Mystery Religions, by Charles J. Butler, Rector, American Presbyterian Church, 2007;

Extracts pertaining to Cybele

The very name by which the Italians commonly designate the Virgin is just the translation of one of the titles of the Babylonian goddess.  As Baal or Belus was the name of the great male divinity of Babylon, so the female divinity was called Beltis. (Hesychius, Lexicon, p. 188.) This name has been found in Nineveh applied to the “Mother of the gods.” (Vaux’s Nineveh and Persepolis, p. 459); and in a speech attributed to Nebuchadnezzar, preserved in Eusebii (Præparatio Evangelii, lib. IX, cap. 41), both titles, “Belus and Beltis,” are conjoined as the titles of the great Babylonian god and goddess.  The Greek Belus, as representing the highest title of the Babylonian god, was undoubtedly Baal, “the Lord.” Beltis, therefore, as the title of the female divinity, was equivalent to “Baalti,” which, in English, is “my lady,” in Latin, “Mea Domina,” and, in Italian, is corrupted into the well-known “Madonna.”  In connection with this, it may be observed that the name of Juno, the classical “Queen of Heaven,” which, in Greek, was Hera, also signified “the Lady,” and that the peculiar title of Cybele or Rhea at Rome, was Domina or “the Lady.” (Ovid, Fasti, lib. IV, v. 340.) Further, there is strong reason to believe that Athena, the well-known name of Minerva at Athens, had the very same meaning.  The Hebrew Adon, “the Lord,” is, with the points, pronounced Athon.  We have evidence that this name was known to the Asiatic Greeks, from whom idolatry, in a large measure, came into European Greece, as a name of God under the form of “Athan.”  Eustathius, in a note on the Periergesis of Dionysius (v. 915, apud Bryant, Vol. III, p. 140), speaking of local names in the district of Laodicea, says that “Athan is god.”  The feminine of Athan, “the “Lord,” is Athana, “the Lady,” which in the Attic dialect, is Athena. No doubt, Minerva is commonly represented as a virgin; but, for all that, we learn from Strabo (Lib. X, cap. 3, p. 405. Paris, 1853) that at Hierapytna in Crete (the coins of which city, says Müller (Dorians, Vol. I, p. 413) have the Athenian symbols of Minerva upon them), she was said to be the mother of the Corybantes by Helius, or “the Sun.” It is certain that the Egyptian Minerva, who was the prototype of the Athenian goddess, was a mother, and was styled “Goddess Mother,” or “Mother of the Gods.  A scholiast on the Periergesis of Dionysius, says Layard (Nineveh and its Remains, Vol. II, p. 480), makes Semiramis the same as the goddess Artemis or Despoina.  Now, Artemis was Diana, and the title of Despoina given to her shows that it was in the character of the Ephesian Diana she was identified with Semiramis; for Despoina is the Greek for Domina, “the Lady,” the peculiar title of Rhea or Cybele, the tower-bearing goddess, in ancient Rome.   (Ovid, Fasti, lib. IV, 340; Wilkinson, Vol. IV, p. 285.)


Diana of Ephesus [note tower on head]

“And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.  For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at naught; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.”         (Acts 19:23-27)

… Of the existence of a goddess of fortifications, everyone knows that there is the amplest evidence.  That goddess is Cybele, who is universally represented with a mural or turreted crown, or with a fortification, on her head. Why Rhea or Cybele was thus represented?  Ovid asks the question and answers it himself, and the answer is this: The reason he says, why the statue of Cybele wore a crown of towers was, “because she first erected them in cities.”  The first city in the world after the flood (from whence the commencement of the world itself was often dated) that had towers and encompassing walls was Babylon; and Ovid himself tells us that it was Semiramis [wife of Nimud], the first queen of that city, who was believed to have “surrounded Babylon with a wall of brick.” Semiramis, then, the first deified queen of that city and tower whose top was intended to reach to heaven, must have been the prototype of the goddess who “first made towers in cities.” When we look at the Ephesian Diana, we find evidence to the very same effect.  In general Diana was depicted as a virgin and the patroness of virginity, but the Ephesian Diana was quite different. She was represented with all the attributes of the Mother of the gods (see Fig. 8), and, as the Mother of the gods, she wore a turreted crown, such as no one can contemplate without being forcibly reminded of the tower of Babel. Now this tower-bearing Diana is by an ancient scholiast expressly identified with Semiramis.20 When, therefore, we remember that Rhea or Cybele, the tower-bearing goddess, was, in point of fact, a Babylonian goddess, and that Semiramis, when deified, was worshipped under the name of Rhea, there will remain, I think, no doubt as to the personal identity of the “goddess of fortifications.

Augustine considered the Cult of the Great Mother to be the very worst of all pagan cults…  We know that the Isis Cult, on the other hand, appealed mostly to women, whereas the Great Mother’s Cult was almost exclusively male-centered, served by transgendered Galli, not all of whom were castrates.
Cult of the Virgin Mary, Psychological Origins,Michael P. Carroll, Princeton U. Press
“The historian Zosimas specifies that Constantine ordered an image of the mother [Cybele] be brought into his new capital… from Kyzikos, the very same place where the Argonauts had founded her cult…  He proposed that Byzantium be refounded, as Rome had been before it, with the arrival of an Idaena ancestor.  So, instead of the Trojan Goddess, he brought an even more ancient one, the thoroughly Greek Mother Goddess of the Argonauts and the Kyzikan initiators of Anarcharsis[1]… Zosimus reports the Statue’s “mutilation”…. in the process of the transformation the Meter theon (mother of the gods) became the Meter Theou {Mother of God}.  But she did not forget her origins.”
Mother of the gods: from Cybele to the Virgin Mary, Philippe Borgeaud, JHU Press, 1996;
Trns Fr Lysa Hochroth,Johns Hopkins UP, 2004.  ISBN 0-8018-7985-X.
“I was at the New York Open Center, in a workshop led by Alessandra Belloni. [2]  This all-day event focused heavily on the drumming and dancing of the tammorriata rhythm connected to the Black Madonna and Cybele.”
(anon.  online post,  Apr 7, 2008)


Who is then the Mother of the Gods?  She is the source of the intellectual and creative gods, who in their turn guide the visible gods: she is both the mother and the spouse of mighty Zeus; She came into being next to and together with the great Creator; She is in control of every form of life, and the Cause of all generation; She easily brings to perfection all things that are made. Without pain She brings to birth … She is the Motherless Maiden, enthroned at the very side of Zeus, and in very truth is the Mother of All the Gods …

Emperor Julian II “the Blessed”,
from an Oration to Cybele composed at Pessinus, AVC MCXVI.

[1]     Scythian philosopher who travelled from his homeland on the northern shores of the Black Sea to Athens in the early 6th century BCE and made a great impression as a forthright, outspoken “barbarian,” apparently a forerunner of the Cynics, though none of his works have survived.
[2]  ALESSANDRA BELLONI is a singer, percussionist, dancer and actress who stands as one of the most important voices of traditional southern Italian music and dance today.  She is artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and is Artistic Director and Founder of I Giullari di Piazza (the Players of the Square)… she has been acclaimed as one of the greatest living percussionists in the world, and has her own signature series of Italian tambourines designed with the largest percussion industry in the world, Remo Inc. => excellent Pagan Music for excellent Monotheist Pretenders who worship the fourth god.