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Basic Information

Cybele is a deity from Roman Mythology, also known as the Magna Mater (or Great Mother). She is considered to be an aspect of the Earth Mother and embodies the fertile Earth, a goddess of caves and mountains, walls and fortresses, nature, wild animals (especially lions1 and bees).

She was originally a Phrygian goddess who was imported to Ancient Rome during the second Punic War as the result of a prophecy from the Delphic Oracle by the simple expedient of removing the idol from her temple in Phrygia and installing it in a temple in Rome.

Some of her male followers and all of her priests (known as Galli) castrated themselves, whereupon they were given female clothes and a female identity. Her ecstatic and orgiastic cults met exclusively at night, expressing themselves with music especially drumming, clashing of shields and spears, dancing, singing, and shouting.

The Galli were barred from the college of priests in Rome since they were required to castrate themselves and a Roman citizen could not be a eunuch, but citizenship was required for admission to the college. Eventually the Galli were permitted to send a nominal 'Chief Priest' called the archigallus as their delegate.

See Also

  • Attis - her son and consort. Traditionally the first of the Galli.
  • Can also be identified with other Earth Goddesses such as Shakti, Danu or the titanesses Gaia or Rhea and her cult often overlapped with the Roman's veneration of the women's patron goddess the Bona Dea.
  • The Mater Idaea Deum was a physical avatar of Cybele. It was a baetylus (a holy meteorite) kept in her main temple in Rome.2



Game and Story Use

  • Due to her generally creepy nature, Cybele makes a good guise for Shub-Niggurath of the Cthulhu Mythos.
    • The castration rites among their followers provide a link to the cult of the Skoptsy - which, according to Delta Green, were also Shub-Niggurath worshipers.
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