Religion and Lust - or, The Psychical Correlation of Religious Emotion and Sexual Desire
by James Weir
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Copyrighted August, 1897, By James Weir, Jr., M. D.

Copyrighted March, 1905, By James Weir, Jr., M. D.


The author of this monograph has been incited to its publication by the commendations of three of the most eminent critics and editors of magazines in the United States, to whom it was submitted in manuscript. In this essay, he discusses his subject from a physio-psychical standpoint, and believes that he has kept intact the canons of scientific investigation, observation, and discussion.

"Waveland," June 8, 1897.


In preparing The Psychical Correlation of Religious Emotion and Sexual Desire for its second edition, the author has incorporated in it a considerable amount of additional evidence in support of his theory. He has carefully verified all references; he has endeavored to eliminate all unnecessary material; and, finally, he has changed the style of the work by dividing it into three parts, thus greatly simplifying the text. He feels under many obligations to his critics, both to those who thought his little book worthy of commendation, and to those who deemed his premises and conclusions erroneous. He feels grateful to the former, because they have caused him to believe that he has added somewhat to the literature of science; he thanks the latter, because in pointing out that which they considered untrue, they have forced him to a new and more searching study of the questions involved, thereby strengthening his belief in the truthfulness of his conclusions.

To the second edition of The Psychical Correlation of Religious Emotion and Sexual Desire, the author has seen fit to add certain other essays. In preparing these essays for publication, he has borrowed freely from his published papers, therefore, he desires to thank the publishers of the New York Medical Record, Century Magazine, Denver Medical Times, Charlotte Monthly and American Naturalist for granting him permission to use such of his published material (belonging to them) as he saw fit.

The author asks the indulgence of the reader for certain repetitions in the text. These have not been occasioned by any lack of data, but occur simply because he believes that an argument is rendered stronger and more convincing by the frequent use of the same data whenever and wherever it is possible to use them. When this plan is followed, the reader, so the author believes, becomes familiar with the author's line of thought, and is, consequently, better able to comprehend and appreciate his meaning.

Finally, the author has been led to the publication of these essays by a firm belief in the truthfulness of the propositions advanced therein. He may not live to see these propositions accepted, yet he believes that, in the future, perhaps, in worthier and more able hands, they will be so weightily and forcibly elaborated and advanced that their verity will be universally acknowledged.

"Waveland," September 17, 1897.


The author, after mature consideration, has thought it advisable to confine the subject matter of the Third Edition of Religion and Lust almost wholly to the psychical correlation of religious emotion and sexual desire. He has eliminated certain of the psychical problems embraced in the First and Second Editions and has added instead a bibliography. The student, he thinks, will find these changes of value, especially in the matter of reference. The author has also added certain data to the thesis of the work, as well as foot-notes; which, he thinks, will strengthen the deductions and conclusions therein enunciated. He has carefully and conscientiously edited and verified all notes and quotations to be found in the book and rests satisfied in the conviction that, whatever may be lacking in his little volume, it will not be "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

"Waveland," Owensboro, Ky., Feb. 25, 1905.


Page Religion and Lust

Chap. I. The Origin of Religious Feeling 9

Chap. II. Phallic Worship 41

Chap. III. The Psychical Correlation of Religious Emotion and Sexual Desire 99

Viraginity and Effemination 121

Borderlands and Crankdom 135

Genius and Degeneration 155

The Effect of Female Suffrage on Posterity 175

Is It the Beginning of the End? 199

Bibliography 231



I believe that man originated his first ideas of the supernatural from the external phenomena of nature which were perceptible to one or more of his five senses; his first theogony was a natural one and one taken directly from nature. In ideation the primal bases of thought must have been founded, ab initio, upon sensual perceptions; hence, must have been materialistic and natural. Spencer, on the contrary, maintains that in man, "the first traceable conception of a supernatural being is the conception of a ghost."[1]

[1] Spencer: Principles of Sociology, vol. i, p. 281.

Primitive man's struggle for existence was so very severe that his limited sagacity was fully occupied in obtaining food and shelter; many thousands of years must have passed away before he evolved any idea of weapons other than stones and clubs. When he arrived at a psychical acuteness that originated traps, spears, bows and arrows, his struggle for existence became easier and he had leisure to notice the various natural phenomena by which he was surrounded. Man evolved a belief in a god long before he arrived at a conception of a ghost, double, or soul. He soon discovered that his welfare was mainly dependent on nature, consequently he began to propitiate nature, and finally ended by creating a system of theogony founded on nature alone.[A]

[A] "Theology and religion are of service in morals and conduct in direct proportion as they have become adapted to our knowledge of natural phenomena"—Lydston: The Diseases of Society, p. 68.

"It is an evident historical fact that man first personified natural phenomena, and then made use of these personifications to personify his own inward acts, his psychical ideas and conceptions. This was the necessary process, and external idols were formed before those which were internal and peculiar to himself."[2] Sun, moon, and star; mountain, hill, and dale; torrent, waterfall, and rill, all became to him distinct personalities, powerful beings, that might do him great harm or much good. He therefore endeavored to propitiate them, just as a dog endeavors to get the good will of man by abjectly crawling toward him on his belly and licking his feet. There was no element of true worship in the propitiatory offerings of primitive man; in the beginning he was essentially a materialist—he became a spiritualist later on. Man's first religion must have been, necessarily, a material one; he worshiped (propitiated) only that which he could see, or feel, or hear, or touch; his undeveloped psychical being could grasp nothing higher; his limited understanding could not frame an idea involving a spiritual element such as animism undoubtedly presents. Apropos of the dream birth of the soul, all terrestrial mammals dream, and in some of them, notably the dog and monkey, an observer can almost predicate the subject of their dreams by watching their actions while they are under dream influence; yet no animal save man, as far as we know, has ever evolved any idea of ghost or soul.[B] It may be said, on the other hand, that since animals show, unmistakably, that they are, in a measure, fully conscious of certain phenomena in the economy of nature, and while I am not prepared to state that any element of worship enters into their regard, I yet believe that an infinitesimal increase in the development of their psychical beings would, undoubtedly, lead some of them to a natural religion such as our pithecoid ancestors practiced.

[2] Tito Vignoli: Myth and Science, p. 85.

[B] Clarke in his interesting book gives us some very readable stories anent the ability of animals seeing imaginary objects. I myself have seen a parrot with a marked case of delirium tremens, due to excessive use of alcoholic stimulants (Vid. Author: The Dawn of Reason). Romanes also gives valuable data in his Mental Evolution (in Animal, and in Man) concerning this subject. The fox terrier (Vid. Author: Dawn of Reason) which carried his dreams into his awakened state is apropos.

The Egyptians noticed, over four thousand years ago, that cynocephali, the dog-headed apes of the Nile Valley, were in the habit of welcoming the rising sun with dancing and with howls of joy! "The habit of certain monkeys (cynocephali) assembling, as it were, in full court, and chattering noisily at sunrise and sunset, would almost justify the, as yet, uncivilized Egyptians in intrusting them with the charge of hailing the god morning and evening as he appeared in the east or passed away in the west."[3] An English fox-terrier of my acquaintance is very much afraid of thunder or any noise simulating thunder. A load of coal rushing through a chute into the coal cellar will send him, trembling and alarmed, to his hiding-place beneath a bed. This dog has never been shot over, nor has he, as far as I know, ever heard the sound of a gun. I am confident that he considers the thunder as being supernatural, and that he would propitiate it, if he only knew how.

[3] Maspero (Sayce): The Dawn of Civilization, p. 103, and Maspero: Etudes de Mythologie et d'Archiologie Egyptiennes, vol. ii, pp. 34, 35.

It is not probable that, at the present time, there exists a race of people which has not formulated an idea of ghost or soul; yet in ancient times, and up to a century or so ago, there existed many peoples who had not conceived any idea of ghosts or doubles.

According to Maspero, Sayce, Champollion, and other Egyptologists, the ancient Egyptians probably had a natural theogony long before they arrived at any idea of a double. In the beginning they treated the double or ghost with scant ceremony; it was only after many years that an element of worship entered into their treatment of the ghosts of their dead ancestors. They believed, at first, that the double dwelt forever in the tomb along with the dead body; afterward, they evolved the idea that the double of the dead man journeyed to the "Islands of the Blessed," where it was judged by Osiris according to its merits.[4] We have no reason for believing that the ancient Hebrews at the time of the Exodus had any knowledge of, or belief in, the existence of the soul or double, yet, that they did believe in the supernatural can not be questioned.[C] When Cook touched at Tierra del Fuego, he found a people in whom there existed mental habitudes but little above those to be found in the anthropoid apes. They had no knowledge whatever of the soul or double and but a dim concept of the powers of nature; they had not yet advanced far enough in psychical development to evolve any consistent form of natural theogony. They had only a shadowy concept of evil beings, powers of the air that inhabited the dense brakes of the forest, whom it would be dangerous to molest. Father Junipero Serra declares that when he first established the Mission Dolores, the Ahwashtees, Ohlones, Romanos, Altahmos, Tuolomos, and other Californian tribes had no word in their language for god, ghost, or devil.[5] The Inca Yupangui informed Balboa that there were many tribes in the interior which had no idea of ghost or soul.[6] Another writer says, that the Chirihuanas did not worship anything either in heaven or on earth, and that they had no belief whatever in a future state.[7] Modern travelers have, however, found distinct evidences of phallic worship in certain observances and customs of this tribe.[8]

[4] Maspero (Sayce): The Dawn of Civilization, p. 183 et seq.

[C] That the patriarchs had their household gods, we have every reason for believing; these household gods were, however, tutelary divinities, such as were kept in the house of every Chaldean, and were not the images of ancestors. Rachel, the wife of Jacob, stole the household gods of Laban, her father, who is called a Syrian. Abraham himself was a Chaldean. Gen. 11:31; also Gen. 31:19-20.

[5] Bancroft: The Native Races of the Pacific States of North America, vol. i, p. 400.

[6] Balboa: History of Peru.

[7] Garcilasso: The Royal Commentaries of the Incas.

[8] Browlow: Travels, p. 136.

Certain autochthons of India, when first discovered, were exceedingly immature in religious beliefs; they had neither god nor devil; they wandered through the woods subsisting on berries and fruits, and such small animals as their undeveloped and feeble sagacity allowed them to capture and slay. They did not even provide themselves with shelter, but, in pristine nakedness, roamed the forests of the Ghauts, animals but slightly above the anthropoid apes in point of intelligence. "In Central California we find," says Bancroft, "whole tribes subsisting on roots, herbs, and insects; having no boats, no clothing, no laws, no God."[9]

[9] Bancroft: The Native Races of the Pacific States of North America, vol. i, p. 400.

In the northwestern corner of the American continent there dwells a primitive race, which, for the sake of unification, I will style the Aleutians. When these people were first discovered they were in that state of social economics which they had reached after thousands of years of psychical and social evolution; a primitive people, such as our own ancestors were in the very beginning of civilization. The word civilization is used advisedly; civilization is comparative, and its degrees begin with the inception of man himself.

In their theogony, the Aleutians had arrived at an idea of the double or soul, thus showing that their religion had progressed several steps toward abstraction, that triumph of civilized religiosity; yet there remained enough veneration of natural objects to show that the origin of the religious feeling began, with them, in nature-propitiation. The bladder of the bear, which viscus, in the estimation of the Aleutians, is the seat of life, is at once suspended above the entrance of the kachim or communal dwelling and worshiped by the hunter who has slain the beast from which it was taken. Moreover, when the bear falls beneath the weapons of an Aleutian, the man begs pardon of the beast and prays the latter to forgive him and to do him no harm. "A hunter who has struck a mortal blow generally remains within his hut for one or several days, according to the importance of the slain animal."[10] The first herring that is caught is showered with compliments and blessings; pompous titles are lavished upon it, and it is handled with the greatest respect and reverence; it is the herring-god![11]

[10] Reclus: Primitive Folk, p. 18.

[11] Dall: Alaska and its Resources, p. 96.

Sidne, chief god of the Aleutian theogony, on final analysis, is found to be the Earth, mother of all things. The angakouts, or priests, of this people individualize and deify, however, all the phenomena of nature; there are cloud-gods, sea-gods, river-gods, fire-gods, rain-gods, storm-gods, etc., etc., etc. Everywhere, throughout all nature, the Inoit, or Aleutian system of theology, penetrates, stripped, it is true, of much of its original materialism, yet retaining enough to show its undoubted origin in the sensual percepts, recepts, and concepts of its primal founders.

As I have observed above, the religion of these people has gained a certain degree of abstraction, and this abstraction is further shown by the presence of certain phallic rites and ceremonies in their religious observances; but of this, more anon.[D]

[D] In a letter to me, a naval officer of high rank states that, beyond question of doubt, the Aleutian priests keep male concubines whom they use in their religious observances. He, also, gives other evidences of phallic worship among these people.

In most of the tribes of Equatorial Africa, nature-worship has been superseded by ghost-worship, devil-worship, or witch-worship, or, rather, by ghost, devil, or witch propitiation; yet, in the sanctity of the fetich, which is everywhere present, we see a relic of nature-worship. Moreover, many of these tribes deify natural phenomena, such as the sun, the moon, the stars, thunder, lightning, etc., etc., etc., showing that here, too, in all probability, religious feeling had its origin in nature propitiation.

Abstraction also enters, to a certain extent, into the religious beliefs of most of these negroes, in whom primal materialism has given place to the unbridled superstition of crude spiritism. The curious habit these people have of scraping a little bone dust from the skull of a dead ancestor and then eating it with their food, thus, as they think, transmitting from the dead to the living the qualities of the former, is close kin to, and, in my opinion, is probably derived from, a worship of the generative principle. When we take into consideration the fact that circumcision, extensio clitoridis, and other phallic rites are exceedingly common and prevalent among these negroes, this opinion has strong evidence in its support.[12]

[12] Negroes of Benin and Sierra Leone (Bosman, loc. cit., p. 526), Mandingoes (Waitz, vol. ii, p. 3), Bechuanas (Holub, loc. cit., p. 398); quoted also by Westermarck, Human Marriage, p. 206.

The Wa-kamba may have some idea of immortality, though observers have never been able to determine this definitely. "The dead bodies of chiefs are not thrown to the hyenas, as with the Masai, but are carefully buried instead.... The bodies of less important members of the tribe are simply thrown to the hyenas."[13]

[13] Gregory: The Great Rift Valley, p. 351.

In this people, religious ideas are exceedingly primitive and indefinite. They seem to propitiate nature, however, when they wish rain, for they offer up to the rain-spirit votive offerings of bananas, grain, and beer, which they place beneath the trees. This seems to be their only religious rite according to Gregory, who, in all probability is in error. For, in the next sentence, he informs us that these negroes practice circumcision. He thinks that they perform this operation for sanitary reasons, "as the natives have continually to ford streams and wade through swamps abounding in the larvae of Bilharzia haematuria, the rite no doubt lessens the danger of incurring haematuria."[14] This is bestowing upon ignorant and savage negroes a psychical acuteness which far transcends that of the laity of civilized races! What do the Wa-kamba know of sanitation, haematuria, and the larva of Bilharzia![E] Circumcision among these people always occurs at puberty, and is, unquestionably, a phallic rite. Parenthetically, it may be stated here that a few of the primitive peoples still in existence appear to have grasped the idea of the life-giving principle, and to have established worship of the functio generationis without having experienced certain preliminary psychical stages necessary for its evolution from nature-worship. I believe, however, that this is apparent and not real; nature-worship, very probably, at one time existed among all these people.

[14] Gregory: The Great Rift Valley, p. 351.

[E] Inasmuch as the haematuria occasioned by the larvae of Bilharzia has its origin in the parenchyma of the kidney, and, since we have no reason for believing that this race has any idea of histology or pathology, it is manifest folly to ascribe circumcision as a prophylactic measure against this parasite. Bilharzia is now considered a true parasite by Wolfe.

The Kikuyu have a very elaborate system of theogony, in which all of the phenomena of nature with which they are acquainted are deified. A goat is invariably sacrificed to the sun when they set out on a journey, and its blood is carried along and sprinkled on the paths and bridges in order to appease the spirits of the forest and the river.

Stuhlmann places this tribe among the Bantu; from the evidence of other observers, however, they seem to be Nilotic Hamites, and belong properly to the Masai.[15] This would account for the similarity of method in circumcision, which, among both Kikuyu and Masai, is incomplete. Johnston calls attention to this very peculiar method and describes it minutely in a Latin foot-note.[16]

[15] Stuhlmann: Mit Emin Pasha, p. 848.

[16] Johnston: The Kilima-Njaro Expedition, p. 412.

The Masai are mixed devil, nature, and phallic worshipers; the last mentioned cult being evolved, beyond question, from nature-worship. It may be set down as an established fact that, where nature-worship does not exist in some form or other among primitive peoples, phallic worship is likewise absent. Indeed, such peoples generally have no religious feeling whatever. They may have some shadowy idea of an evil spirit like the "Aurimwantya dsongo ngombe auri kinemu," the Old Man of the Woods[17] of the Wa-pokomo, but that is all.

[17] Gregory: The Great Rift Valley, p. 344.

Carl Lumholtz, writing of the Australians, says: "The Australian blacks do not, like many other savage tribes, attach any ideas of divinity to the sun or moon. On one of our expeditions the full moon rose large and red over the palm forest. Struck by the splendor of the scene, I pointed at the moon and asked my companions, 'Who made it?' They answered, 'Other blacks.' Thereupon I asked, 'Who made the sun?' and got the same answer. The natives also believe that they themselves can produce rain, particularly with the help of wizards. To produce rain they call milka. When on our expeditions we were overtaken by violent tropical storms, my blacks always became enraged at the strangers who had caused the rain."[18] In regard to their belief in the existence of a double or soul, the same author sums up as follows: "Upon the whole, it may be said that these children of nature are unable to conceive a human soul independent of the body, and the future life of the individual lasts no longer than his physical remains."[19] Mr. Mann, of New South Wales, who, according to Lumholtz, has made a thirty years' study of the Australians, says that the natives have no religion whatever, except fear of the "devil-devil."[20] Another writer, and one abundantly qualified to judge, says that they acknowledge no supreme being, have no idols, and believe only in an evil spirit whom they do not worship. They say that this spirit is afraid of fire, so they never venture abroad after dusk without a fire-stick.[21]

[18] Lumholtz: Among Cannibals, p. 282.

[19] Ibid., p. 279.

[20] Lumholtz: Among Cannibals, p. 283.

[21] Ibid., p. 283.

"I verily believe we have arrived at the sum total of their religion, if a superstitious dread of the unknown can be so designated. Their mental capacity does not admit of their grasping the higher truths of pure religion," says Eden.[22] It is simply an inherent fear of the unknown; the natural, inborn caution of thousands of years of inherited experiences.

[22] Eden: The Fifth Continent, p. 69; quoted also by Lumholtz: Among Cannibals.

In these savages we see a race whose psychical status is so low in the intellectual scale that they have not evolved any idea of the double or soul. The mental capacity of the Australians, I take it, is no lower than was that of any race (no matter how intellectual it may be at the present time) at one period of its history. All races have a tendency toward psychical development under favorable surroundings; it has been a progress instead of a decadence, a rise instead of a fall! Evolution has not ceased; nor will it end until Finis is written at the bottom of Time's last page.

There are yet other people who believe in the supernatural, yet who have no idea of immortality. When Gregory ascended the glacier of Mount Kenya, the water froze in the cooking-pots which had been filled over night. His carriers were terribly alarmed by the phenomenon, and swore that the water was bewitched! The explorer scolded them for their silliness and bade them set the pots on the fire, which, having been done, "the men sat round and anxiously watched; when it melted they joyfully told me that the demon was expelled, and I told them they could now use the water; but as soon as my back was turned they poured it away, and refilled their pots from the adjoining brook."[23]

[23] Gregory: The Great Rift Valley, p. 170.

Stanley declares that no traces of religious feeling can be found in the Wahuma. "They believe most thoroughly in the existence of an evil influence in the form of a man, who exists in uninhabited places, as a wooded, darksome gorge, or large extent of reedy brake, but that he can be propitiated by gifts; therefore the lucky hunter leaves a portion of the meat, which he tosses, however, as he would to a dog, or he places an egg, or a small banana, or a kid-skin, at the door of the miniature dwelling, which is always at the entrance to the zeriba."[24]

[24] Stanley: In Darkest Africa, vol. ii, p. 400.

This observer shows that he does not know the true meaning of the word religion; the example that he gives demonstrates the fact that these negroes do have religious feeling. The simple act of offering propitiatory gifts to the "evil influence" is, from the very nature of the deed, a religious observance. Furthermore, these savages have charms and fetiches innumerable, which, in my opinion, are relics of nature-worship. The miniature house mentioned by Stanley is common to the majority of the equatorial tribes, and seems to be a kind of common fetich; i. e., one that is enjoyed by the entire tribe. It is mentioned by Du Chaillu, Chaille Long, Stanley, and many others.[25]

[25] Du Chaillu: Equatorial Africa; Chaille Long: Naked Truths of Naked People; Stanley: In Darkest Africa.

Du Chaillu tells of one tribe, the Bakalai, in which the women worship a particular divinity named Njambai.[26] This writer is even more inexact than Stanley, hence, we get very little scientific data from his voluminous works. From what he says of Njambai,[F] I am inclined to believe that he is a negro Priapus; this, however, is a conjectural belief and has no scientific warrant.

[26] Du Chaillu: Equatorial Africa, p. 240.

[F] Possibly, this god is the same as the god mentioned by Livingstone, Baker, and Stanley.

The Tucuna Indians of the Amazon Valley, who resemble the Passes, Juris, and Muahes in physical appearance and customs, social and otherwise, are devil-worshipers. They are very much afraid of the Jupari, or devil, who seems to be "simply a mischievous imp, who is at the bottom of all those mishaps of their daily life, the causes of which are not very immediate or obvious to their dull understandings. The idea of a Creator or a beneficent God has not entered the minds of these Indians."[27]

[27] Bates: The Naturalist on the River Amazon, p. 381.

The Peruvians, at the time of the Spanish conquest, worshiped nature; that is, the sun was deified under the name of Pachacamac, the Giver of Life, and was worshiped as such. The Inca, who was his earthly representative, was likewise his chief priest, though there was a great High Priest, or Villac Vmu, who stood at the head of the hierarchy, but who was second in dignity to the Inca.[28] The moon, wife of the sun, the stars, thunder, lightning, and other natural phenomena were also deified. But, as it invariably happens, where nature-worship is allowed to undergo its natural evolution, certain elements of phallic worship had made their appearance. These I will discuss later on.

[28] Prescott: The Conquest of Peru, vol. i, p. 101.

The great temple of the sun was at Cuzco, "where, under the munificence of successive sovereigns, it had become so rich that it received the name of Coricancha, or 'the Place of Gold.'"[29] According to the relacion of Sarmiento, and the commentaries of Garcilasso and other Spanish writers, this building, which was surrounded by chapels and smaller edifices, and which stood in the heart of the city, must have been truly magnificent with its lavish adornments of virgin gold!

[29] Prescott: The Conquest of Peru, vol. i, p. 95.

Unlike the Aztecs, a kindred race of people, the Peruvians rarely sacrificed human beings to their divinities, but, like the religion of the former, the religion of the latter had become greatly developed along ceremonial lines, as we will see later on in this essay.

It is a far cry from Peru to Japan, from the Incas to the Ainus, yet these widely separated races practiced religions that were almost identical in point of fundamental principles. Both worshiped nature, but the Peruvians were far ahead of the Ainus in civilization, and their religion, as far as ritual and ceremony are concerned, far surpassed that of the "Hairy Men" when viewed from an aesthetic standpoint. Ethically, I am inclined to believe the religion of the Ainus is just as high as was that of the Incas.

Literature is indebted to the Rev. John Batchelor for that which is, probably, the most readable book that has ever been published about these interesting people; from a scientific standpoint, however, this work is greatly lacking. Many ethnologists and anthropologists considered the Ainu autochthonic to Japan; I am forced to conclude from the evidence, however, that he is an emigrant, and that he came originally from North China or East Siberia. Be he emigrant or indigene, one thing is certain, namely, that he has been an inhabitant of the Japanese Archipelago for thousands of years. The oldest book in the Japanese language has this in it anent the Ainus: "When our august ancestors descended from heaven in a boat, they found upon this island several barbarous races, the most fierce of whom were the Ainu."[G]

[G] Batchelor: The Ainu of Japan, p. 13.

The Ainu is probably the purest type of primitive man in existence. I had been led to believe by the work of Miss Bird[30] that these people were on a par with the Australians, and that they had no religious ideas whatever. (Vogt seems to advance this conclusion also,[31] while De Quatrefages[32][H] appears to have omitted this people from his tabulation. Peschel places them among the Giliaks on the Lower Amoor, and the inhabitants of the Kurile Islands.[33] These tribes are mixed nature, devil, and phallic worshipers.) Batchelor, however, shows very clearly that these people do have a religion, and that this religion is highly developed.

[30] Bird: Unbeaten Tracks in Japan.

[31] Vogt: Lectures on Man.

[32] De Quatrefages: The Human Species.

[H] De Quatrefages, in his Hommes Fossiles, places the Ainus anthropologically among the Primeval Teutons!

[33] Peschel: The Races of Man, p. 388.

Their chief god, or rather goddess (for the Ainus regard the female as being higher than the male as far as gods are concerned), is the sun.[34] Like the Peruvians, they regard the sun as the Creator, but they are unlike them in the fact that they think that they cannot reach the goddess by direct appeal. She must be addressed through intermediaries or messengers. These messengers, the goddess of the fire, the goddess of the water, etc., are in turn addressed through the agency of inao, or prayer-sticks. This intermediary idea is curiously like some practices of the Roman Catholic church, or, rather, of communicants, who get the saints to carry their petitions to God.

[34] Batchelor: The Ainu of Japan, p. 89.

The inao are peculiar, inasmuch as nothing exactly like them is known. The feather prayer-plumes of some of the Western Indians are used for like purposes, but these are offered directly to the Great Spirit, and not to intermediaries. "Inao, briefly described, are pieces of whittled willow wood, having the shavings attached to the top."[35] Like the Aleutians, when these people kill a bear or other wild animal, they propitiate its spirit by bestowing upon it the most fulsome compliments, and, like the religion of these Indians, the religion of the Ainus has developed along natural lines, and shows certain phallic elements.

[35] Batchelor: The Ainu of Japan, p. 87.

We see from the examples here given, that religious feeling had its origin in the idea of propitiation; in fact, that it was born in fear, and by fear was it fostered. We see, furthermore, that man was not created with religious feeling as a psychical trait, but that he acquired it later on. We see, finally, that religious feeling is based, primarily and fundamentally, on one of the chief laws of nature—self-protection. The evolution and growth of Ethics demonstrate this beyond peradventure.

It is not at all probable that man in the beginning, just after his evolution from his ape-like ancestor, had, at first, any belief whatever in supernatural agencies. In his struggle for existence, all of his powers were directed toward the procurement of his food and the preservation of life; the pithecoid man was only a degree higher than the beasts in the scale of animal life. His psychic being, as yet, remained, as it were, in ovo, and a long period of time must have elapsed before he began to formulate and to recognize a system of theogony. After years of experience, during which the laws of heredity and progressive evolution played prominent parts, he took precedence over other animals, and his struggle for existence became easier. He then had time to study the wonderful and, to him, mysterious phenomena of nature. His limited knowledge could not explain the various natural operations by which he was surrounded, therefore he looked upon them as being mysterious and supernatural. His psychical being became active and inquiring, to satisfy which he created a system of gods which was founded on natural phenomena. At first, the gods of primitive man were, probably, few in number, and the chief god of all was the sun. Man early recognized the sun's importance in the economy of nature; this beautiful star, rising in the east in the morning, marching through the heavens during the day, and sinking behind the western horizon in the evening, must have been, to the awakening soul of man, a source of endless conjecture and debate. What was more natural than his making the sun the greatest god in his system of theogony? Man recognized in him the source of all life, and, when he arrived at an age when he could use abstract ideation in formulating his religion, he deified the life-giving function as he noticed it in himself; he began to worship the generative principle. Solar worship and its direct descendant, phallic worship, at one time or another were the religions of almost every race on the face of the globe. Solar worship, owing to its material quality, has long since been abandoned by civilized man; but phallic worship, the first abstract religion evolved by man, has taken deeper root; its fundamental principles are still present, though they have their seat in our subliminal consciousness, and we are, therefore, not actively conscious of their existence. But before entering on the discussion of this last point, let us turn for a time to a study of phallic worship.



Phallic worship, in some form or other, has been practiced by almost every race under the sun. Indeed, among primitive peoples, those who do not practice this cult are so few in number that they have, practically, no weight whatever in a discussion of this subject. Moreover, those primitive peoples who do not worship the generative principle, either directly or indirectly, are without any religion whatsoever, and are the very lowest of all mankind in point of intelligence. I have only to cite the Tierra del Fuegians, the Bushmen, the Australians, and the Akka or Ticki-Ticki, the Pygmies of Central Africa, to prove the truthfulness of this assertion. There are other peoples who would serve as examples, but it would be a work of supererogation to enumerate them to even the casual reader.

D'Hancarville, in his magnificent work, has traced the progress of the worship of the generative principle over the entire world, while Knight, in his scholarly essay,[36] has brought out its psychological truths in a manner which cannot be surpassed. It is not my purpose to enter into a detailed account of this cult; I propose rather to discuss its probable origin in the beginning, and to give a brief outline of its history, as it is to be observed among living peoples. I wish to show, also, its connection with certain religious ceremonies and festivals of Christian peoples, which had their origin, ab initio, in the worship of Priapus. And, before beginning the discussion of this subject, I beg to remind the reader that a priest of Priapus regarded his sistrum as being just as sacred as a Catholic priest now considers any vessel or robe used in the service of mass, and that the priests of Brahma look on the Lingam with as much reverence and awe as did the Levites on the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy of Holies. Phallic worship is a religion, the oldest abstract religion in existence. Fundamentally the Creator—the Life Giver—is the phallic worshiper's god. Is he very far wrong in all that is absolutely essential? "Men think they know because they are sure they feel, and are firmly convinced because strongly agitated. Hence proceed that haste and violence with which devout persons of all religions condemn the rites and doctrines of others, and the furious zeal and bigotry with which they maintain their own, while, perhaps, if both were equally understood, both would be found to have the same meaning, and only to differ in the modes of conveying it."[37]

[36] Knight: The Worship of Priapus.

[37] Knight: The Worship of Priapus, p. 14.

The Pueblo Indians of New Mexico are worshipers of the generative principle, and, like most religious sects, have evolved some very curious rites and ceremonies. The ancient temples of Venus or Aphrodite were filled with hetarae, who were necessary adjuncts for the proper performance of the mysteries of Priapus. These Indians, however, will not allow women to enter into their sacred ceremonies, but, on the contrary, emasculate men (by occasioning organic and functional degeneration of the sexual organs), who serve as hetarae to the chiefs and shamans or priests.[I] These androgynes are called mujerados, a term which aptly describes their sexual condition.

[I] The Aleutians, according to the testimony of unimpeachable witnesses, make their neophytes pass through like physical exercises in preparing them for their duties in celebrating Priapic Rites.

"In order to cultivate a mujerado, a very powerful man is chosen, and he is made to masturbate excessively and ride constantly. Gradually such irritable weakness of the genital organs is engendered that, in riding, great loss of semen is induced. This condition of irritability passes into paralytic impotence. Then the testicles and penis atrophy, the hair of the beard falls out, the voice loses its depth and compass, and physical strength and energy decrease. Inclinations and disposition become feminine. The mujerado loses his position in society as a man. He takes on feminine manners and customs, and associates with women; yet, for religious reasons, he is held in high honor."[38] The phallic ceremonies of the Pueblos take place in the spring, when the life principle is exceedingly active throughout all nature.

[38] Krafft-Ebing: Psychopathia Sexualis, p. 201; see also Hammond: Impotence in the Male.

In all probability the "botes" of the Montana Indians and the "burdachs" of the Washington tribes serve as masculine hetarae to the chiefs and medicine men, though this has not been definitely determined. Dr. Holder described a typical "bote" of the Absaroke tribe in the New York Medical Journal, 1889. This androgyne, in many respects, resembled the mujerados of the Pueblo Indians, and probably served a like purpose in his tribe.

According to Ross, a Konyaga woman, when she has a good-looking boy, dresses him in girl's clothes and brings him up as a female. When he arrives at a suitable age he is sent to wait on the priests of the tribe and is introduced by them into the sacred mysteries of their cult; in fact, he becomes a masculine hetara.

When we read of such things we feel pretty much as Herodotus felt when he saw the naked women of Mendes submitting themselves openly ες επιδειξιν ανθρωπων [Transliteration: es epideixin anthropon] to the embraces of the sacred goat.[J] To the Greek historian this act was simply horrible (τερας [Transliteration: teras]); and yet these Egyptians experienced no repugnance whatever. To them it represented the incarnation of the deity, and was, therefore, a sacred and holy action, just as masculine hetarism is regarded as a holy profession among the Konyagas. Phallic hetarism is one of the sacraments of the Konyaga church, and, as such, it is held in all that reverence and awe with which the savage devotee endows the mysteries of his faith.[K]

[J] Herodotus: Euterpe, 46.

[K] Masculine hetarism is still in vogue among many primitive peoples, and is distinctly a religious rite. "The Kanats of New Caledonia frequently assemble at night in a cabin to give themselves up to this kind of debauchery.... In the whole of America, from north to south, similar customs have existed or still exist." Letourneau: The Evolution of Marriage, p. 62. The same author says: "It was also a widely spread custom throughout Polynesia, and even a special deity presided over it. The Southern Californians did the same, and the Spanish missionaries, on their arrival in the country, found men dressed as women and assuming their part. They were trained to this from youth, and often publicly married to the chiefs. Nero was evidently a mere plagiarist. The existence of analogous customs has been proved against the Guyacurus of La Plata, the natives of the Isthmus of Darien, the tribes of Louisiana, and the ancient Illinois."

The ancient Hebrews, ancestors of one of the most ancient of the civilized races of the earth, held it in high honor. Even wise King Solomon, in the days of his old age, turned from the abstractedly pure religion of his father "to Astoreth, the goddess of the Zidonians, and to Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites."[39] He was guilty of constructing a "high place" for Chemosh, "the abomination of Moab."[40] Any good modern biblical encyclopedia will tell the reader about Astoreth and her worship, and what the "high places" and the "groves" were.

[39] I Kings: chap xi, verse 5.

[40] Ibid., verse 7.

Even the "good kings," such as Asa, Amaziah, et al., did not remove the high places and the groves, for we read that, notwithstanding the fact that these kings did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, they did not remove the high places. In the case of Amaziah, it is written:

"And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David, his father; he did according to all things as Joash, his father, did.

"Howbeit, the high places were not taken away: as yet the people did sacrifice and burnt incense on the high places."[41] All of the so-called "wicked kings" were phallic worshipers, and both male and female hetarism flourished during their reigns. We read of Josiah, a "good king," "And he broke down the houses of the sodomites (kedescheim) that were by the house of the Lord."[42] Here, in unmistakable terms (kedescheim), the phallic act of the hetara is specified.

[41] II Kings: chap. xiv, verses 3, 4.

[42] Ibid., chap. xxiii, verse 7.

Herodotus wrote: "Almost all mankind consort with women in their sacred temples, except in Greece and Egypt."[43] This is a queer mistake for a Greek to make, yet this historian is noted for his unreliability, and we should not feel surprised at this gross error. Concerning the Aphrodite of Abydos, what she was and what took place in her temples, is a matter of history. Indeed, this goddess was surnamed Porne! In Corinth, delubral hetarism was openly practiced; also at Bubastis and Naucratis in Egypt. Royal princesses were pallacides in the temple of Ammon; in fact, they took pride in the title of pallakis![L] "It is known what excessive debauchery took place in the 'groves' and 'high places' of the 'Great Goddess.' The custom was so deeply rooted that in the grotto of Bethlehem what was done formerly in the name of Adonis is to-day in the name of the Virgin Mary by Christian pilgrims; and the Mussulman hadjis do likewise in the sanctuaries of Mecca!"[44][M]

[43] Herodotus: Euterpe, 64.

[L] Strabo, when writing of the Armenians, who were phallic worshipers, says: "It is the custom of the most illustrious personages to consecrate their virgin daughters to this goddess (Anaitis). This in no way prevents them from finding husbands, even after they have prostituted themselves for a long time in the temples of Anaitis. No man feels on this account any repugnance to take them as wives." Strabo: vol. xi., 14; quoted also by Letourneau: The Evolution of Marriage, p. 46.

[44] Reclus: Primitive Folk, p. 69; Sepp: Heidenthum u. Christenthum.

[M] Brugsch Bey is of this same opinion.

But let us return to primitive peoples, from whose customs and beliefs we can learn what our own ancestors must have believed before the besom of civilization swept aside the crudities of savagery.

The Khonds of India are phallic worshipers, and, in the practice of their religion, Priapus saves many a girl who would be, otherwise, offered up on the bloody altars of their divinities. The pregnant woman is sacred, hence, religious prostitution is exceedingly prevalent. But it frequently happens that some unfortunate creature, who is not pleasing to the shamans, is seized, tied to the stake and butchered.[45] As the blood flows down and deluges the ground, "the divine spirit enters into the priest and inspires him."[46] This sacrifice is of itself a phallic rite; the blood-offering is supposed to be exceedingly acceptable to Earth, the mother of all things. Blood is the essence of the life-giving principle; hence, the essence is returned to the great Giver, as a propitiatory offering.[N]

[45] Sherwill: The Rajmahal Hills.

[46] Reclus: Primitive Folk, p. 317.

[N] Among certain peoples the blood and the semen bore a close relationship; by certain races they were considered analogous. The Old Testament, the Vedas, the Sagas, and many references of Greek, Latin, Egyptian, Hindu, and Persian mythology point to this as being conclusive.

In point of fact, the worship of the generative principle is everywhere prevalent in India.[O] In the Lingam, or holy altar of the Brahmins, we see a conjunction of the male and female sexual organs, while religious prostitution, in the shape of hetarism, crowds the inner courts and corridors of almost every temple in the land with hierodules and bayaderes. The Vedas abound in references, either direct or indirect, to phallic worship. Indeed, according to some authorities, the Hindu Brahma is the same as the Greek Pan,[P] "who is the creative spirit of the deity transfused through matter."[47]

[O] Speaking of the ceremony of priestly prelibation as it was practiced in the Kingdom of Malabar, Forbes writes as follows: "The ecclesiastic power took precedence of the civil on this particular point, and the sovereign himself passed under the yoke. Like the other women, the queen had to submit to the right of prelibation exercised by the high priest, who had a right to the first three nights, and who was paid fifty pieces of gold besides for his trouble." Forbes: Oriental Memoirs, vol. i, p. 446; quoted also by Letourneau: The Evolution of Marriage, p. 48. De Remusat says that, in Cambodia, the daughters of poor parents retain their virginity longer than their richer sisters simply because they have not the money with which to pay the priest for defloration!

[P] "The people have put the idol named Coppal in a neighboring house; there she is served by priests and Devadichi, or slaves of the gods. These are prostitute girls, whose employment is to dance and to ring little bells in cadence while singing infamous songs, either in the pagoda or in the streets when the idol is carried out in state," writes Letourneau in The Evolution of Marriage, quoting from Letters edifiantes. Coppal was and is a Brahminical Venus, and her worship is wholly phallic in character. The ancient Indo-Iranians worshiped a similar deity. The worship of Coppal, both in ritual and in significance, is identical with that of the Greek Aphrodite.

[47] Brugsch, Knight, Mueller, et al.

Hundreds of pages have been written on snake-worship, in which a wonderful amount of metaphysical lore has been expended. Mr. Herbert Spencer devotes several pages to the snake, and the reason for its appearance in the religion of primitive peoples. He ascribes to savages a psychical acuteness that I am by no means willing to allow them, inasmuch as he makes them give a psychical causation for their adoption of the serpent as a deity, such as no ignorant and uncultivated savage could have possibly evolved. I am inclined to believe that, like all great students and thinkers, Mr. Spencer has a hobby, and that this hobby is animism or ancestor-worship. When he gives out, as a reason for the snake's almost universal appearance in the religions of primitive peoples, that the latter consider it an animal which has assumed the returning ghost, double, or soul of an ancestor,[48] I think that he is very much in error. There are very few primitive folk, comparatively speaking, who believe in metempsychosis. In all probability, when a race, like the ancient Egyptians, for instance, had reached a high degree of civilization, they idealized many of their religious beliefs and customs; hence, the serpent probably lost its initial and simple symbolical meaning, and stood for something higher and more ethical during the reign of the great Pharaohs, and the Golden Age of the Greeks and Latins. I am positive, however, that the snake's original significance was wholly phallic in character, and that its adoption as a symbol was simple and material, as I explain elsewhere in this essay.[Q]

[48] Spencer: Principles of Sociology, vol. i, p. 798.

[Q] The appearance of the erect male organ of generation is quite sufficient to explain why the snake should be chosen as a symbol in phallic rites.

I am forced to this conclusion by its presence among phallic symbols in almost every race that practiced or practices a worship of the generative principles. The Pueblo Indians, whom I have mentioned elsewhere in this treatise, regard the snake symbol with reverence; the Moqui Indians have their sacred snake dance, in which they worship the reptiles, handling the most vicious and poisonous rattlesnakes with seeming impunity; the Apaches hold that every rattlesnake is an emissary of the devil;[49] "the Piutes of Nevada have a demon deity in the form of a serpent still supposed to exist in the waters of Pyramid Lake;"[50] on the wall of an ancient Aztec ruin at Palenque there is a tablet, on which there is a cross standing on the head of a serpent, and surmounted by a bird. "The cross is the symbol of the four winds; the bird and serpent the rebus of the rain-god, their ruler."[51] The Quiche god, Hurakan, was called the "Strong Serpent," and the sign of Tlaloc, the Aztec rain-god, was a golden snake.[R] All of these tribes are or were worshipers of the generative principles, though, in most of them, phallic worship has or had lost much of its original significance.[52] In Yucatan and elsewhere in South and Central America, notably among the ruins of Chichen Itza, the serpent symbol is frequently in evidence.[53] The Indians of the Tocantins in Brazil, as well as the Muras, Mundurucus and Cucamas, are mixed nature and devil worshipers;[S] as a sequence, certain phallic rites are to be observed in their religious ceremonies.

[49] Bancroft: Native Races, etc., p. 135.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Bancroft (Brinton): Native Races, etc., p. 135.

[R] In the celebrated calendar stone of the Aztecs, there have been found certain hieroglyphics pointing to sun worship, coincidently, to phallicism.

[52] Ibid., p. 134.

[53] Stephens: Yucatan.

[S] Consult Frantz Keller: The Amazon and Madeira Rivers.

Many of the native tribes of North America perform phallic rites at puberty. James Owen Dorsey, who has made a study of the Siouan cults, writes as follows:

"Every male Dakota sixteen years old and upward is a soldier, and is formally and mysteriously enlisted into the service of the war prophet. From him he receives the implements of war, carefully constructed after models furnished from the armory of the gods, painted after a divine prescription, and charged with a missive virtue—the tonwan—of the divinities. To obtain these necessary articles the proud applicant is required for a time to abuse himself and serve him, while he goes through a series of painful and exhausting performances, which are necessary on his part to enlist favorable notice of the gods. These performances consist chiefly of vapor baths, fastings, chants, prayers, and nightly vigils. The spear and the tomahawk being prepared and consecrated, the person who is to receive them approaches the wakan man (priest), and presents a pipe to him. He asks a favor, in substance as follows: 'Pity thou me, poor and helpless, a woman, and confer on me the ability to perform manly deeds.'"[54] According to Miss Fletcher, when an Oglala girl arrives at puberty, a great feast is prepared, and favored guests invited thereto. "A prominent feature in the feast is the feeding of these privileged persons and the girl in whose honor the feast is given, with choke cherries, as the choicest rarity to be had in the winter.... In the ceremony, a few of the cherries are taken in a spoon and held over the sacred smoke and then fed to the girl."[55] This is considered one of the most sacred of their feasts.

[54] Dorsey: Siouan Cults, An. Rep. Bur. Eth., 1889-90, p. 444.

[55] Fletcher: Peabody Museum Report, vol. iii, p. 260.

While discussing the phallic observances of the North American races, I will introduce the subject of tattooing, though it properly belongs elsewhere in this treatise.

At puberty, the Hudson Bay Eskimos invariably tattoo their boys and girls. Lucien M. Turner writing of the latter, says:

"When a girl arrives at puberty she is taken to a secluded locality by some old woman versed in the art of tattooing, and stripped of her clothing. A small quantity of half-charred lamp wick of moss is mixed with oil from the lamp. A needle is used to prick the skin, and the pasty substance is smeared over the wound. The blood mixes with it, and in a few days a dark-bluish spot is left. The operation continues four days. When the girl returns to the tent it is known that she has begun to menstruate."[56] Both Eastern and Western Inoits celebrate puberty with certain rites. It is rather difficult, however, to get them to say much about this matter, so I will not present the evidence, meager as it is, which has been gleaned from the works of various explorers. One can readily see that much of it is conjecture, therefore of little scientific value.

[56] Turner: An. Rep. Bur. Eth., 1889-90, p. 208.

Not far from the Place of Gold, the magnificent temple in which the ancient Peruvians worshiped the Life Giver, was another great edifice, styled the "House of the Virgins of the Sun." This was the domicile of the pallacides or hetarae of the Chief Priest, the Inca. "No one but the Inca and the Coya, or queen, might enter the consecrated precincts.... Woe to the unhappy maiden who was detected in an intrigue! By the stern laws of the Incas she was buried alive, her lover strangled, and the town or village to which he belonged was razed to the ground and sowed with stones as if to efface every memorial of his existence. One is astonished to find so close a resemblance between the institutions of the American Indian, the ancient Roman, and the modern Catholic. Chastity and purity of life are virtues in woman that would seem to be of equal estimation with the barbarian and with the civilized—yet the ultimate destination of the inmates of these religious houses (there were hundreds of them), was materially different.... Though Virgins of the Sun, they were the brides of the Inca."[57] The monarch had thousands of these hetarae in his various palaces. When he wished to lessen the number in his seraglios, he sent some of them to their own homes, where they lived ever after respected and revered as holy beings.[58] The religion of the Peruvians had reached a high degree of development, and many of the crudities of simple phallic worship had either been entirely abandoned or so idealized that they had been lost in the mists of ritual and ceremony. For "the ritual of the Incas involved a routine of observances as complex and elaborate as ever distinguished that of any nation, whether pagan or Christian."[59]

[57] Prescott: Conquest of Peru, vol. i, p. 110 et seq.

[58] Ibid., p. 112.

[59] Ibid., p. 103.

Notwithstanding the fact that the descendants of the Incas have been under the guardianship of the priests of the Catholic church for hundreds of years, a close, careful, painstaking, and accurate observer informs me that he has repeatedly noticed unmistakable phallic rites interwoven with their Christian ceremonials and beliefs. The same can be said of a kindred race and a kindred religion. Biart, writing of the descendants of the Aztecs, says: "In grottoes unexpectedly discovered, I have frequently found myself in the presence of Mictlanteuctli, at the foot of which a recent offering of food had been placed."[60] How exceedingly basic and fundamental the worship of the generative principle must be in Psychos itself, is indicated by these facts!

[60] Biart: The Aztecs, p. 139.

In the very beginnings of history we find that many races of people held the worship of the generative principle in high honor. Not only has the knowledge of this fact come to us through the sculptured monuments of the Egyptians and the tablets, cylinders, etc., of the Chaldeans, but it has also been set before us by ancient historians. Speaking of the Chaldeans Herodotus (1,199)[T] says, "Every woman born in the country must enter once during her lifetime the inclosure of the temple of Aphrodite, must there sit down and unite herself to a stranger. Many who are wealthy are too proud to mix with the rest, and repair thither in closed chariots, followed by a considerable train of slaves. The greater number seat themselves on the sacred pavement, with a cord twisted about their heads—and there is always a crowd there, coming and going; the women being divided by ropes into long lanes, down which strangers pass to make their choice. A woman who has once taken her place here cannot return home until a stranger has thrown into her lap a silver coin, and has led her away with him beyond the limits of the sacred inclosure. As he throws the money he pronounces these words: 'May the goddess Mylitta make thee happy!' Now among the Assyrians, Aphrodite" (the goddess of love, desire) "is called Mylitta. The woman follows the first man who throws her the money, and repels no one. When once she has accompanied him, and has thereby satisfied the goddess, she returns to her home, and from thenceforth, however large the sum offered to her, she will yield to no one." Maspero declares that "this custom still existed in the fifth century before our era, and the Greeks who visited Babylon about that time found it still in force."[61]

[T] Herodotus: Clio; See also Cary's translation of Herodotus, page 86 et seq.

[61] Maspero (Sayce): The Dawn of Civilization, p. 640.

He also calls attention to the fact that "we meet with a direct allusion to this same custom in the Bible, in the Book of Baruch: The women, also, with cords about them, sitting in the ways, burn bran for perfume; but if any of them, drawn by some that passeth by, lie with him, she reproacheth her fellow, that she was not worthy of herself, nor her cord broken. Ch. VI, verse 43."

Phallic rites and observances entered very largely into the religion of the Assyrians, and can be traced back, in some form or other, even to the religion of the ancient Sumerians, the root-stock from which the Chaldeans had their origin.

In the third chapter of Hebrew history according to Moses (Genesis III), we have an unmistakable allusion to phallic worship in the use of the serpent in the myth of man's temptation and fall. The serpent was an almost universal symbol of priapic adoration throughout Egypt and Assyria; it achieved this distinction, in all probability, from its resemblance to the instrumentum masculinum generationis.[U] In a beautiful bronze plaque, representing Nergal, the Chaldean god of Hades, the glans penis of the god is distinctly the head of the snake. A splendid drawing of this plaque by Faucher-Gudin is given in Maspero's Dawn of Civilization.[62] It may be stated here that the uraeus, or asp, which was so prominently in evidence as one of the principle signs of Egyptian royalty, was also the symbol of the life-giving principle of Ra, the sun-god.

[U] The author is fully aware of the fact that writers on phallic worship ascribe other reasons for the adoption of the snake as one of the chief symbols of the worship of the generative principle. He believes, however, that the primitive originators of this cult were, psychically, too immature to evolve any other than simple and objective ideas in regard to this subject; hence he considers the above as the true origin of this symbol. Furthermore, this belief is strengthened by the appearance of the snake in the myths and folklore tales of race-preservation in all peoples where the serpent was a familiar object.

[62] Op. cit., p. 691.

Abraham, in all probability, instituted the rite of circumcision in remembrance of the Chaldean genital worship.[V] This sexual fetichism was eminently religious in character from its very inception among the ancient Hebrews; yet Westermarck, in his History of Human Marriage, considers this custom as being of ornamental origin.[63] Now, it is known beyond question of doubt that the Hebrews and Abyssinians, who practiced this rite, covered their nakedness, hence, it is folly to suppose that they ornamented a portion of their bodies which always remained carefully hidden. Moreover, since it has been in use from very ancient times "among most of the tribes inhabiting the African West Coast, among all the Mohammedan peoples, among the Kaffirs, among nearly all the peoples of Eastern Africa, among the Christian Abyssinians, Bogos, and Copts, throughout all the various tribes inhabiting Madagascar, and, in the heart of the Black Continent, among the Monbuttu and Akka; and since it is practiced very commonly in Australia, in many islands of Melanesia, in Polynesia, universally, in some parts of America, in Yucatan, on the Orinoco, and among certain tribes in Rio Branco in Brazil;"[64] and since most of these people wholly or partially hide their nakedness, it cannot, necessarily, have had its origin in the desire for ornamentation. Again, since the rite of circumcision among these peoples always takes place at puberty, when vita sexualis begins, and is always accompanied by other rites and ceremonies of deeply religious significance, it must be a religious observance and phallic in its nature. Girls, also, at puberty, among many tribes of Africa, among certain races of the Malayan Archipelago and South America have an operation performed upon them. "Sunt autem gentes, quarum contrarius mos est, ut clitoris et labia minora non exsecentur, verum extendantur, et saepe longissime extendantur."[65] Surely such a peculiar and uncalled-for performance has a deeper significance than mere ornamentation, and does not warrant the expression "atque ista etiam deformatio insigne pulchritudinis existimatur."

[V] Abraham was a Chaldean, and, in instituting circumcision, was undoubtedly influenced by the religious beliefs of his people. Circumcision, however, was, with him, a new and special phallic rite, and one not in vogue among the Chaldeans. Vid. Genesis, 18:10.

[63] Westermarck: History of Human Marriage, p. 202 et seq.

[64] Westermarck: History of Human Marriage, p. 201 et seq. See, also, Wallace: Travels on the Amazon, p. 117 et seq.

[65] Westermarck: op. cit. ante., p. 106.

Tattooing, among certain races, is a phallic rite, and in the Tahitians the priapic origin of this procedure has been preserved in an interesting myth. Hinaereeremonoi was the daughter of the god and goddess Taaroa and Apouvaru. "As she grew up, in order to preserve her chasity, she was made pahio, or kept in a kind of inclosure, and constantly attended by her mother. Intent on her seduction, her brothers invented tattooing, and marked each other with the figure called Taomaro. Thus ornamented, they appeared before their sister, who admired the figures, and, in order to be tattooed herself, eluding the care of her mother, broke the inclosure that had been erected for her preservation, was tattooed, and became, also, the victim to the designs of her brothers. Tattooing thus originated among the gods, and was first practiced by the children of Taaroa, their principle deity. In imitation of their example, and for the accomplishment of the same purposes it was practiced among men."[W][66]

[W] After the ceremony of tattooing had been performed, the candidates were admitted to a religious society called Areois, which had for its object an "unrestrained and public abandonment to amorous pleasures." Letourneau: The Evolution of Marriage, p. 61.

[66] Ellis: Polynesian Researches, vol. i, p. 262; quoted, also, by Westermarck, op. cit. ante., p. 179.

With very few exceptions, primitive peoples, wherever found, have given or still give unmistakable evidence of a knowledge of phallic worship in some form or other. Many of them still practice it, generally combined with the religion from which it was evolved, i. e., sun worship. The Ainu of Japan is a notable example of a race whose religion shows the presence of the elements of both worships. The religion of this remarkable people, notwithstanding the fact that it has become decidedly ethical (they having arrived at a knowledge of the good and evil principles), shows its sun birth.[X] Until very recently the couvade existed in full force and vigor. "As soon as a child was born, the father had to consider himself very ill, and had, therefore, to stay at home, wrapped up, by the fire. But the wife, poor creature! had to stir about as much and as quickly as possible. The idea seems to have been that life was passing from the father into his child."[67]

[X] Herodotus gives an interesting instance of the evolution of phallic worship from nature worship. See Clio, 131.

[67] Batchelor: The Ainu of Japan, p. 44.

Among Slavonic races in early times, the worship of the generative principle was almost universal. This continued, in a measure, even after the establishment of Christianity, and we find phallic rites masquerading in the garb of Christian observances as late as the sixteenth century in parts of Russia and Hungary. Westermarck, in his chapter on the human rut season in primitive times, says: "Writers of the sixteenth century speak of the existence of certain festivals in Russia, at which great license prevailed. According to Pamphil, these annual gatherings took place, as a rule, at the end of June, the day before the festival of St. John the Baptist, which in pagan times was that of a divinity known by the name of Jarilo, corresponding to the Priapus of the Greeks."[68] If my memory serves me correctly, Wappaeus says that a like festival was in existence among the Hungarians two hundred years ago.[69] To this day certain religious sects of Russia and Hungary are in the habit of holding orgies at which all the ceremonies of the ancient Liberalia, Floralia, and Saturnalia are duplicated. These devotees claim that, when they have reached the acme of religious enthusiasm, the spirit of God directs them, hence their licentious and lustful acts cannot be immoral.

[68] Westermarck: The History of Human Marriage, p. 30.

[69] Wappaeus: Allgem. Bevoelkerungsstatistik.

When Great Britain was invaded and conquered by northern savages, the latter, unquestionably, introduced their own religious beliefs, which were largely phallic in character. The Teutonic god Frea was the same as the Latin Priapus; while Friga, from whom our Friday gets its name, because this day was sacred to her, was the Teutonic Venus. Frea is called Freyr in old Norse, and in old German, Fro.

Among the Swedes he was worshiped under the name of Fricco, and a statue of him at Upsala represented him in the characteristic attitude of the god of procreation. "Tertius est Fricco, pacem voluptatemque largiens mortalibus, cujus etiam simulachrum fingunt ingenti priapo."[70] From this god a vulgar word for copulation had its origin. This word is in use to-day among the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons, thus proving that the worship of the generative principle was in vogue among our own immediate ancestors.

[70] Bremens: De Situ Daniae, p. 23; quoted, also, by the author of The Worship of the Generative Powers, p. 126.

Statuettes of Priapus, bronzes representing the sexual organs, and pottery covered with phallic scenes have been found all over England. These relics are remembrances of the Roman occupation when the worship of Priapus prevailed. In the parish of Adel, Yorkshire, was found an altar erected to Priapus, who seems to be called in this instance Mentula. At this place were found many other priapic relics, such as lamps, bracelets, amulets, etc., etc.[71] Several images of the triple phallus, as well as the single phallus, have been brought to light in London; also phallic lamps, bracelets, etc.

[71] The Worship of the Generative Powers, p. 124.

All over England the Anglo-Saxon Frea, or Friga, has left remembrances of his or her worship in place-names. Fridaythorpe in Yorkshire, and Friston (Frea's stone), which occurs in several parts of England, are examples. "We seem justified in supposing that this and other names commencing with the syllable Fri or Fry, are so many monuments of the existence of phallic worship among our Anglo-Saxon forefathers."[72] There are other words in the English language which point directly to this ancient religion; for instance, fascinate and fascination. These words were derivede directly from the Latin word fascinum, which was one of the names of the male organ of generation. The fascinum was worn suspended from the necks of women, and was supposed to possess magical powers; hence, to fascinate. Horace makes use of the word in Priapeia:

[72] The Worship of the Generative Powers, p. 127.

"Placet, Priape? Qui sunt arboris coma Sotes, sacrum revinct pampino caput, Ruber sedere cum rubente fascino."[73]

[73] Horace: Priap. Carm., lxxxiv.

That the worship of the fascinum was in vogue during the eighth century[Y] in Italy and in other countries under the religious jurisdiction of the Pope, the following from the Judicia Sacerdotalia Criminibus, clearly indicates: "If any one has performed incantation to the fascinum, or any incantation whatever, except one who chaunts the Creed or the Lord's Prayer, let him do penance on bread and water during three Lents."[74][Z]

[Y] A well informed Jesuit priest once told me that several laws had been made about this time forbidding the worship of the female sexual organ, under the name of abricot or apricot. Rabelais used the word abricot fendu when speaking of the female genital organs. See his works. Was this term derived from the Biblical narrative of the genesis of the human race (the apple), or was it taken from the phallic symbol, the pomegranate? Did Moses get it from the Assyrians in the first place? I think he did.

[74] Martene and Durand: Veterum Scriptorum Amplissima Collectio, tom. vii, p. 35. Si quis praecantaverit ad fascinum, vel qualescumque praecantationes excepto symbolum sanctum aut orationem dominicam qui cantat et cui cantatur, tres quadrigesimas in pane et aqua poeniteat.

[Z] As has been pointed out elsewhere in this work, ancient peoples were essentially symbolical and materialistically symbolical at that; they were very apt to typify nature, sexually, by some object or objects which bore a resemblance real or fancied, to the sexual organs. The red halves of the ripe apricot at the insertion of the stem, look very much like the external genitalia of the human female. The significance and importance of the pomegranate in the mixed religion of the Ancient Hebrews are well brought out in rules laid down for the ornamentations and embroidery of the robes of the priests, etc., etc., Vid. Old Testament.

During the ninth century the Council of Chalons promulgated a similar law, and in the twelfth century Buchardus repeats it, thus showing that the worship of the generative principle was continuous throughout that time.[75] That the worship of the fascinum was in vogue as late as 1247 is proven by the statutes of the Synod of Mans, which declare that he who worships the fascinum shall be seriously dealt with.[76]

[75] D. Burchardi: Decretorum libri, lib. x, c. 49.

Some of these clerical references are taken from the Worship of Priapus, but, since this work is exceedingly rare and costly, and is not apt to come under the notice of the general reader, I have thought best to give the original authorities.

[76] Martene and Durand: Veterum Scriptorum Collectio Amplissima, tom. vii, col. 1377.

In Scotland, as late as 1268, according to the Chronicles of Lanercroft, the people were in the habit of rubbing two pieces of wood together until fire was produced. At the same time an image of the phallus was elevated, and certain prayers were said to Priapus. This was the famous "need fire," and was obtained in this way in order that it might have the power of saving the cattle from the plague. Need fire was produced in this manner in the Highlands as late as 1356, at which time a cattle plague ravaged the country side. In Inverkeithing, a Catholic priest gathered all the young girls of the village and made them dance around a statue of Priapus. He himself led the dance, carrying a large wooden image of the phallus, and excited these medieval bacchantes to licentious movements and actions by his own actions and language.

When called to account by his bishop, he excused his action by stating that such performances were common in his parish. These phallic observances occurred in Easter week, March 29-April 15, 1282.[77]

[77] The Chronicles of Lanercroft.

In Ireland, the female sexual organs seem to have been the symbol of phallic worship most in use. In the arches over the doorways of churches, a female figure, with the person fully exposed, was invariably so placed that the external organs of generation at once caught the eye. These figures were called Shela-na-gig, which in Irish means "Julian the giddy." Sometimes these images were placed on the walls and used as caryatides. From this symbol the horseshoe's power to ward off evil and bring good luck has been evolved. The people in olden times were in the habit of painting, or sketching with charcoal, drawings of the female genitalia over the doors of their houses to ward off bad luck. These drawings were necessarily rude, and probably resembled a horseshoe more than they did the object for which they were intended. In course of time, when the symbol had lost its original significance, the horseshoe entirely took the place of the phallic image.

Herodotus says that Sesostris, king of Egypt, was in the habit of erecting pillars in the countries conquered by his armies, on which he had the female genitals engraved in order to show his contempt.[78] I think that the historian misinterprets the meaning of the pillars; the Egyptians were phallic worshipers, and these obelisks were, in all probability, altars to Priapus.

[78] Herodotus: Euterpe, 102.

The beneficent influence of this particular phallic symbol has been well brought out in several classical stories. When Ceres was wandering over the world in her search after Proserpine, she came to the house of a peasant woman, Baubo by name. Baubo saw that the goddess was heart-sick and miserable, so she offered her a drink of cyceon (κυκεων [Transliteration: kykeon]). The goddess refused the refreshing mixture, and continued her lamentations. Fully believing in the virtue and efficacy of the symbol, Baubo lifted her robe and showed Ceres her genitals.[AA] The goddess burst into laughter and at once drank the cyceon.[79] The same superstition appears in a celebrated book of the sixteenth century, Le Moyen de Parvenir. The author of the "Worship of the Generative Powers" gives the following instructive extract from this work:

[AA] For an analogous ceremony, see Herodotus, Euterpe, 60.

[79] Arnobius: Adversus Gentes, lib. v, c. 5.

Hermes. On nomme ainsi ceux qui n'ont point vu le con de leur femme ou de leur garce. Le pauvre valet de chez nous n'etoit donc pas coquebin; il eut beau le voir.

Varro. Quand?

Hermes. Attendez, etant en fiancailles, il vouloit prendre le cas de sa fiancee; elle ne le vouloit pas: il faisoit le malade, et elle lui demandoit: "Qu'y a-t-il, mon ami?" "Helas, ma mie, je suis si malade, que je n'en puis plus; je mourrai si je ne vois ton cas." "Vraiment voire?" dit-elle. "Helas! oui, si je l'avois vu, je guerirois." Elle ne lui voulut point montrer; a la fin, ils furent maries. Il advint, trois ou quatre mois apres, qu'il fut fort malade; et il envoya sa femme au medicin pour porter de son eau. En allant, elle s'avisa de ce qu'il lui avoit dit en fiancailles. Elle retourna vitement, et se vint mettre sur le lit; puis, levant cotte et chemise lui presenta son cela en belle vue, et lui disoit: "Jean, regarde le con, et te gueris."[80]

[80] The Worship of the Generative Powers, p. 135.

Sir William Hamilton writes to Richard Payne Knight from Naples in the year 1781, as follows:

"Having last year made a curious discovery, that in a province of this kingdom, not fifty miles from its capital, a sort of devotion is still paid to Priapus, the obscene divinity of the ancients (though under another denomination), I have thought it a circumstance worth recording; particularly as it offers a fresh proof of the similitude of the Popish and Pagan religion, so well observed by Dr. Middleton in his celebrated Letter from Rome; therefore I mean to deposit the authentic proofs of this assertion in the British Museum when a proper opportunity shall offer." Sir William goes on to relate how he found many phallic amulets, charms, etc., in the possession of the people, and then describes the votive offerings laid upon the altar at a feast given in honor of Saints Cosmus and Damianus, in a church called by their names. The offerings were waxen images of the phallus. "The vows are chiefly presented by the female sex," continues he, "and they are seldom such as represent legs, arms, etc., but most commonly the male parts of generation. A person who was at this fete in the year 1780, told me that he heard a woman say, at the time she presented a vow, 'Santo Cosimo benedetto, cosi lo voglio.'"[81]

[81] Knight: The Worship of Priapus, pp. 3-6,7.

This church was in Isernia, a little village about fifty miles from Naples, and away from the direct line of travel, hence its inhabitants saw little of the world, and therefore kept to their old customs longer than their more favored neighbors. Thus it happened that, even in the latter half of the eighteenth century, Priapus had his votaries almost within the shadow of the Vatican! These phallic rites were finally abolished by episcopal command.

One of the most common amulets or charms against jettitura, or the "evil eye," the bete noire of every Italian, is a little coral hand. The middle finger of this hand is extended, thus representing the penis, while the other fingers are closed on the palm, thus representing the testicles. In ancient times, when a man extended his hand, closed in this manner, it was a gesture of insult and anger; to-day this gesture is only made in derision and contempt. The hand closed in this way, or, rather, with the thumb projecting between the first and second fingers (another very common phallic symbol or sign), was called a "fig"; hence, the old expression of contempt and indifference, "a fico for you, sir," now modernized into "I don't care a fig."[AB]

[AB] A modification of this is seen in the derisive gesture of the street Arab who closes all of his fingers, except the middle one, on his palm. The middle finger he holds stiffly erect and the hand is then extended towards the object of his contempt. This gesture, once performed as a deeply religious rite, has now become the contemptuous sign of a boy of the street!

France, as well as Italy, had her phallic charms and her phallic saints. Priapus was a god to the ancients—to the people of the Middle Ages he was a saint. According to M. Dulaure, in the south of France, Provence, Languedoc, and the Lyonnais, he was worshiped under the name of St. Foutin. This name is derived from that of the first bishop of Lyons, Fotinus, to whom the people had transferred (as they have done to many other sainted individuals) the distinguishing characteristics of a god; in this instance, Priapus. At Lyons there was an immense wooden phallus, and the women were in the habit of scraping this image, and then steeping the wood-dust in water, which they drank as a remedy against barrenness. Sometimes they gave it to the men in order to stimulate sexuality or sensuality. At Varailles, in Provence, waxen images of the male and female sexual organs were offered to St. Foutin, and, since these images were suspended from the ceiling and moved by every vagrant current of air, the effect was sometimes very astonishing. "Temoin Saint Foutin de Varailles en Provence, auquel sont dediees les parties honteuses de l'un et de l' autre sexe, formees en cire; le plancher de la chapelle en est fort garni, et, quand le vent les fait entrebattre, cela debauche un peu les devotions a l'honneur de ce Saint."[82]

[82] L'Estoile: Confession de Sancy, pp. 383, 391.

This worship at Varailles was identical with that of Isernia; the votive offerings were waxen images or models of the genital organs, while the saints differed only in name, not in character. At Embrun the worship of St. Foutin was a little different. The women at this last mentioned place poured wine on the phallus; this wine was collected in a bucket, and, when it became sour, it was used as a medicine for barrenness.

When Embrun was besieged and taken by the Protestants in 1585, this phallus was found among the other sacred relics, and its head "was red with the wine which had been poured upon it."[83] In the church of St. Eutropius, at Orange, a large phallus covered with leather was seized and burnt by the Protestants in 1562. Dulaure says that the sexual organs were objects of worship at Porighy, Viviers, Vendre in the Bourbonnais, Cives, Auxerre, Puy-en-Velay, and at hundreds of other places. Some of these phalli were recreated as fast as they were worn away by zealous devotees. They were so arranged in the walls of the churches that, "as the phallic end in front became shortened (by scrapings), a blow from a mallet from behind thrust it forward, so that it was restored to its original length."[84]

[83] The Worship of Priapus, p. 141.

[84] Ibid.

In the public square of Batavia there was formerly kept a bronze cannon which had been captured from the natives. The touch-hole of this piece of ordnance was made in the shape of a phallic hand or "fig," which I have described elsewhere. The barren Malay women were in the habit of seating themselves on this hand in order that they might become pregnant.[AC] An analogous custom was prevalent in France and elsewhere in Europe during the Middle Ages. This habit led to sexual abuses, and was finally condemned by the ecclesiastical authorities. Indeed, the Church inflicted severe penances on the women who were guilty of using phalli: "Mulier qualique molimine aut se ipsam aut cum altera fornicans tres annos poeniteat, unum ex his pane et aqua. Cum sanctimoniali per machinam fornicans, annos septem poeniteat, duos ex his in pane et aqua."[85] We see by this that nuns were more severely punished than were other women.

[AC] According to Abel de Remusat (Nouv. Mel. Asiatiques, p. 116), the custom of tchin-than, or religious defloration, was formerly in use in Cambodia and Malabar. This custom seems to be analogous to the jus primae noctis, as practiced by many tribes, where the woman, on her bridal night, has to yield herself up to the male marriage guests—jus primae noctis, as thus practiced, must not be confounded with the seignorial right, the right of the lord, or ruler. The former right is regarded in the light of a quasi religious observance, while the latter is not. The former was in vogue in ancient times in the Balearic Isles and among the ancient Peruvians; recently among several aboriginal tribes of India, in Burmah, in Cashmere, in Madagascar, in Arabia, and in New Zealand. Vid. Teulon: Orig. de la Famille, p. 69.

[85] Martene et Durand: Coll. Antiq. Can. Paenit., iv, 52.

This use of the phallus is mentioned in the Bible, where it is bitterly condemned by one of the prophets: "Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them."[86] Finally, it was the custom of the young girls of France during the Middle Ages (like the maidens of certain savage races), who were on the eve of marriage, to offer up to St. Foutin their last maiden robes. From the evidence here adduced, we see that phallic worship existed in some parts of Europe as late as the latter half of the eighteenth century, and that it was almost universal during the Middle Ages. According to Becan,[87] Golnitz,[88] and other historians, there were several other phallic saints besides St. Foutin who were worshiped in Belgium, Spain, Germany and other European countries; but, since their adoration was similar to that of St. Foutin, I do not think it necessary to give a description of it here. It has been shown conclusively that worship of the generative principle was in vogue among the Latins, the Greeks, the ancient Germans, the Saxons, the Danes, the Gauls, the Iberians, the Picts, the Celts and the Britons. It has been demonstrated, also, that vestiges of phallic worship existed in England, France, Italy, Spain and Germany during the Middle Ages. As late as the latter part of the eighteenth century wax images of the phallus were used as votive offerings in the town of Isernia, not many miles from Naples; the beribboned Maypole of our Mayday festival is but the flower decked phallus of the Roman matrons; charms against jettitura, "the evil eye," little coral hands with the middle finger extended (in ancient days one of the most common symbols of Priapus) can still be purchased in the streets of Rome.[AD] "This worship" (that of Priapus) "which was but part of that of the generative powers, appears to have been the most ancient of the superstitions of the human race, and has prevailed more or less among all known peoples before the introduction of Christianity; and, singularly enough, so deeply it seems to have been implanted in human nature that even the promulgation of the gospel did not abolish it, for it continued to exist, accepted and often encouraged by the medieval clergy."[89]

[86] Ezekiel: chap, xiv[i], v. 17.

[i] Transcriber's Note - This has been corrected in handwriting to 'xvi'.

[87] Becan: Origines Antwerpianae, lib. i, pp. 26, 101.

[88] Golnitz: Itinerarium Belgico-Gallicum, p. 52.

[AD] The phallic hand in some form or other is frequently found in the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii. The so-called maison d' joie found in one of the streets of Pompeii is considered by some authorities to have been a minor temple to Venus where priapic rites were celebrated. The stone phallus at the entrance as well as the erotic frescoes on the wall, point to this as being true.

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