breeze.

Any type of wind magic honors Nut, and it is certainly fitting today (my note: I’d probably go with star magic, too.) If the wind blows from the west, sprinkle water into it for emotional healing. If the wind blows from the east, toss a feather out so it can return to you with healthy outlooks. If the wind blows from the north, sift a little soil into the wind to give fruitful foundations to a generating idea, and if it blows from the south, burn musk incense to manifest vital energy and a little passion.


March 31

Feast of the Moon (Rome)


Themes: All lunar attributes – Instinct; Creativity; Luck; Femininity; Water Element; Miracles (on a Blue Moon) — also Safety in Travel

Symbols: Silver or White items; Water; Moon Images; the number Thirteen

About Luna: The Roman goddess personifying the moon, Luna had the additional quality of being a protectress of charioteers, which in modern times could make her a patroness of automobiles!

While March came in like a lion, Luna escorts it out lambishly, with her soft, shimmering light. She is the full moon, which symbolizes the growing awareness developed this month, the fullness of loving emotions, and the charms and enchantments empowered by the silvery light of the moon.

To Do Today: Go moon gazing (okay, if it’s a dark moon, you’ll have to wait for another day). To encourage any of Luna’s attributes, recite this invocation to the moon:

Moon, moon, Lady moon, shine your light on me.

Moon, moon, Lady moon, bring ____ to me.

Fill in the blank with your heart’s desire. If possible, gear your request to match the energy in today’s moon phase. A waxing moon augments spells for any type of growth or development. A full moon emphasizes maturity, fertility, abundance, and “ful”-filment. Waning moons help to banish unwanted characteristics or shrink problems, and dark moons emphasize rest and introspection.

April 16

Ludi (Rome)


Themes: Rest; Pleasure; Nature

Symbols: All Flowers; Gardens

About: A Roman goddess of orchards and gardens, Pomona is symbolized by all gardening implements. Pomona’s consort was Vertumnus, who likewise presided over gardens. Together they embody the fruitful earth, from which we gather physical and spiritual sustenance. First fruits are traditionally offered to them in gratitude.

To Do Today: Public games in Rome were dedicated to taking a much-needed rest from toil and war. This particular segment of the festival celebrated the beauty of flowers before people returned to the fields and their labors. So, wear a floral- or leafy- print outfit today and visit a greenhouse or arboretum. Take time out to literally smell the flowers and thank Pomona for the simple pleasure it provides.

Make yourself a Pomona oil to dab on anytime you want to better appreciate nature or cultivate some diversion from your normal routine. Prepare this from the petals of as many different flowers as you can find, gather early in the day. Steep the petals in warm oil until they turn translucent, then strain. Repeat and add essential oil (fruity one for Pomona are ideal) to accentuate the aroma and energy you’ve created.


April 22

Festival of Ishtar (Babylon)


Themes: Love; Fertility; Passion; Sexuality; Moon

Symbols: Star; Moon; Lion; Dove

About: In Babylon, Ishtar encompasses the fullness of womanhood, including being a maternal nurturer, an independent companion, an inspired bed partner, and an insightful adviser in matters of the heart. Having descended from Venus (the planet that governs romance), she is the moon, the morning star, and the evening star, which inspire lovers everywhere to stop for a moment, look up, and dare to dream. Saturday is Ishtar’s traditional temple day, and her sacred animals include a lion and a dove.

To Do Today: Babylonians give Ishtar offerings of food and drink on this day. They then joined in ritual acts of lovemaking, which in turn invoked Ishtar’s favor in the region and its people to promote continued health and fruitfulness. If you’d like to connect with this fertile energy but have no bed partner, a magical alternative is using symbolism. Place a knife (or athame) in a cup filled with water. This represents the union of yin and yang. Leave this in a spot where it will remain undisturbed all day to draw Ishtar’s loving warmth in your home and heart.

If you have any clothes, jewelry, or towels that have a star or moon on them, take them out and use them today. Ishtar abides in that symbolism. As you don them, likewise attempt Ishtar’s mantle of passion for whatever tasks you have to undertake all day.


April 23

First Day of Summer (Iceland)


Themes: Summer; Kinship; Arts; Passion; Sun

Symbols: Sun; Gold; Hair

About Sif: This Scandinavian earth goddess has long golden hair that shines even more brightly now that the sun is reclaiming its dominance in the sky. On warm nights, especially in summer, she enjoys making love beneath an open sky in the fields (my notes: like Demeter and Iasion in the thrice-plowed field!), symbolically giving life and adoration to the earth.

To Do Today: People greet the traditional first day of summer exuberantly in Iceland, as winter has been very long and often very difficult. They exchange gifts wrapped in gold to celebrate the sun’s return, gather with family and friends, and revel in regional arts, especially dramas. A non-Icelandic version of this might be performing a ritual drama in which you slowly raise a golden sphere with trailing gold ribbons (representing the sun and Sif). Once the sphere is in full view, high in the room, say:

Sif, be welcome;

Sif is here.

She shines her golden warmth on us and the earth,

warming both, nurturing all.

Afterwards, try this Sif-centered spell for unity and passion at home: Have a small, enclosed fire source burning (this represents the sun’s blessing). Each person in your household then take one strand of hair and give it to the flame. As this burns, add dried lemon peel and basil to emphasize harmony (and offset the scent of the hair). Sprinkle the ashes in the soil around the living space.

April 28

Floralia (Rome)


Themes: Beauty; Sexuality; Love; Spring; Fertility

Symbols: All Flowers

About Flora: Roman prostitutes considered Flora their own goddess, protecting all acts of beauty, especially heartfelt lovemaking. She is also a spring goddess from whom we get the word flora, meaning blossom or plants. Symbolically, this flowering pertains to the human spirit too, one that can appreciate beauty in the body without necessarily making it into a sex object.

To Do Today: Wearing bright colors on this day is customary, as is decorating everything with plethora of flowers, each of which has Flora’s presence within. If flowers prove difficult to obtain or too costly, think floral aromas instead. Pull out a blossoming air freshener, light floral incense, or wear a floral perfume. Flora is as much a part of the scent as she is the petals, conveying love and passion on the breeze!

Another traditional activity for this day is erotic dancing. If you have someone special in your life, tantalize them a bit with slow, sexy movements. Let Flora’s passion fill both of you to overflowing, then let nature take her course.

Finally, make yourself a Flora charm that incites the interest of those from whom you seek it. Take three flower petals and tuck them in your clothing, keeping an image of your partner in mind, and say:

One for interest

two for Flora’s desire

three to light passion’s fire.

(my note: this brings up the ethics of casting a love spell on a real person, which is why I’d do it for an ideal partner, not a specific person)


GMC Poetry: Kybele alliteration

To challenge myself, I decided to write this poem with 5 words per line instead of 3. Just that small change made this poem much, much harder. Not only does it get harder to think of words that all start with that same letter that fit the theme, but it gets hard to evoke the correct image without connecting words like “of”, “and”, “in”, etc. It was fun, and I like the result, but I think for most of my alliteration poems I’ll think with 3 words a line, its much simpler.

avenging agdistis‘ ambiguous asian almond

battle’s bloody bold boisterous birth

[a] child conceived [from] castration, conquering cymbals

dancing deeply [in] darkness, defender [of] dionysos

ecstatic expedition [from] east [to] embracing empire

lusty leopard-loving latin lady

magnificent mountain mother [of] mystic madness

phrygia’s primal pagan prophetess purifies

rheia’s rustic rites remembering romance

trojan titaness transformed [by] torchlight temples

wild woman watching [the] western world

God of the Month Club: Kybele

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

— Catullus, poem 63

Kybele (pronounced Ku-bel-EE) is a Goddess of the fertility of all nature, humans and wild beasts included. She is a wild Goddess, by no means tame. She is especially related to forests and mountains, and is in fact called the Mountain Mother. She was served by transvestite priests, most of whom had castrated themselves to be more like their beloved Goddess. She is frequently pictured holding a round skin drum, and at many of Her nighttime festivals there was much drumming and dancing. Her rites display-299were ecstatic and often included orgies. She is wild, primal, and uncontrollable. Her Mysteries were second only to the Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone, or Dionysos’ Orphic Mysteries. 

She was correlated most strongly to Rheia, Mother of the Olympian Gods, by the Greeks. But depending on the area, Kybele was syncretized to other Greek Goddesses. These include Demeter in the Samothrakian cult, or Aphrodite at Mount Ida, or Artemis in Karia.

Kybele was originally a Phrygian Goddess Who became very popular in Greece. In fact, She is the only known Goddess from Phrygia, in Anatolia. Very little about the Anatolia cult is known, except that She is closely tied to lions, hawks, and mountains.catalhoyuk-goddess-kybele-precuser Its possible that She has a precursor at Çatalhöyük, a very early human settlement from around the 6th millennium BCE. This Mother Goddess statue was found in a granary. Her body is more fleshy than the classical Kybele, invoking the Venus of Wilendorf, but there are many parallels with the classical Kybele. She is similarly enthroned, and the hand-rests of this particular statue are shaped into feline heads, much like Kybele’s attendant lions. Although I’m not entirely sure I agree that’s whats going on here, some people believe that She is giving birth on Her throne.

A shrine cut into rock in Phrygia bears the inscription Mater Kubileya, which is usually translated as “Mother of the Mountain”. This particular shrine dates to the first half to the 6th century BCE. Wikipedia has this to say about Kybele’s role as Mother Goddess and mediator between boundaries of wild nature and city life:

Images and iconography in funerary contexts, and the ubiquity of her Phrygian name Matar (“Mother”), suggest that mm1she was a mediator between the “boundaries of the known and unknown”: the civilized and the wild, the worlds of the living and the dead. Her association with hawks, lions, and the stone of the mountainous landscape of the Anatolian wilderness, seem to characterize her as mother of the land in its untrammeled natural state, with power to rule, moderate or soften its latent ferocity, and to control its potential threats to a settled, civilized life. In this view, the desire to harness her power led to her installation as a protective goddess of the city by Anatolian elites, possibly concurrent with some form of ruler-cult. …To show her role as protector of cities, or city states, she was sometimes shown wearing a Mural Crown, representing the city walls. At the same time, her power “transcended any purely political usage and spoke directly to the goddess’ followers from all walks of life1“.”

Greece had colonies around western Anatolia, Asia Minor, and the Aegean Islands. In the 6th century BCE, through these colonies, the worship of Kybele began to spread to mainland Greece. In Greece She is called Mistress of the Animals, Potnia Therōn, a title She shares with Artemis, and Mātēr or Mētēr , or “Mother”. She is also called Idaea, because She is believed to have been born on Mount Ida in Anatolia.. So in Athens She is sometimes called simply “the Idaian Mother of the Gods”. In Alexandria, Egypt, the Hellenistic Greeks hailed Her as “The Mother of the Gods, the Savior who Hears our Prayers” and also “The Mother of the Gods, the Accessible One”.

Under Hellenic influence along the coastal lands of Asia Minor, the sculp
tor Agoracritos, a pupil of Pheidias, produced a version of Cybele that became the standard one. It showed her still seated on a throne but now more decorous and matronly, her hand resting on the neck of a perfectly still lion and the other hand holding the circular frame drum, similar to atambourine, (tymbalon or tympanon), which evokes the full moon in its shape and is covered with the hide of the sacred lunar bull2.

In some versions, Kybele started out not as a wholly female Goddess, but as the hermaphroditic Agdistis, possessing both male and female parts. In the Greek version 200px-museum_of_anatolian_civilizations065of this story, Agdistis was conceived when Zeus had a wet dream and His semen fell onto the ever-fertile earth. But the Gods were afraid of Agdistis, believing that His/His hermaphroditic body gave Agdistis the power to take over the universe. To subdue this threat, they had to castrate Agdistis. They buried the penis, and from that the first almond-tree grew. This tree will come into play later, in the story of Attis.

Scholars have theorized that Agdistis is part of a continuum of androgynous Anatolian deities, including an ancient Phrygiandeity probably named “Andistis” and one called “Adamma”, stretching all the way back to the ancient kingdom of Kizzuwatna in the 2nd millennium BC. There is also some epigraphic evidence that in places Agdistis was considered a healing goddess of wholly benevolent nature3.

Kybele and Attis


Kybele’s great love was Attis, a youth Who was some believe was a precursor to Adonis. Pausanias describes His hermaphrodite birth in the Phrygian legends, and the immaculate conception of Attis:


“The local [Phrygian] legend about him [Attis] being this. Zeus [i.e. the Phrygian sky-god], it is said, let fall in his sleep seed upon the ground, which in course of time sent up a Daimon, with two sexual organs, male and female. They call the daimon Agdistis [Kybele]. But the gods, fearing Agdistis, cut off the male organ. There grew up from it an almond-tree with its fruit ripe, and a daughter of the river Sangarios, they say, took the fruit and laid it in her bosom, when it at once disappeared, but she was with child. A boy [Attis] was born4.”


This boy became a shepherd, and His beauty was unearthly. He eventually became the beloved of Kybele, and there are several stories about what happened next. According to Ovid, Kybele made Attis Her priest, but required that He remain chaste to hold that position. He violated His oath with a nymph, and in punishment Kybele drove Him mad. In this state of madness Attis castrated himself, and when He died Kybele changed Him into a fir tree.

Pausanias relates a story that Attis was the son of the Phrygian king, and that He was born a eunuch. When He became a adult He introduced the worship of Kybele to Lydia. attisZeus becomes jealous of Kybele’s attachment to Him, and the King of the Gods sent a wild boar to ravage Lydia. Many of the Lydians were killed by this boar, including Attis. This story gives Attis a death similar to that of Adonis; death by boar.

Pausanias also tells the story of how when Attis was sent to Pessinos to marry the king’s daughter. But according to Pausanias, Agdistis (Kybele) “appeared, and Attis went mad and cut off his genitals, as also did he who was giving him his daughter in marriage. But Agdistis repented of what he had done to Attis, and persuaded Zeus to grant that the body of Attis should neither rot at all nor decay. These are the most popular forms of the legend of Attis5.”

Ever since Attis was worshiped alongside Kybele as a dying and resurrecting vegetation God. After death He was turned into a pine tree. It was this myth that Her priests, the galli, re-enacted when they castrated themselves. Kybele was the nurse of Sabazios, Phrygian God equated with Dionysos. The orgiastic worship of Dionysos-Sabazios was heavily influenced from that of the Phrygian Meter Theon, Mother of the Gods.

At an early date there was associated with Cybele, the Great Mother, a hero-divinity called Attis who personified the life of the vegetable world particularly. … It is evident that in Rome there was a festival celebrating the death and resurrection of Attis. This celebration was held annually from March 22nd to 25th. … Again we may notice that at this same Attis festival on March 22nd, an effigy of the god was fastened to the trunk of a pine tree, Attis thus being “slain and hanged on a tree.” This effigy was later buried in a tomb. On March 24th, known as the Day of Blood, the High Priest, impersonating Attis, drew blood from him arm and offered it up in place of the blood of a human sacrifice, thus, as it were, sacrificing himself6.

Kybele in Rome

The Romans spelled Her name with the Latinized C, as Cybele, which is how you will most often see Her name written. Kybele’s cult was bought to Rome during the Second s16-2kybelePunic War, or Rome’s second War with Carthage, around 218 – 201 BCE. During the War, there were also many dire signs that were taken as bad omens, such as a meteor shower, a failed harvest, and an ensuring famine. The Roman Senate were worried that these omens spelled defeat for Rome, and they consulted many religious advisers to see how they could avoid it. It was the Sibylline Oracle that recommended the adoption of Kybele’s cult into the Roman State Religion. The Oracle told them that the sacred image of the Great Mother from Phrygian Pessinos must come to reside in Rome itself. Since they were allies, the Romans sent ambassadors to Pessinos with the request. On the way, they stopped at the Oracle of Delphi, in Greece, just to check that this was the will of the Gods. The Romans were pragmatic people, and a move like was a big deal, so it was a good idea to consult more than one Oracle. It was granted, and the sacred rock was on its way. Because the image from Pessinos was not a statue, but a large, unshaped stone of black, meteoric iron. It would eventually become the face of Kybele’s statue when the Romans had finished Her temple; in the meantime, it was housed with honors in the Temple of Victoria.

In Rome She was called the Great Mother, Magna Mater. The Romans reinvented Kybele in some ways, claiming She was originally a Trojan Goddess. This would make Kybele an ancestral Goddess of the Romans, through the Trojan Aeneas who whose journey to Italia was chronicled in the Aeneid. As Rome spread its rule over the Mediterranean world, so did Kybele’s cult spread, at least in its Romanized forms.

Imperial Magna Mater protected the empire’s cities and agriculture — Ovid “stresses the barrenness of the earth before the Mother’s arrival. Virgil’s Aeneid (written between 29 and 19 BCE) embellishes her “Trojan” features; she is Berecyntian Cybele, mother of Jupiter himself, and protector of the Trojan prince Aeneas in his flight from the destruction of Troy. She gives the Trojans her sacred tree for shipbuilding, and begs Jupiter to make the ships kybele-with-lion-in-lapindestructible. These ships become the means of escape for Aeneas and his men, guided towards Italy and a destiny as ancestors of the Roman people by Venus Genetrix. Once arrived in Italy, these ships have served their purpose and are transformed into sea nymphs7.

The Megalesia on April 4th celebrates the Goddess’s arrival in Rome. The rituals were kicked off by making an offering of a simple dish of dried herbs at the Temple of Magna Mater. Ovid gave the reason for such simple offerings as because “people of old are reported to have subsisted on pure milk and such herbs as the earth bore of its own free will. White cheese is mixed with pounded herbs, that the ancient gods may know the ancient foods8.”

The rites of the Magna Mater were celebrated by her eunuch priests, the Galli, sometime during March, but these rites, involving frenzy, violence, and self-mutilation, remained perverse and foreign to most Romans. The four-day rites of the Galli, however, cut to the core of the myth of Attis and his rebirth. In myth, Attis, beloved of Magna Mater, castrated himself, died, and was reborn. Male consort of the Great Mother, he was a vegetation God who returned every spring.

Roman citizens were not allowed to walk in the March procession, take part in the rites, or join the priesthood of Magna Mater “so great is the aversion of the Romans to all undue display lacking in decorum.” (Dionysius of Halicarnassus 2.19.4) Instead, they initiated a more moderate Romanized annual festival to Cybele, or Magna Mater, the Megalesia, which began on April 4th. The April Megalesia was cheerful, festive, and raucous ritual of parties and theatrical events. The Megalesia was a time for giving and attending dinner parties and visiting friends. In fact, the banquets became so lavish that the Senate in 161 BCE by decree put a monetary limit on the amount a host could spend on a dinner party in addition to vegetables, bread, and wine, with no foreign wines allowed. The silverware could not weigh more than 120 pounds9.”

The Galli

As you can probably imagine, Kybele has a somewhat complicated relationship with 160px-statue_of_gallus_priestgender. Not only do some of the stories say that She started out as a hermaphroditic being, but Her priests were castrated transvestites who transgressed the social mores regarding gender in the ancient world. The Galli were not only castrated men, but they took on the roles of women. They wore women’s clothing (usually the color yellow), grew their hair long, wore make-up and heavy perfumes, and made a great show of taking on the female role. In some cases they even offered themselves for sexual encounters with other men.

The Romans had a conflicted relationship with the Galli. When Kybele’s sacred stone came to Rome in 204, so did the first Galli, as Her priests. Kybele may have become a state Goddess of Rome, but the castration required to be a Gallus was more than unseemly to Roman eyes, and because of this Roman citizens were forbidden from becoming Galli. (Emperor Claudius lifted this ban, but Domitian reinstated the ban on castration.) Because of this, all the Galli were either slaves or foreigners.

Although Cybele was an official goddess, the Senate refused Roman citizens the right to participate in her rites as priests, reflecting the Roman distrust and fear of the galli, for both their infertility and their rejection of masculinity. The galli not only deliberately made themselves unable to produce offspring, but they served as bad examples to others, tempting young men to join their ranks. Because of their effeminate nature, the galli flouted Roman exhortations toward virtus, the ideal of manliness. In brief, the Roman reverence for paternity and masculinity made castration a highly stigmatized activity, especially for Roman citizens, and made the galli a distinctly marginalized community.

The galli were often described in derogatory terms such as pathicus (“faggot”), mollis (“softie”), or cinaedus (originally an Eastern dancer, but later a term for a grown man who displayed effeminate behavior and/or desired to be penetrated). Being a gallus was deemed the ultimate in unmanliness.

…. For embracing a permanent state of feminine subjugation, the galli were marginalized to the fringes of Roman society. They seem to have converged in a subculture that protected them from the enmity of the majority. In the cult of Cybele, they were able to pursue their minority sexual interests without the ostracism that they experienced in the larger society10.

In Pessinus, there were two high priests during the Hellenistic period, who were also eunuchs like the rest of the Galli. However, in Rome, this changed, so that the head of the Galli, the Archigallus, was a Roman citizen. This most likely means he was not castrated, as this was forbidden, except between the time of Claudius and Domitian’s reign. 250px-relief_of_archigallusThe Archigallus was chosen by the quindecemviri sacris faciundis, a college of fifteen religious advisers and augers who, among other sacred duties, guarded the Sibylline Books. Archigallus was a lifetime position.

Being a Roman citizen, as well as being employed by the Roman State, meant that the archigallus had to preserve the traditions of Cybele’s cult while not violating Roman prohibitions in religious behavior. Hence, some argue that the archigallus was never a eunuch, as all citizens of Rome were forbidden from emasculation. …The signs of his office have been described as a type of crown, possibly a laurel wreath, as well as a golden bracelet known as the occabus.

Along with the institution of the archigallus came the Phrygianum sanctuary as well as the rite of the taurobolium as it pertains to the Magna Mater, two aspects of the Magna Mater’s cultus that the archigallus held dominion over11.”

The taurobolium was a religious rite involving the sacrifice of an ox, and the supplicant was consecrated in its blood. The supplicant entered a chamber in an underground pit, which had a wooden floor above it with wide spaces between the the slats, described as open mesh. The animal is sacrificed on top of this mesh, so that the blood rains down on the supplicant below. This scene is dramatically depicted in HBO’s Rome, when Atia performed it to pray for the safety of her son in Gaul. According to Prudentis, this was performed for a priestess, who was then considered to have been “born again”. That is very interesting, considering that Christians see themselves as symbolically “washed in the blood of the lamb” to be “born again”. This was a literal bathing a blood, this time from a bull, to create a pagan rebirth. As Spock would say, “Fascinating.”

Then by the many paths of the thousand openings in the lattice the falling shower rains down a foul dew, which the priestess buried within catches, putting her head under all the drops. She throws back her face, she puts her cheeks in the way of the blood, she puts under it her ears and lips, she interposes her nostrils, she washes her very eyes with the fluid, nor does she even spare her throat but moistens her tongue, until she actually drinks the dark gore. … This woman, all hail and worship at a distance, because the ox’s blood has washed her, and she is born again for eternity12.

Kybele Today

As much as Kybele is dear my heart, there is not really a lot that I can say about Her. cybelestantonFor me, She is best experienced – in the beat the drum, in the pounding of your heart, in the burning of your muscles, the shortness of breath as you dance in abandonment till you drop in exhaustion. She was worshiped in ecstatic rituals in the ancient world, and this is where I have found Her today, in the same rituals of statistic drumming and dancing that belong to Dionysos as well.

Kybele has apparently been adopted by some transgender Pagans as something of a patron Deity in the modern era, although I did not find as much information about this as I would have liked. In any case, it is clear the Kybele is a great and powerful Goddess, Who deserves our worship and honor today as much as in the past. If anybody out there has any rituals honoring Kybele, or any experiences with Her, I’d love to here about it.

Suggested Links:

Journeying to the Goddess: Cybele

Priests of the Goddess: Gender Transgression in Ancient Religion

Paleothea: Cybele, Agdistis, and Attis

Attis, Agdistis, and Kybele

The Maetreum of Cybele, Magna Mater

The Spirit of Transgender

The Bakcheion: Mountain-Mothers


4Pausanias. Guide to Greece. 7.17.8

5Pausanias. Guide to Greece. 7. 19. 9-12

7Frances Bernstein, PHD. Classical Living: Reconnecting with the Rituals of Ancient Rome: Myths, Gods, Goddess, Celebrations and Rites for Every Month of the Year. HarperCollins Publishers. New York.2000. pg 81

8 Ovid. Fasti. 4.367-73

9Frances Bernstein, PHD. Classical Living: Reconnecting with the Rituals of Ancient Rome: Myths, Gods, Goddess, Celebrations and Rites for Every Month of the Year. HarperCollins Publishers. New York.2000. pg 81

10Nikolai Endres. Galli: Ancient Roman Priests. GLBTQ encyclopedia.

12Prudentis, as quoted in Ancient History Sourcebook: Roman Religiones Licitae and Illicitae, c. 204 BCE – 112 CE

GMC poetry: Kybele Acrostic

Knowledge secret and sacred, wild and free

Youthful Attis Her dying-and-restructuring lover

Boisterous is the sound of the drums, frenzied is the dancing

Exuberant are Her worshipers, Her rites filled with sacred ecstasy

Lions attend the Mistress of the Wild in Her mountainous home

Exotic this foreign Mother of the Gods, Protector of Empires

September God of the Month Club

So the September God of the Month Club is looking very interesting. The two Gods from the Neos Alexandrian pantheon are Demeter and Kybele. I’m very glad that Demeter came up, because I am working on Her chapter right now in Journey to Olympos, my book about worshiping the Hellenic Gods. Although I understand Her intellectually, I have not had hardly any personal experiences with Her. But I am now endeavoring to live the agrarian lifestyle of a homesteader, so I need to get to know Demeter in a much more intimate way. Plus, the Eleusinian Mysteries were historically celebrated this month. Another sign that these Gods are not just coming up coincidence, but there seems to me to be Something guiding the studies.

The third God for September is also the second Orisha we’ve had so far, Osumare. Osumare is also spelled Ochumare, or Oshumare. Osumare is the Yoruba Orisha of the rainbow, serpents, cycles, and transformation. This Orisha is apparently androgynous and spends part of the year as a man and part as a woman. I’m not sure if transgender is the right term to use here, perhaps intersex is better. In any case this looks like the first truly gender variant Deity we have studied yet. I seriously hope that I can do Him (?) justice. So, should be quite intriguing, looks like there could be lots of really fascinating stuff to learn this month! 🙂

Song for Kybele


On this, Kybele’s holy day

Worshipers gather in the dark

The drums pound out a deepening sound

Firelight flickers, casting an eerie glow

The priestess dances

Whirling around

Feet never touching the ground

Her long hair swirls around her face

A halo, a crown, a black fog

She spins and spins, in her own world

Delirious and ecstatic

Drunk on Divinity

The people chant, the people pray

They cry out to Kybele, the Mountain Mother

Rhea of the Phrygians

Chanting Her ancient names

The priestess continues to dance

Her skirts flying

Her body perpetually in motion

She embodies the wildness of her Mother’s realm

The grace of the lioness

And killer instinct

Reflected in hard muscle.

Rhea-Kybele, Mother of the Gods,

Mistress of the Wild,

Looks on,

And approves.

The drums pound.

And the priestess dances.