"The worship of Cybele under the form
of the Black Stone of Pessinus in Phrygia.
Amazons paid marked honour to the Mother of the Gods, consecrating to her the island
of Samothrace, setting up her altars there, and performing magnificient sacrifices.
The underlying idea in the cult of Cybele seems to have been that of an earth-goddess
of fertility in man, beast, and field. Her worship was accompanied by the sound of
crashing drums and cymbals, the music of the pipe, and the voices of frenzied votaries.
Of her inspiration came a form of holy madness, which endowed the worshipper with
a sense of mystic ecstasy and supernatural strength. A tumultuous festival."
"In the actual ceremonies performed at Cybele's shrines the original warlike character was
almost lost in the mystic frenzy which found expression in noisy shouting and
The ancient region of Phrygia lies in
the highlands of central Anatolia, which is now Turkey.
The Amazons worshipped their Goddess in the form of a black stone or meteorite. This stone sat on an altar in an open temple, which was built on an island off the coast of Colchis. The island...Aretias.
A flat bird haunted island in the Black Sea. Here Queen Otrere had built a temple when the Amazons first settled on the coast, and here they still worshiped when they went forth to war. The temple was roofless, its crude altar constructed of pebbles. Within the altar a black stone was set, and this stone was the most sacred object in the religious cult of the Amazons.
The black stone was a connection to
something very old and not human, something abstract, terrifying and yet
absolutely essential to our lives. We try to pretend this level of
eality is not there, but it is; and in the Bronze Age the Moon-women knew
it and valued it above everything else.
"In addition to weaponry and amulets of prowess.
Accoutrements belonging to priestess were also included as mortuary offerings. In this
warrior-priestess burial fossilized sea shells and a natural stone in the shape of a sea shell
were excavated. The stone contained residue of a white substance (chalk?) that probably
was used in a ritual."
"Priestesses and warrior-priestesses were
important members of their tribes, performing
oracles and divinations. Although no headdresses were excavated from priestess burials,
it is known from other sources that both priestesses and warrior-priestesses wore
elaborate headdresses decorated with gold plaques."
A long list may be made out of female
deities who show the general characteristics of Phrygian Cybele: the Lydian
Mother, Cybebe or Cybele; Rhea of Crete; Hecate of Samothrace and Lagina;
Bendis of Thrace and Lemnos; Cappadocian Ma, Britomartis, or Dictynna,
of Crete, who is Aphaea at Artemis,- of the Tauric Chersonese, of Brauron,
of Laodicea, of Ephesus, Artemis-Aphrodite of Persia. The conception
common to all these is that of a nature-
Goddess, whose rites are orgiastic, and whose protection, as that of a woman-warrior, is claimed for the state. It is probably correct to assume that Artemis Tauropolos, to whom Diodorus says that Amazons sacrice, is a form of Cybele, presumabley Tauric Artemis. It deserves special prominence, because the Amazons are shown to have been their votaries.
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