05 April 2007
Above is a coin bearing the image of Cybele. Because she presided over mountains and fortresses her crown is in the form of a city wall. Today marks the beginning of a week-long festival celebrating Cybele, the Magna Mater or Great Mother of whom all goddesses are sometimes considered aspects. During this time her image arrived in Rome from Asia Minor. She originated from Phrygia as a nature goddess and, by the time her worship spread to Rome her domain included caverns, primitive earth, wild animals and bees. Her rituals were wild, ecstatic and potentially dangerous affairs in which her male worshipers ritually castrated themselves. To the tune of music they danced, sang and worshiped the Great Goddess even as they bled.