14. Ῥέας, θυμίαμα ἀρώματα.
To Rhea, the Great Goddess
Divine medium: aromatics
Πότνα Ῥέα, θύγατερ πολυμόρφου Πρωτογόνοιο,
Queen Rhea, first-born Daughter of many embodiments,
ἥτ’ ἐπὶ ταυροφόνων ἱερότροχον ἅρμα τιταίνεις,
Who drives the bull-slaying, holy, wheeling Titan chariot,
τυμπανόδουπε, φιλοιστρομανές, χαλκόκροτε κούρη,
Tympanum-drumming lover of inspired wisdom, brass-clanging daughter,
μῆτερ Ζηνὸς ἄνακτος Ὀλυμπίου, αἰγιόχοιο,
Mother of Zenos, ruler of Olympos, the Aegean ox,
πάντιμ', ἀγλαόμορφε, Κρόνου σύλλεκτρε μάκαιρα,
All-honored, gloriously-embodied, Kronos’ blessed bed companion,
οὔρεσιν ἣ χαίρεις θνητῶν τ' ὀλολύγμασι φρικτοῖς,
Mountain-dwelling, rejoicing with mortals in loud, hair-raising cries,
παμβασίλεια Ῥέα, πολεμόκλονε, ὀμβριμόθυμε,
All-Basileia, Rhea, war-raging, powerfully-impassioned,
ψευδομένη σώτειρα, λυτηριάς, ἀρχιγένεθλε·
Deceptively powerful savior, releasing the foundation of birth,
μήτηρ μέν τε θεῶν ἠδὲ θνητῶν ἀνθρώπων·
Steadfast Mother to immortals and mortal humans,
ἐκ σοῦ γὰρ καὶ γαῖα καὶ οὐρανὸς εὐρὺς ὕπερθεν
Daughter of Gaia and o’er-arching Ouranos,
καὶ πόντος πνοαί τε φιλόδρομε, ἀερόμορφε·
While Pontos breathes a loving course formed in air.
ἐλθέ, μάκαιρα θεά, σωτήριος, εὔφρονι βουλῆι,
Come, blessed Goddess, savior, wise counselor,
εἰρήνην κατάγουσα σὺν εὐόλβοις κτεάτεσσιν,
Bestow the peace of Eirene together with good, whole life attainment,
λύματα καὶ κῆρας πέμπουσ' ἐπὶ τέρματα γαίης.
Send defilement and destruction to the ends of the earth.
Potna is a title of honor addressed to women and Goddesses, i.e. Queen, revered. Basileia means ruler.
Rhea (Ῥεία, Ῥέα, Ῥείη, Ῥέη) means “flow.” Rhea is also known as the “Great Goddess” and the “Great Mother (Magna Mater).”
By Kronos, God of Time, Rhea is the immortal Mother of the Olympian Goddesses and Gods. Rhea is identified with Kybele (Κύβέλη), the Phrygian (modern Turkey) Mother of the Goddesses and Gods; literally: pregnancy (Κύ) + base (βέ) + loosen (λη).
Nonnos calls Rhea “The Dispenser of the eternal universe, the first sown Beginning of the [Goddesses and G]ods, the Allmother…”
Protogonoio (Πρωτογόνοιο) means first born, or first to give birth to.
In Thrace, Rhea’s worship was universal, with her image appearing on coins throughout Phrygia.
Strabo reports that the Phrygians and Trojans called Rhea the Great Goddess:
“But as for…the Phrygians in general, and those of the Trojans who live round Ida, they too hold Rhea in honor and worship her with orgies, calling her Mother of the [Goddesses and G]ods and…the Great Goddess, and also…Cybele and Cybebe.”
Zenos is another name for Zeus, the immortal God of lightning storms and the spark of fire/spark of life.
Strabo describes Rhea’s attempt to conceal the birth of Zeus from Kronos, who was swallowing his children immediately after their birth. She did so by disguising her travail and the infant’s cries with the Curetes’ uproarious rites:
“In Crete… the mythical story of the birth of Zeus; in this they introduced Cronus as accustomed to swallow his children immediately after their birth, and Rhea as trying to keep her travail secret and, when the child was born, to get it out of the way and save its life by every means in her power; and to accomplish this it is said that she took as helpers the Curetes, who, by surrounding the [G]oddess with tambourines and similar noisy instruments and with war-dance and uproar, were supposed to strike terror into Cronus and without his knowledge to steal his child away…”
Nonnos also speaks to Rhea’s association with the Curetes and Corybantes:
“In all European countries Rhea was conceived to be accompanied by the Curetes, who are inseparably connected with the birth and bringing up of Zeus in Crete, and in Phrygia by the Corybantes…The Corybantes were her enthusiastic priests, who with drums, cymbals, horns, and in full armour, performed their orgiastic dances in the forests and on the mountains of Phrygia.”
A tympanum is a frame drum, tambourine, used especially in the worship of the Rhea-Cybele, the Great Mother (Magna Mater).
Strabo describes the use of drums in the worship of Rhea-Kybele and says that Pindar comments on the similarity to the rites of Dionysos:
“To perform the prelude in thy honor, great Mother, the whirling of cymbals is at hand, and among them, also, the clanging of castanets, and the torch that blazeth beneath the tawny pine-trees, he (Pindar) bears witness to the common relationship between the rites exhibited in the worship of Dionysus among the Greeks and those in the worship of the Mother of the [Goddesses and G]ods among the Phrygians, for he makes these rites closely akin to one another.”
“Who drives the Titan chariot.” Rhea is often depicted as riding on a lion or in a chariot drawn by lions or accompanied by lions. This is consistent with the August-September constellation Virgo (the Independent Lady) led across the sky by the constellation Leo (the Lion). Virgo appears at a particularly fruitful time in the harvest season.
Rhea is a Titan, a child of Gaia (earth) and Ouranos (sky). Titain (τιταίν) means stretch.
Olympos is a mountain in Greece considered to be the home of the Olympian deities.
The Aegean Sea connects Greece and Anatolia/Turkey.
The ox is the male stud animal of the herd kept for breeding.
Kronos is the immortal God of time.
“Loosening the foundation of birth” is likely a reference to menstruation and parturition.
Gaia is the immortal Goddess of generative earth.
Ouranos is the immortal God of the sky.
Pontos is the immortal God of the sea.
Eirene is the immortal Goddess of peace.
 Nonnos, Dionysiaca IX.220.
 Strabo 10.3.12. ed. H. L. Jones, The Geography of Strabo. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, Ltd. 1924.
 Strabo 10.3.10.11-12.
 Geography 10.3.13 http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0198%3Abook%3D10
 Map of Aegean Sea. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegean_Sea#mediaviewer/File:Aegean_Sea_map.png