From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cybele: Mommie Greatest

Attis (Photo by archer10) 
Cybele – she who the ancient Romans called Magna Mater ("Great Mother") – is thought to have originally been an Anatolian goddess.
Wikipedia tells us that she was associated back then with lions and mountains and hawks - oh my!                                                   

She eventually added other "hobbies" to her mighty repertoire. While in ancient Greece, she rubbed divine shoulders with the likes of Gaia, Rhea and Demeter.  Such heady company was bound to go to her, well, head. 

She became quite the diva, known for her grand entrances in lion-drawn chariots, complete with "wild music, wine, and a disorderly ecstatic following." (Woodstock, anyone?)   It was during those times that she met the love of her eternal life, Attis (whose replica strangely resembles the Statue of Liberty).  

Although Cybele certainly had a wild-enough past, she cleaned up her act considerably when the Romans finally rolled around (you know what they say: "When in Rome…").  Roman historians then airbrushed her biography until it showed nothing but "piety, purity and status…"

In return for selling her soul to the Empire, Cybele was worshipped beyond belief (but not beyond politics).  She was now firmly identified with "Imperial order and Rome's religious authority," and began to oddly resemble the Empress Livia (who was then seen as "Magna Mater's earthly equivalent").

Such is the fate of even the Greatest of Mothers when she trades freedom for security and winds up with neither…


Copyright May 12, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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