Asteroid Files: Cybele

Helios– MUTHA has arrived!

The Astronomy: 65 Cybele is one of the largest asteroids in the Solar System and is located in the outer asteroid belt. It gives its name to the Cybele family of asteroids that orbit outward from the Sun from the 2:1 orbital resonance with Jupiter. Cybele is a X-type asteroid, meaning that it is dark in color and carbonaceous in composition. It was discovered in 1861 by Ernst Tempel and named after Cybele, the earth goddess. Cybele was discovered on March 8, 1861, by Ernst Tempel from the Marseilles Observatory. A minor controversy arose from its naming process. Tempel had awarded the honor of naming the asteroid to Carl August von Steinheil, who elected to name it “Maximiliana” after the reigning monarch Maximilian II of Bavaria. At the time, asteroids were conventionally given classical names, and a number of astronomers protested this contemporary appellation. The name Cybele was chosen instead, referring to the Phrygian goddess of the earth.

The Myth: Cybele is an Anatolian mother goddess; she has a possible precursor in the earliest neolithic at Çatalhöyük, where the statue of a pregnant, seated goddess 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 to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies around the 6th century BCE. In Greece, Cybele met with a mixed reception. She was partially assimilated to aspects of the Earth-goddess Gaia, her Minoan equivalent Rhea, and the Harvest-Mother goddess Demeter. Some city-states, notably Athens, evoked her as a protector, but her most celebrated Greek rites and processions show her as an essentially foreign, exotic mystery-goddess who arrives in a lion-drawn chariot to the accompaniment of wild music, wine, and a disorderly, ecstatic following. Uniquely in Greek religion, she had a eunuch mendicant priesthood. Many of her Greek cults included rites to a divine Phrygian castrate shepherd-consort Attis, who was probably a Greek invention. In Greece, Cybele is associated with mountains, town and city walls, fertile nature, and wild animals, especially lions. In Rome, Cybele was known as Magna Mater (“Great Mother”). The Roman State adopted and developed a particular form of her cult after the Sibylline oracle recommended her conscription as a key religious component in Rome’s second war against Carthage. 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, Romanised forms of Cybele’s cults spread throughout the Roman Empire. The meaning and morality of her cults and priesthoods were topics of debate and dispute in Greek and Roman literature, and remain so in modern scholarship. Cybele’s major myths deal with her own origins, and her relationship with Attis. The most complex, vividly detailed and lurid accounts of this myth were produced as anti-pagan polemic in the late 4th century, by the Christian apologist Arnobius. For Lucretius, Magna Mater “symbolised the world order”. Her image held aloft signifies the Earth, which “hangs in the air”. She is the mother of all, and the yoked lions that draw her chariot show the offspring’s duty of obedience to the parent. She herself is uncreated, and thus essentially separate from and independent of her creations. In the early Imperial era, the Roman poet Manilius inserts 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.”

Why She Matters: So this one, from start to finish, is an indicator of a return to the old ways. Wherever you have one group trying to impose their view on the world and bring others around to their belief systems, you have the adherents of the old god who outwardly profess to be of the new ways but in private stick to what they have always done. The mother is patient, she remembers. She will outlast all, and she embraces time, as its on her side. There is a wildness to her, and she is untamed. I dare a man to even try. The unchained and pure feminine is starkly in view with Cybele. She is a powerful point in the chart, kind of like a cross between Lilith and Ceres. She is the primordial energy of the woman, and therefore of ALL creation. She is chaos, and she will not be silent anymore.

To find out where she shows up in your chart, go to astro.com, put in your birth details and in the extended options, all the way at the bottom of the next page, there will be a menu of additional objects. Under that is a blank space where you can enter the number 65, for Cybele. Once you have it entered, generate the chart! Where does Cybele affect your life? Let us know in the comments below!

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