So that “ receptacle ” and “ nurse ” are more proper terms for it [matter]; but “ mother ” is only used in a maimer of speaking, for matter itself brings forth nothing. But those people seem to call it “ mother ” who claim that the mother holds the position of matter in respect to her children, in that she only receives [the seed] and contributes nothing to the children,1 since all the body of the child which is born, too, comes from the food. But if the mother does contribute something to the child, it is not in so far as she is matter, but because she is also form, for only form can produce offspring, but the other nature is sterile. It was for this reason, I think, that the ancient sages, speaking in riddles secretly and in the mystery rites, make the ancient Hermes always have the organ of generation ready for its work, revealing that the intelligible formative principle is the generator of the things in the sense-world, but revealing, too, the sterility of matter which always remains the same through the eunuchs who accompany her [the Great Mother]. For when they make matter the mother of all things, they apply this title to it taking it in the sense of the principle which has the function of substrate ; they give it this name in order to declare what they wish, not wishing to make matter in every way exactly like the mother; to those who want to know more accurately in what way [it is a mother] and do not make a merely superficial investigation, they show, by a far-fetched analogy, but all the same as best they could, that matter is sterile and not in every way female but only female as far as receiving goes, but no longer when it comes to generation; they show this by making that which approaches it neither female nor able to generate, but cut off from all power of generation, which only that which remains male has.