Axiéros is the great goddess who was venerated at the Samothrace Temple Complex. Samothrace (literally Thracian Samos) is a large island off the coast of Thrace. Greek colonists began arriving in 700 BCE, but until the first century CE Thracian was the popular language of the island.
Samothrace was the center of shamanic Mysteries associated with the Cabeiri. Little information survives (it was, after all, a mystery). In its day the shrine at Samothrace was as famous as Eleusis. (
Demeter.) Alexander the Great’s father allegedly met his mother, Olympius, here. The historian Herodotus was an initiate. Veneration at the temple complexofficially continued until the fourth century CE, although there is report of Pagan activity until approximately 600 CE.
Greeks identified Axiéros with Demeter, which may imply that she presided over the Mysteries of Samothrace just as Demeter presided over Eleusis. (The only surviving information derives from Greek sources; what Thracians thought is now unknown.) Others theorize that Axiéros is another name for Kybele, but this is all speculation.
Axiéros was closely identified with stones and minerals. Sacrifices and offerings were made to her atop sacred rocks. She was identified with lodestones, magnetic iron ore, understood as sharing her essence. Initiates to her Mysteries wore rings carved from lodestones. Such rings have been found in graves in the nearby necropolis.
Axiéros was venerated as part of a triad with Axiokersa, whom the Greeks identified with Persephone, and Axiokersos, identified with Hades. However, Axiokersos is sometimes described as Axiéros’ husband with Axiokersa as their daughter, which would put a different spin on the myth. They may have been a family of spirits with dominion over birth, death, and rebirth. The Greeks compared a fourth member of the Samothracian pantheon, Kadmilos, to Hermes. All four were apparently venerated together.
Her altars within the Samothrace sanctuary were formed of porphyry, purplish-red stones long considered sacred and associated with royalty.
Offerings similar to what would be given Demeter or Kybele may be appropriate.
- Arsinoë II
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.