This section is from the book "Aphrodisiacs And Anti-Aphrodisiacs", by John Davenport. Also available from Amazon: Love Stimulants, Aphrodisiacs and Anti-aphrodisiacs.
We shall now proceed to notice a few of the traces of the phallic worship as were still to be found lingering in some parts of Europe so late as the 18th century, a tenacity of existence by no means surprising if it be considered that of all the human affections none is more dangerous to oppose, none more difficult to eradicate, than habit. Accordingly it will be found that the above superstition has maintained itself in countries where Christianity was already established, and that, bidding defiance to the severe precepts of that pure faith, it successfully resisted for at least seventeen centuries every effort made to extirpate it by the Christian clergy backed by the civil power. Its triumph was, however, by no means complete, for this worship was constrained to yield to circumstances and to use a disguise by adopting the forms and designations peculiar to Christianity, a mask which on the other hand, favoured not a little, its preservation.
* Ibid., p. 48.
† For some ingenious and learned observations on the Tau or Crux Ansata see Classical Journal, No. 39, p. 182.
‡ Chap, ix., v. 3. "And the Lord said unto him: Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the forehead of the men that sigh and cry for the abominations that be done in the midst thereof".
§ For a description of some of the above-mentioned Crosses, see Plate V., also"Voyage dams la basse et la haute-Egypte pendant les campagnes de Bonaparte 1802 et 1829," par Denon - Planches 48, 78.
Plate V. SYMBOLIC CROSSES.
Hence it was that the names of certain legendary saints were given to the ancient God of Lampsacus," the said names having some relation either to the act over which that diety presided, or to his most prominent attributes.
The first bishop of Lyon was honoured throughout Provence, Languedoc, and the Lyonnais as a saint, and as his name happened to be Pothin, Photin, or Fotin, commonly pronounced by the low orders Fontin, these people, who are very apt to judge of the nature of things by the sound of the words by which they are designated, thought St. Fontin worthy of replacing Saint Priapus, and accordingly conferred upon him the prerogatives of his predecessor.
Saint Foutin de Varailles had particular reverence paid to him in Provence, nor is this to be wondered at, since the power was attributed to him of rendering barren women fruitful, stimulating flagging husbands, and curing their secret maladies. It was consequently the custom to lay upon his altar, as was formerly done on that of the god Priapus, small votive offerings, made of wax, and representing the weak or otherwise afflicted parts. Sanci says, "To this saint are offered waxen models of the pudenda of both sexes. They are strewn in great numbers over the floor of the chapel, and should a gust of wind cause them to rustle against one another, it occasioned a serious interruption to the devotions paid to the saint. I was very much scandalized,"
* This city was the birth place of the diety Priapus, whose orgies were there constantly celebrated. Alexander the great, in his Persian expedition, resolved to destroy Lampsacus on account of its many vices, or rather from a jealousy of its adherence to Persia; but it was saved by the artifice of the philosopher Anaxamenes, who, having heard that the king had sworn to refuse whatever he should ask him, begged him to destroy the city.
16 ancient phallic worship continues he,"when, passing through the town, I found the name of Foulin very common among the men. My landlord's daughter had for godmother a young lady whose name was Pontine".
The same saint was similarly honoured at Embrun. When the Protestants took that town in 1585, they found, among the relics of the principal church, the Phallus of St. Foutin. The devotees of that town, in imitation of pagan ones, made libations to this obscene idol. They poured wine over the extremity of the Phallus, which was dyed red by it. This wine being afterwards collected and allowed to turn sour, was called the holy vinegar, and, according to the author from whom this account is taken,* was applied by women to a most extraordinary purpose; but what that purpose was we are not informed, and therefore can only guess it.
At Orange there was also a phallus much venerated by the inhabitants of that town. Larger than the one at Embrun, it was, moreover, covered with leather, and furnished with its appendages. When, in 1562, the protestants destroyed the church of St. Eutropius, in this town, they seized the enormous Phallus and burned it in the market place. Similar Phalli were to be found at Poligny, Vendre in the Bourbonnais, and at Auxerre.
The inhabitants of Puy-en-Velay even to this day speak of their St. Foustin who, in times not far remote from our own, was invoked by barren women who, under the idea of giving greater efficacy to their prayers, scraped the phallus of the saint and, mixing the particles so abraded in water, devoutly swallowed them, in the hope of thereby being rendered fruitful.
It is no boubt to one of these phallic saints that Count de Gebelin refers when, speaking of the goat Mendes, he says:
*Journal d'Henri III. par l'Etoile. Tom. 5.
"I have read somewhere that in the south of France there existed not long ago a custom resembling the one mentioned; the women of that part of the country devoutly frequented a temple containing a statue of the saint, and which statue they embraced, expecting that their barrenness would be removed by the operation. *
In the neighbourhood of Brest stood the chapel of the famous Saint Guignole, or Guingalais, whose Phallic symbol consisted of a long wooden beam which passed right through the body of the saint, and the fore-part of which was strikingly characteristics. The devotees of this place, like those of Puy-en-Velay, most devoutly rasped the extremity of this miraculous symbol for the purpose of drinking the scrapings mixed with water as an antidote against sterility, and when by the frequent repetition of this operation, the beam was worn away, a blow with a mallet in the rear of the saint propelled it immediately in front. Thus, although it was being continually scraped, it appeared never to diminish, a miracle due exclusively to the mallet.