14 March 2007

Attis and Cybele

Attis was originally a Phrygian god of growth and fertility. He is closely linked with the great mother earth goddess Cybele, also of Phrygian origin, whose domain included mountains, caverns and animals. She has been worshiped since Neolithic times and her worship eventually spread to Greece where it became a mainstay in the Mediterranean. To the Greeks she was the "mountain mother". The story goes that Attis was about to marry a mortal when Cybele suddenly appeared and in shock Attis castrated himself. This story helps to explain, somewhat, why Cybele devotees, called corybantes, self-castrated as part of her ecstatic rituals. As Cybele's worship grew so did that of Attis. He is her son and lover and driver of her lion-drawn chariot. As such he is also a birth-death-rebirth god in which resurrection figures heavily. Legend has it after being killed by a boar he was reborn as the evergreen pine. Pictured above is Cybele on the left and Attis on the right.

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