Monday, June 20, 2022

Phallic Worship by Hargrave Jennings


Phallic Worship by Hargrave Jennings




The present somewhat slight sketch of a most interesting subject, whilst not claiming entire originality, yet embraces the cream, so to speak, of various learned works of great cost, some of which being issued for private circulation only, are almost unobtainable.

During the past few years several books have been written upon Phallicism in conjunction with other kindred matters, but not devoting themselves entirely to one ancient mystery, the writers have only partially ventilated the subject. The present work seeks to obviate this failing by confining its attention entirely to the Sex Worship or Phallicism of the ancient world.

Many of the topics have received only slight treatment, being little more than indicated; but the work will enable the reader to understand and possess the truth concerning the Phallic Worship of the Ancients.

Those who desire to know more, or to authenticate the statements and facts given in this book, should consult the large and important works of Payne Knight, Higgins, Dulaure, Rolle, Inman, and other writers.

It was intended to give with this volume a list of works and miscellaneous pieces written on the subject, but the length of the list prevented its being added.


Sex Worship has prevailed among all peoples of ancient times, sometimes contemporaneous and often mixed with Star, Serpent, and Tree Worship. The powers of nature were sexualised and endowed with the same feelings, passions, and performing the same functions as human beings.

Among the ancients, whether the Sun, the Serpent, or the Phallic Emblem was worshipped, the idea was the same—the veneration of the generative principle. Thus we find a close relationship between the various mythologies of the ancient nations, and by a comparison of the creeds, ideas, and symbols, can see that they spring from the same source, namely, the worship of the forces and operations of nature, the original of which was doubtless Sun worship. It is not necessary to prove that in primitive times the Sun must have been worshipped under various names, and venerated as the Creator, Light, Source of Life, and the Giver of Food.

In the earliest times the worship of the generative power was of the most simple and pure character, rude in manner, primitive in form, pure in idea, the homage of man to the supreme power, the Author of life.

Afterwards the worship became more depraved, a religion of feeling, sensuous bliss, corrupted by a priesthood who were not slow to take advantage of this state of affairs, and inculcated with it profligate and mysterious ceremonies, union of gods with women, religious prostitution and other degrading rites. Thus it was not long before the emblems lost their pure and simple meaning and became licentious statues and debased objects.

Hence we have the depraved ceremonies at the worship of Bacchus, who became, not only the representative of the creative power, but the God of pleasure and licentiousness.

The corrupted religion always found eager votaries, willing to be captives to a pleasant bondage by the impulse of physical bliss, as was the case in India and Egypt, and among the Phœnicians, Babylonians, Jews and other nations.

Sex worship once personified became the supreme and governing deity, enthroned as the ruling God over all; dissent therefrom was impious and punished. The priests of the worship compelled obedience; monarchs complied to the prevailing faith and became willing devotees to the shrines of Isis and Venus on the one hand, and of Bacchus and Priapus on the other, by appealing to the most animating passion of nature.


This is the worship of the reproductive powers, the sexual appointments revered as the emblems of the Creator. The one male, the active creative power; the other the female or passive power; ideas which were represented by various emblems in different countries.

 These emblems were of a pure and sacred character, and used at a time when the prophets and priests spoke plain speech, understood by a rude and primitive people; although doubtless by the common people the emblems were worshipped themselves, even as at the present day in Roman Catholic countries the more ignorant, in many cases, actually worship the images and pictures themselves, while to the higher and more intelligent minds they are only symbols of a hidden object of worship. In the same manner, the concealed meaning or hidden truth was to the ignorant and rude people of early times entirely unknown, while the priests and the more learned kept studiously concealed the meaning of the ceremonies and symbols. Thus, the primitive idea became mixed with profligate, debased ceremonies, and lascivious rites, which in time caused the more pure part of the worship to be forgotten. But Phallicism is not to be judged from these sacred orgies, any more than Christianity from the religious excitement and wild excesses of a few Christian sects during the Middle Ages.

In a work on the “Worship of the Generative Powers during the Middle Ages,” the writer traces the superstition westward, and gives an account of its prevalence throughout Southern and Western Europe during that period.

The worship was very prevalent in Italy, and was invariably carried by the Romans into the countries they conquered, where they introduced their own institutions and forms of worship. Accordingly, in Britain have been found numerous relics and remains; and many of our ancient customs are traced to a Phallic origin. “When we cross over to Britain,” says the writer, “we find this worship established no less firmly and extensively in that island; statuettes of Priapus, Phallic bronzes, pottery covered with obscene pictures, are found wherever there are any extensive remains of Roman occupation, as our antiquaries know well. The numerous Phallic figures in bronze found in England are perfectly identical in character with those that occur in France and Italy.”

All antiquaries of any experience know the great number of obscene subjects which are met with among the fine red pottery which is termed Samian ware, found so abundantly in all Roman sites in our island. “They represent erotic scenes, in every sense of the word, with figures of Priapus and Phallic emblems.”


The Phallus, or Lingam, which stood for the image of the male organ, or emblem of creation, has been worshipped from time immemorial. Payne Knight describes it as of the greatest antiquity, and as having prevailed in Egypt and all over Asia.

The women of the former country carried in their religious processions, a movable Phallus of disproportionate magnitude, which Deodorus Siculus informs us signified the generative attribute. It has also been observed among the idols of the native Americans and ancient Scandinavians, while the Greeks represented the Phallus alone, and changed the personified attribute into a distinct deity, called Priapus.

Phallus, or privy member (membrum virile), signifies, “he breaks through, or passes into.” This word survives in German pfahl, and pole in English. Phallus is supposed to be of Phœnician origin, the Greek word pallo, or phallo, “to brandish preparatory to throwing a missile,” is so near in assonance and meaning to Phallus, that one is quite likely to be parent of the other. In Sanskrit it can be traced to phal, “to burst,” “to produce,” “to be fruitful”; then, again, phal is “a ploughshare,” and is also the name of Siva and Mahadeva, who are Hindu deities. Phallus, then, was the ancient emblem of creation: a divinity who was companion to Bacchus.

The Indian designation of this idol was Lingam, and those who dedicated themselves to its service were to observe inviolable chastity. “If it were discovered,” says Crawford, “that they had in any way departed from them, the punishment is death. They go naked, and being considered as sanctified persons, the women approach without scruple, nor is it thought that their modesty should be offended by it.”


The Phallus and its emblems were representative of the gods Bacchus, Priapus, Hercules, Siva, Osiris, Baal, and Asher, who were all Phallic deities. The symbols were used as signs of the great creative energy or operating power of God from no sense of mere animal appetite, but in the highest reverence. Payne Knight, describing the emblems, says:—

“Forms and ceremonials of a religion are not always to be understood in their direct and obvious sense, but are to be considered as symbolical representations of some hidden meaning extremely wise and just, though the symbols themselves, to those who know not their true signification, may appear in the highest degree absurd and extravagant. It has often happened that avarice and superstition have continued these symbolical representations for ages after their original meaning has been lost and forgotten; they must, of course, appear nonsensical and ridiculous, if not impious and extravagant. Such is the case with the rite now under consideration, than which nothing can be more monstrous and indecent, if considered in its plain and obvious meaning, or as part of the Christian worship; but which will be found to be a very natural symbol of a very natural and philosophical system of religion, if considered according to its original use and intention.”

The natural emblems were those which from their character were most suitable representatives; such as poles, pillars, stones, which were sacred to Hindu, Egyptian, and Jewish divinities.

Blavalsky gives an account of the Bimlang Stone, to be found at Narmada and other places, which is sacred to the Hindu deity Siva; these emblem stones were anointed, like the stone consecrated by the Patriarch Jacob.

Blavalsky further says that these stones are “identical in shape, meaning, and purpose with the ‘pillars’ set up by the several patriarchs to mark their adoration of the Lord God. In fact, one of these patriarchal lithoi might even now be carried in the Sivaitic processions of Calcutta without its Hebrew derivation being suspected.”


The Pole was an emblem of the Phallus, and with the serpent upon it, was a representative of its divine wisdom and symbol of life. The serpent upon the tree is the same in character, both are representative of the tree of life. The story of Moses will well illustrate this, when he erected in the wilderness this effigy, which stood as a sign of hope and life, as the cross is used by the Catholics of the present day; the cross then, as now, being simply an emblem of the Creator, used as a token of resurrection or regeneration. Æsculapius, as the restorer of health, has a rod or Phallus with a serpent entwined.

The Rev. M. Morris has shown that the raising of the May-pole is of Phallic origin, the remains of a custom of India or Egypt, and is typical of the fructifying powers of spring.

The May festival was carried on with great licentiousness by the Romans, and was celebrated by nearly all peoples as the month consecrated to Love. The May-day in England was the scene of riotous enjoyment, very nearly approaching to the Roman Floralia. No wonder the Puritans looked upon the May-pole as a relic of Paganism, and in their writings may be gleaned much of the licentious character of the festival.

Philip Stubbes, a Puritan writer in the reign of Elizabeth, thus describes a May-day in England: “Every parishe, towne, and village assemble themselves together, bothe men, women, and children, olde and younge even indifferently; and either goyng all together, or devidyng themselves into companies, they go some to the woods and groves, some to one place, some to another, where thei spend all the night in pleasant pastymes; and in the mornyng they returne, bryngyng with them birch bowes and branches of trees, to deck their assemblies withall.... But their cheerest jewell thei bryng from thence is their Maie pole, whiche thei bryng home with great veneration, as thus: thei have twentie or fortie yoke of oxen, every oxe havyng a sweet nosegaie of flowers placed on the tippe of his hornes, and these oxen drawe home this Maie pole (this stinckyng idoll rather), which is covered all over with flowers and hearbes, bound rounde aboute with strynges from the top to the bottome, and sometyme painted with variable colours, with two or three hundred men, women, and children, followyng it with great devotion. And thus beyng reared up, with handekerchiefes and flagges streamyng on the top, thei strawe the grounde aboute, binde greene boughes aboute it, sett up sommer haules, bowers, and arbours hard by it. And then fall thei to banquet and feast, to leape and daunce aboute it, as the heathen people did at the dedication of their idols, whereof this is a perfect patterne, or rather the thyng itself.”

The ceremony was almost identical with the Roman festival, where the Phallus was introduced with garlands. Both were attended with the same licentiousness, for Stubbes gives a further account of the depravity attending the festivities.


Another type of emblem was the stone pillar, remains of which still exist in the British Isles. These pillars or so called crosses generally consist of a shaft of granite with a carved head. In the West of England crosses are very common, standing in the market and receiving the name of “The Cross.”

These stone pillars were first erected in honour of the Phallic deity, and on the introduction of Christianity were not destroyed, but consecrated to the new faith, doubtless to honour the prejudices of the people. These monolisks abound in the Highlands, they are stones set up on end, some twenty-four or thirty feet high, others higher or lower and this sometimes where no such stones are to be quarried.

We learn that the Bacchus of the Thebans was a pillar. The Assyrian Nebo was represented by a plain pillar, consecrated by anointing with oil. Arnobius gives an account of this practice, as also does Theophrastus, who speaks of it as a custom for a superstitious man, when he passed by these anointed stones in the streets to take out a phial of oil and pour it upon them and having fallen on his knees to make his adorations, and so depart.

In various parts of the Bible the Pillar is referred to as of a sacred character, as in Isaiah xix. 19, 20, “In that day shall there be an altar to Jehovah in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to Jehovah, and it should be for a sign and a witness to the Lord.”

The Orphic Temples were doubtless emblems of the same principle of the mystic faiths of the ancients, the same as the Round Towers of Ireland, a history of which was collected by O’Brien, who describes the Towers as “Temples constructed by the early Indian colonists of the country in honour of the Fructifying principle of nature, emanating as was supposed from the Sun, or the deity of desire instrumental in that principle of universal generativeness diffused throughout all nature.”

According to the same author these towers were very ancient, and of Phœnician origin, as similar towers have been found in Phœnicia. “The Irish themselves,” says O’Brien, “designated them ‘Bail-toir,’ that is the tower of Baal. Baal was the name of the Phallic deity, and the priest who attended them ‘Aoi Bail-toir’ or superintendent of Baal tower.” This Baal was worshipped wherever the Phœnicians went, and was represented by a pillar or stone or similar objects. The stone that Jacob set up, and anointed as a rallying place for worship, became afterwards an object of worship to the Phœnicians.

The earliest navigators of the world were the Phœnicians, they founded colonies and extended their commerce first to the isles of the Mediterranean, from thence to Spain, and then to the British Isles. Historians have accorded to them the settlements of the most remote localities. They formed settlements in Cyprus, and Atticum, according to Josephus, was the principal settlement of the Tyrians upon this island. Strabo’s testimony is, that the Phœnicians, even before Homer, had possessed themselves of the best part of Spain.

Where the Phœnicians settled, there they introduced their religion, and it is in these countries we find the remains of ancient stone and pillar worship.


Loggin stones are by Payne Knight considered as Phallic emblems. “Their remains,” he says, “are still extant, and appear to have been composed of a crone set into the ground, and another placed upon the point of it and so nicely balanced that the wind could move it, though so ponderous that no human force, unaided by machinery, can displace it; whence they are called ‘logging rocks’ and ‘pendre stones,’ as they were anciently ‘living stones’ and ‘stones of God,’ titles which differ very little in meaning from that on the Tyrian coins. Damascius saw several of them in the neighbourhood of Heliopolis or Baalbeck, in Syria, particularly one which was then moved by the wind; and they are equally found in the Western extremities of Europe and the Eastern extremities of Asia, in Britain, and in China.”

Bryant mentions it as very usual among the Egyptians to place with much labour one vast stone upon another for a religious memorial.

Such immense masses, being moved by causes seeming so inadequate, must naturally have conveyed the idea of spontaneous motion to ignorant observers, and persuaded them that they were animated by an emanation of the vital spirit, whence they were consulted as oracles, the responses of which could always be easily obtained by interpreting the different oscillatory movements into nods of approbation or dissent.

Phallic emblems abounded at Heliopolis in Syria, and many other places, even in modern times. A physician, writing to Dr. Inman, says: “I was in Egypt last winter (1865-66), and there certainly are numerous figures of gods and kings, on the walls of the temple at Thebes, depicted with the male genital erect. The great temple at Karnak is, in particular, full of such figures, and the temple of Danclesa likewise, though that is of much later date, and built merely in imitation of old Egyptian art. The same inspiring bas-reliefs are pointed out by Ezek. 18xxiii. 14. I remember one scene of a king (Rameses II) returning in triumph with captives, many of whom were undergoing the process of castration.”

Obelisks were also representative of the same emblem. Payne Knight mentions several terminating in a cross, which had exactly the appearance of one of those crosses erected in churchyards and at cross roads for the adoration of devout persons, when devotions were more prevalent than at present. Stones, pillars, obelisks, stumps of trees, upright stones have all the same signification, and are means by which the male element was symbolised.


The Triune idea is to be found in the system of almost every nation. All have their Trinity in Unity, three in one, which can be distinctly recognised in the cross. The Triad is the male or triple, the constitution of the three persons of most sacred Trinity forming the Triune system. In the analysis of the subject by Rawlinson, we find the Trinity consisted of Asshur or Asher, associated with Anu and Hea or Hoa. Asshur, the supreme god of the Assyrians, represents the Phallus or central organ or the Linga, the membrum virile. The cognomen Anu was given to the right testis, while that of Hea designated the left.

It was only natural that Asshur being deified, his appendages should be deified also. “Beltus,” says Inman, “was the goddess associated with them, the four together made up Arba or Arba-il, the four great gods,” the Trinity in Unity. The idea thus broached receives great confirmation when we examine the particular stress laid in ancient times respecting the right and left side of the body in connection with the Triad names given to offspring mentioned in the scriptures with the titles given to Anu and Hea. The male or active principle was typified by the idea of “solidity” and “firmness,” and the females or passive by the principles of “water,” “softness,” and other feminine principles. Thus the goddess Hea was associated with water, and according to Forlong, the Serpent, the ruler of the Abyss, was sometimes represented to be the great Hea, without whom there was no creation or life, and whose godhead embraced also the female element water.

Rawlinson also gives a similar conclusion, and states as far as he could determine the third divinity or left side was named Hea, and he considered this deity to correspond to Neptune. Neptune was the presiding deity of the deep, ruler of the abyss, and king of the rivers. As Darwin and his coadjutors teach, mankind, in common with all animal life, originally sprung from the sea; so physiology teaches that each individual had origin in a pond of water. The fruit of man is both solid and fluid. It was natural to imagine that the two male appendages had a distinct duty, that one formed the infant, the other water in which it lived, that one generated the male, the other the female offspring; and the inference was then drawn that water must be feminine, the emblem of all possible powers of creation.

It will be seen that the names and signification of the gods and their attributes had no ideal meaning. Thus in Genesis xxx. 13, we find Asher given as a personality, which signifies “to be straight,” “upright,” “fortunate,” “happy.” Asher was the supreme god of the Assyrians, the Vedic Mahadeva, the emblem of the human male structure and creative energy. The same idea of the creator is still to be seen in India, Egypt, Phœnicia, the Mediterranean, Europe, and Denmark, depicted on stone relics.

To a rude and ignorant people, enslaved with such a religion, it was an easy step from the crude to the more refined sign, from the offensive to a more pictured and less obnoxious symbol, from the plain and self-evident to the mixed, disguised, and mystified, from the unclothed privy member to the cross.


The Triad, or Trinity, has been traced to Phœnicia, Egypt, Japan, and India; the triple deities Asshur, Anu, and Hea forming the “tau.” This mark of the Christians, Greeks, and Hebrews became the sign or type of the deities representing the Phallic trinity, and in time became the figure of the cross. It is remarked by Payne Knight that “The male organs of generation are sometimes found represented by signs of the same sort, which properly should be called the symbol of symbols. One of the most remarkable of these is a cross, in the form of the letter (T), which thus served as the emblem of creation and generation before the Church adopted it as a sign of salvation.”

Another writer says, “Reverse the position of the triple deities Asshur, Anu, Hea, and we have the figure of the ancient ‘tau’ of the Christians, Greeks, and ancient Hebrews. It is one of the oldest conventional forms of the cross. It is also met with in Gallic, Oscan, Arcadian, Etruscan, original Egyptian, Phœnician, Ethiopic, and Pelasgian forms. The Ethiopic form of the ‘tau’ is the exact prototype and image of the cross, or rather, to state the fact in order of merit and time, the cross is made in the exact image of the Ethiopic ‘tau.’ The fig-leaf, having three lobes to it, became a symbol of the triad. As the male genital organs were held in early times to exemplify the actual male creative power, various natural objects were seized upon to express the theistic idea, and at the same time point to those parts of the human form. Hence, a similitude was recognised in a pillar, a heap of stones, a tree between two rocks, a club between two pine cones, a trident, a thyrsus tied round with two ribbons with the two ends pendant, a thumb and two fingers, the caduceus. Again, the conspicuous part of the sacred triad Asshur is symbolised by a single stone placed upright—the stump of a tree, a block, a tower, spire, minaret, pole, pine, poplar, or palm tree, while eggs, apples, or citrons, plums, grapes, and the like represented the remaining two portions, altogether called Phallic emblems. Baal-Shalisha is a name which seems designed to perpetuate the triad, since it signifies ‘my Lord the Trinity,’ or ‘my God is three.’”

We must not omit to mention other Phallic emblems, such as the bull, the ram, the goat, the serpent, the torch, fire, a knobbed stick, the crozier; and still further personified, as Bacchus, Priapus, Dionysius, Hercules, Hermes, Mahadeva, Siva, Osiris, Jupiter, Moloch, Baal, Asher, and others.

If Ezekiel is to be credited, the triad, T, as Asshur, Anu, and Hea, was made of gold and silver, and was in his day not symbolically used, but actually employed; for he bluntly says “whoredom was committed with the images of men,” or, as the marginal note has it, images of “a male” (Ezek. xvi. 17). It was with this god-mark—a cross in the form of the letter T—that Ezekiel was directed to stamp the foreheads of the men of Judæa who feared the Lord (Ezek. ix. 4).

That the cross, or crucifix, has a sexual origin we determine by a similar rule of research to that by which comparative anatomists determine the place and habits of an animal by a single tooth. The cross is a metaphoric tooth which belongs to an antique religious body physical, and that essentially human. A study of some of the earliest forms of faith will lift the veil and explain the mystery.

India, China, and Egypt have furnished the world with a genus of religion. Time and culture have divided and modified it into many species and countless varieties. However much the imagination was allowed to play upon it, the animus of that religion was sexuality—worship of the generative principle of man and nature, male and female. The cross became the emblem of the male feature, under the term of the triad—three in one. The female was the unit; and, joined to the male triad, constituted a sacred four. Rites and adoration were sometimes paid to the male, sometimes to the female, or to the two in one.

So great was the veneration of the cross among the ancients that it was carried as a Phallic symbol in the religious processions of the Egyptians and Persians. Higgins also describes the cross as used from the earliest times of Paganism by the Egyptians as a banner, above which was carried the device of the Egyptian cities.

The cross was also used by the ancient Druids, who held it as a sacred emblem. In Egypt it stood for the signification of eternal life. Schedeus describes it as customary for the Druids “to seek studiously for an oak tree, large and handsome, growing up with two principal arms in the form of a cross, besides the main stem upright. If the two horizontal arms are not sufficiently adapted to the figure, they fasten a cross-beam to it. This tree they consecrate in this manner: Upon the right branch they cut in the bark, in fair characters, the word ‘Hesus’; upon the middle, or upright stem, the word ‘Taranius’; upon the left branch ‘Belenus’; over this, above the going off of the arms, they cut the name of the god Thau; under all, the same repeated, Thau.”


There is in Hindostan an emblem of great sanctity, which is known as the “Linga-Yoni.” It consists of a simple pillar in the centre of a figure resembling the outline of a conical ear-ring. It is expressive of the female genital organ both in shape and idea. The Greek letter “Delta” is also expressive of it, signifying the door of a house.

Yoni is of Sanskrit origin. Yanna, or Yoni, means (1) the vulva, (2) the womb, (3) the place of birth, (4) origin, (5) water, (6) a mine, a hole, or pit. As Asshur and Jupiter were the representatives of the male potency, so Juno and Venus were representatives of the female attribute. Moore, in his “Oriental Fragments,” says: “Oriental writers have generally spelled the word, ‘Yoni,’ which I prefer to write ‘IOni.’ As Lingam 24was the vocalised cognomen of the male organ, or deity, so IOni was that of hers.” Says R. P. Knight: “The female organs of generation were revered as symbols of the generative powers of nature or of matter, as those of the male were of the generative powers of God. They are usually represented emblematically by the shell Concha Veneris, which was therefore worn by devout persons of antiquity, as it still continues to be by the pilgrims of many of the common people of Italy” (“On the worship of Priapus,” p. 28).

If Asshur, the conspicuous feature of the male Creator, is supplied with types and representative figures of himself, so the female feature is furnished with substitutes and typical imagery of herself.

One of these is technically known as the sistrum of Isis. It is the virgin’s symbol. The bars across the fenestrum, or opening, are bent so that they cannot be taken out, and indicate that the door is closed. It signifies that the mother is still virgo intacta—a truly immaculate female—if the truth can be strained to so denominate a mother. The pure virginity of the Celestial Mother was a tenet of faith for 2,000 years before the accepted Virgin Mary now adored was born. We might infer that Solomon was acquainted with the figure of the sistrum, when he said, “A garden enclosed is my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed” (Song of Sol. iv. 12). The sistrum, we are told, was only used in the worship of Isis, to drive away Typhon (evil).

The Argha is a contrite form, or boat-shaped dish or plate used as a sacrificial cup in the worship of Astarte, Isis, and Venus. Its shape portrays its own significance. The Argha and crux ansata were often seen on Egyptian monuments, and yet more frequently on bas-reliefs.

Equivalent to Iao, or the Lingam, we find Ab, the Father, the Trinity; Asshur, Anu, Hea, Abraham, Adam, Esau, Edom, Ach, Sol, Helios (Greek for Sun), Dionysius, Bacchus, Apollo, Hercules, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, Jupiter, Zeus, Aides, Adonis, Baal, Osiris, Thor, Oden; the cross, tower, spire, pillar, minaret, tolmen, and a host of others; while the Yoni was represented by IO, Isis, Astarte, Juno, Venus, Diana, Artemis, Aphrodite, Hera, Rhea, Cybele, Ceres, Eve, Frea, Frigga; the queen of Heaven, the oval, the trough, the delta, the door, the ark, the ship, the chasm, a ring, a lozenge, cave, hole, pit, Celestial Virgin, and a number of other names. Lucian, who was an Assyrian, and visited the temple of Dea Syria, near the Euphrates, says there are two Phalli standing in the porch with this inscription on them, “These Phalli I, Bacchus, dedicate to my step-mother Juno.”

The Papal religion is essentially the feminine, and built on the ancient Chaldean basis. It clings to the female element in the person of the Virgin Mary. Naphtali (Gen. xxx. 8) was a descendant of such worshippers, if there be any meaning in a concrete name. Bear in mind, names and pictures perpetuate the faith of many peoples. Neptoah is Hebrew for “the vulva,” and, Al or El being God, one of the unavoidable renderings of Naphtali is “the Yoni is my God,” or “I worship the Celestial Virgin.” The Philistine towns generally had names strongly connected with sexual ideas. Ashdod, aish or esh, means “fire, heat,” and dod means “love, to love,” “boiled up,” “be agitated,” the whole signifying “the heat of love,” or “the fire which impels to union.” Could not those people exclaim, Our “God is love”? (1 John iv. 8).

The amatory drift of Solomon’s song is undisguised, though the language is dressed in the habiliments of seeming decency. The burden of thought of most of it bears direct reference to the Linga-Yoni. He makes a woman say, “He shall lie all night betwixt my breasts” (S. of S. i. 13). Again, of the Phallus, or Linga, she says, “I will go up the palm-tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof” (vii. 8). Palm-tree and boughs are euphemisms of the male genitals.


The nations surrounding the Jews practising the Phallic rites and worshipping the Phallic deities, it is not to be supposed that the Jews escaped their influence. It is indeed certain that the worship of the Phallics was a great and important part of the Hebrew worship.

This will be the more plainly seen when we bear in mind the importance given to circumcision as a covenant between God and man. Another equally suggestive custom among the Patriarchs was the act of taking the oath, or making a sacred promise, which is commented upon by Dr. Ginsingburg in Kitto’s Cyclopædia. He says: “Another primitive custom which obtained in the patriarchal age was, that the one who took the oath put his hand under the thigh of the adjurer (Gen. xxiv. 2, and xlvii. 29). This practice evidently arose from the fact that the genital member, which is meant by the euphemistic expression thigh, was regarded as the most sacred part of the body, being the symbol of union in the tenderest relation of matrimonial life, and the seat whence all issue proceeds and the perpetuity so much coveted by the ancients. Compare Gen. xlvi. 26; Exod. i. 5; Judges vii. 30. Hence the creative organ became the symbol of the Creator, and the object of worship among all nations of antiquity. It is for this reason that God claimed it as a sign of the covenant between himself and his chosen people in the rite of circumcision. Nothing therefore could render the oath more solemn in those days than touching the symbol of creation, the sign of the covenant, and the source of that issue who may at any future period avenge the breaking a compact made with their progenitor.” From this we learn that Abraham, himself a Chaldee, had reverence for the Phallus as an emblem of the Creator. We also learn that the rite of circumcision touches Phallic or Lingasic worship. From Herodotus we are informed that the Syrians learned circumcision from the Egyptians, as did the Hebrews. Says Dr. Inman: “I do not know anything which illustrates the difference between ancient and modern times more than the frequency with which circumcision is spoken of in the sacred books, and the carefulness with which the subject is avoided now.”

The mutilation of male captives, as practised by Saul and David, was another custom among the worshippers of Baal, Asshur, and other Phallic deities. The practice was to debase the victims and render them unfit to take part in the worship and mysteries. Some idea can be formed of the esteem in which people in former times cherished the male or Phallic emblems of creative power when we note the sway that power exercised over them. If these organs were lost or disabled, the unfortunate one was unfitted to meet in the congregation of the Lord, and disqualified to minister in the holy temples. Excessive punishment was inflicted upon the person who had the temerity to injure the sacred structure. If a woman were guilty of inflicting injury, her hand was cut off without pity (Deut. xxv. 12). The great object of veneration in the Ark of the Covenant was doubtless a Phallic emblem, a symbol of the preservation of the germ of life.

In the historical and prophetic books of the Old Testament we have repeated evidence that the Hebrew worship was a mixture of Paganism and Judaism, and that Jehovah was worshipped in connection with other deities. Hezekiah is recorded in 2 Kings xviii. 3, to have “removed the high places, and broken the images, and cut down the groves (Ashera), and broken in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made, for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it.” The Ashera, or sacred groves here alluded to are named from the goddess Ashtaroth, which Dr. Smith describes as the proper name of the goddess; while Ashera is the name of the image of the goddess. Rawlinson, in his Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient World, describes Ashera to imply something that stood straight up, and probably its essential element was the stem of a tree, an analogy suggestive of the Assyrian emblem of the Tree of Life of the Scriptures. This stem, which stood for the emblem of life, was probably a pillar, or Phallus, like the Lingi of the Hindus, sometimes erected in a grove or sacred hollow, signifying the Yoni and Lingi. We read in 2 Kings xxi. 7, that Manasseh “set up a graven image in the grove,” and, according to Dr. Oort, the older reading is in 2 Chron. xxxiii. 7, 15, where it is an image or pillar. During the reigns of the Jewish kings, the worship of Baal, the Priapus of the Greeks and Romans, 29was extensively practised by the Jews. Pillars and groves were reared in his name.

In front of the Temple of Baal, in Samaria, was erected an Ashera (1 Kings xvi. 31, 32) which even survived the temple itself, for although Jehu destroyed the Temple of Baal, he allowed the Ashera to remain (2 Kings x. 18, 19; xiii. 6). Bernstein, in an important work on the origin of the legends of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, undoubtedly proves that during the monarchial period of Israel, the sanguinary wars and violent conflicts between the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel were between the Elohistic and Jehovahic faiths, kept alive by the priesthood at the chief places of worship, concerning the true patriarch, and each party manufacturing and inserting legends to give a more ancient and important part to its own faith.

It is not at all improbable that the conflict was between the two portions of the Phallic faith, the Lingam and Yoni parties. The cause of this conflict was the erection of the consecrated stones or pillars which were put up by the Hebrews as objects of Divine worship. The altar erected by Jacob at Bethel was a pillar, for according to Bernstein the word altar can only be used for the erection of a pillar. Jacob likewise set up a Matzebah, or pillar of stone, in Gilead, and finally he set one up upon the tomb of Rachel.

A great portion of the facts have been suppressed by the translators, who have given to the world histories which have glossed over the ancient rites and practices of the Jews.

An instance is given by Forlong on the important word “Rock or Stone,” a Phallic emblem to which the Jews addressed their devotions. He says, “It should not be, but I fear it is, necessary to explain to mere English readers of the Old Testament that the Stone or Rock Tsur was the real old god of all Arabs, Jews, and Phœnicians, that this would be clear to Christians were the Jewish writings translated according to the first ideas of the people and Rock used as it ought to be, instead of ‘God,’ ‘Theos,’ ‘Lord,’ etc., being written where Tsur occurs.” Numerous instances of this are given in Dr. Ort’s worship of Baal in Israel, where praises, addresses, and adorations are addressed to the Rock, instance, Deut. xxxii. 4, 18. Stone pillars were also used by the Hebrews as a memorial of a sacred covenant, for we find Jacob setting up a pillar as a witness, that he would not pass over it. Connected with this pillar worship is the ceremony of anointing by pouring oil upon the pillar, as practised by Jacob at Bethel. According to Sir W. Forbes, in his Oriental Memoirs, the “pouring of oil upon a stone is practised at this day upon many a shapeless stone throughout Hindostan.”

Toland gives a similar account of the Druids as practising the same rite, and describes many of the stones found in England as having a cavity at the top made to receive the offering. The worship of Baal like the worship of Priapus was attended with prostitution, and we find the Jews having a similar custom to the Babylonians.

Payne Knight gives the following account of it in his work: “The women of every rank and condition held it to be an indispensable duty of religion to prostitute themselves once in their lives in her temple to any stranger who came and offered money, which, whether little or much, was accepted, and applied to a sacred purpose. Women sat in the temple of Venus awaiting the selection of the stranger, who had the liberty of choosing whom he liked. A woman once seated must remain until she has been selected by a piece of silver being cast into her lap, and the rite performed outside the temple.”

Similar customs existed in Armenia, Phrygia, and even in Palestine, and were a feature of the worship of Baal Peor. The Hebrew prophets described and denounced these excesses which had the same characteristics as the rites of the Babylonian priesthood. The identical custom is referred to in 1 Sam. ii. 22, where “the sons of Eli lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.”

Words and history corroborate each other, or are apt to do so if contemporaneous. Thus kadesh, or kaesh, designate in Hebrew “a consecrated one,” and history tells the unworthy tale in descriptive plainness, as will be shown in the sequel.

That the religion was dominating and imperative is determined by Deut. xvii. 12, where presumptuous refusal to listen to the priest was death to the offender. To us it is inconceivable that the indulgence of passion could be associated with religion, but so it was. Much as it is covered over by altered words and substituted expressions in the Bible—an example of which see men for male organ, Ezek. xvi. 17—it yet stands out offensively bold. The words expressive of “sanctuary,” “consecrated,” and “Sodomite,” are in the Hebrew essentially the same. They indicate the passion of amatory devotion. It is among the Hindus of to-day as it was in Greece and Italy of classic times; and we find that “holy women” is a title given to those who devote their bodies to be used for hire, the price of which hire goes to the service of the temple.

As a general rule, we may assume that priests who make or expound the laws, which they declare to be from God, are men, and, consequently, through all time, have thought, and do think, of the gratification of the masculine half of humanity. The ancient and modern Orientals are not exceptions. They lay it down as a momentous fact that virginity is the most precious of all the possessions of a woman, and, being so, it ought, in some way or other, to be devoted to God.

Throughout India, and also through the densely inhabited parts of Asia, and modern Turkey there is a class of females who dedicate themselves to the service of the deity whom they adore; and the rewards accruing from their prostitution are devoted to the service of the temple and the priests officiating therein.

The temples of the Hindus in the Dekkan possessed their establishments. They had bands of consecrated dancing-girls called the Women of the Idol, selected in their infancy by the priests for the beauty of their persons, and trained up with every elegant accomplishment that could render them attractive.

We also find David and the daughters of Shiloh performing a wild and enticing dance; likewise we have the leaping of the prophets of Baal.

It is again significant that a great proportion of Bible names relate to “divine,” sexual, generative, or creative power; such as Alah, “the strong one”; Ariel, “the strong Jas is El”; Amasai, “Jah is firm”; Asher, “the male” or “the upright organ”; Elijah, “El is Jah”; Eliab, “the strong father”; Elisha, “El is upright”; Ara, “the strong one,” “the hero”; Aram, “high,” or, “to be uncovered”; Baal Shalisha, “my Lord the trinity,” or “my God is three”; Ben-zohett, “son of firmness”; Camon, “the erect One”; Cainan, “he stands upright”; these are only a few of the many names of a similar signification.

It will be seen, from what has been given, that the Jews, like the Phœnicians (if they were not the same), had the same ceremonies, rites, and gods as the surrounding nations, but enough has been said to show that Phallic worship was much practised by the Jews. It was very doubtful whether the Jehovah-worship was not of a monotheistic character, but those who desire to have a further insight into the mysteries of the wars between the tribes should consult Bernstein’s valuable work.


The following interesting chapter is taken from a valuable book issued a few years ago anonymously:

“Mother Earth” is a legitimate expression, only of the most general type. Religious genius gave the female quality to the earth with a special meaning. When once the idea obtained that our world was feminine, it was easy to induce the faithful to believe that natural chasms were typical of that part which characterises woman. As at birth the new being emerges from the mother, so it was supposed that emergence from a terrestrial cleft was equivalent to a new birth. In direct proportion to the resemblance between the sign and the thing signified was the sacredness of the chink, and the amount of virtue which was imparted by passing through it. From natural caverns being considered holy, the veneration for apertures in stones, as being equally symbolical, was a natural transition. Holes, such as we refer to, are still to be seen in those structures which are called Druidical, both in the British Isles and in India. It is impossible to say when these first arose; it is certain that they survive in India to this day. We recognise the existence of the emblem among the Jews in Isaiah li. 1, in the charge to look “to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.” We have also an indication that chasms were symbolical among the same people in Isaiah lvii. 5, where the wicked among the Jews were described as “inflaming themselves with idols under every green tree, and slaying the children in the valleys under the clefts of the rocks.” It is possible that the “hole in the wall” (Ezek. viii. 7) had a similar signification. In modern Rome, in the vestibule of the church close to the Temple of Vesta, I have seen a large perforated stone, in the hole of which the ancient Romans are said to have placed their hands when they swore a solemn oath, in imitation, or, rather, a counterpart, of Abraham swearing his servant upon his thigh—that is the male organ. Higgins dwells upon these holes, and says: “These stones are so placed as to have a hole under them, through which devotees passed for religious purposes. There is one of the same kind in Ireland, called St. Declau’s stone. In the mass of rocks at Bramham Crags there is a place made for the devotees to pass through.” We read in the accounts of Hindostan that there is a very celebrated place in Upper India, to which immense numbers of pilgrims go, to pass through a place in the mountains called “The Cow’s Belly.” In the Island of Bombay, at Malabar Hill, there is a rock upon the surface of which there is a natural crevice, which communicates with a cavity opening below. This place is used by the Gentoos as a purification of their sins, which they say is effected by their going in at the opening below, and emerging at the cavity above—“born again.” The ceremony is in such high repute in the neighbouring countries that the famous Conajee Angria ventured by stealth, one night, upon the Island, on purpose to perform the ceremony, and got off undiscovered. The early Christians gave them a bad name, as if from envy; they called these holes “Cunni Diaboli.” (Anacalypsis, p. 346)


The Romans called the feasts of Bacchus, Bacchanalia and Liberalia, because Bacchus and Liber were the names for the same god, although the festivals were celebrated at different times and in a somewhat different manner. The latter, according to Payne Knight, was celebrated on the 17th of March, with the most licentious gaiety, when an image of the Phallus was carried openly in triumph. These festivities were more particularly celebrated among the rural or agricultural population, who, when the preparatory labour of the agriculturist was over, celebrated with joyful activity Nature’s reproductive powers, which in due time was to bring forth the fruits. During the festival a car containing a huge Phallus was drawn along accompanied by its worshippers, who indulged in obscene songs and dances of wild and extravagant character. The gravest and proudest matrons suddenly laid aside their decency and ran screaming among the woods and hills half-naked, with dishevelled hair, interwoven with which were pieces of ivy or vine. The Bacchanalian feasts were celebrated in the latter part of October when the harvest was completed. Wine and figs were carried in the procession of the Bacchants, and lastly came the Phalli, followed by honourable virgins, called canephorœ, who carried baskets of fruit. These were followed by a company of men who carried poles, at the end of which were figures representing the organ of generation. The men sung the Phallica and were crowned with violets and ivy, and had their faces covered with other kinds of herbs. These were followed by some dressed in women’s apparel, striped with white, reaching to their ancles, with garlands on their heads, and wreaths of flowers in their hands, imitating by their gestures the state of inebriety. The priestesses ran in every direction shouting and screaming, each with a thyrsus in their hands. Men and women all intermingled, dancing and frolicking with suggestive gesticulations. Deodorus says the festivals were carried into the night, and it was then frenzy reached its height. He says, “In performing the solemnity virgins carry the thyrsus, and run about frantic, halloing ‘Evoe’ in honour of the god; then the women in a body offer the sacrifices, and roar out the praises of Bacchus in song as if he were present, in imitation of the ancient Mænades, who accompanied him.” These festivities were carried into the night, and as the celebrators became heated with wine, they degenerated into extreme licentiousness.

Similar enthusiastic frenzy was exhibited at the Lupercalian Feasts instituted in honour of the god Pan (under the shape of a Goat) whose priests, according to Owen in his Worship of Serpents, on the morning of the Feast ran naked through the streets, striking the married women they met on the hands and belly, which was held as an omen promising fruitfulness. The nymphs performing the same ostentatious display as the Bacchants at the festival of Bacchanalia.

The festival of Venus was celebrated towards the beginning of April, and the Phallus was again drawn in a car, followed by a procession of Roman women to the temple of Venus. Says a writer, “The loose women of the town and its neighbourhood, called together by the sounding of horns, mixed with the multitude in perfect nakedness, and excited their passions with obscene motions and language until the festival ended in a scene of mad revelry, in which all restraint was laid aside.”

It is said that these festivals took their rise from Egypt, from whence they were brought into Greece by Metampus, where the triumph of Osiris was celebrated with secret rites, and from thence the Bacchanals drew their original; and from the feasts instituted by Isis came the orgies of Bacchus.


It seems not at all improbable that the deities worshipped by the ancient Britons and the Irish, were no other then the Phallic deities of the ancient Syrians and Greeks, and also the Baal of the Hebrews. Dionysius Periegites, who lived in the time of Augustus Cæsar, states that the rites of Bacchus were celebrated in the British Isles; while Strabo, who lived in the time of Augustus and Tiberius, asserts that a much earlier writer described the worship of the Cabiri to have come originally from Phœnicia. Higgins, in his History of the Druids, says, the supreme god above the rest was called Seodhoc and Baal. The name of Baal is found both in Wales, Gaul, and Germany, and is the same as the Hebrew Baal.

The same god, according to O’Brien, was the chief deity of the Irish, in whose honour the round towers were erected, which structures the ancient Irish themselves designated Bail-toir, or the towers of Baal. In Numbers, xxii., will be found a mention of a similar pillar consecrated to Baal. Many of the same customs and superstitions that existed among the Druids and ancient Irish, will likewise be found among the Israelites. On the first day of May, the Irish made great fires in honour of Baal, likewise offering him sacrifices. A similar account is given of a custom of the Druids by Toland, in an account of the festival of the fires; he says:—“on May-day eve the Druids made prodigious fires on these cairns, which being everyone in sight of some other, could not but afford a glorious show over a whole nation.” These fires are said to be lit even to the present day by the Aboriginal Irish, on the first of May, called by them Bealtine, or the day of Belan’s fire, the same name as given them in the Highlands of Scotland.

A similar practice to this will be noticed as mentioned in the II Book of Kings, where the Canaanites in their worship of Baal, are said to have passed their children through the fire of Baal, which seems to have been a common practice, as Ahaz, King of Israel, is blamed for having done the same thing. Higgins in his Anacalypsis, says this superstitious custom still continues, and that on “particular days great fires are lighted, and the fathers taking the children in their arms, jump or run through them, and thus pass their children through them; they also light two fires at a little distance from each other, and drive their cattle between them.” It will be found on reference to Deuteronomy, that this very practice is specially forbidden. In the rites of Numa, we have also the sacred fire of the Irish; of St. Bridget, of Moses, of Mithra, and of India, accompanied with an establishment of nuns or vestal virgins. A sacred fire is said to have been kept burning by the nuns of Kildare, which was established by St. Bridget. This fire was never blown with the mouth, that it might not be polluted, but only with bellows; this fire was similar to that of the Jews, kept burning only with peeled wood, and never blown with the mouth. Hyde describes a similar fire which was kept burning in the same way by the ancient Persians, who kept their sacred fire fed with a certain tree called Hawm Mogorum; and Colonel Vallancey says the sacred fire of the Irish was fed with the wood of the tree called Hawm. Ware, the Romish priest, relates that at Kildare, the glorious Bridget was rendered illustrious by many miracles, amongst which was the sacred fire, which had been kept burning by nuns ever since the time of the Virgin.

The earliest sacred places of the Jews were evidently sacred stones, or stone circles, succeeded in time by temples. These early rude stones, emblems of the Creator, were erected by the Israelites, which in no way differed from the erections of the Gentiles. It will be found that the Jews to commemorate a great victory, or to bear witness of the Lord, were all signified by stones: thus, Joshua erected a stone to bear witness; Jacob put up a stone to make a place sacred; Abel set up the same for a place of worship; Samuel erected a stone as a boundary, which was to be the token of an agreement made in the name of God. Even Maundrel in his travels names several that he saw in Palestine. It is curious that where a pillar was erected there, sometime after, a temple was put up in the same manner that the Round Towers of Ireland were,—always near a church, but never formed part of it. We find many instances in the Scriptures of the erection of a number of stones among the early Israelites, which would lead us to conclude that it was not at all unlikely that the early places of worship among them, were similar to the temples found in various parts of Great Britain and Ireland. It is written in Exodus xxiv. 4, that Moses rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel, were erected. It is also given out that when the children of Israel should pass over the Jordan, unto the land which the Lord giveth them, they should set up great stones, and plaster them with plaster, and also the words of the law were to be written thereon. In many other places stones were ordered to be set up in the name of the Lord, and repeated instances are given that the stones should be twelve in number and unhewn.

Stone temples seem to have been erected in all countries of the world, and even in America, where, among the early American races are to be found customs, superstitions, and religious objects of veneration, similar to the Phœnicians. An American writer says:—“There is sufficient evidence that the religious customs of the Mexicans, Peruvians and other American races, are nearly identical with those of the ancient Phœnicians.... We moreover discover that many of their religious terms have, etymologically, the same origin.” Payne Knight, in his Worship of Priapus, devotes much of his work to show that the temples erected at Stonehenge and other places, were of a Phœnician origin, which was simply a temple of the god Bacchus.


Of all the nations of antiquity the Persians were the most simple and direct in the worship of the Creator. They were the puritans of the heathen world, and not only rejected all images of God and his agents, but also temples and altars, according to Herodotus, whose authority we prefer to any other, because he had an opportunity of conversing with them before they had adopted any foreign superstitions. As they worshipped the ethereal fire without any medium of personification or allegory, they thought it unworthy of the dignity of the god to be represented by any definite form, or circumscribed to any particular place. The universe was his temple, and the all-pervading element of fire his only symbol. The Greeks appear originally to have held similar opinions, for they were long without statues and Pausanias speaks of a temple at Siciyon, built by Adrastus—who lived in an age before the Trojan war—which consisted of columns only, without wall or roof, like the Celtic temples of our northern ancestors, or the Phyrœtheia of the Persians, which were circles of stones in the centre of which was kindled the sacred fire, the symbol of the god. Homer frequently speaks of places of worship consisting of an area and altar only, which were probably enclosures like those of the Persians, with an altar in the centre. The temples dedicated to the creator Bacchus, which the Greek architects called hypœthral, seem to have been anciently of this kind, whence probably came the title (“surround with columns”) attributed to that god in the Orphic litanies. The remains of one of these are still extant at Puzznoli, near Naples, which the inhabitants call the temple of Serapis; but the ornaments of grapes, vases, etc., found among the ruins, prove it to have been of Bacchus. Serapis was indeed the same deity worshipped under another form, being usually a personification of the sun. The architecture is of the Roman times; but the ground plan is probably that of a very ancient one, which this was made to replace—for it exactly resembles that of a Celtic temple in Zeeland, published in Stukeley’s Itinerary. The ranges of square buildings which enclose it are not properly parts of the temple, but apartments of the priests, places for victims and sacred utensils, and chapels dedicated to the subordinate deities, introduced by a more complicated and corrupt worship and probably unknown to the founder of the original edifice. The portico, which runs parallel with these buildings, encloses the temenos, or area of sacred ground, which in the pyrœtheia of the Persians was circular, but is here quadrangular, as in the Celtic temple in Zeeland, and the Indian pagoda before described. In the centre was the holy of holies, the seat of the god, consisting of a circle of columns raised upon a basement, without roof or walls, in the middle of which was probably the sacred fire or some other symbol of the deity. The square area in which it stood was sunk below the natural level of the ground, and, like that of the Indian pagoda, appears to have been occasionally floated with water; the drains and conduits being still to be seen, as also several fragments of sculpture representing waves, serpents, and various aquatic animals, which once adorned the basement. The Bacchus here worshipped, was, as we learn from the Orphic hymn above cited, the sun in his character of extinguisher of the fires which once pervaded the earth. He is supposed to have done this by exhaling the waters of the ocean and scattering them over the land, which was thus supposed to have acquired its proper temperature and fertility. For this reason the sacred fire, the essential image of the god, was surrounded by the element which was principally employed in giving effect to the beneficial exertions of the great attribute.

From a passage of Hecatæus, preserved by Deodorus Siculus, it seems evident that Stonehenge and all the monuments of the same kind found in the north, belong to the same religion which appears at some remote period to have prevailed over the whole northern hemisphere. According to that ancient historian, the Hyperboreans inhabited an island beyond Gaul, as large as Sicily, in which Apollo was worshipped in a circular temple considerable for its size and riches. Apollo, we know, in the language of the Greeks of that age, can mean no other than the sun, which according to Cæsar was worshipped by the Germans, when they knew of no other deities except fire and the moon. The island can evidently be no other than Britain, which at that time was only known to the Greeks by the vague reports of the Phœnician mariners; and so uncertain and obscure that Herodotus, the most inquisitive and credulous of historians, doubts of its existence. The circular temple of the sun being noticed in such slight and imperfect accounts, proves that it must have been something singular and important; for if it had been an inconsiderable structure, it would not have been mentioned at all; and if there had been many such in the country, the historian would not have employed the singular number.

Stonehenge has certainly been a circular temple, nearly the same as that already described of the Bacchus at Puzznoli, except that in the latter the nice execution and beautiful symmetry of the parts are in every respect the reverse of the rude but majestic simplicity of the former. In the original design they differ but in the form of the area. It may therefore be reasonably supposed that we have still the ruins of the identical temple described by Hecatæus, who, being an Asiatic Greek, might have received his information from Phœnician merchants, who had visited the interior parts of Britain when trading there for tin. Anacrobius mentions a temple of the same kind and form, upon Mount Zilmissus, in Thrace, dedicated to the sun under the title of Bacchus Sebrazius. The large obelisks of stone found in many parts of the north, such as those at Rudstone, and near Boroughbridge, in Yorkshire, belong to the same religion; obelisks being, as Pliny observes, sacred to the sun, whose rays they represented both by their form and name.—Payne Knight’s Worship of Priapus.


Says Hyslop:—“The hot cross-buns of Good Friday, and the dyed eggs of Pasch or Easter Sunday, figured in the Chaldean rites just as they do now. The buns known, too, by that identical name, were used in the worship of the Queen of Heaven, the goddess Easter (Ishtar or Astarte), as early as the days of Cecrops, the founder of Athens, 1,500 years before the Christian era.” “One species of bread,” says Bryant, “‘which used to be offered to the gods, was of great antiquity, and called Boun.’ Diogenes mentioned ‘they were made of flour and honey.’” It appears that Jeremiah the Prophet was familiar with this lecherous worship. He says:—“The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead the dough to make cakes to the Queen of Heaven (Jer. vii., 18)”. Hyslop does not add that the “buns” offered to the Queen of Heaven, and in sacrifices to other deities, were framed in the shape of the sexual organs, but that they were so in ancient times we have abundance of evidence.

Martial distinctly speaks of such things in two epigrams, first, wherein the male organ is spoken of, second, wherein the female part is commemorated; the cakes being made of the finest flour, and kept especially for the palate of the fair one.

Captain Wilford (“Asiatic Researches,” viii., p. 365) says:—“When the people of Syracuse were sacrificing to goddesses, they offered cakes called mulloi, shaped like the female organ, and in some temples where the priestesses were probably ventriloquists, they so far imposed on the credulous multitude who came to adore the Vulva as to make them believe that it spoke and gave oracles.”

We can understand how such things were allowed in licentious Rome, but we can scarcely comprehend how they were tolerated in Christian Europe, as, to all innocent surprise we find they were, from the second part of the “Remains of the Worship of Priapus”: that in Saintonge, in the neighbourhood of La Rochelle, small cakes baked in the form of the Phallus are made as offerings at Easter, carried and presented from house to house. Dulare states that in his time the festival of Palm Sunday, in the town of Saintes, was called le fete des pinnes—feast of the privy members—and that during its continuance the women and children carried in the procession a Phallus made of bread, which they called a pinne, at the end of their palm branches; these pinnes were subsequently blessed by priests, and carefully preserved by the women during the year. Palm Sunday! Palm, it is to be remembered, is a euphemism of the male organ, and it is curious to see it united with the Phallus in Christendom. Dulare also says that, in some of the earlier inedited French books on cookery, receipts are given for making cakes of the salacious form in question, which are broadly named. He further tells us those cakes symbolized the male, in Lower Limousin, and especially at Brives; while the female emblem was adopted at Clermont, in Auvergne, and other places.


The ark of the covenant was a most sacred symbol in the worship of the Jews, and like the sacred boat, or ark of Osiris, contained the symbol of the principle of life, or creative power. The symbol was preserved with great veneration in a miniature tabernacle, which was considered the special and sanctified abode of the god. In size and manner of construction the ark of the Jews and the sacred chest of Osiris of the Egyptians were exactly alike, and were carried in processions in a similar manner.

The ark or chest of Osiris was attended by the priests, and was borne on the shoulders of men by means of staves. The ark when taken from the temple was placed upon a table, or stand, made expressly for the purpose, and was attended by a procession similar to that which followed the Jewish ark. According to Faber, the ark was a symbol of the earth or female principle, containing the germ of all animated nature, and regarded as the great mother whence all things sprung. Thus the ark, earth, and goddess, were represented by common symbols, and spoken of in the old Testament as the “ashera.”

The sacred emblems carried in the ark of the Egyptians were the Phallus, the Egg, and the Serpent; the first representing the sun, fire, and male or generative principle—the Creator; the second, the passive or female, the germ of all animated things—the Preserver; and the last the Destroyer: the Three of the sacred Trinity. The Hindu women, according to Payne Knight, still carry the lingam, or consecrated symbol of the generative attribute of the deity, in solemn procession between two serpents; and in a sacred casket, which held the Egg and the Phallus in the mystic processions of the Greeks, was also a Serpent.

“The ark,” says Faber, “was reverenced in all the ancient religions.” It was often represented in the form of a boat, or ship, as well as an oblong chest. The rites of the Druids, with those of Phœnicia and Hindostan, show that an ark, chest, cell, boat, or cavern, held an important place in their mysteries. In the story of Osiris, like that of the Siva, will be found the reason for the emblem being carried in the sacred chest, and the explanation of one of the mysteries of the Egyptian priests. It is said that Osiris was torn to pieces by the wicked Typhon, who after cutting up the body, distributed the parts over the earth. Isis recovered the scattered limbs, and brought them back to Egypt; but, being unable to find the part which distinguished his sex, she had an image made of wood, which was enshrined in an ark, and ordered to be solemnly carried about in the festivals she had instituted in his honour, and celebrated with certain secret rites.

The Egg, which accompanied the Phallus in the ark was a very common symbol of the ancient faiths, which was considered as containing the generation of life. The image of that which generated all things in itself. Jacob Bryant says:—“The Egg, as it contained the principles of life was thought no improper emblem of the ark, in which were preserved the future world. Hence in the Dionysian and in other mysteries, one part of the nocturnal ceremony consisted in the consecration of an egg.” This egg was called the Mundane Egg.

The ark was likewise the symbol of salvation, the place of safety, the secret receptacle of the divine wisdom. Hence we find the ark of the Jews containing the tables of the law; we find too that the Jews were ordered to place in the ark Aaron’s rod, which budded, conveying the idea of symbolised fertility: showing that the ark was considered as the receptacle of the life principle—as an emblem of the Creator.

With the Egyptians Osiris was supposed to be buried in the ark, which represented the disappearance of the deity. His loss, or death, constituted the first part of the mysteries, which consisted of lamentations for his decease. After the third day from his death, a procession went down to the seaside in the night, carrying the ark with them. During the passage they poured drink offerings from the river, and when the ceremony had been duly performed, they raised a shout that Osiris had again risen—that the dead had been restored to life. After this followed the second or joyful part of the mysteries. The similarity of this custom with the Good Friday celebrations of the death of Jesus, and the rejoicings on account of his resurrection on Easter Sunday, will be at once observed. It is further said that the missing part of Osiris was eaten by a fish, which made the fish a sacred symbol. Thus we have the Ark, Fish, and Good Friday brought together, also the Egg, for the origin of the Easter eggs is very ancient. A bull is represented as breaking an egg with his horn, which signified the liberating of imprisoned life at the opening or spring of the year, which had been destroyed by Typhon. The opening of the year at that time commenced in the spring, not according to our present reckoning; thus, the Egg was a symbol of the resurrection of life at the spring, or our Easter time. The author of the “Worship of the Generative Powers,” describes the origin of the hot cross-bun at Easter, which is a further parallelism of the Christian and Pagan festivals. The author also draws a further conclusion—that the cakes or buns have in reality a Phallic origin, for in France and other parts, the Easter cakes were called after the membrum virile. The writer says:—“In the primitive Teutonic mythology, there was a female deity named in old German, Ostara, and in Anglo-Saxon, Eastre or Eostre; but all we know of her is the simple statement of our father of history, Bede, that her festival was celebrated by the ancient Saxons in the month of April, from which circumstance that month was named by the Anglo-Saxons, Easter-mona or Eoster-mona, and that the name of the goddess had been frequently given to the Paschal time, with which it was identical. The name of this goddess was given to the same month by the old Germans and by the Franks, so that she must have been one of the most highly honoured of the Teutonic deities, and her festival must have been a very important one and deeply implanted in the popular feelings, or the Church would not have sought to identify it with one of the greatest Christian festivals of the year. It is understood that the Romans considered this month as dedicated to Venus, no doubt because it was that in which the productive powers of nature began to be visibly developed. When the Pagan festival was adopted by the Church, it became a moveable feast, instead of being fixed to the month of April. Among other objects offered to the goddess at this time were cakes, made no doubt of fine flour, but of their form we are ignorant. The Christians when they seized upon the Easter festival, gave them the form of a bun, which indeed was at that time the ordinary form of bread; and to protect themselves and those who ate them from any enchantment—or other evil influences which might arise from their former heathen character—they marked them with the Christian symbol—the cross. Hence we derived the cakes we still eat at Easter under the name of hot cross-buns, and the superstitious feelings attached to them; for multitudes of people still believe that if they failed to eat a hot cross-bun on Good Friday, they would be unlucky all the rest of the year.”


The earliest capital seems to have been the bell or seed vessel, simply copied without alteration, except a little expansion at the bottom to give it stability. The leaves of some other plant were then added to it, and varied in different capitals according to the different meanings intended to be signified by the accessory symbols. The Greeks decorated it in the same manner, with the foliage of various plants, sometimes of the acanthus and sometimes of the aquatic kind, which are, however, generally so transformed by excessive attention to elegance, that it is difficult to distinguish them. The most usual seems to be the Egyptian acacia, which was probably adopted as a mystic symbol for the same reasons as the olive, it being equally remarkable for its powers of reproduction. Theophrastus mentions a large wood of it in the “Thebaid,” where the olive will not grow, so that we reasonably suppose it to have been employed by the Egyptians in the same symbolical sense. From them the Greeks seem to have borrowed it about the time of the Macedonian conquest, it not occurring in any of their buildings of a much earlier date; and as for the story of the Corinthian architect, who is said to have invented this kind of capital from observing a thorn growing round a basket, it deserved no credit, being fully contradicted by the buildings still remaining in Upper Egypt.

The Doric column, which appears to have been the only one known to the very ancient Greeks, was equally derived from the Nelumbo; its capital being the same seed-vessel pressed flat, as it appears when withered and dry—the only state probably in which it had been seen in Europe. The flutes in the shaft were made to hold spears and staves, whence a spear-holder is spoken of in the “Odyssey” as part of a column. The triglyphs and blocks of the cornice were also derived from utility, they having been intended to represent the projecting ends of the beams and rafters which formed the roof.

The Ionic capital has no bell, but volutes formed in imitation of sea-shells, which have the same symbolical meaning. To them is frequently added the ornament which architects call a honeysuckle, but which seems to be meant for the young petals of the same flower viewed horizontally, before they are opened or expanded. Another ornament is also introduced in this capital, which they call eggs and anchors, but which is, in fact, composed of eggs and spear-heads, the symbols of female generation and male destructive power, or in the language of mythology, of Venus and Mars.—Payne Knight.


Stripped, however, of all this splendour and magnificence it was probably nothing more than a symbolical instrument, signifying originally the motion of the elements, like the sistrum of Isis, the cymbals of Cybele, the bells of Bacchus, etc., whence Jupiter is said to have overcome the Titans with his ægis, as Isis drove away Typhon with her sistrum, and the ringing of the bells and clatter of metals were almost universally employed as a means of consecration, and a charm against the destroying and inert powers. Even the Jews welcomed the new moon with such noises, which the simplicity of the early ages employed almost everywhere to relieve her during eclipses, supposed then to be morbid affections brought on by the influence of an adverse power. The title Priapus, by which the generative attribute is distinguished, seems to be merely a corruption of Briapuos (clamorous); the beta and pi being commutable letters, and epithets of similar meaning, being continually applied both to Jupiter and Bacchus by the poets. Many Priapic figures, too, still extant, have bells attached to them, as the symbolical statues and temples of the Hindus are; and to wear them was a part of the worship of Bacchus among the Greeks: whence we sometimes find them of extremely small size, evidently meant to be worn as amulets with the phalli, lunulæ, etc. The chief priests of the Egyptians and also the high priests of the Jews, hung them as sacred emblems to their sacerdotal garments; and the Brahmins still continue to ring a small bell at the interval of their prayers, ablutions, and other acts of devotion; which custom is still preserved in the Roman Catholic Church at the elevation of the host. The Lacedæmonians beat upon a brass vessel or pan, on the death of their kings, and we still retain the custom of tolling a bell on such occasions, though the reason of it is not generally known, any more than that of other remnants of ancient ceremonies still existing.[1] It will be observed that the bells used by the Christians very probably came direct from the Buddhists. And from the same source are derived the beads and rosaries of the Roman Catholics, which have been used by the Buddhist monks for over 2,000 years. Tinkling bells were suspended before the shrine of Jupiter Ammon, and during the service the gods were invited to descend upon the altars by the ringing of bells; they were likewise sacred to Siva. Bells were used at the worship of Bacchus, and were worn on the garments of the Bacchantes, much in the same manner as they are used at our carnivals and masquerades.

1.  The above description is from Payne Knight’s “Symbolical Language of ancient Art and Mythology.”


The following curious fable is given by Sir William Jones, as one of the stories of the Hindus for the origin of Phallic devotion:—“Certain devotees in a remote time had acquired great renown and respect, but the purity of the art was wanting, nor did their motives and secret thoughts correspond with their professions and exterior conduct. They affected poverty, but were attached to the things of this world, and the princes and nobles were constantly sending their offerings. They seemed to sequester themselves from this world; they lived retired from the towns; but their dwellings were commodious, and their women numerous and handsome. But nothing can be hid from their gods, and Sheevah resolved to put them to shame. He desired Prakeety (nature) to accompany him; and assumed the appearance of a Pandaram of a graceful form. Prakeety was herself a damsel of matchless worth. She went before the devotees who were assembled with their disciples, awaiting the rising of the sun, to perform their ablutions and religious ceremonies. As she advanced the refreshing breeze moved her flowing robe, showed the exquisite shape which it seemed intended to conceal. With eyes cast down, though sometimes opening with a timid but tender look, she approached them, and with a low enchanting voice desired to be admitted to the sacrifice. The devotees gazed on her with astonishment. The sun appeared, but the purifications were forgotten; the things of the Poojah (worship) lay neglected; nor was any worship thought of but that of her. Quitting the gravity of their manners, they gathered round her as flies round the lamp at night—attracted by its splendour, but consumed by its flame. They asked from whence she came; whither she was going. ‘Be not offended with us for approaching thee, forgive us our importunities. But thou art incapable of anger, thou who art made to convey bliss; to thee, who mayest kill by indifference, indignation and resentment are unknown. But whoever thou mayest be, whatever motive or accident might have brought thee amongst us, admit us into the number of thy slaves; let us at least have the comfort to behold thee.’ Here the words faltered on the lip, and the soul seemed ready to take its flight; the vow was forgotten, and the policy of years destroyed.

“Whilst the devotees were lost in their passions, and absent from their homes, Sheevah entered their village with a musical instrument in his hand, playing and singing like some of those who solicit charity. At the sound of his voice, the women immediately quitted their occupation; they ran to see from whom it came. He was as beautiful as Krishen on the plains of Matra. Some dropped their jewels without turning to look for them; others let fall their garments without perceiving that they discovered those abodes of pleasure which jealousy as well as decency had ordered to be concealed. All pressed forward with their offerings, all wished to speak, all wished to be taken notice of, and bringing flowers and scattering them before him, said—‘Askest thou alms! thou who are made to govern hearts. Thou whose countenance is as fresh as the morning, whose voice is the voice of pleasure, and they breath like that of Vassant (Spring) in the opening of the rose! Stay with us and we will serve thee; nor will we trouble thy repose, but only be zealous how to please thee.’ The Pandaram continued to play, and sung the loves of Kama (God of Love), of Krishen and the Gopia, and smiling the gentle smiles of fond desire....

“But the desire of repose succeeds the waste of pleasure. Sleep closed the eyes and lulled the senses. In the morning the Pandaram was gone. When they awoke they looked round with astonishment, and again cast their eyes on the ground. Some directed to those who had formerly been remarked for their scrupulous manners, but their faces were covered with their veils. After sitting awhile in silence they arose and went back to their houses, with slow and troubled steps. The devotees returned about the same time from their wanderings after Prakeety. The days that followed were days of embarrassment and shame. If the women had failed in their modesty, the devotees had broken their vows. They were vexed at their weakness, they were sorry for what they had done; yet the tender sigh sometimes broke forth, and the eyes often turned to where the men first saw the maid—the women, the Pandaram.

“But the women began to perceive that what the devotees foretold came not to pass. Their disciples, in consequence, neglected to attend them, and the offerings from the princes and nobles became less frequent than before. They then performed various penances; they sought for secret places among the woods unfrequented by man; and having at last shut their eyes from the things of this world, retired within themselves in deep meditation, that Sheevah was the author of their misfortunes. Their understanding being imperfect, instead of bowing the head with humility, they were inflamed with anger; instead of contrition for their hypocrisy, they sought for vengeance. They performed new sacrifices and incantations, which were only allowed to have effect in the end, to show the extreme folly of man in not submitting to the will of heaven.

“Their incantations produced a tiger, whose mouth was like a cavern and his voice like thunder among the mountains. They sent him against Sheevah, who with Prakeety was amusing himself in the vale. He smiled at their weakness, and killing the tiger at one blow with his club, he covered himself with his skin. Seeing themselves frustrated in this attempt, the devotees had recourse to another, and sent serpents against him of the most deadly kind; but on approaching him they became harmless, and he twisted them round his neck. They then sent their curses and imprecations against him, but they all recoiled upon themselves. Not yet disheartened by all these disappointments, they collected all their prayers, their penances, their charities, and other good works, the most acceptable sacrifices; and demanding in return only vengeance against Sheevah, they sent a fire to destroy his genital parts. Sheevah, incensed at this attempt, turned the fire with indignation against the human race; and mankind would soon have been destroyed, had not Vishnu, alarmed at the danger, implored him to suspend his wrath. At his entreaties Sheevah relented; but it was ordained that in his temples those parts should be worshipped, which the false doctrines had impiously attempted to destroy.”


The key which is still worn with the Priapic hand, as an amulet, by the women of Italy appears to have been an emblem of the equivocal use of the name, as the language of that country implies. Of the same kind, too, appears to have been the cross in the form of the letter tau, attached to a circle, which many of the figures of Egyptian deities, both male and female, carry in their left hand; and by the Syrians, Phœnicians and other inhabitants of Asia, representing the planet Venus, worshipped by them as the emblem or image of that goddess. The cross in this form is sometimes observable on coins, and several of them were found in a temple of Serapis, demolished at the general destruction of those edifices by the Emperor Theodosius, and were said by the Christian antiquaries of that time to signify the future life. In solemn sacrifices, all the Lapland idols were marked with it from the blood of the victims; and it occurs on many Runic ornaments found in Sweden and Denmark, which are of an age long anterior to the approach of Christianity to those countries, and probably to its appearance in the world. On some of the early coins of the Phœnicians, we find it attached to a chaplet of beads placed in a circle, so as to form a complete rosary, such as the Lamas of Thibet and China, the Hindus, and the Roman Catholics now tell over while they pray.


Beads were anciently used to reckon time, and a circle, being a line without termination, was the natural emblem of its perpetual continuity; whence we often find circles of beads upon the heads of deities, and enclosing the sacred symbols upon coins and other monuments. Perforated beads are also frequently found in tombs, both in the northern and southern parts of Europe and Asia, whence are fragments of the chaplets of consecration buried with the deceased. The simple diadem, or fillet, worn round the head as a mark of sovereignty, had a similar meaning, and was originally confined to the statues of deities and deified personages, as we find it upon the most ancient coins. Chryses, the priest of Apollo, in the “Iliad,” brings the diadem, or sacred fillet, of the god upon his sceptre, as the most imposing and invocable emblem of sanctity; but no mention is made of its being worn by kings in either of the Homeric poems, nor of any other ensign of temporal power and command, except the royal staff or sceptre.


The double sex typified by the Argha and its contents is by the Hindus represented by the “Mymphœa” or Lotus, floating like a boat on the boundless ocean, where the whole plant signifies both the earth and the two principles of its fecundation. The germ is both Meru and the Linga; the petals and filaments are the mountains which encircle Meru, and are also a type of the Yoni; the leaves of the calyx are the four vast regions to the cardinal points of Meru; and the leaves of the plant are the Dwipas or isles round the land of Jambu. As this plant or lily was probably the most celebrated of all the vegetable creation among the mystics of the ancient world, and is to be found in thousands of the most beautiful and sacred paintings of the Christians of this day—I detain my reader with a few observations respecting it. This is the more necessary as it appears that the priests have now lost the meaning of it; at least this is the case with everyone of whom I have made enquiry; but it is like many other very odd things, probably understood in the Vatican, or the crypt of St. Peter’s. Maurice says that among the different plants which ornament our globe, there is not one which has received so much honour from man as the Lotus or Lily, in whose consecrated bosom Brahma was born, and Osiris delighted to float. This is the sublime, the hallowed symbol that eternally occurs in oriental mythology, and in truth not without reason, for it is itself a lovely prodigy. Throughout all the northern hemispheres it was everywhere held in profound veneration, and from Savary we learn that the veneration is yet continued among the modern Egyptians. And we find that it still continues to receive the respect if not the adoration of a great part of the Christian world, unconscious, perhaps, of the original reason of this conduct. Higgins’s Anacalypsis.

The following is an account given of it by Payne Knight, in his curious dissertation on Phallic Worship:—“The Lotus is the Nelumbo of Linnæus. This plant grows in the water, among its broad leaves puts forth a flower, in the centre of which is formed the seed vessel, shaped like a bell or inverted cone, and perforated on the top with little cavities or cells, in which the seeds grow. The orifices of these cells being too small to let the seeds drop out when ripe, they shoot forth into new plants in the places where they are formed: the bulb of the vessel serving as a matrix to nourish them, until they acquire such a degree of magnitude as to burst it open and release themselves, after which, like other aquatic weeds, they take root wherever the current deposits them. This plant, therefore, being thus productive of itself, and vegetating from its own matrix, without being fostered in the earth, was naturally adopted as the symbol of the productive power of the waters, upon which the active spirit of the Creator operated in giving life and vegetation, to matter. We accordingly find it employed in every part of the northern hemisphere, where the symbolical religion, improperly called idolatry, does or ever did prevail. The sacred images of the Tartars, Japanese, and Indians are almost placed upon it, of which numerous instances occur in the publications of Kœmpfer, Sonnerat, etc. The Brahma of India is represented as sitting upon his Lotus throne, and the figure upon the Isaaic table holds the stem of this plant surmounted by the seed vessel in one hand, and the Cross representing the male organs of generation in the other; thus signifying the universal power, both active and passive, attributed to that goddess.”

Nimrod says:—“The Lotus is a well-known allegory, of which the expansive calyx represents the ship of the gods floating on the surface of the water; and the erect flower arising out of it, the mast thereof. The one was the galley or cockboat, and the other the mast of cockayne; but as the ship was Isis or Magna Mater, the female principle, and the mast in it the male deity, these parts of the flower came to have certain other significations, which seem to have been as well known at Samosata as at Benares. This plant was also used in the sacred offices of the Jewish religion. In the ornaments of the temple of Solomon, the Lotus or lily is often seen.”

The figure of Isis is frequently represented holding the stem of the plant in one hand, and the cross and circle in the other. Columns and capitals resembling the plant are still existing among the ruins of Thebes, in Egypt, and the island of Philœ. The Chinese goddess, Pussa, is represented sitting upon the Lotus, called in that country Lin, with many arms, having symbols signifying the various operations of nature, while similar attributes are expressed in the Scandinavian goddess Isa or Disa.

The Lotus is also a prominent symbol in Hindu and Egyptian cosmogony. This plant appears to have the same tendency with the Sphinx, of marking the connection between that which produces and that which is produced. The Egyptian Ceres (Virgo) bears in her hand the blue Lotus, which plant is acknowledged to be the emblem of celestial love so frequently seen mounted on the back of Leo in the ancient remains. The following is a translation of the Purana relating to the cosmogony of the Hindus, and will be found interesting as showing the importance attached to the Lotus in the worship of the ancients:—“We find Brahma emerging from the Lotus. The whole universe was dark and covered with water. On this primeval water did Bhagavat (God), in a masculine form, repose for the space of one Calpho (a thousand years); after which period the intention of creating other beings for his own wise purposes became predominant in the mind of the Great Creator. In the first place, by his sovereign will was produced the flower of the Lotus, afterwards, by the same will, was brought to light the form of Brahma from the said flower; Brahma, emerging from the cup of the Lotus, looked round on all the four sides, and beheld from the eyes of his four heads an immeasurable expanse of water. Observing the whole world thus involved in darkness and submerged in water, he was stricken with prodigious amazement, and began to consider with himself, ‘Who is it that produced me?’ ‘whence came I?’ ‘and where am I?’

“Brahma, thus kept two hundred years in contemplation, prayers, and devotions, and having pondered in his mind that without connection of male and female an abundant generation could not be effected—again entered into profound meditation on the power of the Supreme, when, on a sudden by the omnipotence of God, was produced from his right side Swayambhuvah Menu, a man of perfect beauty; and from the Brahma’s left side a woman named Satarupa. The prayer of Brahma runs thus:—‘O Bhagavat! since thou broughtest me from nonentity into existence for a particular purpose, accomplish by thy benevolence that purpose.’ In a short time a small white boar appeared, which soon grew to the size of an elephant. He now felt God in all, and that all is from Him, and all in Him. At length the power of the Omnipotent had assumed the body of Vara. He began to use the instinct of that animal. Having divided the water, he saw the earth a mighty barren stratum. He then took up the mighty ponderous globe (freed from the water) and spread the earth like a carpet on the face of the water; Brahma, contemplating the whole earth, performed due reverence, and rejoicing exceedingly, began to consider the means of peopling the renovated world.” Pyag, now Allahabad, was the first land said to have appeared, but with the Brahmins it is a disputed point, for many affirm that Casi or Benares was the sacred ground.


The learned Higgins, an English judge, who for some years spent ten hours a day in antiquarian studies, says that Moriah, of Isaiah and Abraham, is the Meru of the Hindus, and the Olympus of the Greeks. Solomon built high places for Ashtoreth, Astarte, or Venus, which because mounts of Venus, mons veneris—Meru and Mount Calvary—each a slightly skull-shaped mount, that might be represented by a bare head. The Bible translators perpetuate the same idea in the word “calvaria.” Prof. Stanley denies that “Mount Calvary” took its name from its being the place of the crucifixion of Jesus. Looking elsewhere and in earlier times for the bare calvaria, we find among Oriental women, the Mount of Venus, mons veneris, through motives of neatness or religious sentiment, deprived of all hirsute appendage. We see Mount Calvary imitated in the shaved poll of the head of a priest. The priests of China, says Mr. J. M. Peebles, continue to shave the head. To make a place holy, among the Hindus, Tartars, and people of Thibet, it was necessary to have a mount Meru, also a Linga-Yoni, or Arba.


This marvellous work of excavation by the slow process of the chisel, was visited by Capt. Seeley, who afterwards published a volume describing the temple and its vast statues. The beauty of its architectural ornaments, the innumerable statues or emblems, all hewn out of solid rock, dispute with the Pyramids for the first place among the works undertaken to display power and embody feeling. The stupendous temple is detached from the neighbouring mountain by a spacious area all round, and is nearly 250 feet deep and 150 feet broad, reaching to the height of 100 feet and in length about 145 feet. It has well-formed doorways, windows, staircases, upper floors, containing fine large rooms of a smooth and polished surface, regularly divided by rows of pillars; the whole bulk of this immense block of isolated excavation being upwards of 500 feet in circumference, and having beyond its areas three handsome figure galleries or verandas supported by regular pillars. Outside the temple are two large obelisks or phalli standing, “of quadrangular form, eleven feet square, prettily and variously carved, and are estimated at forty-one feet high; the shaft above the pedestal is seven feet two inches, being larger at the base than Cleopatra’s Needle.”

In one of the smaller temples was an image of Lingam, “covered with oil and red ochre, and flowers were daily strewed on its circular top. This Lingam is larger than usual, occupying with the altar, a great part of the room. In most Ling rooms a sufficient space is left for the votaries to walk round whilst making the usual invocations to the deity (Maha Deo). This deity is much frequented by female votaries, who take especial care to keep it clean, washed, and often perfume it with oderiferous oils and flowers, whilst the attendant Brahmins sweep the apartment and attend the five oil lights and bell ringing.” This oil vessel resembled the Yoni (circular frame), into which the light itself was placed. No symbol was more venerated or more frequently met with than the altar and Ling, Siva, or Maha Deo. “Barren women constantly resort to it to supplicate for children,” says Seeley. The mysteries attended upon them is not described, but doubtless they were of a very similar character to those described by the author of the “Worship of the Generative Powers of the Western Nations,” showing again the similarity of the custom with those practised by the Catholics in France. The writer says:—“Women sought a remedy for barrenness by kissing the end of the Phallus; sometimes they appear to have placed a part of their body, naked, against the image of the saint, or to have sat upon it. This latter trait was perhaps too bold an adoption of the indecencies of Pagan worship to last long, or to be practised openly; but it appears to have been innocently represented by lying upon the body of the saint, or sitting upon a stone, understood to represent him without the presence of the energetic member. In a corner in the church of the village of St. Fiacre, near Monceaux, in France, there is a stone called the chair of St. Fiacre, which confers fecundity upon women who sit upon it; but it is necessary nothing should intervene between their bare skin and the stone. In the church of Orcival in Auvergne, there was a pillar which barren women kissed for the same purpose and which had perhaps replaced some less equivocal object.”

The principal object of worship at Elora is the stone, so frequently spoken of; “the Lingam,” says Seeley, and he apologises for using the word so often, but asks to be excused, “is an emblem not generally known, but as frequently met with as the Cross in Catholic worship.” It is the god Siva, a symbol of his generative character, the base of which is usually inserted in the Yoni. The stone is of a conical shape, often black stone, covered with flowers (the Belia and Asuca shrubs). The flowers hang pendant from the crown of the Ling stone to the spout of the Argha or Yoni (mystical matrix); the same as the Phallus of the Greeks. Five lamps are commonly used in the worship at the symbol, or one lamp with five wicks. The Lotus is often seen on the top of the Ling.


The characteristic attribute of the passive generative power was expressed in symbolical writing, by different enigmatical representations of the most distinguished characteristic of the female sex: such as the shell or Concha Veneris, the fig-leaf, barley corn, and the letter Delta, all of which occur very frequently upon coins and other ancient monuments in this sense. The same attribute personified as the goddess of Love, or desire, is usually represented under the voluptuous form of a beautiful woman, frequently distinguished by one of these symbols, and called Venus, Kypris, or Aphrodite, names of rather uncertain mythology. She is said to be the daughter of Jupiter and Dione, that is of the male and female personifications of the all-pervading Spirit of the Universe; Dione being the female Dis or Zeus, and therefore associated with him in the most ancient oracular temple of Greece at Dodona. No other genealogy appears to have been known in the Homeric times; though a different one is employed to account for the name of Aphrodite in the “Theogony” attributed to Hesiod.

The Genelullides or Genoidai were the original and appropriate ministers or companions of Venus, who was however, afterwards attended by the Graces, the proper and original attendants of Juno; but as both these goddesses were occasionally united and represented in one image, the personifications of their respective subordinate attributes were on other occasions added: whence the symbolical statue of Venus at Paphos had a beard, and other appearances of virility, which seems to have been the most ancient mode of representing the celestial as distinguished from the popular goddess of that name—the one being a personification of a general procreative power, and the other only of animal desire or concupiscence. The refinement of Grecian art, however, when advanced to maturity, contrived more elegant modes of distinguishing them; and, in a celebrated work of Phidias, we find the former represented with her foot upon a tortoise; and in a no less celebrated one of Scopas, the latter sitting upon a goat. The tortoise, being an androgynous animal, was aptly chosen as a symbol of the double power; and the goat was equally appropriate to what was meant to be expressed in the other.

The same attribute was on other occasions signified by a dove or pigeon, by the sparrow, and perhaps by the polypus, which often appears upon coins with the head of the goddess, and which was accounted an aphrodisiac, though it is likewise of the androgynous class. The fig was a still more common symbol, the statue of Priapus being made of the tree, and the fruit being carried with the Phallus in the ancient processions in honour of Bacchus, and still continuing among the common people of Italy to be an emblem of what it anciently meant: whence we often see portraits of persons of that country painted with it in one hand, to signify their orthodox elevation to the fair sex. Hence, also arose the Italian expression far la fica, which was done by putting the thumb between the middle and fore-fingers, as it appears in many Priapic ornaments extant; or by putting the finger or thumb into the corner of the mouth and drawing it down, of which there is a representation in a small Priapic figure of exquisite sculpture, engraved among the Antiquities of Herculaneum.


The same liberal and humane spirit still prevails among those nations whose religion is founded on the same principles. “The Siamese,” says a traveller of the seventeenth century, “shun disputes and believe that almost all religions are good” (“Journal du Voyage de Siam”). When the ambassador of Louis XIV asked their king, in his master’s name, to embrace Christianity, he replied, “that it was strange that the king of France should interest himself so much in an affair which concerns only God, whilst He, whom it did concern, seemed to leave it wholly to our discretion. Had it been agreeable to the Creator that all nations should have had the same form of worship, would it not have been as easy to His omnipotence to have created all men with the same sentiments and dispositions, and to have inspired them with the same notions of the True Religion, as to endow them with such different tempers and inclinations? Ought they not rather to believe that the true God has as much pleasure in being honoured by a variety of forms and ceremonies, as in being praised and glorified by a number of different creatures? Or why should that beauty and variety, so admirable in the natural order of things, be less admirable or less worthy of the wisdom of God in the supernatural?”

The Hindus profess exactly the same opinion. “They would readily admit the truth of the Gospel,” says a very learned writer long resident among them, “but they contend that it is perfectly consistent with their Shastras. The Deity, they say, has appeared innumerable times in many parts of this world and in all worlds, for the salvation of his creatures; and we adore, they say, the same God, to whom our several worships, though different in form, are equally acceptable if they be sincere in substance.”

The Chinese sacrifice to the spirits of the air, the mountains and the rivers; while the Emperor himself sacrifices to the sovereign Lord of Heaven, to whom all these spirits are subordinate, and from whom they are derived. The sectaries of Fohi have, indeed, surcharged this primitive elementary worship with some of the allegorical fables of their neighbours; but still as their creed—like that of the Greeks and Romans—remains undefined, it admits of no dogmatical theology, and of course no persecution for opinion. Obscure and sanguinary rites have, indeed, been wisely prescribed on many occasions; but still as actions and not as opinions. Atheism is said to have been punished with death at Athens; but nevertheless it may be reasonably doubted whether the atheism, against which the citizens of that republic expressed such fury, consisted in a denial of the existence of the gods; for Diagoras, who was obliged to fly for this crime, was accused of revealing and calumniating the doctrines taught in the Mysteries; and from the opinions ascribed to Socrates, there is reason to believe that his offence was of the same kind, though he had not been initiated.

These were the only two martyrs to religion among the ancient Greeks, such as were punished for actively violating or insulting the Mysteries, the only part of their worship which seems to have possessed any vitality; for as to the popular deities, they were publicly ridiculed and censured with impunity by those who dared not utter a word against the populace that worshipped them; and as to the forms and ceremonies of devotion, they were held to be no otherwise important, then as they were constituted a part of civil government of the state; the Pythian priestess having pronounced from the tripod, that whoever performed the rites of his religion according to the laws of his country, performed them in a manner pleasing to the Deity. Hence the Romans made no alterations in the religious institutions of any of the conquered countries; but allowed the inhabitants to be as absurd and extravagant as they pleased, and to enforce their absurdities and extravagances wherever they had any pre-existing laws in their favour. An Egyptian magistrate would put one of his fellow-subjects to death for killing a cat or a monkey; and though the religious fanaticism of the Jews was too sanguinary and too violent to be left entirely free from restraint, a chief of the synagogue could order anyone of his congregation to be whipped for neglecting or violating any part of the Mosaic Ritual.

The principle underlying the system of emanations was, that all things were of one substance, from which they were fashioned and into which they were again dissolved, by the operation of one plastic spirit universally diffused and expanded. The polytheist of ancient Greece and Rome candidly thought, like the modern Hindu, that all rites of worship and forms of devotion were directed to the same end, though in different modes and through different channels. “Even they who worship other gods,” says Krishna, the incarnate Deity, in an ancient Indian poem (Bhagavat-Gita), “worship me although they know it not.”—Payne Knight.


Transcriber’s Notes

Some inconsistencies in spelling, hyphenation, and punctuation have been retained.

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

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