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Symbols - What does heaven look like


The word cymbal is derived from the Latin cymbalum, which is the latinisation of the Greek word κύμβαλον (kumbalon), which in turn derives from κύμβος (kumbos), "cup". So in this complex bit of analysis we can see that a cymbal has the same symbolism as a Chalice or cup.

Looking at a modern day cymbal one would be forgiven for wondering why this flat and noisy musical instrument could be called a cup, but when the cymbal was first used and its symbolism first evolved, a Cymbal looked nothing like the cymbals used today.

Ancient cymbals were tuned. They were small, cup shaped and more like small hand-bells. Again, the bell shape would have had symbolic significance, the cymbal was also symbolically a bell.  They were not struck full against each other, but by one of their edges, and the note produced from them was much higher in comparison because they were thicker and smaller. Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet calls for two pairs of cymbals, modelled on some old Pompeian instruments no larger than the hand (some are no larger than a crown piece), and tuned to F and B flat. The modern instruments descended from this line are actually called crotales.

So the Cymbal derives some of its symbolism from its use as a musical instrument, and some from its bell or cup shape.



There are claims on various websites that the word “cymbal” comes from the name of Cybele, the Greek goddess “of the fertile Earth, of caverns and mountains, walls and fortresses, nature and wild animals (especially lions and bees)”. But it is more likely to have been the other way round.





Huge numbers of both men and women participated in the Mystery religions and some managed to go through the entire spiritual path and end up as 'gods' and 'goddesses'. The ceremonies used sexual stimulation methods [though not exclusively so]. They also appear to have used drumming.


Clement of Alexandria – Exhortation to the Greeks, 2.11-24; 12.118-20
I ate from the drum
I drank from the cymbal
I carried the sacred dish
I stole into the bridal chamber

So from this little snippet we know that 'beheading' in its symbolic sense was also expected and as such the ceremonies could involve rebirth in order to progress along the path. In this context, the cymbla is equivalent symbolically to the Dish or platter.  Cybele just happened to be another successful candidate. She subsequently became the equivalent of a hierophant helping others on the path, as is witnessed by her successful initiation of Attis.

Attis (Greek: Ἄττις or Ἄττης) was a human being who achieved 'god' status with the help of Cybele. He followed the by now familiar pattern of a god who was symbolically 'castrated' - see Castration. The spiritual path described for him includes 'death and resurrection' - a rebirth experience. There are also hints that the means by which this was achieved were via kundalini energy and the pineal gland.

In 2007, in the ruins of Herculaneum a wooden throne was discovered adorned with a relief of Attis beneath a sacred pine tree, gathering cones.”

In one of the more horrific literal interpretations of a symbolic act, when Cybele became a cult figure in Rome, much later, the temples were filled with eunuchs and the ceremonies involved literal castration of the initiates.


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