Monday, August 20, 2007

The Return of Cybele

The post-Christian can never re-enter the pagan world. Christ, mercifully, changed that world. But post-Christians do ape the pagans with intellectualized versions of the old cults. Thus Hitler crafted his new German myth onto the old pagan ones, and the Christian churches have adopted, in intellectualized form, the old religion of Cybele.

A goddess of the earth, called Mâ or Cybele, was revered as the fecund mother of all things, the "mistress of the wild beasts" that inhabit the woods. A god Attis, or Papas, was regarded as her husband, but the first place in this divine household belonged to the woman, a reminiscence of the period of matriarchy…

In the midst of their orgies, and after wild dances, some of the worshippers voluntarily wounded themselves and, becoming intoxicated with the view of the blood, with which they besprinkled their altars, they believed they were united themselves with their divinity. Or else, arriving at a paroxysm of frenzy, they sacrificed their virility to the gods as certain Russian dissenters still do today. These men became priests of Cybele and were called Galli. Violent ecstasis was always an endemic disease in Phrygia. As late as the Antonines, montanist prophets that arose in that country attempted to introduce it into Christianity.

from Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism by Franz Cumont (1911)
All this proves the old cliché, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." In the later half of the 20th century, Cybele finally was introduced and accepted by the Christian churches.

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