Meet the Gods: Attis
One of the gods associated with Ostara is Attis (also spelled Atys, Attis, Attin), the mythical consort of Cybele, the Great Mother of the Gods. The two, most likely indigenous to Asia Minor, were worshipped annually upon the return of spring. While there are several different myths, all end with Attis castrating himself and either dying under a tree or being transformed into a fir tree. Zeus is said to have granted that his youthful body never decay.
In some of the many tales, Cybele is Attis’ mother; in others Attis is a young, handsome, human shepherd whom Cybele loved and made her priest, requiring him to remain chaste. When he broke his vow with a nymph, the goddess drove him mad so that he ended his life by self-castration. According to the Theoi Project, Cybele changed him into a fir tree, which became sacred to her. She commanded that from then on, her priests would be eunuchs.
According to the Greek Gods and Goddesses website, “Attis is the Phrygian god of shepherds and vegetation. The myth for Attis’ death and resurrection is very symbolic for the death and rebirth cycle that crops and plants go through every spring and winter. Attis’ worship is generally thought to have started around 5000 B.C.E. in Phyrgia and lasted up through the Roman era around 400 C.E.
“Images portraying Attis has been found at several Greek sites. A wooden throne displaying a relief of Attis gathering pine cones beneath a pine tree was found in 2007 in the ruins of the Herculaneum. Attis’ likeness has been found on Roman era coins and tombstones”
The cult of Attis was one of the ancient mystery religions. It was characterized by secret knowledge and elaborate orgiastic rituals. Some followers claimed he was born on December 25 to Nana, a virgin, was crucified on a tree, and resurrected – similar to the story of Jesus – however little evidence can be found to back up these claims.
Correspondences listed for Attis include the month of March, the color blue, planets Jupiter or Venus, shepherds, goats, emeralds, and the pine tree.
If this god speaks to you, know that, according to the Myths and Legends website, “As part of an annual spring festival, the Romans would cut down a pine tree in Attis’s honor. Worshipers adorned the tree with violets, which they considered to have grown from the blood of Attis.” He could also be celebrated by filling pinecones with peanut butter and rolling them in seeds to put out for the birds.
About the Author:
All my life I have known magic was real. As a child, I played with the fae, established relationships with trees and “just knew things.” In my maiden years I discovered witchcraft and dabbled in the black-candles-and-cemeteries-at-midnight-on-a-fullmoon magick just enough to realize I did not understand its power. I went on to explore many practices including Zen, astrology, color therapy, native traditions, tarot, herbs, candle magic, gems, and, as I moved into my mother years, Buddhism, the Kabbalah and Reiki. The first man I dated after my divorce was a witch who reintroduced me to the Craft, this time by way of the Goddess. For 11 years I was in a coven, but with retirement, I have returned to an eclectic solitary practice. When accepting the mantle of crone, I pledged to serve and teach. This is what I do from my skoolie – a 30-year-old school bus converted into a tiny house on wheels that I am driving around the country, following 72-degree weather, emerging myself into nature, and sharing magic with those I meet. Find me at thewitchonwheels.com, Facebook and Instagram.