Also known as Kybele and Magna Mater and the Mother of the Gods, the worship of this goddess spread throughout the Roman Empire. Originally Phrygian, she was a goddess of caverns, of the Earth in its primitive state; worshipped on mountain tops. She ruled over wild beasts, and was also a bee goddess. Her festival came first on the Roman calender. Along with her consort, the vegetation god Attis
, Cybele was worshipped in wild, emotional, bloody, orgiastic, cathartic ceremonies.
Cybele was the goddess of nature and fertility. Because Cybele presided over mountains and fortresses, her crown was in the form of a city wall. The cult of Cybele was directed by eunuch priests called Corybantes, who led the faithful in orgiastic rites accompanied by wild cries and the frenzied music of flutes, drums, and cymbals. Her annual spring festival celebrated the death and resurrection of her beloved Attis.
Her Greek mythology counterpart was Rhea.