Though she was one of the most renowned goddesses in her day, the motherly, wise Cybele has long been over-shadowed in the mythology of ancient Greece by the later pre-Olympian goddesses, Rhea, Gaia, and even Hecate. In contrast, the mad, flamboyant Dionysus has been mistaken as a young Greek god for equally as long. The archaeological and literary evidence suggests that these two gods played much more significant roles in various cultures, both before the ancient Greek gods came to the forefront of Mediterranean religion and after their Roman counterparts faded into Christianity. It is not unlikely that this is why Cybele and Dionysus share so many characteristics in their worship and legends.
The goddess Cybele is most commonly associated with the natural world, specifically exemplified in mountains, fertile wildlife, and wild animals. Further, she is often depicted as the Great Mother—creator or life-giver of all things—or as the three aspects of the Divine Feminine: Mother, Maiden, and Crone. As the Divine Feminine, Cybele represents the various aspects of female power, most specifically that of nurture, fertility, and wisdom. (A similar trinity is seen in many other religions, such as the Triple Goddess in the religions of the Celts and Britons.)
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