Like the Curetes, Dactyli, Telchines and Cabeiri, however, they represent primitive gods of procreative significance, who survived in the historic period as subordinate deities associated with a form of the Great Mother goddess, their relation to the Great Mother of the Gods, Cybele, being comparable with that of Attis.
CABEIRI, in Greek mythology, a group of minor deities, of whose character and worship nothing certain is known.
The name appears to be of Phoenician origin, signifying the "great" gods, and the Cabeiri seem to have been deities of the sea who protected sailors and navigation, as such often identified with the Dioscuri, the symbol of their presence being St Elmo's fire.
Originally the Cabeiri were two in number, an older identified with Hephaestus (or Dionysus), and a younger identified with Hermes, who in the Samothracian mysteries was called Cadmilus or Casmilus.
Their cult at an early date was united with that of Demeter and Kore, with the result that two pairs of Cabeiri appeared, Hephaestus and Demeter, and Cadmilus and Kore.