Monday, May 30, 2011

Almonds and the Greek Myth


Agdistis was a totally awesome figure in mythology, and I'll probably move her to the goddess section soon, because she's really not so monstrous. It all started when Zeus had a wet dream and came on Gaia - that is, the ground. Gaia, fecund as we all know, got pregnant, and Agdistis soon emerged. She was born a hermaphrodite, but her bi-sexed body totally intimidated the gods, who feared that her body made her so powerful that she'd take over the world. So they cut off her penis. They buried it in the ground and it grew into an almond tree (think about THAT the next time you eat a handful of almonds) and the daughter of the Sangarius river came along and, according to Pausanias, put one of the almonds between her breasts (whatever floats your boat ...). Although this may seem a little unorthodox, the almond disappeared and - surprise surprise - Nana (the nymph) found out that she was pregnant. She had a child named Attis - who grew up to be a major hottie, and then Agdistis fell in love with him. Agdistis, apparently, was still pretty intimidating, and Attis' relatives weren't down with her, so they sent him off to marry a princess, but Agdistis showed up at the wedding in true romantic style. The only thing is, when she stood up to say, "Wait! You can't marry that girl, I love you!" (or whatever), instead of everything working out happily ever after, Attis went completely nuts. He ran into the wilderness and castrated himself and, as this story goes, bled to death. His spirit entered a pine tree, but Agdistis was less worried about the soul, and more worried about the body, and she asked Zeus if he could preserve the body eternally for her. It's a little kinky, if you ask me, but as we all know, Zeus is down with kink, so he agreed and they put the body in a tomb in the sanctuary of Cybele (Rhea). Eventually, Agdistis became an epithet of Cybele's. There were ceremonies replaying the whole Attis myth every year, and I hope to get the whole Attis myth in theMyth Pages one of these days. 

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