Phallic Worship, the adoration of the generative organs as symbols of the creative power of nature. In early ages the sexual emblems were adored as most sacred objects, and in the several polytheistic systems the act or principle of which the phallus was the type was represented by a deity, to whom it was consecrated: in Egypt by Khem, in India by Siva, in Assyria by Vul, in primitive Greece by Pan and later by Priapus, in Italy by Mutinus or Priapus, among the Teutonic and Scandinavian nations by Fricco, and in Spain by Hor-tanes. Phallic monuments and sculptured emblems are found in all parts of the world. In the cave temples of Elephanta, Salsette, and El-lora, and other sanctuaries of Siva, the lingam or phallus, frequently in conjunction with the yohni or cteis (areis), its counterpart, is everywhere prominent. In Egypt it is sculptured on the walls of temples or erected in the form of obelisks before them. The crux ansata, so common on Egyptian monuments, symbolizes the union of the active and passive principles of nature. In the Etruscan tombs have been found crosses formed of four phalli. (See Cross.) The two obelisks before the temple at Hierapolis represented phalli, as did many of the stone pillars of whose erection we have historic record.
The columns set up by Sesos-tris to commemorate his victories are said to have borne phallic emblems. The Spanish conquerors of America found phallic symbols in Mexico, Central America, and Peru. In Pa-nuco the phallus was adored in the temples, and in Tlascala were worshipped both the phallus and the cteis. In the court of the great temple of Cuzco, and in front of the temples of Yucatan, stood phallic pillars; and many monuments, the object of whose building is lost in antiquity, such as the round towers of Ireland, druidical stones, etc, are believed by some to have a similar significance. Phallic processions and observances are said by Herodotus to have been introduced from Egypt into Greece by Melampus. In the former country the phallus of the bull Apis was carried in procession during the festivals of Osiris by women, to the music of flutes. In Greece the emblem was used in the festivals of Bacchus, Aphrodite, Demeter, and Apollo, and was borne openly in processions by bearers called to the music of phallic songs. According to St. Augustine, the phallus was consecrated in Rome in the temples of Liber, and the cteis in those of Libera. At the festivals of Venus the Roman matrons adored the emblem in her temple on the Quiri-nal, and bore it thence with great pomp to the sanctuary of Venus Erycina, outside the Col-line gate, where it was presented to the statue of the goddess and then returned to the former place. In the spring the Roman rustics carried the phallus across the fields, to insure fertility. These processions were finally suppressed by the Roman senate, on account of the immorality which sprung from them. - A secondary phase of phallism was the use of the emblem as afascinum or charm against evil influences. With this object it was put over gateways and doors, just as the horse shoe is by the superstitious of the present day, and hung around the necks of children as a preventive against witchcraft. It was also worn by barren women in the belief that it would conduce to fruitfulness. For a like purpose votive offerings of phalli were often made in the temples. Great numbers of small ones in bronze and porcelain have been found at Pompeii and Her-culaneum and in the Egyptian tombs.
In the 9th century the use of the phallus as an amulet or charm was so general that it was anathematized by the church, and the anathema was repeated in the 18th and 14th centuries; but to this day, in some parts of Italy, the peasants still hang the emblem on the necks of their infants to protect them from the evil eye. - Phallic worship still prevails in the East. In the temples of Siva the phallus, crowned with flowers and surmounted by a golden star, is exposed in the sanctuary, and lamps are kept burning before it. The devotees of Siva wear small images of the emblem, made of gold, ivory, or crystal, as ornaments, and they are often buried with them. Offerings of phalli are still made in the Buddhist temples of China by barren women, just as they were by Roman wives in the temples of Venus. - See " A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus," by Richard Payne Knight (4to, London, 1786; new ed., 1871), and "Ancient Symbol Worship," by H. M. Westropp and C. S. Wake (New York, 1874).