Mother Mary and the Cult of Cybele

Ancient relief of Mother Cybele and her son Attis at the Museo Archeologico in Venice. Attis wears the Phrygian "Liberty Cap" symbolizing the Soma mushroom.

The Roman State adopted and developed a particular form of Cybele's cult, and claimed her conscription as a key religious component in their success against Carthage during the Punic Wars. Roman mythographers reinvented her as a Trojan goddess, and thus an ancestral goddess of the Roman people by way of the Trojan prince Aeneas. With Rome's eventual hegemony over the Mediterranean world, Romanized forms of Cybele's cults spread throughout the Roman Empire.

Like the Christian birth story, Phrygian Cybele gave birth to a son named Attis, later identified by the Greeks as Dionysus. And like Christ, Attis was born through immaculate conception. Greek historian Pausanias describes the birth of Attis as follows:

"The local [Phrygian] legend about him [Attis] being this. Zeus [or rather the Phrygian sky-god], it is said, let fall in his sleep seed upon the ground, which in course of time sent up a Daimon, with two sexual organs, male and female. They call the daimon Agdistis [Kybele, Cybele]. But the gods, fearing Agdistis, cut off the male organ. There grew up from it an almond-tree with its fruit ripe, and a daughter of the river Saggarios (Sangarius), they say, took the fruit and laid it in her bosom, when it at once disappeared, but she was with child. A boy [Attis] was born." - Birth of Cybele by Pausanias, Description of Greece 7. 17. 8 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.).

In this story, an almond or "mandorla," the Italian name for an almond, is often used as a symbol to represent divine conception from the sacred geometry of a Vesica Piscis. In Christian literature and frescos, Mary and Jesus are often depicted emerging from inside a mandorla.

According to this story, Cybele's son Attis was described as a divine shepherd-consort who castrated himself. As a result, Cybelian priests would emulate Attis by doing the same thing to themselves. Some scholars attribute this practice as the inspiration behind the Roman depiction of Jesus as effeminate.

In the oldest Anatolian cults, Cybele was associated with mountains, hawks and lions. She was depicted on a throne giving birth between two guardian lions, possibly corresponding to the Egyptian guardian lions Sekhmet and her son Maahes, with an attending hawk, possibly Horus. Next to her were her libations and other offerings. A 6th century BCE rock shrine designated her as "Mother of the mountain" who was "born from stone."

St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican is said to have been built on the rock of St. Peter (a substitute for the Foundation Stone or Jacob's Rock in Jerusalem). Above the entrance to the underground necropolis in the Basilica is a bronze canopy (a "ciborium") with four carvings that depict a woman in various stages of childbirth. While this is believed to be modeled after the daughter of Maffeo Barberini (Pope Urban VIII), it is likely a reproduction of the Phyrigian Great Mother Cybele who was anciently worshipped in a temple on Vatican Hill.

From a Vedic perspective, Cybele's mountain would be Mount Meru, the ladder to heaven. Associated with Greek Rhea, Cybele corresponds to the Vedic sky mother Aditi, the "devamatr" or the mother of the all gods, who is described as the feminine form of Brahma (like Saraswati and Vena). Aditi is said to provide nourishment as the cosmic cow, her milk being identified with the entheogenic Soma drink, which must thus be the psychedelic libation of Cybele.

Attis would then be identified as the Phrygian version of Krishna, conceived when Vishnu descended into the virgin womb of Davaki, the incarnation of Aditi, just as the almond slipped through Cybele's bosom into her womb to conceive Attis. As the Romans blended this virgin birth story with the birth of Persian Mithra from a rock (an adaptation of Vedic Mitra being born from Aditi), the Biblical story of Mother Mary and Jesus the Christ began to materialize.

** Freedom = Freja/ Frigga = Phrygian mother goddess Cybele = Vedic mother goddess Aditi = the Cosmic Cow's milk (or Soma) which Krishna and all the other divine sons drank.