zaterdag 2 november 2013

Male (Genitals/Genital) Symbolism


"Penis," Hindu symbol of any god, usually Shiva. The lingam-yoni is
still the supreme symbol of the vital principle, representing male and
female genitalia in conjunction.1 Its verbal equivalent is the Jewel in
the Lotus.
Sometimes the lingam appeared as a phallic pillar in the cella or
Holy of Holies, the core of the temple which stands for the Goddess
Hunter was originally le Chasseur Maudit, or pagan Lord of the Hunt;
while the man-eating She-Wolf or grandmother was a western form of
the Kalika. See Werewolf.


Latin lingus, "tongue," was derived from Sanskrit lingam, "phallus."
Showing the tongue between the lips was once a sacred gesture
representing the lingam-yoni; to this day the folds of the vulva are
properly called labiae, "lips." (See Vagina Dentata.)
At the moment of her mating with Shiva, Kali Ma usually showed
a protruding tongue in token of the sexual sacrament.1 The classic
Medusa head signifying "female wisdom" also had a protruding tongue,
a reference to ancient sexual mysteries celebrated in her honor.2
Medieval Christians understood very well that the protruding
tongue was a sexual symbol. Their pictures of lusty devils showed
long phallic tongues, and sticking out the tongue "at" someone became
their favorite gesture of insult, equivalent to ''fuck you." In the east,
where sexuality was not associated with shame or dishonor, sticking out
the tongue is still considered a polite greeting.
Italians used to heighten the mouth's resemblance to a vulva by
drawing down one corner of it with the thumb.3 Biting the thumb, a
supreme insult in Italy, cast a curse of castration.
Archaic sacred kings, who had to kill their "fathers" or predecessors
to win the queen, often castrated the defeated rival to deprive his
ghost of virtu (man-magic) which might give him enough power to
return for revenge. This Oedipal attack was often mythologized as
the slaying of a dragon, symbol of "father," or "phallus bigger than
mine." The dragon-slayer's reward was the woman (mother). Dragon-
slaying heroes cut off the dragon's tongue, representing amputation
of the penis. Tristan cut off the tongue of his slain dragon, to establish
his right to demand the hand of lseult.4
In medieval cathedrals, "an extraordinary number of grotesque
heads are depicted with protruding tongues," and this was distinctly
related to exposure of sexual organs. "The exposure of the genitalia was
widely believed to thwart and keep at bay pursuing evil forces." 5 All
over the Gothic cathedral, numerous creatures with their tongues
sticking out showed once again that the cathedral was dedicated to a
pantheon of both Christian and pagan deities. People wanted their
"creatures from the grotto" or grotesques to inhabit the same
churches that were built over the sites of the old grottoes. By Renaissance
times, the old deities with their obscenely protruding tongues
were declared devils, so it became conventional to show devils making
this gesture.6
The story of Pinocchio' s nose, which grew every time he told a lie,
may have originated in Oriental beliefs concerning the tongue.
Buddhists said a liar's tongue would grow to great length in hell.7 The
Buddhists called "liars" most of the old non-Buddhist deities who
stuck out their tongues in token of the sexual sacrament.


Courage, in modern slang, is both "guts" and "balls," a combination
of very ancient precedent. It was once thought that male genitals were
protruding ends of intestines, literally "testes-within." Egyptian sma
meant both entrails and male genitals.1 Egyptians prayed to be delivered
on the day of reckoning from a Kali-like death-goddess Baba, who not
only "devoured" men sexually but also "feeds on the entrails of the
Kali devoured her lover genitally and also devoured his entrails at
the same time.3 Similarly, Aphrodite in her Crone form as Androphonos,
Man-Slayer, killed her lovers as a queen bee does by ripping
out their intestines along with their genitals.4 In northern Europe
there was the same ceremony: spring was brought to the world by
symbolically ripping out the entrails of Loki via a rope tied around his
genitals. His blood bathed the lap (womb) of the Goddess; then she
smiled, and the spring could come. 5 See Skadi.
Because men's "guts" were supposed to possess the spirit of the
phallic god, also mythologized as the underground serpent, it was
usual to take omens from the entrails of sacrificial victims. Among the
Amazonian tribes of the Black Sea area, the readers of entrails were
"old gray-haired women." 6 The Romans called similar diviners haruspices,
"those who gaze into the belly." 7


From Uranus, "Father Heaven," whose magical urine, semen, or
blood came down as rain to fertilize Mother Earth. Primitive myths
present all three fluids as the fertilizing principle. Zeus came down as
"golden rain" of urine to fertilize Danae, the Earth, whose priestesses
the Danaids performed rain charms by carrying water in a sieve.
According to Aristophanes, rain was caused by Zeus urinating through a
sieve. Aristotle mentioned the general belief that "Zeus does not rain
in order to make the crops grow, but from necessity," suggesting that
Zeus rained for the same reason men urinated-because he had to. 1
The Danaids founded the Eleusinian rite of Thesmophoria, when
the severed genitals of the sacred king were offered to the Goddess,
just as the severed genitals of Uranus were given to the sea-womb. The
real genitals of a real victim were eventually replaced by symbolic
substitutes: serpents and phallus-shaped loaves of bread. But the meaning
was the same-a summoning of the god's urine, semen, or
Aeschylus said of the Danaids' performance: "Rain falling from
the bridegroom sky makes pregnant the Earth. Then brings she forth
for mortals pasture of flocks and corn, Demeter's gift, and the fruitfulness
of trees is brought to completion by the dew of their marriage."
As the Goddess was both Earth and Sea, the rain-urine-seed-blood, etc.,
fell on both. The priestesses looked up to the sky and cried, "Rain!"
Then they looked down to the earth and cried, "Conceive!" 3
Rain-making was a chief function of Heavenly Fathers everywhere.
Rome's begetting god was Jupiter Pluvius,
Jupiter-Who-Makes-Rain, another version of Zeus, who was in turn a
replacement for Uranus. Even after the essential fluid was definitely
identified as semen, the other fluids were not forgotten. Urine remained
a popular rain charm. Shamans in Siberia used to bring rain by
"making water" on the naked body of a woman who represented the
earth.4 In Iraq, when rain was wanted, a female dummy called the
Bride of God was placed in a field, in the hope that God would "make
water" on her.5


Heavenly-father gods of most Indo-European religions impregnated
Mother Earth, or the sea-womb, with phallic lightning bolts. India's
Dyaus Pitar, "Father Heaven," wielded the lightning in token of his
union with the Goddess; he foreshadowed Greece's Zeus Pater and
Rome's Jupiter, who did the same. Dumuzi, Dionysus, Leviathan,
and many other versions of the "fiery serpent" including Lucifer and
Satan figures, were identified with the descending phallus of Heaven,
whom Jesus claimed to have seen "fall as lightning" (Luke 10: 18).
The lightning god's "fall" was not originally a defeat in a celestial
battle but rather a descent into the womb of the Abyss to fertilize the
world. Plutarch said lightning was the impregnator of the Great Goddess
of the Waters (Maria), and their union was "the cause of vital
heat." 1
Lightning was the cosmic phallus of the Vedic fire god Agni,
mated to Kali as the Primordial Abyss. She was said to "quench a
blazing lingam in her yoni." 2 Through ignorance of its sexual meaning,
Christians inadvertently preserved the same image of Maria-the-
Waters rendered fertile by male fire from heaven. The baptismal font of
a Christian church was likened to the womb of Mary, as the ancient
temples' water-cauldrons called "seas" or "abysses" were likened to the
Goddess's womb (see Cauldron). At the consecration of a Christian
font, the burning paschal candle was quenched in the water like Agni' s
lingam, with the words, "May a heavenly offspring, conceived in
holiness and reborn into a new creation, come forth from the stainless
womb of this divine font." Mary was said to be igne sacra inflammata:
fecundated by the sacred fire. 3
This universal notion of the male-female connotations of fire and
water was based on the Tantric view of the water element as Shakti,
the primal liquid power that produced "all fiery elements"-i.e., male
deities and their symbols, the sun, fire, lightning.4 The Jewel in the
Lotus, primary Tantric image of maleness enclosed by femaleness,
often used for the male element the word vajra, meaning jewel,
phallus, and lightning.5
The same combination of meanings occurred in Latin Gemma
Cerauniae, lightning-literally the Jewel ofCeraunus, the lightning
god.6 Sometimes the "jewel" was a phallic scepter like the Tantric dorje,
"lightning-bolt" or "thunderbolt," also a phallus. The same word
described a phallic scepter made by Hephaestus, forger of lightning bolts
for Father Zeus; it was called doru, a spear.7 The Indian city of
Da~eeling was named for the dorje-lingam, "lightning-phallus."8
A lightning-phallus or lightning-scepter was the emblem of sovereignty
for Greek and Roman heavenly fathers and for their
son-reincarnations also. Dionysus, born of the Earth- or Moon-mother,
became "king of all the gods of the world" when he sat on his father's
throne and wielded the lightning-scepter.9 His father Zeus descended
into the "bridal chambers" of the Mother Goddesses on the Acropolis
at Thebes in the form of lightning; therefore, these shrines were
taboo and were called Places of Coming.10 The sky-god also "came"
as lightning to fertilize the maternal rock, Petra Genetrix, that gave birth
to the Persian savior Mithra.II
A descent of lightning marked many miraculous impregnations
and virgin births throughout mythology, possibly beginning with the
Assyro-Babylonian Zeus, called Zu the Storm Bird. Zu was a model for
the winged lightning-spirits the Bible called seraphim, or fiery flying
serpents. As a Son of God, Zu coveted the Tablets of the Law, wishing
to rule the oracles and make himself king of heaven.12 He was
punished for his hubris in the Babylonian myth, but as the Olympian
Zeus he successfully defeated older heaven-gods like Uranus, Cronus,
Prometheus, and Hephaestus, and successfully defended his throne
against other challengers.
King Salmoneus of Elis dared impersonate Zeus the Lightning,
seeking to become the beloved of the Goddess Salma (Salome) and
control the weather. He dragged brazen cauldrons behind his chariot to
imitate thunder, and threw torches into the air to encourage lightning.
Zeus destroyed him for his hubris. 13 So the later mythographers
said; in fact the sacred kings everywhere were made to become God,
or the Son of God, by such magical means before they were sacrificed
to the same God.
A Dipylon amphora from the bank of the Ilissos shows a king
wielding the scepter from which issues a lightning bolt. The figure's
erect penis also shoots a bolt of lightning toward the Delta-symbol of the
Goddess on an altar. 14 This was a typical image of the god-king, from
northern Europe to central Asia where chieftains impersonated the
lightning god to mate with the divine swan-Valkyrie Kara, a variant of
Kali or Kauri. 15 Among the Celts, the Goddess's bird form was Colombe,
the Dove, bride of Lanceor the "Golden Lance," a lightning
god who evolved into Lancelot.16
A phallic lightning bolt was the original symbol of the Ugaritic sage
Atyn, Eytan, or Etana, whom the Bible calls Ethan, a king almost as
wise as Solomon (I Kings 4:31 ). He tried to ascend to Mother Ish tar in
heaven and was cast down like a bolt of lightning by the jealous sun .
god Shamash. His Hebrew name meant either "perpetual stream" or
"perpetually firm," both hopeful epithets of the phallic god. Ethan,
or Eytan, was the answer to the riddle in Proverbs 30: "Who hath
ascended up into heaven, and come down?"17 His totem was the
eagle, symbol of lightning, fire, and the sun. He ascended spread-eagled
on the bird's back in the form of a cross, his fingers "upon the
feathers of the wings" like the Greeks' Ganymede and the Hindus'
Quarrels over possession of the lightning-phallus underlay many
stories about god-kings and their rivals. Like God casting down
Lucifer "as lightning," Zeus cast down the older lightning-deity Hephaestus
because he defended his Great Mother Hera against a
patriarchal attack. As a god of the conquered matriarchate, Hephaestus
was imprisoned in a fire-mountain and set to forging lightning bolts
for the new ruler, Zeus. As the archaic Cretan Velchanos, Etruscan
Vulcan, Hephaestus was one of the Amazonian smith gods who
opposed the Olympian patriarchy.I9
The God of Moses copied the ways of other patriarchal deities and
claimed the ability to "cast forth lightning" (Psalms 144:6). In a literal
anthropomorphization this meant he could cast forth the lightning god
Lucifer from heaven. Medieval theologians were never quite sure
who threw the lightning bolts-God, or his rival Lucifer, who retained
the title of Prince of the Power of the Air.
German bishops said i~ 1783 that despite allegedly infallible
protections such as processions, hymns, and holy relics, the devil' s
lightning damaged 400 church towers and killed 120 bell-ringers within
33 years.20 It was difficult to explain why God so often threw
lightning at his own churches; or, if the destructive bolts were thrown by
the devil, why God didn't protect his churches better. Effective
measures had to wait until the arch-infidel Benjamin Franklin invented
the lightning rod. Even then, many churchmen refused to use the
new invention on the ground that it was one of the devil' s artifacts.
With the decline of the devil, the damage inflicted by lightning has
been once more imputed to God. Modern legal documents still
describe lightning-strikes as "acts of God."

Thor/Thundr, Thunaer,Donar

Scandinavian thunder-and-lightning god, corresponding to the Slavs'
Pyerun and the Latin Jove-which is why Rome's dies jovis, Jove's
Day, became Thursday (Thor's Day). Thor had at least six major
sanctuaries in England; Thurstable in Essex was originally "Thor's
Pillar." Thor's cult persisted up to the 11th century when a Christian
chronicler said Thor-or his priest-was "a wicked man of Kent"
acting as the king's counselor. Saxons converted to Christianity were
obliged to renounce "Thunaer, Woden and Saxnot, and all those
demons who are their companions." 1
Yet Thor continued to be worshipped in the north. His sanctuary
at Maerin in Trondheim was still active in the 11th century.2 Eligius,
bishop of Noyons, scolded Christians for observing Thursday as the
holy day of Thor in the 7th century; yet even 500 years later, Thor's
hammers were still revered in temples as sacred relics and sources of
thunder. In Prussia up to the 16th century, Jupiter-Thor was worshipped
by the people in "sacred woods in which they made sacrifices
and sacred springs which Christians were not allowed to approach." 3
Thor apparently descended from the Middle-Eastern thunder-bull
who was also Jupiter. Plutarch said the Phoenician thunder god was
Thur, the bull.4 The Germanic Thor "bellowed like a bull" as he
swung his hammer.5 Like other forms of the bull god, he was married
to the Earth Goddess as Thrud, "Power" or "Strength." 6 Though late
myths sometimes called Thrud his "daughter," Thor's home in
Asgard belonged to her. It was called Thrudvangar, "Thrud's Field." 7


Mistletoe was the Golden Bough that gave access to the underworld,
according to pagan belief. The gold color of dry mistletoe was seen as a
symbol of apotheosis, as was gold metal. The living plant was viewed
as the genitalia of the oak god, Zeus or Jupiter or Dian us of Dodona,
consort of the Moon-mother Diana Nemetona, Lady of the Grove.
At the season of sacrifice, druidic priests ceremonially castrated the oak
god by cutting off his mistletoe with a golden moon-sickle, catching it
in a white cloth before it could touch the ground, so it remained like
every sacrificial deity "between heaven and earth." 1
The phallic significance of mistletoe probably stemmed from the
notion that its whitish berries were semen-drops, as the red berries of
its feminine counterpart, holly, were equated with the Goddess's menstrual
blood. Among Indo-European peoples generally, castration of
the god was customary before his immolation.
Sacred-oak cults continued throughout the Christian era. In the
8th century A.D., the Hessians worshipped the oak god at Geismar
and gave his holy tree the name of Jove Qupiter). As late as 1874, an ancient
oak-tree shrine in Russia was worshipped by a congregation led
by an Orthodox priest. Wax candles were affixed to the tree, and the
celebrants prayed, "Holy Oak Hallelujah, pray for us." A drunken
orgy ensued. 2 Modern customs of kissing under the mistletoe are pale
shadows of the sexual orgies that once accompanied the rites of the
oak god.
To Nordic pagans, mistletoe symbolized the death of the saviorgod
Balder, son of Odin, whose Second Coming was expected after
doomsday, when he would return to earth to establish the new creation.
Balder was slain by a spear of mistletoe wielded by Hod, the Blind
God, another name for Odin himself. Or, some said Hod was Balder's
dark twin, corresponding to the light-and-dark year-gods Set and
Horus in Egypt.3
Some derive the Saxon mis-el-tu from Mas, the Sanskrit "Messiah"
(Vishnu), and tal, a pit, metaphQrically the earth's womb. Thus it
stood for the god's entry into his Mother-bride. Norsemen's word for
mistletoe was Guidhel, the same "guide to hell" as Virgil's Golden
After they were converted to Christianity, Saxons claimed the
mistletoe was "the forbidden tree in the middle of the trees of Eden,"
i.e., the Tree of Knowledge, which was 1\opularly supposed to have
furnished the wood for Jesus's cross.5
The phallic meaning of the mistletoe made it the "key" that
opened the underworld womb, key and phallus being interchangeable
in mystical writings. Some treatises said, "All locks are opened by
the herb Missell toe." Combined with the "feminine" herb Alcyone,
it "makes a man do often the act of generation."6
The pagan's interpretations of mistletoe were still understood in
Renaissance times, when it was adopted as an emblem of the new
Messiah and "carried to the high altar" of English churches on
Christmas Eve. But some Christian writers insisted that the mistletoe
"never entered those sacred edifices but by mistake, or ignorance of the
sextons; for it was the heathenish and profane plant, as having been of
such distinction in the pagan rites of Druidism.''7

Palm Tree

In the Babylonian myth of the primal garden, the palm tree was the
Tree of Life, a dwelling-place of the Goddess Astarte. The Hebrew
version of her name was Tamar, "Palm Tree."1
Her male counterpart was Baal-Peor, or Phoenix, the god of
Phoenicia whose name meant "Land of the Palm." As a phallic deity,
Baal-Peor was symbolized by a palm tree between two large stones.
Sexual orgies in the temple celebrated his union with the Goddess in
Phoenicia and in Israel until priests of Yahweh killed the celebrants in
the midst of their rites (Numbers 25:8).
Still, the feminine connotations of the palm tree remained. The
Goddess was often embodied in a Mother-palm, giving the food of
life in the form of coconut milk or dates. A complicated biblical myth
shows Tamar the Palm-tree as the mother of a slain "firstborn of
Judah"; and as a veiled sacred harlot decorated with the signet, staff, and
bracelets of the nation of Judah; and as a widow (Crone) to whom
offerings of goats were made; and as an idol "by the wayside," whom
priests of Yahweh wanted to burn (Genesis 38). She gave birth to the
rival twins Pharez and Zarah, Hebrew counterparts of Osiris and Set.
The spirit of the palm tree was still the Great Mother in the tradition
of early Christians, who gave the title of Holy Palm (Ta-Mari) to the
virgin Mary.2 Yet Egyptians continued to call a man's penis his
"palm tree." 3


Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of a divine being used to be a
horned head. Masks and crowns of incarnate deities were often those of
horned animals-bulls, goats, stags. Horns were connected with the
oldest Tantric belief concerning male vitality: that by suppression of
ejaculation, mystic energy mounts up the spine to the head and
flowers forth in wisdom and magic power, made visible by horns.
Outgrowths from the head are specially significant. The homed animals
are the most sacred, because they carry about upon them visible
evidence that their "head-stuff" is developed to the point of extrusion.
Bulls, rams and he-goats are especially well-endowed. So too are deer.
There is ample linguistic evidence in the West for the association between
horns and male sexuality. In Indian miniatures and ivories of the
seventeenth and eighteenth century A.D. homed deer are frequently used
as symbols for the desire of a lovely girl in the forest. 1
The Bible says Yahweh's altar was horned, and he was sometimes
addressed as a phallic stone, "the Rock that begat thee," as well as
the phallic "horn of my salvation, my high tower" (2 Samuel22:3).
Yahweh was identified with El, "supreme god of the Semitic pantheon"
who wore bull-horns as consort of Mari-Asherah the divine cow. 2
Like Zeus and A pis, he could take the form of the white moon-bull,
probably copied from totemic incarnations of Shiva as the white bull
Nandi (Blessed One).
The white moon-bull seems to have been one of the forms of the
moon god Sin, whose holy Mount Sinai Moses climbed, and came
down "wearing horns" in token of his encounter with the god of the
mountain. The standard biblical translation says Moses came down
from Sin's mountain with his head "shining," but in Hebrew, the same
word signifies a "horned" or a "radiated" head.3 The Vulgate says
cornuta fuit facies ejus, he (Moses) wore horns. Michelangelo's famous
figure of Moses is horned like a satyr.4
The Horned God was as old as the Stone Age. Primitive sacred art
everywhere shows men wearing the horns of bulls, stags, rams, or
goats, which distinguished the shaman, sacred king, priest, or victim. 5
Horned animals were frequently associated with Mother Goddess
figures.6 Myths of all later periods also combined the Goddess with the
Horned God, who was Actaeon the stag, Pan the goat, Dionysus or
Zeus the bull, Amen the ram, and innumerable combinations of these
with human images. The Teutonic hero Sigurd or Siegfried was
sometimes a man, sometimes a hart, consort of the White Hind who led
men on mysterious adventures. He found his mother-bride in the
form of a Valkyrie sleeping in her secret place, Hinderf)all (HindMountain).
7 Later he died in the forest as a hunted stag, pierced by
arrows, like Actaeon the Lord of the Hunt and his medieval counterpart,
the witches' Horned God.
Medieval folk thought it might be possible for human beings to
grow real horns on their heads for a variety of reasons, from telling
lies (through identification with the devil as Father of Lies) to becoming
a cuckold. Agrippa von Nettesheim offered a pseudo-scientific
explanation for the alleged overnight homing of Cyprus, king of Italy.
The king dreamed all night of a battle of bulls, which stimulated "the
vegetative power, being stirred up by a vehement imagination, elevating
cornific humors into his head and producing horns." 8
Of course the principal Horned God was the devil, a composite of
all the Horned Gods of paganism. Sir Thomas Browne said the
"devils" of holy scripture were Fauns, Satyrs, and sons of Pan; but the
original Hebrew word for them was "goats." 9 ln Scotland, the devil
was known as Ould Hornie. His notorious lustfulness gave rise to the
modern slang term "horny." The so-called sign of the devilforefinger
and little finger extended-was originally a gesture-symbol of
a horned animal head, copied from a sacred mudra of the Great
Goddess in India.10


One of the "horny" animals embodying the phallic god along with
the bull, stag, and billygoat. The ram was often selected for the dubious
honor of sacrifice, being identified with the god who immolated
himself to himself for the sake of humanity.
Solar gods were linked with the heavenly ram Aries, who began
the sacred year, dead and reborn as the new Aeon. Egyptians called
him Amen-Ra, "the Ram, the virile male, the holy phallus, which
stirreth up the passions of love, the Ram of rams." 1
The Ram Caught in a Thicket was a sexual metaphor and a
common religious icon in Abraham's legendary home, Ur of the
Chaldees. The same Ram Caught in a Thicket appeared in the Bible as
a surrogate victim to replace Isaac, whose father Abraham was about
to sacrifice him on the altar at Yahweh's command (Genesis 22:13).
The story marked a transition from ancient customs of human
sacrifice to the classical rule of animal sacrifice, as shown also in the
substitution of the ram of the Golden Fleece for the king's son in a
Boeotian sacrifice to Zeus.2 An older Midrashic version of the Abraham-
Isaac story said Abraham's hand was not stayed, the ram did not
appear. Isaac was slaughtered, buried, and rose again on the third day.3
Rams were sacred in Israel as consorts of Rachel, the Holy Ewe,
whom the biblical narrative later married to Jacob, a reincarnated
Isaac. Jews sacrificed the paschal lamb each year as a firstborn son of the
ram god who was identified with Yahweh. At one time the biblical
God wore ram's horns, later assigned instead to the devil. Joshua's
priests used ram's horns to make victory magic (Joshua 6:4), showing
that they were led by the divine ram in battle.


The biblical title translated "God" is El, originally the title of the
Phoenician bull-god called Father of Men. As the "supreme god of the
Semitic pantheon, El was worshipped throughout Syria alongside the
local gods, or Ba'als, one of his titles, indeed, being 'the Bull.' " 1 Like
Zeus the Bull, consort of Hera-Europa-Io the white Moon-Cow, El
married Asherah, the Semitic sacred Cow. He was identified with Elias
or Helios, the sun. He was still the Semitic Father of Men in the time
of Jesus, who cried to him from the cross, calling him Father (Mark
Nearly every god of the ancient world was incarnate sooner or later
in a bull. The Cretan moon-king called Minos inhabited a succession of
Minotaurs (moon-bulls), who were sacrificed as the king's surrogates.
Yama, the Hindu Lord of Death, wore a bull's head and became the
underworld judge, like Minos.2 Shiva was incarnate in the white bull
Nandi.3 The real reason King Nebuchadnezzar "ate grass" probably
was that his soul temporarily entered into the body of the divine
sacrificial bull (Daniel 4:33). Court prophets of the kings of Israel put
on bull masks to represent the king while casting spells for his victory
over his enemies (1 Kings 22:11).4
Bull worship was a large part of Mithraism. The bull's blood was
credited with power to produce all creatures on earth without the aid of
the cow, though her power was implicit in that the bull's blood was
taken up and magically treated by the Moon. The bull was consecrated
to Anahita, a Persian name of the Moon-goddess whom the Greeks
called Artemis Tauropolos, "Bull-Slayer," of whom the bull-slaying
savior Mithra was a late, masculinized form.5 Like most patriarchal
symbols, those of the Mithraic cult were copied from myths of the
Asian Goddess. A statue of Kali in the Ellora caves shows her in the
pose typical of Mithra, holding up the nose of the sacrificial bull and
preparing to slaughter it.6
The bull was killed for a baptism of blood at the Roman Taurobolium
in honor of Attis, Cybele, or Mithra. "A trench was dug over
which was erected a platform of planks with perforations and gaps.
Upon the platform the sacrificial bull was slaughtered, whose blood
dripped through upon the initiate in the trench ... he turned round and
held up his neck that the blood might trickle upon his lips, ears, eyes,
and nostrils; he moistened his tongue with the blood, which he
than drank as a sacramental act. Greeted by the spectators, he came
forth from this bloody baptism believing that he was purified from his
sins and 'born again for eternity.' " 7 The participant in the Taurobolium
acted out literally what Christians called washing in the blood of
the lamb.
Egypt's savior Osiris was worshipped in bull form as Apis-Osiris,
the Moon-bull of Egypt, annually slain in atonement for the sins of the
realm.8 In the ceremony of his rebirth, he appeared as the Golden Calf,
Horus, born of Isis whose image was a golden cow. The same Golden
Calf was adored by the Israelites under Aaron (Exodus 32:4).
The Orphic god Dionysus also took the form of a bull; one of his
earlier incarnations was the Cretan bull-god Zagreus, "the Goodly
Bull," a son and reincarnation of Zeus, and another version of the
Minotaur. The god was a bull on earth, and a serpent in his subterranean,
regenerating phase. The Orphic formula ran: "The bull is the
father of the serpent, and the serpent is the father of the bull." 9
Dionysus was reincarnated over and over, and there were some who
identified him with the Persian Messiah. In the Book of Enoch,
the Messiah is represented as a white bull.10
Athenian legends of the Moerae or Fates compared all men to
the sacrificial bull sentenced to death at the hands of Fate sooner or
later. Medieval superstition called the Fate-goddess Mora, a nocturnal
spirit who roams the world seizing men and crushing them until they
" roar like bulls." She was also Christianized as St. Maura, on whose
sacred day women were forbidden to sew, lest they "cut the thread of
life" after the manner of the Moerae.11
In medieval England, Twelfth Night games featured remnants of
bull worship. A large cake with a hole in the center was thrown over the
bull's horn, to form a lingam-yoni. The bull was then tickled, "to make
him toss his head." If he threw the cake behind him, it belonged to the
mistress; if in front, it belonged to the bailiff.12 This ceremony probably
derived from an ancient custom of divination. Like all sacrificial victims
already dedicated to the supernatural realm, the bull was believed to
have prophetic powers.

Golden Calf

Horus, the bull-calf representing Osiris reborn from his mother Isis-
Hathor, who appeared in her processions as a golden cow. Israelites in
exile considered a Horus-calf so necessary that they permitted Aaron
to melt down their gold jewelry to make one. Aaron presented the
finished calf as the god who brought the people safely out of the land
of Egypt (Exodus 32:4). The sexual worship of Horus was maintained
also. The Israelites made offerings to him, sat down to a feast, then
"rose up to play" (Exodus 32:6). The word here translated "play" really
meant "copulate." 1


Classic symbol of the phallic horse deity, or sacred king incarnate in a
horned horse. According to medieval legend, the unicorn could be
captured only by a virgin girl, because his irresistible desire was to lay
his "horn" in a maiden's lap. While thus engaged, he was incapable of
resisting capture. (However, no unicorns were ever captured.)
The unicorn was a secret phallic consort of the virgin Mary, shown
inside her "enclosed garden" of virginity, in many examples of
Christian mystical art. At times he was identified with the Savior. A
medieval hymn called Christ "the wild wild unicorn whom the
Virgin caught and tamed." 1
A source of the unicorn myth may have been the Babylonian
dragon-beast made up of a horselike body with lion's forelegs, scales,
a snakelike neck and a flat horned head with a single spike growing from
the center of the nose.2 One theory proposes that the unicorn was
originally the bull of spring, rearing up and struggling with the lion of
summer. Babylonian art showed both animals in profile, so the bull
appeared to have only one horn. The British coat of arms still has "the
lion and the unicorn" contending in just such a manner.3
Explorers thought they found the legendary unicorn in the African
rhinoceros. Because of the unicorn's phallic significance, powdered
rhinoceros horn became a highly popular "remedy" for impotence, and
is so used even today.4


Egyptians knew the obelisk was intended to represent a giant phallus.
It was called the benben-stone, or begetter-stone, similar to the Petra,
"the Rock that begat thee," as the Bible says. (See Peter, Saint.)
Usually the obelisk was regarded as an erection of the earth god Geb in
his perpetual eagerness to mate with the Goddess of Heaven.1


The obelisk, Maypole, pillar, sacred tree trunk, upright cross, and
other male divinity-symbols probably originated in India where Shiva' s
lingam (penis) was worshipped as a sacred pillar. Shiva's title Sthanu,
"the Pillar," revealed him as a personified phallus.1 Some of his holy
pillars are still popular pilgrimage centers. Land within a radius of
l 00 cubits from such a pillar became known as the Kingdom of Shiva,
where many miracles occur, including instant remission of sins.2
Seasonal festivals still feature a Maypole representing Shiva' s "Great
Lingam." 3
Phallic pillars appear also in northern Asia and Siberia, where such
erections are entitled Powerful Posts of the Center of the City, or
Man-Pillar of Iron. People pray to such pillars, calling them "Man" or
"Father," offering them blood sacrifices.4 ·
Blood was anciently considered essential to the lingam-pillar,
which Hindus frequently painted red or smeared with blood. Archaic
Egyptian myth said two pillars, called "trees that shed blood," stood at
the entrance of the temple. The blood they shed could render
women pregnant. 5 Here may be found a remnant of the primitive idea
that male blood, not semen, is the fertile essence, copied from
Neolithic worship of female "moon-blood." The temple door represented
the yoni, entitled Er-per, the Holy Door of the Goddess.6
As in India, where Shiva' s lingam was painted red or anointed with
blood for religious festivals, so in Egypt the pillars in front of the
temple door were "blooded" in memory of primitive sacrifices when
real men were hung on them to bleed. Jews picked up this Egyptian
custom and blooded their doorposts for Passover with the vital fluid of
the sacrificial lamb. The doorposts represented phalli, like the pillars
in front of Solomon's temple, named Boaz and Jachin, "Strength" and
"God Makes Him Firm" (l Kings 7: 19-20).
At Hierapolis the temple of the Goddess had an enormous phallic
pillar on each side of the door. Every year, a man climbed to the top
of each pillar and remained there for seven days, symbolically recapitulating
ancient sacrifices when the pillars were bathed in the blood of
human victims, who were evidently left hanging for one lunar week,
perhaps in imitation of a menstrual periodJ When Syria was Christianized,
the custom was continued by the "pillar saints" who, like their
pagan predecessors, thought themselves near enough to heaven for
their prayers to be distinctly heard. 8 The most famous of them was St.
Simeon Stylites, "Simeon of the Pillar," who stayed aloft until his
limbs became gangrenous and he died in a pungent odor of sanctity.9
A church was built around a sacred pillar in Athens and named St.
John of the Column. As pagans had previously come to tie their
illnesses to the pillar with silk thread, so the legendary St. John ordered,
"Let any sick come and tie a silk thread to the column and be
healed." 10
Pillars in conjunction with churches-as a spire or campanile-are
not often recognized as male symbols in contact with a female one,
although the shikhara or spire associated with a Hindu temple is
generally viewed as a phallus. 11


Herodotus said the Scythian war god was represented by an ancient
iron sword (phallus) fixed in a pyramid of brushwood (female symbol),
made fertile with the blood of human sacrifices.1 Eight centuries
later, the Alani and Quadi in the same region worshipped a father-god
as a naked sword fixed in the ground. Ammianus said the warriors
worshipped their own swords as gods. 2
In the north, a primary female symbol was the house (hus, hussy),
which was combined with the sword by marriage. A Norse wedding
custom was· plunging a sword into the IT1ain beam of the house: "a proof
of the virility of the bridegroom and a sign of good luck for the
marriage." 3
Norse myth said the gates of heaven are guarded by a man juggling
seven swords, one for each of the seven (male) spirits of the planetary


Sanskrit "jewel," "phallus," or "lightning" -images of the Jewel in
the Lotus, male spirit enclosed in the female, graphically represented by
the lingam-yoni. Vajrasana meant the "diamond seat" of the Tantric
yogi, a mystic state of psychosexual union with the Goddess. As a
diamond shape was an archaic symbol of the clitoris, it may be that
the vajra was recognized as an enlarged male version of the same thing.
See Lotus.


Rod and staff of Dionysus, a wand or scepter tipped with a pine cone,
representing the god's power to fertilize. The thyrsus was borne by the
god himself, by his satyrs, his Maenads, his sileni, and other participants
in his sacred orgia. Sometimes the thyrsus was displayed in
conjunction with a wine cup, forming a male-and-female combination
like that of the royal scepter and orb.1


Symbol of the triple phallus displayed by any god whose function it
was to mate with the Triple Goddess; a masculine counterpart of the
triangle. In India, the "trident-bearer" was Shiva, bridegroom of
threefold Kali.1 In the west, the trident passed to such underground or
abyssal gods as Hades, Pluto, Neptune, and Poseidon, and after them
to the Christian devil, their composite descendant.
Celtic myth retained the original phallic significance of the Triple
Key to the Holy Door. Like Shiva, the primitive Irish shamrock-god
Trefuilngid Tre-Eochair was a "bearer of the triple key." Symbol of
his Door was the trefoil that the Arabs called shamrakh and the
Hindus worshipped as an emblem of Kali thousands of years before the
first Aryans came to lreland.2 The Irish god was quaintly assimilated
to Christianity by a Middle Irish text claiming that he appeared to
Fin tan, king of Tara, on the day of Christ's death, bearing a sacred
branch with three fruits, and stone tablets of Celtic property law. 3
Because the trident was generally recognized as a phallus in pagan
.tradition, Renaissance "devils" were often pictured with threepronged
or forked penises. A devil "cum membra bifurcato" was
mentioned in 1520, and a number of inquisitorial judges said witches
copulated with devils whose phalli had two or more points.4


The Celtic trefoil, which originated in the east. Pre-Islamic Arabs
called the trefoil shamrakh, the three-lobed lily or lotus flower of the
Moon-goddess's trinity: a design of "three yonis" which appeared on
artifacts of the ancient Indus Valley civilization, as well as on stone,
pottery, and woodwork in Mesopotamia, Crete, and Egypt between
2300 and 1300 B.C.1
Christians pretended that St. Patrick explained the doctrine of the
Christian trinity to the Irish by exhibiting the shamrock. However,
the Irish were worshipping this emblem of their Triple Goddess long
before Christianity appeared in their land. It stood for her triple
"door," and her God sometimes bore the title of Trefuilngid Tre-
eochair, "Triple Bearer of the Triple Key," a trident representing the
triple phallus. He was known as a God of the Shamrock, partially
assimilated to Christianity by a legend that he appeared to the Irish on
the day of Christ's crucifixion, bearing sacred stone tablets and a branch
with three fruits.2

Trefuilngid Tre-Eochair

Irish god of the trefoil (shamrock), known as Triple Bearer of the
Triple Key, the same as Shiva the "trident-bearer," referring to a triple
phallus designed to fertilize the Triple Goddess. The shamrock-god
was assimilated to St. Patrick, another bearer of the trefoil, whose name
meant "father" like that of any tribal begetter. Old legends said the
Irish god's trefoil produced apple, nut, and oak trees, as well as the five
mystic trees representing the five senses.1 See Shamrock; Trident.


Greek "lechery," or "pride," both words associated with penile
erection; said to be the sin of Lucifer. Patriarchal gods especially
punished hubris, the sin of any upstart who became-in both
senses-"too big for his breeches." 1
The original Hubristika was an Argive "Feast of Lechery" featuring
orgies and transvestism. Men broke a specific taboo by wearing
women's veils and assuming women's magic power.2 Christianity later
condemned as devil-worship all forms of transvestism, because of its
implication that men acquired power through connection with women,
whether it was a sexual connection or a masquerade.
From hubrizein, lecherous behavior, came the Roman word
hybrid, describing a child of a Roman father and a foreign mother. A
trace of the old law of matrilineal inheritance dictated that a child was a
slave or a freeman according to the status of his mother, slave or free;
the father's status was irrelevant. Similarly among the Jews, in the case
of mixed marriages or hybridization, a child was Jewish only if the
mother was the Jewish parent, but gentile if only the father was Jewish. 3

Axis Mundi

"Axle of the World." Ancient cosmologies pictured the earth as a
globe spinning on a shaft with the ends fastened at the celestial poles.
The axis mundi penetrated the earth at its center, hence it was
usually associated with the cosmic lingam or male principle. Each
nation placed this hub at the center of its own territory. See


"Terrible Horse," or "The Horse ofYgg [the Ogre]"; Norse name of
the World Ash Tree that became Odin's gallows tree-a gallows being
poetically likened to a horse {drasil) on which men rode to Death.
Like Christ's cross, Y ggdrasil was depicted as the axis mundi. Its roots
supported the earth, its trunk passed through the world's hub, its
branches stretched over heaven and were hung with the stars. Under its
roots by the Fount of Wisdom lived the three Fate-goddesses or
Noms. A mighty serpent constantly gnawed at the tree and at doomsday
would succeed in toppling the entire structure. All the worlds it
upheld-Earth, heaven, Midgard, Asgard-were destined to tumble
down and fall apart. See Doomsday; Odin.


Latin virtu was derived from vir, "man," and originally meant
masculinity, impregnating power, semen, or male magic, like Germanic
heill. Patriarchal thinkers defined manliness as good and womanliness
as bad, therefore virtu became synonymous with morality or godliness,
along with other synonyms hinting at male sexuality: erectness,
uprightness, rectitude, upstandingness, etc. As the Old Testament said,
"Praise is comely for the upright" (Psalms 3 3J ).
Old phallic connotations of "virtue" may have been hidden in the
Gospels' description of Jesus's miraculous cure of the woman with an
issue of blood. When she touched Jesus, he felt "virtue" go out of him,
"and straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up" (Mark
5:29-30). According to ancient systems of sacred kingship, it was
important for the king-victim to give proof of virility, which meant
impregnating a specially chosen priestess, so that the "fountain of her
blood" might cease.


Literally, "virility," the divine force without which Norse kings
couldn't rule. A king's virility was periodically tested, and when it
waned, he was usually killed and replaced. When King Fjolnir of
Sweden "became impotent," he was drowned in a vat of mead, the
common euphemism for the sacred cauldron.1 A similar custom
disposed of biblical kings, like David, who died very soon after the
maiden Abishag proved him impotent (l Kings 1:4).
The Cerne Giant of Dorset was .said to represent the Saxon god
Heill, personification of phallic spirit, as shown by his erect penis.
The church claimed St. Augustine built Cerne Abbey to commemorate
the downfall of this lusty "devil," but it seems the shrine was dedicated
to Heill in the first place, and simply taken over by Christian

Phallus Worship

As Goddess-dominated religions made the yoni their holiest symbol,
so God-dominated religions adored the phallus. Patriarchal Semites
worshipped their own genitals, and swore binding oaths by placing a
hand on each other's private parts, a habit still common among the
Arabs.1 Words like testament, testify, and testimony still attest to the
oaths sworn on the testicles.2
Abraham's servant swore by placing his hand "under the thigh" of
his master (Genesis 24,9) because "thigh" was a common euphemism
for "penis," used in superstitious fear of mentioning the divine
organ directly. Myths of male pseudo-birth-like Zeus's fatherhood
of Dionysus-made the offspring come forth from the father's
"thigh." 3 But the meaning was "penis," as in the Hindu myth that
substituted the lingam for the yoni: the god Sukra (Seed) came out of
the stomach of the Great God by way of his penis.4
Another Middle-Eastern euphemism for "penis" was "knee,"
genu, so often mentioned that some people came to believe the knee
was the source of seminal fluid. A father used to establish paternal rights
to a child by setting the infant on his knee, which is why "genuine"
(of the knee) came to mean "legitimate." In Mesopotamia the word
birku meant both "knee" and "penis." 5 In Latin it became virtu,
"masculine spirit, virility, erect-ness."
The Bible calls Jacob's penis the sinew that shrank, lying "upon
the hollow of the thigh." Scholars have tried to interpret this limp
penis as something else: a severed tendon, or a certain thigh muscle,
which Jews were forbidden to eat (Genesis 32:32). But medieval
translators frankly recognized the phallic meaning of the "sinew." They
said the god-man's blighting touch on Jacob's shrunken member was
"to cool the fires of concupiscence." 6
Biblical patriarchs worried inordinately about the vulnerability of
the penis and avoided direct mention of it lest evil spirits be drawn to
it. Old Testament laws reveal a special fear of women's power over the
penis. God's commandment was that a woman who grabs a man's
genitals must have her hand cut off, even if she does it to defend her
husband against an enemy (Deuteronomy 25:11-12).
The word "fascinate" is a relic of men's belief in the magic of their
own genitals. Latin fascinum meant an erect penis (presumably
"fascinating" to the opposite sex), especially in the form of a phallic
amulet. Such amulets continued to be used through the Middle Ages
as antidotes to the evil eye.7 In the 8th century A.D., the church forbade
men to pray to the Eascinum. In the 9th century, the same prohibition
had to be repeated-and again in the 12th and 13th centuries, showing
that the custom went blithely on.8
The phallic principle was covertly worshipped in sacred posts and
pillars, such as the Maypole and the "bride-stake" erected at weddings,
about which "the guests were wont to dance as about a
May-pole." 9 Stubbes in 1583 described common folk dancing and
hanging garlands on their Maypole, which he called a "stinking idol." 10
Women of ancient Rome used to hang flower wreaths on the erect
penis of the god Liber, to "have fruit of the seeds they sow," St. Augustine
The same sexual ceremony of encircling the phallus with a female
wreath was perpetuated at Antwerp, where an ancient ithyphallic
statue of Priapus stood before the sanctuary of St.Walpurga, once the
orgiastic Goddess of Walpurgisnacht or May Eve. Each year at the
spring festival, women hung wreaths of flowers on Priapus's penis.12
Another image of the same god was carried through the streets of
Naples in sacred processions, displaying a penis long enough to reach
his chin. This excrescence was known as il santo membra, the Holy
A 13th-century Chronicle of Lanercost said that, at Easter, the
parish priest of lnverkeithing "revived the profane rites of Priapus,
collecting young girls from the villages, and compelling them to dance
in circles to Father Bacchus. When he had these females in a troop,
out of sheer wantonness, he led the dance, carrying in front on a pole a
representation of the human organs of reproduction, and singing and
dancing himself like a mime." 14 This priest was less eccentric than one
might think; the same sort of thing was happening all over Europe.
Phallus worship was Christianized in ways that hinted at Christianity's
true nature: a cult of the male principle.
Giant phalli were adored up to the 17th century as saints, such as
Eutropius, Foutin, Guerlichon, Gilles, Regnaud, Rene, and Guignole.
St. Foutin de Varailles was a phallic pillar kept red with libations
of wine, as the phalli of Shiva were constantly reddened in Hindu
temples.15 Ithyphallic saints in Normandy and Anjou were believed to
impregnate women who lay with them all night. The image of St.
Guignole had a large erect penis from which women scraped splinters as
conception charms. So much scraping went on that the saint might
have had his holy member whittled away entirely. But the priests, with
commendable foresight, made his phallus of a wooden rod that
passed all the way through the statue to the back, where it was hidden by
a screen, and could be periodically thrust forward by a tap of a mallet
as it diminished in front.16
Christ assumed the role of a phallic god in providing the most
popular of conception charms: the Holy Prepuce-or more accurately,
Prepuces, for there were hundreds of them in Renaissance churches.
At least thirteen examples still survived. All had the power to make
women conceive. The most celebrated of the virile foreskins, housed at
the Abbey Church in Chartres, was credited with thousands of
miraculous pregnancies.18 St. Catherine of Siena went so far as to claim
that Jesus used his holy foreskin as her wedding ring. She was bound
to Jesus as his bride, "not with a ring of silver but with a ring of his holy
flesh, for when he was circumcised just such a ring was taken from his
holy body." 19
Phallic saints were special patrons of virility, much entreated by
men with sexual problems. Sir William Hamilton described the cult
of two phallic saints, Cosmo and Damiano, at Isernia in 1781: "Ex-voti
of wax, representing the male parts of generation, of various dimensions
... are publicly offered for sale .... The Vow is never presented without
being accompanied by a piece of money, and is always kissed by the
devotee at the moment of presentation." The priests sold St. Cosmo's
holy oil as a virility charm:
The oil of St. Cosmo is in high repute for its invigorating quality, when
the loins, and parts adjacent, are anointed with it. No less than 1400 flasks
of that oil were either expended at the Altar in unctions, or charitably
distributed during the Fete in the year 1780; and as it is usual for
everyone, who either makes use of the Oil at the Altar, or carries off a flask
of it, to leave an alms for St. Cosmo, the ceremony of the Oil becomes
likewise a very lucrative one for the Canons of the Church.20
A hint of the broad extent of phallic Christianity in England
appeared after World War II when Professor Geoffrey Webb, of the
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, investigated a bomb-damaged
altar of an old church and found a large stone phallus within it.
Further researches showed that the altars of approximately 90% of
English churches built before 1348 had hidden stone phalli.21 By pagan
tradition, an altar symbolized the female body-which is why witches
were said to use a naked woman for their altar-and the phallus within
it obviously represented the Hidden God.
Sexual symbolism kept cropping up to embarrass scholars of
religion, like Georges Dumezil, who called "indiscreet" the Roman
belief that the sacred Palladium in the temple of Vesta was the scepter
of Priam "in the likeness of a male sex organ." Yet Dumezil himself
wrote, "Some day it will be necessary to restore to the history of
religions the idea of the symbol which is today so underrated and yet
of such capital importance." 22
An understanding of phallus worship is important for comprehension
of religious psychology, especially the fundamental insecurity of
male self-worship: for the phallic God was useless without the Goddess.
Dr. Lederer says:
During the aeons of feminine dominance, women were well content in
the possession of their own particular magic, and did not envy men
their little tool that was so easily borrowed when it was needed. Indeed,
the Great Mother was never short of a phallus ... the phallus was at
her service. It was kept in evidence in the sanctuary of the Goddess, and
was not the phallus of any particular God or mortal, was not a man or a
God with a phallus, but it was simply a phallus per se, a depersonalized
instrument of ready and convenient use. Once used, it was no longer
useful. For the Great Mother, as for certain of her descendants today,
penises are expendable: one can always get more, and the new ones are
probably better. The new ones, of course, are younger; and the fear of
being spent, and doomed to replacement by a younger man-both in
the sexual and in the general service of the Goddess-may on occasion be
a source of deep anxiety for the middle-aged male.23
Phallic anxiety was evident in all patriarchal systems, where fear
of the devouring vulva led to both ascetic avoidance and persecution of
women. Phallic anxiety was the keynote of the one solitary joke in the
Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer for Witches), the Inquisition's official
handbook. The monkish authors took the joke seriously, though it
was given them by some sly peasant whose purpose was mockery. The
story was that a witch stole a man's penis, but he caught her and
forced her to reveal its whereabouts. She told him to climb a tall tree
and look in a nest, which proved to be filled with penises. He chose
the biggest one, but the witch said he couldn't have that one; it
belonged to the parish priest.
The pious authors swallowed all this with great solemnity, and
wrote: "What is to be thought of those witches who in this way
sometimes collect male organs in great numbers, as many as twenty or
thirty members together, and put them in a bird's nest, or shut them
up in a box, where they move themselves like living members, and eat
oats and corn, as has been seen by many and is a matter of common
report?" 24 Even more to the point, what is to be thought of those
churchmen who believed it?
Phallus worship often slid over the ill-defined line into homosexuality,
which was inevitable among men taught to adore the phallic
principle in each other. Sometimes a homosexual kind of adoration was
extended toward the superior male, or toward God. Among gypsy
men, the expression of ritual self-abasement was hav co kar, "I eat thy
penis." It was explained that "If one should, for example, petition
God in prayer for a wish to be granted, he would precede his request by
saying, 'O God, I eat thy penis.'" As with other eaten gods however,
"the question whether it might be the last remnant of a very ancient
practice of cannibalism must be considered." 25
Phallus worship is still evident in the symbols and sayings of the
modern world, though its meaning is less like impregnation and more
like death. Guns, cannon, missiles and other weapons are the phallic
symbols. In underworld slang, "to get a hard-on" means to pull a
gun.26 "Hits" and "scores" describe both attacks and sexual encounters.
Dominant men are "big shots" or "big guns." The ancient image of
the fructifying Lord of Life is unhappily transformed into a Lord of
Death when male power is identified with the power to destroy. In its
worship of the masculine principle of aggression, the modern world
sorely misses the central idea of ancient Goddess worship: that true
power is the power to preserve.


Symbolic version of the sacrifice of virility to a deity, as practiced in
Egypt, Persia, and the Middle East. Originally an imitation of menstruation,
performed at puberty on boys who were dressed up as girls for
the occasion.1 Circumcision came to be regarded as a sacrifice pleasing
to a male deity, when it was viewed as a substitute for castration.


Ceremonial penis-slitting, practiced by some primitives in an effort to
make male genitals resemble female ones. Like circumcision, subincision
evolved from a former custom of castration, and became a rite
of passage wherein grown men could express their hostility to the
developing sexuality of pubescent youths while pretending to "make
men" of them.


All mythologies suggest that, before men understood their reproductive
role, they tried to "make women" of themselves in the hope of
achieving womanlike fertility. Methods included couvade or imitation
childbirth; mock death and rebirth through artificial male mothers;
ceremonial use of red substances to imitate menstrual blood; and
transvestism. Another method was ceremonial castration. Its primitive
object was to turn a male body into a female one, replacing dangling
genitals with a bleeding hole. (See Birth-giving, Male.)
Many gods became pseudo-mothers by this means. Egypt's solar
god Ra castrated himself to bring forth a race called the Ammiu out
of his blood.1 The phallus of the Hindu "Great God," Mahadeva, was
removed and chopped to pieces by priestesses of the Goddess. The
pieces entered the earth and gave birth to a new race of men, the
Lingajas (Men of the lingam, or phallus).2 In a Chukchi variant, the
Great God Raven acquired feminine secrets of magic for men by
pounding his own penis to a pudding and feeding it to the Goddess
Miti (Mother).3 In Mexico, the savior Quetzalcoatl made new humans
to repopulate the earth after the Flood by cutting his penis and giving
blood to the Lady of the Serpent Skirt-the Goddess with many shorn
phalli dangling about her waist, a figure also known in the Middle
East, e.g. as Anath.4
Several forms of the Heavenly Father became creators by a rite of
castration. The god Bel cut his "head" (of the penis) and mixed his
blood with clay to make men and animals, copying the magic of Mother
Ninhursag.5 Shamin, the Phoenicians' Father Heaven, was castrated
by his son El and made the world's rivers from his blood, imitating the
Goddess's menstrual magic. Arabs called this god Shams-on, the sun.
The Bible called him Samson, whose blindness and hair-cutting were
both mythic metaphors of castration.
Shearing the sun god's "hair" (rays) meant emasculating him. His
severed penis represented the son/supplanter; and a penis was often
called "the little blind one," or "the one-eyed god." Greeks' personification
of the phallus, Priapus, was the son of Aphrodite and her
castrated consort Adonis. Their Roman counterparts Vesta and Vulcan
produced a phallic god Caeculus, "the little blind one." 6
Uranus, "Father Heaven," was castrated by his son Cronus.
Uranus's severed genitals entered the sea-womb and fertilized it to
produce a new incarnation of the Virgin Aphrodite Urania, "Celestial
Aphrodite." It was she who ruled the earlier cults of castrated gods,
such as Anchises and Adonis. She was the same as the Canaanites' Lady
of the Serpent Skirt: her priests castrated gods in her honor.
So did the priests of Aphrodite's Nordic counterpart, Freya-Skadi.
The Nordic Father Heaven was Odin, whose twelfth holy name was
Jalkr, "Eunuch."7 As a castrated god, Odin was the son-phallus of an
older Eunuch personifying both father and son; for Odin was also the
One-Eyed God, or Volsi, a "stallion penis." 8 (See Horse.) Like the
stallion of the Vedic horse sacrifice, he was castrated. A late myth tried
to account for Odin's crude phallic title by saying he could not drink
of the cosmic feminine fountain of wisdom until he had given up one of
his eyes.9 Here one might recall the alternating seasonal castrations
of Set and Horus in Egypt, their severed phalli mythologically described
as "eyes."10
Biblical writers called the penis a "sinew that shrank," lying "upon
the hollow of the thigh." This was the sinew that Jacob lost in his
duel with "a man who was a god." Jacob, "the Supplanter," was
another name for Seth, or Set, who was likewise symbolized by the
Ladder of Souls and likewise engaged in a contest with his rival, ending
in his castration. 11 When Set was castrated, his blood was spread over
the fields in the annual ceremony of sowing so as to fertilize the crops.12
The Book of Genesis confuses the two aspects of the god-king,
who as Jacob won his battle with the incumbent king and supplanted
him, then as Israel lost his battle with the next supplanter, and was
castrated. Is-Ra-El may have been a corruption oflsis-Ra-El, the god
enthroned as the consort of his goddess, awaiting the next challenger. 13
The syllable El meant his deification.
The garbled story of Jacob and the god-man was inserted chiefly to
support the Jews' taboo on eating a penis (Genesis 32:32), formerly a
habit of sacred kings upon their accession to the throne. The genitals of
the defeated antagonist were eaten by the victor, to pass the phallic
spirit from one "god" to the next. A king's virtu, "manliness," or heill,
"holiness," dwelt in his genitals because that was his point of contact
with the Goddess-queen. Innumerable myths of father-castrating, mother-
marrying god-kings arose, not so much from inner Oedipal
jealousies as from actual customs of royal succession in antiquity. See
Kingship; Oedipus.
The Greek King Aegeus died at the very moment when his "son,"
Theseus, arrived from Crete to claim his throne. The key to this
myth is that Aegeus was "rendered sterile" by a curse, the same ritual
curse laid on all kings of outworn usefulness, followed very shortly
by castration and death.l4
In the sacred dramas of Canaan, the reed scepter of the dying god
Mot was broken, to signify his castration. 15 His name, meaning "sterility"
or "death," was a title of the fertility god Aleyin (Baal) as he
entered his declining phase, when his rival assumed the sacred throne,
and he became Lord of Death. 16 The custom of eating the defeated
king's genitals appears in a number of Middle-Eastern myths, e.g., that
of the Hittite god Kumarbi, of a line of father-castrating kings of
heaven.17 Kumarbi's assumption of the fertility-spirit was expressed
by the story that he "became pregnant."
Mythic fathers and sons demonstrated remarkable hostility toward
each other's genitals. Scholars tend to regard this as an expression of
Oedipal aggressions, originating in the jealousy of elder males toward
younger, more virile ones. Though men eventually gave up the
hopeless idea of making one of their number pregnant by redesigning
his body in a feminine style, customs of castration and cryptocastration
persisted because they offered an outlet for this male jealousy.
Among savages, men's puberty ceremonies generally provided an
excuse for elder men's attacks on the bodies of youths. Modified
castrations may be inflicted in the form of circumcision, subincision, and
other genital wounds; also a variety of torments such as scarifying
flesh, knocking out teeth, beatings, torture, and homosexual rape. 18
"The dramatized anger of both the father and the circumciser and the
myths of the original initiation in which all the boys were killed,
certainly show the Oedipal aggression of the elder generation as the
basic drive behind initiation." 19
The more patriarchal the society, the more brutal its attacks on
male youth, as a general rule. Notable for brutality was the Moslems' Esselkh
or scarification ceremony, a complete flaying of skin from a
boy's scrotum, penis, and groin. After enduring this, the victim was
further tormented by application of salt and hot sand, and buried up
to the waist in a dunghill, making subsequent infection almost inevitable.
Burton commented, "This ordeal was sometimes fatal." 20
Legman pointed out that both Islam and Judaism "share in the surgical
intimidation of the son by the father, just at the threshold of puberty,
either in the psychological castration of circumcision at puberty (Mohammedanism),
or this same operation effected at the earlier age of
eight days (Judaism), or in a reminiscence of this operation." 21
Subincision provides an example of transition from a femaleimitative
rationale to a male sado-masochistic ritual. As practiced by
the Arunta, it began with a long sliver of bone inserted into the urethra.
The youth's penis was then sawed open with a sharp flint, down to
the level of the bone. Blood flowing from the wound was directed onto
a sacred fire, like the menstrual blood of girls at menarche. The
operation was termed "man's menstruation." 22 The wound was called a
"vagina." 23
The obvious purpose of this unpleasantness was to transform a
male into a pseudo-female. The mutilated youth was even obliged to
urinate by squatting, like a woman. Sometimes, men renewed the
damage several times over, repeating the litany: "We are not separated
from the mother; for 'we two are one.'" 24 Natives said the custom
was begun by an ancestral spirit, Mulkari or Mu-Kari, perhaps a
corrupt form of Mother Kali (Ma-Kali), who was known as Kari in
Malaysia. 25
Far from supporting the Freudian doctrine of penis envy, primitive
customs seem to suggest vulva envy as the original motive behind
ritual castrations. It might be found even in civilized society. Bettelheim
remarked on the desire of some young men to be circumcised, or
otherwise subjected to bloodletting, when their girl friends were starting
to menstruate.26 Circumcision was surely a modified form of earlier,
female-imitative castrations.
The institution of circumcision was attributed to the same gods,
such as El, who castrated their fathers. Its object was to feminize. In
India, boys were dressed as girls, nose ring and all, on the eve of the circumcision
ceremony. In ancient Egypt also, boys on their way to
circumcision wore girls' clothing, and were followed by a woman
sprinkling salt, a common Egyptian symbol of life-giving menstrual
Circumcision took place at the age of thirteen, the number of
months in a year according to ancient menstrual calendars, and the
traditional age of menarche. After copying circumcision from the
Egyptians, Jews transferred it to the period of infancy, leaving the
pubertal ceremony, now called bar mitzvah, awkwardly placed at a point
in a boy's life when nothing really happens, in contrast to the sudden
onset of menarche in a girl.
Infant circumcision was attributed to Moses, who insisted on it
against the will of his Midianite wife Zipporah, who apparently
objected to mutilation of her infant. After performing the operation, she
flung the foreskin at Moses's feet, calling him a bloody husband
(Exodus 4:25).
Other biblical passages show that foreskins were considered appropriate
offerings to Yahweh. David bought his wife Michal from
Yahweh's representative the king, with 200 Philistine foreskins (1
Samuell8:27). Other Heavenly Fathers made similar demands for
genital gifts. Male animals sacrificed to Rome's Heavenly Father Jupiter
were gelded.28 The bull representing the castrated savior Attis was
also castrated.29 His blood conferred spiritual rebirth on those who
bathed in it, like the blood of the Christian "Lamb," as if it were the
secret blood of the womb, the real source of life according to the oldest
Castration as a means of acquiring feminine powers was still evident
among priesthoods of the Great Mother, along with other
female-imitative devices such as transvestism. Self-emasculated priests in
female clothing served the Indian Goddess under her name of
Hudigamma.31 Similar eunuch priests tended Middle-Eastern temples
like those of the Dea Syria at Hierapolis, Artemis-Diana in Anatolia,
and the Magna Mater in Phrygia and Rome. 32 The famous seer of
Thebes, Teiresias, got his powers of second sight and prophecy by
becoming a woman, possibly by castration, and living as a temple harlot
for seven years.
Perhaps the best-known self-emasculators in the ancient world
were priests of Attis and Cybele, the Great Mother. As Attis was
castrated and poured out his lifeblood to fructify her, so his priests in
imitation of his sacrifice cut off their genitals and gave them to the
Goddess's image. 33 Sometim~s, the men's severed members were
thrown into houses, as a special blessing. In return, householders gave
the new eunuchs feminine garments to wear. Sometimes, the severed
genitalia were carried in baskets or cistae to the Mother's innermost
shrine, where they were anointed, even gilded, and solemnly buried in
the Bridal Chamber. 34 The phallus of the god himself was carried
into the sacred cavern in the form of a large pine log, which was also,
like the phallic cross of Middle-Eastern saviors, the instrument on
which he died. 35 His priests, having copied his self-sacrifice, were
distinguished by the androgynous title bestowed on the earliest forms
of Shiva; they were "lords who were half woman." 36
Tertullian admitted that the "divine mysteries" of Christianity
were virtually the same as the "devilish mysteries" of pagan saviors
like Attis.37 Popularity of Attis's cult in Rome led to Christian adoption
of some of the older god's ways. One of the best-kept secrets of early
Christianity was its preaching of castration for the special inner circle of
initiates, who won extra grace with this demonstration of chastity.
They taught, following the Wisdom of Solomon, "Blessed is the
eunuch, which with his hands hath wrought no iniquity." 38 Jesus
himself advocated castration: "There be eunuchs, which have made
themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able
to receive it, let him receive it" (Matthew 19: 12).
Several early fathers of the church did receive it. Origen was highly
praised for having castrated himsel£.39 Justin's Apologia said proudly
that Roman surgeons were besieged by faithful Christian men requesting
the operation. Tertullian declared, "The kingdom of heaven is
thrown open to eunuchs." 40 Justin advised that Christian boys be
emasculated before puberty, so their virtue was permanently protected.
41 Three Christians who tried to burn Diocletian's palace were
described as eunuchs.42
Throughout the middle ages, cathedral choirs included castrati,
emasculated before puberty to preserve their virtue and their soprano
voices, which were considered more pleasing to God than the "impure"
female soprano. Women were not allowed to sing in church choirs,
Castration was advocated also for monks who could not fend off
the demons of sexual desire. It was forcibly imposed on the monk
Abelard, whose love affair with his pupil Heloise caused a scandal in the
church. But there were others who seem to have accepted surgical
chastity on a voluntary basis. Such men assumed the title of Hesychasti,
"permanently chaste ones," or "those who are at peace." The title
was associated particularly with the monks of Mount Athos, so carefully
ascetic that even to the present day no female creature is allowed on
the holy mountain-hens, cows, sows, nanny goats, and women all
equally forbidden. 43
It is likely that Mount Athos was named after Attis, and may have
been a shrine served by his eunuch priests in pre-Christian times,
situated close to his Phrygian home. There was a Magna Mater figure
connected with Mount Athos up to the early 14th century. The
monks were labeled heretics for being too deeply involved with the
teachings of a certain so-called nun named lrene- "Peace," the
third persona of Triple Aphrodite embodied in her priestess-Horae.
Irene, as Crone, would have been the priestess of castrations hinted
in the myths of such lovers of the Goddess as Anchises and Adonis.44
When the church purged Mount Athos of the influence of Irene, the
abbot Lazarus was expelled. With a companion named Barefooted
Cyril, Lazarus wandered through Bulgaria preaching the redeeming
virtues of nakedness and self-emasculation. 45
It seems the cult of Attis and Cybele continued to influence
Christianity in the Balkans for many centuries. Balkan monastic
communities were organized in groups of fifty, like older "colleges" of
the Great Mother's castrated priests. In Thrace, the Great Mother
had the name of Cottyto, mother of the hundred-handed giant Cottus,
an allegorical figure representing her fifty spiritual sons with two
hands each.46 Her worship persisted underground, long enough for the
church to define it as witchcraft, and to label Cottyto a demon. In
1619 a booklet published in Paris suggested the same Balkan tradition of
the priest who dedicated himself to God in a manner that was then
considered heretical: "the devil cut off his privy parts." 47
Ritual castration was again revived by 18th-century Russian sectaries
calling themselves Skoptsi, "castrated ones." 48 They also called
themselves People of God, insisting that removal of their genitals
brought them profound spiritual powers. Russia's "mad monk"
Rasputin was a member of this sect.49 Since Rasputin was famed for his
affairs with women, few of his contemporaries would have believed
him a eunuch; but they had forgotten what eastern harem-keepers knew
well enough: that eunuchs are quite capable of providing women
with sexual pleasure. Rasputin' s hold over his female devotees was in
any case a curious combination of spiritual and sensual obsession.


Human or animal, the sacrificial victims of ancient cultures were
almost invariably male. Worshippers of Shiva sacrificed only male
animals; the god himself ordered that female animals must never be
slain.1 Males were expendable, for there were always too many for a
proper breeding stock.
The same was true even of human sacrifices, which were men, not
women. "The fertility of a group is determined by the number of its
adult women, rather than by its adult men." 2 Therefore male blood
only was poured out on the earliest altars, in imitation of the female
blood that gave "life." That is why totemic animal-ancestors were more
often paternal than maternal. The animals' blood and flesh, ingested
by women, was thought to beget human offspring; and the rule was
"Whatever is killed becomes father." 3 The victim was also god, and
Amazonian Sacae or Scythians founded the Sacaea festivals of
Babylon, where condemned criminals died as sacrificial surrogates for
the king, to mitigate the earlier custom of king-killing. The chosen
victim was a sacred king, identified with the real king in every possible
way. He wore the king's robes, sat on the king's throne, lay with the
royal concubines, wielded the scepter. After five days he was stripped,
scourged, then hanged or impaled "between heaven and earth," in a
prototype of the crucifixion ceremony later extended to sacred kings
of the Jews.4 The object of scourging and piercing was to make the
pseudo-king shed tears and blood for fertility magic.5 Babylonian
scriptures said, "If the king does not weep when struck, the omen is bad
for the year." 6 The king or pseudo-king "became God" as soon as he
was dead. He ascended into heaven and united himself with the
Heavenly Father, i.e., the original totem father, or first victim.7
Probably the promise of apotheosis and privileged immortality induced
victims to accept death willingly, even as the same kind of promise
attracted Christian martyrs.
When ritual murder of kings or human king-surrogates came to be
considered crude and uncivilized, then animal victims took their
place. Ceremonies were invented to identify the animal with the man.
The Egyptians, for instance, "put off their dead with counterfeits,
offered an animal to their gods instead of a man, but they symbolized
their intended act by marking the creature to be slain with a seal
bearing the image of a man bound and kneeling, with a sword at his
throat." 8
Pigs were often set aside as sacer victims in Egypt, India, and the
Middle East, which explains why their flesh was taboo to the Jews.
The sacrificial boar-god Vishnu had many western counterparts, such as
Ares, the boarskin-clad consort of Aphrodite, whose children Phobos
(Fear), Deimos (Horror), and Harmonia (Peace) may have represented
the three stages of the sacred drama-from the victim's point of
Meat was not to be wasted, so early theologians were anxious to
invent ways to pretend the sacrifice was politely offered to the deity,
while they actually kept it for their own consumption. The usual
method was to offer the deity only inedible portions of the animal, or
portions that couldn't be readily collected and used, such as blood.
"Kosher killing," draining the blood from a sacrificed animal, was not
a Jewish idea. It was a common Oriental method of offering the
animal's blood to the Great Earth Mother while the worshipper kept
the meat for himself.10 The Jews, like the Hindus, taught that the
animal's soul was in its blood (Leviticus 17:11).
Greeks assumed their gods resented being deprived of the best part
of the sacrifice, but they avoided guilt by blaming Zeus's ancient rival,
the titan Prometheus. When the first sacrificial bull was butchered,
Prometheus sorted it into a portion of bones concealed under fat, and
another portion of meat hidden under the entrails, and invited Zeus to
choose his portion on behalf of all the gods. Zeus chose the fat, and
later raged helplessly when he found he had been tricked.11 But this
became the standard fare for the gods, even Yahweh: "the fat of the
beast, of which men offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord"
(Leviticus 7:25).
Jews were even more parsimonious with their offerings than the
Greeks. Sometimes Yahweh didn't even get the fat of the beast. All
he got was a smell of it. Levite priests legalized the "wave offering,"
which meant the goodies were waved in front of the altar, then eaten
by the priests: "the breast may be waved for a wave offering before the
Lord ... but the breast shall be Aaron's and his sons'" (Leviticus
7:30-31 ). The Jews however did retain a custom of human sacrifice, for
special occasions, longer than any other people in the sphere of
influence of the Roman empire.12 Out of this tradition arose the figure
of the dying Christos in Jerusalem.
Concerning the biblical concept of sacrifice, E. C. Stanton wrote:
"The people have always been deluded with the idea that what they
gave to the church and the priesthood was given unto the Lord, as if the
maker of the universe needed anything at our hands. How incongruous
the idea of an Infinite being who made all the planets and the
inhabitants thereof commanding his creatures to kill and burn animals
for offerings to him. It is truly pitiful to see the deceptions that have
been played upon the people in all ages and countries by the priests
in the name of religion." 13


The curious ritual-murder cult of Thuggee flourished in central India
for some three centuries, until the advent of railroads decreased foot
travel in the 1800s so that the depredations of Thuggee "highwaymen"
Thugs were fanatical worshippers of the Goddess Kali, having
developed the idea that killing men in her name would win them a
privileged reincarnation. They preyed on her enemies, the Brahmans.
Women had nothing to fear from the Thugs; their victims were only
Thuggee legend said Kali once tried to destroy all the "demons of
blood and seed" (men) created by male gods. But each time she
beheaded one, another man sprang up from every drop of spilled blood,
probably a remnant of the belief that spilled blood in the Goddess's
sanctuary brought forth increased fertility. At last Kali wiped the sweat
from her arms with a handkerchief, gave the handkerchief to her
faithful followers, and told them to make it into cords to strangle the
"demons" without bloodshed.
Male human sacrifices were still offered to Kali up to the 16th
century A.D., and occasionally even later, decapitation being the
method of choice. A boy was beheaded at Kali's altar in Tanjore every
Friday at sunset.2 A king of Cooch Behar offered a hundred and fifty
men to Kali at Danteshvari in the 1500s, and a king of Bastar sacrificed
twenty-five men at the same shrine in 1830. Human sacrifice was
prohibited and replaced by animal sacrifice in 1835.
Like medieval Arabian Assassins, the Thugs maintained that the
rites of their Goddess should continue, and the Brahmans were
heretics who deserved extermination. The Mahabharata presents Kali as
a spirit ofBrahmanicide, "with teeth projecting terribly, of an aspect
furiously contorted, tawny and black, with disheveled hair, appalling
eyes, and a garland of skulls around her neck, bathed in blood, clad in
rags and the bark of trees." 3 This probably represented a primitive idol
of the Death-goddess whose devotees believed she must be bathed in
blood to remain fertile and satisfied.


Greek version of Semitic Adonai, "The Lord," a castrated and
sacrificed savior-god whose love-death united him with Aphrodite, or
Asherah, or Mari. In Jerusalem, his name was Tammuz.
Adonis was born at Bethlehem, in the same sacred cave that
Christians later claimed as the birthplace of Jesus.1 He was the son of
the Virgin Myrrha, a temple-woman or hierodule, identified with Mary
by early Christians who called Jesus's mother Myrrh of the Sea.2
Myrrh was a symbol of the Lord's death, in both pagan and Christian
traditions. He returned to his Great Mother, the sea, Aphrodite-Mari.
Alexandrian priestesses celebrated the event by throwing the god's
image into the sea.3
Syrian Adonis died at Easter time, with the flowering of the red
anemone, supposedly created from his blood. Its name was derived
from his title, Naaman, "darling." He was also called the Beautiful God,
like other gods of the spring flowering, such as Narcissus, Antheus,
Another form of the same god was Anchises, castrated after his
mating with Aphrodite. Adonis, too, was castrated: "gored in the
groin" by Aphrodite's boar-masked priest. His severed phallus became
his "son," the ithyphallic god Priapus, identified with Eros in Greece
or Osiris-Min in Egypt. Priapus carried a pruning knife in token of the
Lord's necessary castration before new life could appear on earth.4
Castrating the god was likened to reaping the grain, which Adonis
personified. His rebirth was a sprouting from the womb of the earth.
Each year, sacred pots called kernos or "gardens of Adonis" were
planted with wheat or millet, and allowed to sprout at Easter. The
custom was followed in Mediterranean countries up to the present
century.5 The clay pot signified the womb. Sometimes in processions
it was a gigantic kernos carried on a chariot, having the special name
of kalanthos.6
Adonis died and rose again in periodic cycles, like all gods of
vegetation and fertility. He was also identified with the sun that died
and rose again in heaven. An Orphic hymn said of him: "Thou shining
and vanishing in the beauteous circle of the Horae, dwelling at one
time in gloomy Tartarus, at another elevating thyself to Olympus,
giving ripeness to fruits." 7 He was buried in the same cave (womb)
that gave him birth. It is now the Milk Grotto, whose dust is supposed to
benefit nursing mothers; it was said Mary nursed Jesus there.8 The
Grotto was sealed as Jesus's sepulchre, for in the cults of both Jesus and
Adonis the virgin womb was the same as the virgin tomb, "wherein
never man before was laid" (Luke 23:53).
The Magic Papyri said Jesus and Adonis also shared the same
name-magic. "Adonai" was the highest god, having the True Name
that could work miracles.9 Centuries later, Christian authorities declared
that "Adonai" was a demon.


When men began to seek a share of religious and magical knowledge,
formerly the property of women, their original objective was to make
themselves resemble women so the spirits would find them acceptable.
A common method was to put on women's clothes.
Transvestism is found in a majority of ancient priesthoods. Tacitus
said the priests of Germanic tribes were muliebri ornatu, men dressed
up as women.1 Norse priests of sunrise and sunset rituals in honor of the
Haddingjar (Heavenly Twins) were men whose office demanded that
they wear the dress and hair styles of women.2 Even Thor, the thunder
god, received his magic hammer and was filled with power only after
he put on the garments of the Goddess Freya and pretended to be a
At the ancient Argive "Feast of Wantonness" (Hubristika) men
became women by wearing women's dresses and veils, temporarily
assuming feminine powers in violation of a specific taboo.4 Cretan
priests of Leukippe, the White-Mare-Mother, always wore female
dress. So did priests of Heracles, ostensibly in memory of their god's
service (in female dress) to the Lydian Goddess Omphale, personification
of the omphalos. 5 The Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides
said men in his day put on women's clothing to invoke the aid of the
Goddess Venus.6
Roman priests of the Magna Mater dressed as women, and
transvestism figured prominently in Roman rites of the Lupercalia
and the Ides of January. The custom was still prevalent in the time of St.
Augustine, who inveighed against men who clothed themselves in
women's garments at the feast of Janus. He said such men could not
attain salvation, even if they were otherwise good Christians. Before
his conversion to Christianity, St. Jerome even participated in ritual
transvestism, though his biographers tried to pretend that he had
worn women's clothes by mistake.7
Despite Augustine and other church fathers, ritual transvestism
continued. Men dressed in women's clothes at religious festivals at
Amasea in the 5th century, and again-or still-at the Kalends of
January in the 10th century. Balsamon said in the 12th century even
the clergy participated in pagan rites in the nave of the church, wearing
masks and female dress.8 Gregory of Tours, bishop of Auvergne in
Merovingian times, was forced to give up his church to a crowd of
"demons," their leader dressed as a woman and seated on the
episcopal throne.9 The inquisitor Jean Bodin asserted that male and
female witches actually changed their sex by changing clothes with
one another. 10
Men's transvestism was rooted in the ancient desire to imitate
female magic. In the Celebes, religious rituals remained in the hands
of women, assisted by an order of priests who wore female dress and
were called tjalabai, "imitation women." The same word was applied
in Arabia to the robe that men copied from women, djallaba. 11 Among
the northern Batak the shaman is always a woman, and the office is
hereditary in the female line, because there was no transvestism. 12 In
Borneo, magicians are required to wear female clothing. Siberian
shamans often wore women's clothes. Considered greatest were those
shamans who could "change their sex" and become female, taking
husbands and living as homosexual wives. 13
Similarly, American Indians viewed the homosexual or berdache
as a gifted medicine man. He claimed to receive an order from the
Moon-goddess in a dream, to the effect that he must turn female and
become one of her own. He was accepted by the tribe as the woman
he wanted to be, was allowed to wear women's clothes, joined the
women's craft guilds and dance societies. Eliade says, "Ritual and
symbolic transformation into a woman is probably explained by an
ideology derived from the archaic matriarchy." 14
An observer in Malaya said it was "more than likely that manangism
(shamanism) was originally a profession of women, and that men
were gradually admitted to it, at first only by becoming as much like
women as possible." 15 The manang or shaman put on female
clothing after initiation, and remained a transvestite for life. A Dyak
manang still wears women's dress and follows women's occupations.
"This transvestism, with all the changes that it involved, is accepted
after a supernatural command has been thrice received in dreams: to
refuse would be to seek death. This combination of elements shows
clear traces of a feminine magic and a matriarchal mythology, which
must formerly have dominated the shamanism of the Sea Dyak; almost
all the spirits are invoked by the manang under the name of Ini
('Great Mother')." 16
The Krishna cult as currently practiced in India still demands ritual
transvestism for men who adore the feminine principle by identifying
themselves with Krishna's Gopis. They wear the clothes and ornaments
of women and even observe a "menstrual period" of a few days'
retirement each month. According to their theological doctrine, "all
souls are feminine to God." 17


Hindu Mother Goddess served by eunuch priests dressed in women's
clothes. 1 Her western counterparts had similar customs; transvestite
eunuch priests served Cybele, Artemis, Heracles as the consort of
Lydian Omphale, and Adonis as the consort of Syrian Aphrodite. All
the savior-gods in these cults were castrated. See Castration;


Egyptians identified the Phoenician god Phoenix with their bennu
bird, a spirit of the ben ben or phallic obelisk. He rose to heaven in the
form of the Morning Star, like Lucifer, after his fire-immolation of
death and rebirth.1 In Phoenicia as in Egypt he embodied the sacred
king cremated and reborn. Symbolic burning of the king continued
up to the present century in Upper Egypt, on the first day of each solar
year by Coptic reckoning. 2 The king' s soul released above the pyre
assumed bird form, as ancient pharaohs at their cremation took the form
of the Horus-hawk. See Birds.


Latin lightning- or volcano-god derived from Cretan Velchanos,
identical with Hephaestus. Vulcan's forges were said to lie under Mt.
Etna or Mt. Vesuvius. See Lightning; Smith. He evolved into the
medieval "Volund the Smith," a divine wizard whom the British called


Phallic god of Roman weddings; another name for Priapus. Brides
deflowered themselves on the erect penis of the god's statue, in order
that the god, not a man, should "open the matrix" as the biblical
phrase goes, and the firstborn child could be considered God-begotten.1
Any woman thus deflowered was described as a Virgin Bride of God.
The god himself was a Christos, "anointed," because his phallus was
anointed with chrism or holy oil. The custom was still common in the
4th century A.D. See Firstborn.


Hebrew "male," from several ancient words for "penis." Zakar or
Zagar was a phallic deity like Hermes in Babylon, where he was called a
messenger from the moon. Zekker, the Arabic word for "penis,"
came from a similar Egyptian root: Seker, the Lord of Death, i.e., Osiris
as the dead god (or phallus) hidden within the Mother's womb. See


"Horse's Penis," a title of Odin as the castrated royal horse, whose
amputated member became the ancestor of the Volsungs. Welsh
equivalents were the Waelsings, sons of Waels, who later became
"the god Wales." Waels also meant "the Corpse," for the dead god was
always resurrected and became the usual Lord of Death, like Shiva' s
corpse-form Shava. See Horse.

From Barbara Walker's Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets

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