Cybele is an earth mother goddess with a twist, she is a rather colourful character depicted as an exotic foreigner arriving on a chariot drawn by roaring lions and escorted by drunken, ecstatic revellers playing wild music. Cybele was originally an ancient Anatolian (Asia Minor) mother goddess who was then assimilated by the Greeks. She is the goddess of mountains and lions. In some parts of Greece she was absorbed into other earth goddesses Gaia, Rhea and Demeter.
Cybele was famed for her entourage of transgender and eunuch priests and her consort was a castrated Shepard, name of Attis. She is quite the paradox then, chiefly known from being this fertile, earth Goddess, but evidently not having much chance of having children from her dismembered partner. The Romans reinvented Cybele as a Trojan goddess, but her true meaning, her mystery and the manner of her worship is hotly debated to this day. However “Her associations with hawks, lions, and the very stone of the wild, mountainous Anatolian landscape, suggest her as mother of the land and its wild, untrammelled nature, with power to dominate, moderate or soften its latent ferocity, and control its potential threats to a settled, civilised life.” 
To me Cybele is a sabre-toothed Ceres on steroids… with claws. Although Cybele is a devoted mother, as a foreigner her parenting style is distinctly “uncivilised”. The Greeks were in awe of her, took her into their culture but in reality held her at arms length. Her animalistic behaviour and liking for wild places estranged her from her fellow Olympian mother goddesses. It seems her rituals involved a great deal of manic bashing of percussion instruments, hollering and frenzied gyrating dancers. This cacophony was thought to be healing rather like an ancient version of Drum & Bass or techno trance.. Cybele’s consort Attis in artwork of the time is shown as her subordinate, always younger than her and of course he is a eunuch. Attis starts off as a rugged and handsome Shepherd, but after his self-mutilation he is referred to as a female.
Cybele in modern culture I think would be someone like Barbara Windsor (Cybele sextile Mars) who played a great matriarch in the soap opera Eastenders, but ironically never had any children herself. In her biography she states she had 5 abortions. She has been famously married to “Toy Boy” Scott Mitchell since 2000. Also what sprung to mind immediately was Liza Minelli (Cybele conjunct Sun trine Moon!) with her very weird looking husband, she also has had no children due to complications during a miscarriage. Lastly lioness and gay icon Madonna with her adoring entourage of male dancers is so obvious that I wasn’t surprised to find Cybele conjunct her DC by just 18’. Negatively the Cybele archetype could probably be seen in the cult classic film “Mommy Dearest” a biography of actress Joan Crawford who was known as a control-freak, obsessed with housework. She adopted 5 children and was as strict on them as she was herself. I think this very tight controlling is the when our wild lioness Cybele is put in captivity. It seems Cybele needs to run wild in order to purge all her wound-up anger, just like over-working oneself calls for a Saturnalia once in a while. The tighter you wind-up the coil the faster it spins when you let go of it.
Asteroid Cybele Discovery chart
Asteroid Cybele was discovered on March 8 1861, it is one of the largest Asteroids (273 km) but very irregular in shape. It takes 6.3 years to orbit the Sun. It gives its name to a family of asteroids, which have a similar orbit as Jupiter. Like asteroid Artemis it is a C-type asteroid meaning it is dark and carbonaceous. Well for a dramatic lady, we get a dramatic chart! I love Moon opposite Jupiter, blatantly the foreign mother, we have what the Huber’s call an irritation triangle* which is subject to sudden bursts of anger. With the Sun quincunx Jupiter “Pushing hard is a way to relieve the tension and this is why these people often appear lucky. However, by putting so much of themselves, their identity on the line, if the scales tip then they can show the Jupiter tendency to excess in a negative way, through guilt or addiction.”
The geometry of the chart looks like the stately queen being pulled along in her chariot by the wild lions comprised of an explosive Mars conjunct Pluto (Her bottled up rage) and the forbidden fruit of Ceres sextile Lilith (Which may help to uncork that anger). You can see within the chart Cybele has an uptight Venus opposite Saturn penetrating the irritation triangle. Venus is in Fomalhaut, so she is deeply romantic and idealistic at heart, maybe she seeks salvation in her young, placid, but most importantly patient male escort. As a team they rather balance each other out, but you can see their relationship can so easily fall into unhealthy co-dependance where he is neutered by her overpowering dominance and dependence on her financial support and mothering and she feels like nothing without his adoration and devotion.
I noticed the orb for Cybele seems to be wider that most asteroids maybe due to its size and orbital period. So I would give it 3 degrees. Cybele can manifest in a variety of ways. In a man the most negative can be seen in someone like Jimmy Saville who worshipped his mother to such an extent that he lived with her until she died. He was a confirmed bachelor and no other woman could match up to her. He had Cybele square his Venus/Ceres conjunction. Otherwise this could indicate a man who adores his mother but never really grows up or leaves home. I know a few situations like this where the son ends up acting as the elderly mothers manservant, driving her around and being her carer, of course regular relationships will suffer and these subjects will often remain unmarried.
Cybele harmoniously aspected in a man’s chart can just be fascination with exotic, foreign women who are in touch with their wild, earthy side. But in hard aspect they may find these lionesses too frightening and emasculating for them. Moon conjunct Cybele is a good example, but can be a mix of both hard and soft attributes. In a woman one of two things can happen, they may be attracted to quite placid, feminine men or conversely foreign men of a different race and creed. I have noticed females with harmonious Cybele/Moon greatly admire their mother who becomes a strong role model for them.
It all depends on what planets Cybele is in aspect to because like Ceres there a dark side to Cybele coming from the wild perchance to Dionysian revelling that can show addiction problems. With Cybele, as shown in the discovery chart, there can be problems managing anger too. I have found a few violent alcoholics (Sun conjunct Cybele) here and spouses who are attracted to dangerous relationships. This seems most noticeable when Cybele is in hard aspect to Mars, Ceres, Lilith or Pluto. I think Cybele is a very interesting and unusual archetype, she is complex though and quite hard to read in a chart as to how it will play out. Where she falls in your chart is the area of your life where you need to release your wild, exotic, loud and frenzied side. Cage this big cat at your peril!
Find Asteroid Iris in Your Chart
1. Create your chart HERE.
2. Choose “Extended Chart Selection”.
3. In “additional asteroids or hypothetical planets”, add 65.
1. Roller, Lynn Emrich (1999). In Search of God the Mother: The Cult of Anatolian Cybele. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press. pp. 69ff.
* The irritation triangle is comprised of an opposition, a quincunx and a semi-sextile. The subject is being constantly stimulated to seek release for the blockage of energy flow. They are painfully aware that they need to liberate the tension within themselves.