Friday, April 4, 2014

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Festival To Cybele (Megalesia)

Today, April 4th, is the Megalesia-the festival to the great mother Goddess, Cybele. Cybele is considered the original Earth Goddess, she has a possible precursor in the earliest neolithic at Çatalhöyük (in the Konyaregion) where the statue of a pregnant goddess seated on a lion throne was found in a granary. She is Phrygia's only known goddess, and was probably its state deity. Her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Asia Minor and spread from there to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies from around the 6th century BCE.

CybeleThe Megalesia festival to Magna Mater commenced on April 4, the anniversary of Cybele’s arrival in Rome. The festival lasted for six days, the mood of this festival, like that of the whole month in which it took place, was full of general rejoicings and feasting. It was usual for the wealthy Romans on this occasion to invite one another mutually to formal meals, and the extravagant habits and the good living during these festive days were probably carried to a very high level.

Cybele as the thirteenth deity of an otherwise symmetrical, classic Greco-Roman zodiac, in which each of twelve zodiacal houses (represented by particular constellations) is ruled by one of twelve deities, known in Greece as the Twelve Olympians and in Rome as the Di Consentes. Manilius has Cybele and Jupiter as co-rulers of Leo (the Lion), in astrological opposition to Juno, who rules Aquarius. Modern scholarship remarks that as Cybele's Leo rises above the horizon, Taurus (the Bull) sets; the lion thus dominates the bull.

Some of the possible Greek models for Cybele's Megalensia festival include representations of lions attacking and dominating bulls. The festival date coincided, more or less, with events of the Roman agricultural calendar (around April 12) when farmers were advised to dig their vineyards, break up the soil, sow millet "and - curiously apposite, given the nature of the Mother's priests - castrate cattle and other animals.

The Oracle of Delphi brought Cybele to Rome, so the act of divining the future is associated with her. Pay tribute to the all-powerful Goddess today. Follow the noisy precedent established by her worshipers over two thousand years ago and clash some cymbals, shake a tambourine, or bang a drum as you invoke the Great Mother.

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