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Title: Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism - With an Essay on Baal Worship, On The Assyrian Sacred "Grove," And Other
Author: Inman, Thomas, Newton, John
Language: English
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By Thomas Inman, M.D.

Consulting Physician To The Royal Infirmary, Liverpool; Late Lecturer
Successively On Botany, Medical Jurisprudence, Materia Medica And
Therapeutics, And The Principles And Practice Of Medicine, Etc.; In The
Liverpool School Of Medicine; Author Of "Foundation For A New Theory And
Practice Of Medicine;" A "Treatise On Myalgia;" "On The Real Nature Of
Inflammation," "Atheroma In Arteries," "The Preservation Of Health,"
"The Restoration Of Health," "Ancient Faiths Embodied In Ancient Names,"

Second Edition,

Revised And Enlarged,


By John Newton, M.R.C.S.E., Etc.

[Illustration: frontispiece 009]

The woodcuts in the present volume originally appeared in a large work,
in two thick volumes, entitled Ancient Faiths embodied in Ancient Names.
It has been suggested to me by many, that a collection of these Figures,
and their explanation, are more likely to be generally examined than a
very voluminous book. The one is, as it were, an alphabet; the other, an
essay. The one opens the eyes; the other gives them opportunities to
use their vision. The one teaches to read; the other affords means for
practice. As the larger work endeavours to demonstrate the existence
of a state of things almost unknown to the British public, so it
is necessary to furnish overwhelming proof that the allegations
and accusations made against certain nations of antiquity, and some
doctrines of Christianity, are substantially true. Consequently, the
number of witnesses is greater than is absolutely necessary to prove the

12, Rodney Street, Liverpool,

July 1869.

The demand which has sprung up for this work has induced the Author to
make it more complete than it was originally. But it could not be
made perfect without being expanded into a volume whose size would be
incompatible with cheapness. When every Figure would supply a text for a
long discourse, a close attention is required lest a description should
be developed into a dissertation.

In this work, the Author is obliged to confine himself to the
explanation of symbols, and cannot launch out into ancient and modern
faiths, except in so far as they are typified by the use of certain
conventional signs.

A great many who peruse a book like this for the first time, and find
how strange were the ideas which for some thousands of years permeated
the religious opinions of the civilised world, might naturally consider
that the Author is a mere visionary--one who is possessed of a hobby
that he rides to death. Such a notion is strengthened by finding that
there is scarcely any subject treated of except the one which associates
religion, a matter of the highest aim to man, with ideas of the most
intensely earthly kind. But a thoughtful reader will readily discern
that an essay on Symbolism must be confined to visible emblems. By no
fair means can an author who makes the crucifix his text introduce the
subject of the Confessional, the Eucharist, or Extreme Unction. Nor can
one, who knows that Buddha and Jesus alike inaugurated a faith which was
unmarked by visible symbolism, bring into an interpretation of emblems a
comparison between the preaching of two such distinguished men. In
like manner, the Author is obliged to pass over the difference between
Judaism, Christianity as propounded by the son of Mary, and that which
passes current for Christianity in Rome and most countries of Europe.

All these points, and many more, have been somewhat fully discussed in
the Author's larger work, so often referred to in this, and to that he
must refer the curious. The following pages are simply a chapter taken
from a book, complete perhaps in itself, but only as a brick may be
perfect, without giving to an individual any idea of the size, style, or
architecture of the house from which it has been taken. If readers will
regard these pages as a beam in a building, the Author will be content.

8, Vyvyan Terrace,

Clifton, Bristol,

August, 1874.


It may, we think, be taken for granted, that nothing is, or has ever
been, adopted into the service of Religion, without a definite purpose.
If it be supposed that a religion is built upon the foundation of a
distinct revelation from the Almighty, as the Hebrew is said to be,
there is a full belief that every emblem, rite, ceremony, dress, symbol,
etc., has a special signification. Many earnest Christians, indeed,
see in Judaic ordinances a reference to Jesus of Nazareth. I have, for
example, heard a pious man assert that "leprosy" was only another word
for "sin"; but he was greatly staggered in this belief when I pointed
out to him that if a person's whole body was affected he was no longer
unclean (Lev. xiii. 13), which seemed on the proposed hypothesis to
demonstrate that when a sinner was as black as hell he was the equal of
a saint. According to such an interpreter, the paschal lamb is a type of
Jesus, and consequently all whom his blood sprinkles are blocks of
wood, lintels, and side-posts (Exod. xii. 22, 28). By the same style of
metaphorical reasoning, Jesus was typified by the "scape-goat," and the
proof is clear, for one was driven away into the wilderness, and the
other voluntarily went there--one to be destroyed, the other to be
tempted by the devil! Hence we infer that there is nothing repugnant to
the minds of the pious in an examination respecting the use of symbols,
and into that which is shadowed forth by them. What has been done for
Judaism may be attempted for other forms of religion.

As the Hebrews and Christians believe their religion to be God-given,
so other nations, having a different theology, regard their own peculiar
tenets. Though we may, with that unreasoning prejudice and blind bigotry
which are common to' the Briton and the Spaniard, and pre-eminently
so to the mass of Irish and Scotchmen amongst ourselves, and to the
Carlists in the peninsula, disbelieve a heathen pretension to a divine
revelation, we cannot doubt that the symbols, etc., of Paganism have a
meaning, and that it is as lawful to scrutinise the mysteries which they
enfold as it is to speculate upon the Urim and Thummim of the Jews. Yet,
even this freedom has, by some, been denied; for there are a few amongst
us who adhere rigidly to the precept addressed to the followers of
Moses, viz., "Take heed that thou enquire not after their gods, saying,
How did these nations serve their gods?" (Deut. xii. 30.) The intention
of the prohibition thus enunciated is well marked in the following
words,[1] which indicate that the writer believed that the adoption of
heathen gods would follow inquiry respecting them. It is not now-a-days
feared that we may become Mahometans if we read the Koran, or Buddhists
if we study the Dhammapada; but there are priests who fear that an
inquiry into ecclesiastical matters may make their followers Papists,
Protestants, Wesleyans, Baptists, Unitarians, or some other religion
which the Presbytery object to. The dislike of inquiry ever attends
those who profess a religion which is believed or known to be weak.

     * "even so will I do likewise."

The philosopher of the present day, being freed from the shackles once
riveted around him by a dominant hierarchy, may regard the precept in
Deuteronomy in another light. Seeing that the same symbolism is common
to many forms of religion, professed in countries widely apart both as
regards time and space, he thinks that the danger of inquiry into
faiths is not the adoption of foreign, but the relinquishment of present
methods of religions belief. When we see the same ideas promulgated as
divine truth, on the ancient banks of the Ganges, and the modern
shores of the Mediterranean, we are constrained to admit that they have
something common in their source. They may be the result of celestial
revelation, or they may all alike emanate from human ingenuity. As men
invent new forms of religion now, there is a presumption that others
may have done so formerly. As all men are essentially human, so we may
believe that their inventions will be characterised by the virtues and
the failings of humanity. Again, experience tells us that similarity in
thought involves similarity in action. Two sportsmen, seeing a hare run
off from between them, will fire at it so simultaneously that each is
unaware that the other shot. So a resemblance in religious belief will
eventuate in the selection of analogous symbolism.

We search into emblems with an intention different from that with which
we inquire into ordinary language. The last tells us of the relationship
of nations upon Earth, the first of the probable connections of mankind
with Heaven. The devout Christian believes that all who venerate the
Cross may hope for a happy eternity, without ever dreaming that the
sign of his faith is as ancient as Homeric Troy, and was used by the
Phoenicians probably before the Jews had any existence as a people;
whilst an equally pious Mahometan regards the Crescent as the passport
to the realms of bliss, without a thought that the symbol was in use
long before the Prophet of Allah was born, and amongst those nations
which it was the Prophet's mission to convert or to destroy. Letters
and words mark the ordinary current of man's thought, whilst religious
symbols show the nature of his aspirations. But all have this in common,
viz., that they may be misunderstood. Many a Brahmin has uttered prayers
in a language to him unintelligible; and many a Christian uses words in
his devotions of which he never seeks to know the meaning. "_Om manee
pani" "Om manee padme houm," "Amen" and "Ave Maria purissima_" may
fairly be placed in the same category. In like manner, the signification
of an emblem may be unknown. The antiquary finds in Lycian coins, and
in Aztec ruins, figures for which he can frame no meaning; whilst the
ordinary church-goer also sees, in his place of worship, designs of
which none can give him a rational explanation. Again, we find that a
language may find professed interpreters, whose system of exposition
is wholly wrong; and the same may be said of symbols. I have seen,
for example, three distinctly different interpretations given to one
Assyrian inscription, and have heard as many opposite explanations of a
particular figure, all of which have been incorrect.

In the interpretation of unknown languages and symbols, the observer
gladly allows that much may be wrong; but this does not prevent him
believing that some may be right. In giving his judgment, he will
examine as closely as he can into the system adopted by each inquirer,
the amount of materials at his disposal, and, generally, the acumen
which has been brought to the task. Perhaps, in an investigation such
as we describe, the most important ingredient is care in collation and
comparison. But a scholar can only collate satisfactorily when he has
sufficient means, and these demand much time and research. The labour
requires more time than ordinary working folk can command, and more
patience than those who have leisure are generally disposed to give.
Unquestionably, we have as yet had few attempts in England to classify
and explain ancient and modern symbols. It is perhaps not strictly true
that there has been so much a laxity in the research, of which we
here speak, as a dread of making public the results of inquiry.
Investigators, as a rule, have a respect for their own prejudices, and
dislike to make known to others a knowledge which has brought pain to
their own minds. Like the Brahmin of the story, they will destroy a fine
microscope rather than permit their co-religionists to know that they
drink living creatures in their water, or eat mites in their fruit. The
motto of such people is, "If truth is disagreeable, cling to error."

The following attempts to explain much of ancient and modern symbolism
can only be regarded as tentative. The various devices contained herein
seem to me to support the views which I have been led to form from other
sources, by a careful inquiry into the signification of ancient names,
and the examination of ancient faiths. The figures were originally
intended as corroborative of evidence drawn from numerous ancient and
modern writings; and the idea of collecting them, and, as it were,
making them speak for themselves, has been an after-thought. In the
following pages I have simply reprinted the figures, etc., which appear
in _Ancient Faiths embodied in Ancient Names_ (second edition). I make
no attempt to exhaust the subject. There are hundreds of emblems which
find herein no place; and there are explanations of symbols current to
which I make no reference, for they are simply _exoteric_.

For the benefit of many of my readers, I must explain the meaning of the
last word italicised. In most, if not in all, forms of religion, there
are tenets not generally imparted to the vulgar, and only given to a
select few under the seal of secrecy. A similar reticence exists in
common life. There are secrets kept from children, for example, that are
commonly known to all parents; there are _arcana_, familiar to doctors,
of which patients have no idea. For example, when a lad innocently asks
the family surgeon, or his parent, where the last new baby came from, he
is put off with a reply, wide of the mark, yet sufficient for him. When
I put such a question to the maids in the kitchen, to which place for a
time I was relegated, the first answer was that the baby came from the
parsley bed. On hearing this, I went into the garden, and, finding
the bed had been unmoved, came back and reproached my informant for
falsehood. Another then took up the word, and said it was the carrot bed
which the baby came from. As a roar of laughter followed this remark, I
felt that I was being cheated, and asked no more questions. Then I could
not, now I can, understand the _esoteric_ sense of the sayings. They had
to the servants two distinct significations. The only one which I could
then comprehend was _exoteric_; that which was known to my elders was
the _esoteric_ meaning. In what is called "religion" there has been a
similar distinction. We see this, not only in the "mysteries" of Greece
and Rome, but amongst the Jews; Esdras stating the following as a
command from God, "Some things shalt thou publish, and some things shalt
thou show secretly to the wise" (2 Esdras xv. 26).

When there exist two distinct explanations, or statements, about the
signification of an emblem, the one "esoteric," true, and known only to
the few, the other "exoteric," incorrect, and known to the many, it
is clear that a time may come when the first may be lost, and the last
alone remain. As an illustration, we can point to the original and
correct pronunciation of the word [--Hebrew--], commonly pronounced
Jehovah. Known only to a select few, it became lost when these died
without imparting it; yet what is considered to be the incorrect method
of pronouncing the word survives until to-day.*

     * It is supposed by some that Jahveh is the proper
     pronunciation of this word, but as the first letter may
     represent, ja, ya, or e, and the third u, v, or o, whilst
     the second and fourth are the soft h, one may read the word
     Jhuh, analogous to the Ju in Jupiter; Jehu, the name of a
     king of Israel; Tahu as it is read on Assyrian inscriptions;
     Jeho, as in Jehoshaphat; Ehoh, analogous to the Evoe or Ewe
     associated with Bacchus; and Jaho, analogous to the J. A. O.
     of the Gnostics. The Greek "Fathers" give the word as if
     equivalent to yave, yaoh, yeho, and too.

But the question is not how the word may be pronounced, but how it was
expressed in sound when used in religion by the Hebrew and other Semitic
nations, amongst whom it was a sacred secret, or ineffable name, not
lightly to be "taken in vain."------

We may fairly assume that, when two such meanings exist, they are not
identical, and that the one most commonly received is not the correct
one. But when one alone is known to exist, it becomes a question whether
another should be sought. If, it may be asked, the common people are
contented with a fable, believing it true, why seek to enlighten them
upon its hidden meaning? To show the bearing of this subject, let us
notice what has always struck me as remarkable. The second commandment
declares to the Jews, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,
or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the
earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not
bow down thyself to them," etc. (Exod. xx. 4). Yet we find, in Numbers
xxi., that Jehovah ordered Moses to frame a brazen serpent, whose power
was so miraculous that those who only looked at it were cured of the
evils inflicted by thanatoid snakes.

Then again, in the temple of the God who is reported to have thus
spoken, and who is also said to have declared that He would dwell in
the house that Solomon made for Him, an ark, or box, was worshipped, and
over it Cherubim were seen. These were likenesses of something, and the
first was worshipped. We find it described as being so sacred that death
once followed a profane touching of it (2 Sam. vi. 6, 7), and no fewer
than 50,070 people were done to death at Bethshemesh because somebody
had ventured to look inside the box, and had tried to search into
the mystery contained therein (1 Sam. vi. 19). It is curious that
the Philistines, who must have touched the box to put their strange
offerings beside it (see 1 Sam. vi. 8), were not particularly bothered.
They were "profane"; and priests only invent stories, which are
applicable to the arcana which they use in worship, to blind the eyes
of and give a holy horror to the people whom they govern. How David
worshipped the ark as being the representative of God we see in 2 Sam.
vi. 14, 16, 17, 21.

The ark of the covenant was indeed regarded by the Jews much as a
saint's toe-nail, a crucifix, an image of the Virgin, a bit of wood,
or a rusty old nail is by the Roman Catholics. So flagrant an apparent
breach of the second commandment was covered for the common Hebrews by
the assertion that the mysterious box was a token of God's covenant with
His people; but that this statement was "exoteric," we feel sure, when
we find a similar ark existing and used in "the mysteries" of Egypt and
Greece, amongst people who probably never heard of Jews, and could by no
chance know what passed in the Hebrew temple.

When become dissatisfied with a statement, which is evidently intended
to be a blind, some individuals naturally endeavour to ascertain what is
behind the curtain. In this they resemble the brave boy, who rushes upon
a sheet and turnip lantern, which has imposed upon his companions
and passed for a ghost. What is a bugbear to the many is often a
contemptible reptile to the few. Yet there are a great number who would
rather run from a phantom night after night than grapple with it once,
and would dissuade others from being bold enough to encounter it.
Nevertheless, even the former rejoice when the cheat is exposed.

As when, by some courageous hand, that which has been mistaken by
hundreds for a spectre has been demonstrated to be a crafty man, no one
would endeavour to demonstrate the reality of ghosts by referring to
the many scores of men of all ranks who had been duped by the apparition
thus detected; so, in like manner, when the falsehood of an exoteric
story is exhibited, it is no argument in its favour that the vulgar in
thousands and many a wise man have believed it. Speaking metaphorically,
we have many such ghosts amongst ourselves; phantoms, which pass for
powerful giants, but are in reality perfect shams. Such we may describe
by comparing them to the apocryphal vampires. It is to me a melancholy
thing to contemplate the manner in which mankind have, in every age and
nation, made for themselves bugbears, and then have felt fear at them.
We deride the African, who manufactures a Fetish, and then trembles at
its power, but the learned know perfectly well that men made the devil,
whom the pious fear, just as a negro dreads Mumbo Jumbo.

In the fictitious narratives which passed for truth in the dark ages
of Christianity, there were accounts of individuals who died and were
buried, and who, after a brief repose in the tomb, rose again. Some
imagined that the resuscitated being was the identical one who had been
interred. Others believed that some evil spirit had appropriated the
body, and restored to it apparent vitality. Whatever the fiction was,
the statement remained unchallenged, that some dead folk returned to
earth, having the same guise as when they quitted it. We believe that a
similar occurrence has taken place in religion. Heathendom died, and was
buried; yet, after a brief interval, it rose again from its tomb. But,
unlike the vampire, its garb was changed, and it was not recognised. It
moved through Christendom in a seductive dress. If it were a devil, yet
its clothing was that of a sheep; if a wolf, it wore broadcloth. If it
ravened, the victims were not pitied. Heathenism, by which I mean the
manners, morals and rites prevalent in pagan times or countries, like
a resuscitated vampire, once bore rule throughout Christendom, in
which term is included all those parts where Christian baptism is nsed
by all the people, or the vast majority. In most parts it still reigns

When vampires were discovered by the acumen of any observer, they were,
we are told, ignominiously killed, by a stake being driven through the
body; but experience showed them to have such tenacity of life that they
rose again, and again, notwithstanding renewed impalement, and were
not ultimately laid to rest till wholly burnt. In like manner, the
regenerated Heathendom, which dominates over the followers of Jesus
of Nazareth, has risen again and again, after being transfixed. Still
cherished by the many, it is denounced by the few. Amongst other
accusers, I raise my voice against the Paganism which exists so
extensively in ecclesiastical Christianity, and will do my utmost to
expose the imposture.

In a vampire story, told in _Thalaba_, by Southey, the resuscitated
being takes the form of a dearly beloved maiden, and the hero is obliged
to kill her with his own hand. He does so; but, whilst he strikes the
form of the loved one, he feels sure that he slays only a demon. In like
manner, when I endeavour to destroy the current Heathenism, which has
assumed the garb of Christianity, I do not attack real religion. Few
would accuse a workman of malignancy who cleanses from filth the surface
of a noble statue. There may be some who are too nice to touch a nasty
subject; yet even they will rejoice when some one else removes the dirt.
Such a scavenger is much wanted.

If I were to assert, as a general proposition, that religion does not
require any symbolism, I should probably win assent from every true
Scotch Presbyterian, every Wesleyan, and every Independent. Yet I should
be opposed by every Papist, and by most Anglican Churchmen. But why?
Is it not because their ecclesiastics have adopted symbolism into their
churches and into their ritual? They have broken the second commandment
of Jehovah, and refuse to see anything wrong in their practice or gross
in their imagery. But they adopt Jehovah rather than Elohim, and break
the commandments, said to be given upon Sinai, in good company.

The reader of the following pages will probably feel more interest
therein if he has some clue whereby he may guide himself through their

From the earliest known times there seems to have been in every
civilised nation the idea of an unseen power. In the speculations of
thoughtful minds a necessity is recognised for the existence of a
Being who made all things--who is at times beneficent, sending rain and
warmth, and who at others sends storm, plague, famine, and war. After
the crude idea has taken possession of the thoughts, there has been a
desire to know something more of this Creator, and an examination into
the works of Nature has been made with the view to ascertain the will
and designs of the Supreme. In every country this great One has been
supposed to inhabit the heaven above us, and consequently all celestial
phenomena have been noticed carefully. But the mind soon got weary of
contemplating about an essence, and, contenting itself with the
belief that there was a Power, began to investigate the nature of His
ministers. These, amongst the Aryans, were the sun, fire, storm, wind,
the sky, the day, night, etc. An intoxicating drink, too, was regarded
as an emanation from the Supreme. With this form of belief men lived as
they had done ere it existed, and in their relations with each other
may be compared to such high class animals as elephants. Men can live
peaceably together without religion, just as do the bisons, buffaloes,
antelopes, and even wolves. The assumption that some form of faith is
absolutely a necessity for man is only founded on the fancies of some
religious fanatics who know little of the world.*

     * Whilst these sheets were passing through the press, there
     appeared a work, published anonymously, but reported to be
     by one of the most esteemed theologians who ever sat upon an
     episcopal bench. It is entitled Supernatural Religion.
     London: Longmans, 1874. From it we quote the following, vol.
     ii., p. 489:--

     "We gain infinitely more than we lose in abandoning belief
     in the reality of Divine Revelation. Whilst we retain pure
     and unimpaired the treasure of Christian Morality, we
     relinquish nothing but the debasing elements added to it by
     human superstition. We are no longer bound to believe a
     theology which outrages reason and moral sense. We are freed
     from base anthropomorphic views of God and His government of
     the universe; and from Jewish Mythology we rise to higher
     conceptions of an infinitely wise and beneficent Being,
     hidden from our finite minds, it is true, in the
     impenetrable glory of Divinity, but whose Laws of wondrous
     comprehensiveness and perfection we ever perceive in
     operation around us. We are no longer disturbed by visions
     of fitful interference with the order of Nature, but we
     recognise that the Being who regulates the universe is
     without variableness or shadow of turning. It is singular
     how little there is in the supposed Revelation of alleged
     information, however incredible, regarding that which is
     beyond the limits of human thought, but that little is of a
     character which reason declares to be the wildest delusion.
     Let no man whose belief in the reality of a Divine
     Revelation may be destroyed by such an inquiry complain that
     he has lost a precious possession, and that nothing is left
     but a blank. The Revelation not being a reality, that which
     he has lost was but an illusion, and that which is left is
     the Truth. If he be content with illusions, he will speedily
     be consoled; if he be a lover only of truth, instead of a
     blank, he will recognise that the reality before him is full
     of great peace.

     "If we know less than we have supposed of man's destiny, we
     may at least rejoice that we are no longer compelled to
     believe that which is unworthy. The limits of thought once
     attained, we may well be unmoved in the assurance that all
     that we do know of the regulation of the universe being so
     perfect and wise, all that we do not know must be equally
     so. Here enters the true and noble Faith--which is the child
     of reason. If we have believed a system, the details of
     which must at one time or another have shocked the mind of
     every intelligent man, and believed it simply because it was
     supposed to be revealed, we may equally believe in the
     wisdom and goodness of what is not revealed. The mere act of
     communication to us is nothing: Faith in the perfect
     ordering of all things is independent of Revelation.

     "The argument so often employed by Theologians that Divine
     Revelation is necessary for man, and that certain views
     contained in that Revelation are required by our moral
     consciousness, is purely imaginary, and derived from the
     Revelation which it seeks to maintain. The only thing
     absolutely necessary for man is Truth and to that, and that
     alone, must our moral consciousness adapt itself."

But as there is variety in the workings of the human mind, so there were
differences in the way wherein the religious idea was carried out.
Some regarded the sun and moon, the constellations and the planets, as
ministers of the unseen One, and, reasoning from what was known to
what was unknown, argued thus: "Throughout nature there seems to be a
dualism. In the sky there are a sun and moon; there are also sun and
earth, earth and sea. In every set of animals there are males. and
females." An inquiry into the influence of the sun brought out the facts
that by themselves its beams were destructive; they were only beneficent
when the earth was moist with rain. As the rain from heaven, then,
caused things on earth to grow, it was natural that the main source of
light and heat should be regarded as a male, and the earth as a female.
As a male, the sun was supposed to have the emblems of virility, and a
spouse whom he impregnated, and who thereby became fertile.

In examining ancient Jewish, Phoenician, and other Shemitic cognomens,
I found that they consisted of a divine name and some attribute of
the deity, and that the last was generally referable equally to the
Supreme, to the Sun, as a god, and to the masculine emblem. If the deity
was a female, the name of her votary contained a reference to the moon
and the beauties or functions of women. The higher ideas of the Creator
were held only by a few, the many adopted a lower and more debased view.
In this manner the sun became a chief god and the moon his partner, and
the former being supposed to be male and the latter female, both
became associated with the ideas which all have of terrestrial animals.
Consequently the solar deity was associated in symbolism with masculine
and the moon with feminine emblems.

An inquiry into antiquity, as represented by Babylonians, Assyrians,
Egyptians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, Greeks, Etruscans, Romans, and others,
and into modern faiths still current, as represented in the peninsula of
India, in the Lebanon, and elsewhere, shows that ideas of sex have been
very generally associated with that of creation. God has been described
as a king, or as a queen, or as both united. As monarch, he is supposed
to be man, or woman, or both. As man differs from woman in certain
peculiarities, these very means of distinction have been incorporated
into the worship of god and goddess. Rival sects have been ranged in
ancient times under the symbol of the T the O as in later times they
are under the cross and the crescent. The worship of God the Father has
repeatedly clashed with that of God the Mother, and the votaries of each
respectively have worn badges characteristic of the sex of their deity.
An illustration of this is to be seen amongst ourselves; one sect of
Christians adoring chiefly the Trinity, another reverencing the Virgin.
There is a well-known picture, indeed, of Mary worshipping her infant;
and to the former is given the title _Mater Creatoris_, "the mother of
the Creator." Our sexual sections are as well marked as those in ancient
Jerusalem, which swore by Jehovah and Ashtoreth respectively.

The idea of sexuality in religion is quite compatible with a ritual and
practice of an elaborate character, and a depth of piety which prefers
starvation to impurity, or, as the Bible has it, to uncleanness. To eat
"with the blood" was amongst the Hebrews a crime worthy of death; to eat
with unwashed hands was a dreadful offence in the eyes of the Pharisees
of Jerusalem; and in the recent famine in Bengal, we have seen that
individuals would rather die of absolute hunger, and allow their
children to perish too, than eat bread or rice which may have been
touched by profane hands, or drink milk that had been expressed by
British milkmaids from cows' udders. Yet these same Hindoos, the very
particular sect of the Brahmins, have amongst themselves a form of
worship which to our ideas is incompatible with real religion. The folks
referred to adore the Creator, and respect their ceremonial law even
more deeply, than did the Hebrews after the time of the Babylonish
captivity; but they have a secret cult in which--and in the most,
matter-of-fact way--they pay a very practical homage to one or other of
the parts which is thought by the worshipper to be a mundane emblem of
the Creator.

The curious will find in _Essays on the Religion of the Hindus_, by H.
H. Wilson, in the _Dabistan_, translated by Shea and Troyer (Allen and
Co., London), 3 vols., 8vo., and in _Memoirs of the Anthropological
Society of London_ (Trübner and Co.), vols. 1 and 2, much information on
the method of conducting the worship referred to. The first named author
thinks it advisable to leave the Brahminic "rubric" for the "Sakti
Sodhana," for the most part under the veil of the original Sanscrit, and
I am not disposed wholly to withdraw it.

But Christians are not pure; some of my readers may have seen a work
written by an Italian lady of high birth, who was in early life forced
into a nunnery, and who left it as soon as she had a chance. In her
account she tells us how the women in the monastery were seduced by
reverend Fathers, who were at one time the instruments of vice, at
another the guides to penitence. Their practice was to instruct their
victims that whatever was said or done must be accompanied by a pious
sentence. Thus, "I love you dearly" was a profane expression; but "I
desire your company in the name of Jesus," and "I embrace in you the
Holy Virgin," were orthodox. In like manner, the Hindus have prayers
prescribed for their use, when the parts are to be purified prior to
proceeding to extremities, when they are introduced to each other,
in the agitation which follows, and when the ceremony is completed.
Everything is done, as Ritualists would say, decently and in order; and
a pious orgie, sanctified by prayers, cannot be worse than the penance
ordained by some "confessors" to those faithful damsels whose minds are
plastic enough to believe that a priest is an embodiment of the Holy
Ghost, and that they become assimilated to the Blessed Virgin when they
are overshadowed by the power of the Highest (Luke i. 85).

There being, then, in "religion" a strong sensual element, ingenuity
has been exercised to a wonderful extent in the contrivance of designs,
nearly or remotely significant of this idea, or rather union of the
conceptions to which we have referred. Jupiter is a Proteus in form;
now a man, now a bull, now a swan, now an androgyne. Juno, or her
equivalent, is sometimes a woman, occasionally a lioness, and at times
a cow. All conceivable attributes of man and woman were symbolised; and
gods were called by the names of power, love, anger, desire, revenge,
fortune, etc. Everything in creation that resembled in any way the
presumed Creator, whether in name, in character, or in shape, was
supposed to represent the deity. Hence a palm tree was a religious
emblem, because it is long, erect, and round; an oak, for it is hard and
firm; a fig-tree, because its leaves resemble the male triad. The ivy
was sacred from a similar cause. A myrtle was also a type, but of
the female, because its leaf is a close representation of the
_vesica piscis_. Everything, indeed, which in any way resembles the
characteristic organs of man and woman, became symbolic of the one or
the other deity, Jupiter or Juno, Jehovah or Astarte, the Father or the
Virgin. Sometimes, but very rarely, the parts in question were depicted
_au naturel_, and the means by which creation is effected became the
mundane emblem of the Almighty; and two huge phalli were seen before a
temple, as we now see towers or spires before our churches, and minarets
before mosques. (Lucian, _Dea Syria_.)

Generally, however, it was considered the most correct plan to represent
the organs by some conventional form, understood by the initiated,
but not by the unlearned. Whatever was upright, and longer than broad,
became symbolic of the father; whilst that which was hollow, cavernous,
oval, or circular, symbolised the mother. A sword, spear, arrow, dart,
battering ram, spade, ship's prow, anything indeed intended to pierce
into something else was emblematic of the male; whilst the female was
symbolised as a door, a hole, a sheath, a target, a shield, a field,
anything indeed which was to be entered. The Hebrew names sufficiently
indicate the plan upon which the sexes were distinguished; the one is
a _zachar_, a perforator or digger, and the other _nekebah_, a hole or
trench, i, e. male and female.

These symbols were not necessarily those of religious belief. They might
indicate war, heroism, prowess, royalty, command, etc., or be nothing
more than they really were. They only symbolised the Creator when they
were adopted into religion. Again, there was a still farther refinement;
and advantage was taken of the fact, that one symbol was tripliform, the
other single; one of one shape, and the other different. Consequently,
a triangle, or three things, arranged so that one should stand above
the two, became emblematic of the Father, whilst an unit symbolised the

These last three sentences deserve close attention, for some individuals
have, in somewhat of a senseless fashion, objected, that a person who
can see in a tortoise an emblem of the male, and in a horse-shoe an
effigy of the female organ, must be quite too fantastical to deserve
notice. But to me, as to other inquirers, these things are simply what
they appear to be when they are seen in common life. Yet when the former
creature occupies a large space in mythology; when the Hindoo places it
as the being upon which the world stands, and the Greeks represent one
Venus as resting upon a tortoise and another on a goat; and when one
knows that in days gone by, in which people were less refined, the
[--Greek--] was displayed where the horse-shoe is now, and that some
curiously mysterious attributes were assigned to the part in question;
we cannot refuse to see the thing signified in the sign.

Again, inasmuch as what we may call the most prominent part of the
tripliform organ was naturally changeable in character, being at one
time soft, small, and pendent, and at another hard, large, and upright,
those animals that resembled it in these respects became symbolical. Two
serpents, therefore, one Indian, and the other Egyptian, both of which
are able to distend their heads and necks, and to raise them up erect,
were emblematic, and each in its respective country typified the father,
the great Creator. In like manner, another portion of the triad was
regarded as similar in shape and size to the common hen's egg. As the
celebrated physiologist, Haller, remarked, "_Omne vivum ex ovo_" every
living thing comes from an egg; so more ancient biologists recognised
that the dual part of the tripliform organ was as essential to the
creation of a new being as the central pillar. Hence an egg and a
serpent became a characteristic of "the Father," El, Ab, Ach, Baal,
Asher, Melech, Adonai, Jahu, etc. When to this was added a half moon,
as in certain Tyrian coins, the trinity and unity were symbolised, and
a faith expressed like the one held in modern Rome, that the mother of
creation is co-equal with the father; the one seduces by her charms, and
the other makes them fructify.

To the Englishman, who, as a rule, avoids talking upon the subject which
forms the basis of many an ancient religion, it may seem incredible that
any individual, or set of writers, could have exercised their ingenuity
in finding circumlocutory euphemisms for things which, though natural,
are rarely named. Yet the wonder ceases when we find, in the writings of
our lively neighbours, the French, a host of words intended to describe
the parts referred to, which correspond wholly with the pictorial
emblems adopted by the Greeks and others.

As English writers have, as a rule, systematically avoided making any
distinct reference to the sexual ideas embodied in ancient Paganism,
so they have, by their silence, encouraged the formation of a school
of theology which has no solid foundation, except a very animal one. As
each individual finds out this for himself, it becomes a question with
him how far the information shall be imparted to others. So rarely has
the determination to accuse the vampire been taken, that we can point to
very few English books to which to refer our readers. We do not know one
such that is easily accessible; K. Payne Knight's work, and the addition
thereto, having been privately printed, is not often to be found in
the market. To give a list of the foreign works which the author has
consulted, prior to and during the composition of his book on Ancient
Faiths, would be almost equivalent to giving a catalogue of part of
his library. He may, however, indicate the name of one work which is
unusually valuable for reference, viz., _Histoire abrégée des Differens
Cultes_, par J. A. Dulaure, 2 vols., small 8vo., Paris, 1825. Though
out of print, copies can generally be procured through second-hand
booksellers. Another work, _'Récherches sur les Mystères de Paganisme_,
by St. Croix, is equally valuable, but it is very difficult to procure a

The ancient Jews formed no exception to the general law of reverence
for the male emblem of the Creator; and though we would, from their
pretensions to be the chosen people of God, gladly find them exempt from
what we consider to be impurities, we are constrained to believe that,
even in the worship of Jehovah, more respect was given to the symbol
than we, living in modern times, think that it deserves. In their
Scriptures we read of Noah, whose infirm temper seems to have been on a
par with his weakness for wine, cursing one of his three sons because,
whilst drunk, he had negligently exposed his person, and the young
man had thought the sight an amusing one. Ham had no reverence for the
symbol of the Creator, but Shem and Japhet had, and covered it with a
veil as respectfully as if it had been the ineffable framer of the world
(Gen. ix. 21-27). As our feelings of propriety induce us to think that
the father was a far greater sinner than the son, we rejoice to know
that the causeless curse never fell, and that Ham, in the lands of
Canaan, Assyria, and Babylonia, and subsequently in Carthaginian Spain,
were the masters of those Hebrews, whose main force, in old times,
lay in impotent scoldings, such, as Shakespeare puts into the mouth of

One of the best proofs of the strong sexual element which existed in the
religion of the Jews is the fact that Elohim, one of the names of the
Creator amongst the Hebrews, is represented, Gen. xvii. 10-14, as making
circumcision a sign of his covenant with the seed of Abraham; and in
order to ascertain whether a man was to be regarded as being in the
covenant, God is supposed to have looked at the state of the virile
organ, or--as the Scripture has it--of the hill of the foreskin. We
find, indeed, that Jehovah was quite as particular, and examined a male
quite as closely as Elohim: for when Moses and Zipporah were on their
way from Midian to Egypt, Exod. iv. 24, Jehovah having looked at the
"trinity" of Moses' son, and having found it as perfect as when the lad
was born, sought to slay him, and would have done so unless the mother
had mutilated the organ according to the sacred pattern. Again, we find
in Josh. v. 2, and in the following verses, that Jehovah insisted
upon all the Hebrew males having their virile member in the covenant
condition ere they went to attack the Canaanites. We cannot suppose that
any scribe could dwell so much as almost every scriptural writer does
upon the subject of circumcision, had not the masculine emblem been held
in religious veneration amongst the Jewish nation.

But the David who leaped and danced, obscenely as we should say, before
the ark--an emblem of the female creator--who purchased his wife from
her royal father by mutilating a hundred Philistines, and presenting the
foreskins which he had cut off therefrom "in full tale" to the king (1
Sam. xviii. 27, 2 Sam. iii. 14), who was once the captain of a monarch
who thought it a shame beyond endurance to be abused, tortured, or slain
by men whose persons were in a natural condition (1 Sam. xxxi. 4),
and who imagined that he, although a stripling, could conquer a giant,
because the one had a sanctified and the other a natural member--is the
man whom we know as the author of Psalms with which Christians still
refresh their minds and comfort their souls. The king who, even in
his old age, was supposed to think so much of women that his courtiers
sought a lovely damsel as a comfort for his dying bed, is believed to
have been the author of the noble nineteenth Psalm, and a number of
others full of holy aspirations. It is clear, then, that sexual ideas
on religion are not incompatible with a desire to be holy. The two were
co-existent in Palestine; they are equally so in Bengal.

We next find that Abraham, the cherished man of God, the honoured
patriarch of the Jews, makes his servant lay his hand upon the master's
member, whilst he takes an oath to do his bidding, precisely like a more
modern Palestinian might do; and Jacob does the same with Joseph. See
Gen. xxiv. 8, and xlvii. 29.

As it is not generally known that the expression, "under my thigh," is
a euphemism for the words, "upon the symbol of the Creator," I may point
to two or three other passages in which the _thigh_ (translated in the
authorised version _loins_) is used periphrastically: Genesis xxxv. 2,
xlvi. 26; Exod. i. 5. See Ginsburg, in Kitto's _Biblical Cyclopadia_,
vol. 8, p. 848, 8. v. Oath.

I have on two occasions read, although I failed to make a note of it,
that an Arab, during the Franco-Egyptian war, when accused by General
Kleber of treachery, not only vehemently denied it, but when he saw
himself still distrusted, he uncovered himself before the whole military
staff, and swore upon his trinity that he was guiltless. In the Lebanon,
once in each year, every female considers it her duty to salute with her
lips the reverenced organ of the Old Sheik.

Again we learn, from Deut. xxiii. 1, that any unsanctified mutilation
of this part positively entailed expulsion from the congregation of the
Lord. Even a priest of the house of Aaron could not minister, as such,
if his masculinity had been in any way impaired (Lev. xxi. 20); and
report says that, in our Christian times, Popes have to be privately
perfect; see also Deut. xxv. 11, 12. Moreover, the inquirer finds that
the Jewish Scriptures teem with promises of abundant offspring to those
who were the favourites of Jehovah; and Solomon, the most glorious
of their monarchs, is described as if he were a Hercules amongst the
daughters of Thespius. Nothing can indicate the licentiousness of the
inhabitants of Jerusalem more clearly than the writings of Ezekiel.* If,
then, in Hebrew law and practice, we find such a strong infusion of the
sexual element, we cannot be surprised if it should be found elsewhere,
and gradually influence Christianity.

     * See Ezekiel xxii. 1-30, and compare Jerem. v. 7, 8.

We must next notice the fact, that what we call impurity in religious
tenets does not necessarily involve indecency in practice. The ancient
Romans, in the time of the early kings, seem to have been as proper as
early Christian maidens. It is true that, in the declining days of the
empire, exhibitions that called forth the fierce denunciations of the
fathers of the Church took place; but we find very similar occurrences
in modern Christian capitals. In Spartan days, chastity and honesty
were not virtues, but drunkenness was a vice. In Christian England,
drunkenness is general, and we cannot pride ourselves upon universal
honesty and chastity. It is not the national belief, but the national
practice, which evidences a people's worth. Spain and Ireland, called
respectively "Catholic" and "the land of saints," cannot boast of
equality with "infidel" France and "free-thinking" Prussia. England will
be as earnest, as upright, and as civilised, when she has abandoned the
heathen elements in her religion, as when she hugs them as if necessary
to her spiritual welfare. Attachment to the good parts of religion is
wholly distinct from a close embrace of the bad ones; and we believe
he deserves best of his country who endeavours to remove every possible
source of discord. None can doubt the value of the order, "Do to others
as you would wish others to do to you." If all unite to carry this out,
small differences of opinion may at once be sunk. How worthless are
many of the dogmas that people now fight about, the following pages will

In our larger work we have endeavoured to show that there may be a deep
sense of religion, a feeling of personal responsibility, so keen as to
influence every act of life, without there being a single symbol used.
The earnest Sakya Muni, or Buddha, never used anything as a sacred
emblem; nor did Jesus, who followed him, and perhaps unconsciously
propagated the Indian's doctrine. When the Apostles were sent out to
teach and preach, they were not told to carry out any form of ark or
crucifix. To them the doctrine of the Trinity was unknown, and not one
of them had any particular reverence for her whom we call the Virgin
Mary, who, if she was '_virgo intacta_' when Jesus was born, was
certainly different when she bore his brothers. Paul and Peter, though
said to be the fathers of the Roman Church, never used or recommended
the faithful to procure for themselves "a cross" as an aid to memory.
The early Christians recognised each other by their deeds, and never
had, like the Jews, to prove that they were in covenant with God, by
putting a mutilated part of their body into full view. We, with the
Society of Friends, prefer primitive to modern Christianity.

In the following pages the author has felt himself obliged to make use
of words which are probably only known to those who are more or less
"scholars." He has to treat of parts of the human body, and acts which
occur habitually in the world, which in modern times are never referred
to in polite society, but which, in the period when the Old Testament
was written, were spoken of as freely as we now talk of our hands and
feet. In those days, everything which was common was spoken of without
shame, and that which occurred throughout creation, and was seen
by every one, was as much the subject of conversation as eating and
drinking is now. The Hebrew-writers were extremely coarse in their
diction, and although this has been softened down by subsequent
redactors, much which is in our modern judgment improper still remains.
For example, where we simply indicate the sex, the Jewish historians
used the word which was given to the symbol by which male and female
are known; for example, in Gen. i. 27, and v. 2, and in a host of
other places, the masculine and feminine are spoken of as _zachar_ and
_nekebah_, which is best translated as "borers" and "bored." Another
equally vulgar way of describing men is to be found in 1 Kings xiv. 10.
But these observations would not serve us much in symbolism did we not
know that they were associated with certain euphemisms by which when
one thing is said another is intended; for an illustration let us take
Isaiah vii. 20, and ask what is meant by the phrase, "the hair of the
feet"? It is certain that the feet are never hairy, and consequently
can never be shaved. Again, when we find in Gen. xlix. 10, "the sceptre
shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet," and
compare this with Deut. xxviii. 57, and 2 Kings xviii. 27, where the
words are, in the original, "the water of their feet," it is clear that
symbolic language is used to express something which, if put into the
vernacular, would be objectionable to ears polite. Again, in Genesis
xxiv. 2 and xlvii. 29, and in Heb. xi. 21, it is well known to scholars
that the word "thigh" and "staff" are euphemisms to express that part
which represents the male. In Deut. xxiii. 1, we have evidence, as in
the last three verses quoted, of the sanctity of the part referred to,
but the language is less refined. Now-a-days our ears are not attuned to
the rough music which pleased our ancestors, and we have to use veiled
language to express certain matters. In the following pages, the words
which I select are drawn from the Latin, Greek, Sanscrit, Shemitic, or
Egyptian. Hea, Ann, and Asher replace the parts referred to in Deut.
xxiii. 1; Osiris, Asher, Linga, Mahadeva, Siva, Priapus, Phallus, etc.,
represent the Hebrew _zachar _; whilst Isis, Parvati, Yoni, Sacti,
Astarte, Ishtar, etc., replace the Jewish _nekebah_. The junction of
these parts is spoken of as Ashtoreth, Baalim, Elohim, the trinity and
unity, the androgyne deity, the arba, or mystic four, and the like.

I will only add, that what I refer to has long been known to almost
every scholar except English ones. Of these a few are learned; but for
a long period they have systematically refrained from speaking
plainly, and have written in such a manner as to be guilty not only of
_suppressio veri_ but of _sugggestio falsi_.

After reading thus far, I can imagine many a person saying with
astonishment, "Are these things so?" and following up his thoughts by
wondering what style of persons they were, or are, who could introduce
into religion such matters as those of which we have treated.

In reply, I can only say that I have nothing extenuated, and set
down nought in malice. But the first clause of the assertion requires
modification, for in this volume there are many things omitted which I
have referred to at length in my larger work. In that I have shown, not
only that religious fornication existed in ancient Babylon, but that
there is reason to believe that it existed also in Palestine. The word
[--Hebrew--] _Kadesh_, which signifies "pure, bright, young, to be holy,
or to be consecrated," is also the root from which are formed the words
_Kadeshah_ and _Kadeshim_, which are used in the Hebrew writings, and
are translated in our authorised version "whore" and "sodomite." See
Bent, xxiii. 17.

Athanasius tells us something of this as regards the Phoenicians, for he
says, (_Oratio Contr. Gent_., part i., p. 24.) "Formerly, it is certain
that Phoenician women prostituted themselves before their idols,
offering their bodies to their gods in the place of first fruits, being
persuaded that they pleased the goddess by that means, and made her
propitious to them."

Strabo mentions a similar occurrence at Comana, in Pontus, book xiii.,
c. iii. p. 86--and notices that an enormous number of women were
consecrated to the use of worshippers in the temple of Venus at Corinth.

Such women exist in India, and the priests of certain temples do
everything in their power to select the loveliest of the sex, and to
educate them so highly as to be attractive.

The customs which existed in other places seem to have been known in
Jerusalem, as we find in 1 Kings xiv. 24., XV. 12, that _Kadeshim_
were common in Judea, and in 2 Kings xxiii. 7, we discover that these
"consecrated ones" were located "by the temple," and were associated
with women whose business was "to make hangings for the grove." What
these tissues were and what use was made of them will be seen in Ezekiel
xvi. 16.

Even David, when dancing before the ark, shamelessly exposed himself.
Solomon erected two pillars in the porch of his temple, and called
them Jachin and Boaz, and added pomegranate ornaments. We have seen how
Abraham and Jacob ordered their inferiors to swear by putting the hand
upon "the thigh"; and we have read of the atrocities which occurred in
Jerusalem in the time of Ezekiel. Yet the Jews are still spoken of as
God's chosen people, and the Psalmist as a man after God's own heart.

But without going so far back, let us inquire into the conduct of the
sensual Turks, and of the general run of the inhabitants of Hindostan.
From everything that I can learn--and I have repeatedly conversed with
those who have known the Turks and Hindoos familiarly--these are in
every position in life as morally good as common Christians are.

My readers must not now assert that I am either a partisan or a special
pleader when I say this; they must consider that I am making the
comparison as man by man. I do not, as missionaries do, compare the most
vicious Mahomedan and Brahmin with the most exemplary Christian; nor do
I, on the other hand, compare the best Ottoman and Indian with Christian
criminals; but I take the whole in a mass, and assert that there is as
large a percentage of good folks in India and Turkey as there is in
Spain and France, England or America.

The grossest form of worship is compatible with general purity of
morals. The story of Lucretia is told of a Pagan woman, whilst those
of Er and Onan, Tamar and Judah relate to Hebrews. David, who seduced
Bathsheba, and killed her husband, was not execrated by "God's people,"
nor was he consequently driven from his throne as Tarquin was by the

In prowess and learning, the Babylonians, with their religious
prostitution, were superior to the "chosen people." Of the wealth and
enterprise of the Phoenicians, Ancient History tells us abundance.

There are probably no three cities in ancient or modern times which
contain so many vicious individuals as London, Paris, and New York. Yet
there are none which history tells us of that were more powerful. No
Babylonian army equalled in might or numbers the army of the Northern
United States. Nineveh never wielded armies equal to those of the French
Napoleon and the German William, and Rome never had an empire equal to
that which is headed by London.

The existence of personal vice does not ruin a nation in its collective
capacity. Nor does the most sensual form of religion stunt the
prosperity of a people, so long as the latter do not bow their necks to
a priesthood.

The greatest curse to a nation is not a bad religion, but a form of
faith which prevents manly inquiry. I know of no nation of old that was
priest-ridden which did not fall under the swords of those who did not
care for hierarchs.

The greatest danger is to be feared from those ecclesiastics who wink at
vice, and encourage it as a means whereby they can gain power over their
votaries. So long as every man does to other men as he would that they
should do to him, and allows no one to interfere between him and his
Maker, all will go well with the world.

Whilst the following sheets were going through the press, my friend Mr.
Newton, who has not only assisted me in a variety of ways, but who has
taken a great deal of interest in the subject of symbolism, gave me
to understand that there were some matters in which he differed
very strongly from me in opinion. One of these was as to the correct
interpretation of the so-called Assyrian grove; another was the
signification of one of Lajard's gems, Plate iv., Fig. 3; and the most
conspicuous of our divergencies was respecting the fundamental, or basic
idea, which prompted the use in religion of those organs of reproduction
which have, from time immemorial, been venerated in Hindostan, and, as
far as we can learn, in Ancient Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Tyre, Sidon,
Carthage, Jerusalem, Etruria, Greece, and Rome, as well as in countries
called uncivilised. I feel quite disposed to acquiesce in the opinions
which my old friend has formed respecting the Assyrian grove, but I am
not equally ready to assent to his other opinions.

Where two individuals are working earnestly for the elucidation of
truth, there ought, in my opinion, to be not only a tolerance of
disagreement, but an honest effort to submit the subject to a jury of
thoughtful readers.

As I should not feel satisfied to allow any other person to express my
opinions in his words, it seemed to me only fair to Mr. Newton to give
him the facility of enunciating his views in his own language. It was
intended, originally, that my friend's observations upon the
"grove" should be followed by a dissertation upon other relics of
antiquity--notably upon that known as Stonehenge--but circumstances have
prevented this design being carried into execution.

When two individuals who have much in common go over the same ground,
it is natural, indeed almost necessary, that they should dwell upon
identical topics. Hence it will be found that there are points which are
referred to by us both, although possibly in differing relationship.

As my own part of the following remarks were printed long before I saw
Mr. Newton's manuscript, I hope to be pardoned for allowing them to
stand. The bulk of the volume will not be increased to the extent of a
full page.

If I were to be asked the reason why I differ from Mr. Newton in his
exalted idea about the adoption of certain bodily organs as types,
tokens, or emblems of an unseen and an inscrutable Creator, my answer
would be drawn from the observations made upon every known order of
priesthood, from the most remote antiquity to the present time. No
matter what the creed, whether Ancient or Modern, the main object of its
exponents and supporters is to gain over the minds of the populace.
This has never yet been done, and probably never will be attempted, by
educating the mind of the multitude to think.

In Great Britain we find three sets of hierarchs opposed to each other,
and all equally, by every means in their power, prohibit independent

A young Romanist convert, as we have recently seen, is discouraged
from persevering in the study of history and logic; a Presbyterian is
persecuted, as far as the law of the land permits, if he should engage
in an honest study of the Bible, of the God which it presents for our
worship, and of the laws that it enforces. A bishop of the Church of
England is visited by the puny and spiteful efforts of some of his
nominal equals if he ventures to treat Jewish writings as other critics
study the tomes of Livy or of Herodotus.

One set of men have banded together to elect a god on earth, and
endeavour to coerce their fellow-mortals to believe that a selection
by a few old cardinals can make the one whom they choose to honour

Another set of men, who profess to eschew the idea of infallibility in a
Pope, assume that they possess the quality themselves, and endeavour to
blot out from the communion of the faithful those who differ from them
"on points which God hath left at large."

Surely, when with all our modern learning, thought, and scientific
enquiry, hierarchs still set their faces against an advance in
knowledge, and quell, if possible, every endeavour to search after
truth, we are not far wrong when we assert, that the first priests of
barbarism had no exalted views of such an abstract subject as life, in
the higher and highest senses, if indeed in any sense of the word.

Another small point of difference between my friend and me is,
whether there has been at any time a figured representation of a
_kakodoemon_--except since the beginning of Christianity--and if, by way
of stretching a point, we call Typhon--Satan or the Devil--by this
name, as being opposed to the _Agathodoemon_, whether we are justified
in providing this evil genius with wings. As far as I can judge from
Chaldean and Assyrian sculptures, wings were given to the lesser deities
as our artists assign them to modern angels. The Babylonian Apollyon,
by whatever name he went, was winged--but so were all the good gods. The
Egyptians seem to have assigned wings only to the favourable divinities.
The Jews had in their mythology a set of fiery flying serpents, but we
must notice that their cherubim and seraphim were all winged, some with
no less than three pairs--much as Hindoo gods have four heads and six,
or any other number of arms.

Mr. Newton assumes that the dragon mentioned in Rev. xii. was a winged
creature, but it is clear from the context, especially from verses 14
and 15, that he had no pinions, for he was unable to follow the woman to
whom two aerial oars had been given.

The dragon, as we know it, is, I believe, a mediæval creation; such a
creature is only spoken of in the Bible in the book of Revelation, and
the author of that strange production drew his inspiration on this point
from the Iliad, where a dragon is described as of huge size, coiled like
a snake, of blood-red colour, shot with changeful hues, and having three
heads. Homer, Liddell, and Scott add--used [--Greek--] indifferently for
a serpent. So does the author of Rev. in ch. xx. 2. I have been unable
to discover any gnostic gem with anything like a modern dragon on it.

Holding these views, I cannot entertain the proposition that the winged
creatures in the very remarkable gem already referred to are evil genii.

In a question of this kind the mind is perhaps unconsciously biassed by
comparing one antiquarian idea with another. A searcher amongst Etruscan
vases will see not only that the angel of death is winged, but that
Cupid, Eros, or by whatever other name "desire" or love goes, frequently
hovers over the bridal or otherwise voluptuous couch, and attends beauty
at her toilet. The Greeks also gave to Eros a pair of wings, intended,
it is fancied, to represent the flutterings of the heart, produced when
lovers meet or even think of each other. Such a subordinate deity would
be in place amongst so many sexual emblems as Plate iv. Fig. 3 contains,
whilst a _koakdoemon_ would be a "spoil sport," and would make the
erected serpents drop rather than remain in their glory.

These matters are apparently of small importance, but when one is
studying the signification of symbolical language, he has to pay as
close an attention, and extend the net of observation over as wide a sea
as a scholar does when endeavouring to decipher some language written
in long-forgotten characters, and some divergence of opinion between
independent observers sharpens the intellect more than it tries the



[Illustration: Plate I 054]

This is taken from a photograph of a small bronze image in the Mayer
collection of the Free Museum, in Liverpool. The figure stands about
nine inches high, and represents Isis, Horus, and the fish. It is an
apt illustration of an ancient custom, still prevalent amongst certain
Christians, of reverencing a woman, said to be a virgin, giving suck
to her child, and of the association of Isis, Venus, and Mary with the
fish. Friday, for example, is, with the Romanists, both "fish day," and
"dies Veneris." Fish are known to be extraordinarily prolific. There was
a belief that animals, noted for any peculiarity, imparted their virtues
to those who ate them; consequently, tigers' flesh was supposed to give
courage, and snails to give sexual power. The use of fish in connubial
feasts is still common. Those who consider it pious or proper to eat
fish on Venus' day, or Friday, proclaim themselves, unconsciously,
adherents to those heathen ideas which deified parts about which no
one now likes to talk. The fish has in one respect affinity with the

Since the first publication of this work, a friend has suggested to me
another reason, besides its fertility, for the fish being emblematic of
woman. From his extensive experience as a surgeon, and especially among
the lower order of courtesans, he has repeatedly noticed during the hot
months of the year that the parts which he had to examine have a very
strong odour of fish. My own observations in the same department lead me
to endorse his assertion. Consequently, I think that in warm climates,
where the utmost cleanliness can scarcely keep a female free from odour,
scent, as well as other attributes, has had to do with the selection of
the fish as an emblem of woman.

Still further, I have been informed by another friend that in Yorkshire,
and I understand in other counties of England, the _double entente_
connected with the fish is so marked that it is somewhat difficult to
render it into decent phraseology. It will suffice to say that in the
county mentioned, Lais or Phryne would be spoken of as "a choice bit
of fish," and that a man who bore on his features the stamp which is
imprinted by excessive indulgence, would be said to have indulged too
much in "a fish diet." I do not suppose that in the Yorkshire Ridings
the folks are unusually well acquainted with mythology, yet it is
curious to find amongst their inhabitants a connection between Venus
and the Fish, precisely similar to that which has obtained in the most
remote ages and in far distant climes.

It is clear from all these facts that the fish is a symbol not only of
woman, but of the yoni.


Is supposed to represent Oannes, Dagon, or some other fish god. It is
copied from Lajard, _Sur le Culte de Venus_, pl. xxii., 1, la, and is
thus described, "Statuette inédite, de grès houiller ou micacé, d'un
brun verdâtre. Elle porte par devant, sur une bande perpendiculaire, un
légende en caractères Syriaques très anciens (_Cabinet de M. Lambert, à
Lyon_)." I can find no clue to the signification of the inscription. It
would seem paradoxical to say that there is something in common between
the bull-headed deity and Oannes. It is so, nevertheless. One indicates,
_par excellence_, physical, and the other sexual, power. That Oannes
may, for the Assyrians, represent a man who played a part with them
similar to that of Penn among the Indians of Pennsylvania, I do not
deny; but, when we find a similar fish-god in Philistia and Hindostan,
and know that Crishna once appeared as a fish, the explanation does not
suffice. It is curious that Jesus of Nazareth should be called or
"a fish"; but this only proves that the religion of Christ has been
adulterated by Paganism.

Figs. 1 and 4 are illustrations of the antelope as a religious emblem
amongst the Assyrians. The first is from Layard's _Nineveh_, and in it
we see carried in one hand a triply branched lotus; the second, showing
the regard for the spotted antelope, and for "the branch," is from
Bonomi's _Nineveh and its Palaces_.

Fig. 2 illustrates Bacchus, with a mystic branch in one hand, and a cup
in the other; his robe is covered with spots arranged in threes. The
branch is emblematic of the _arbor vitæ_, or tree of life, and its
powers of sprouting. Such a symbol is, by outsiders, figured on the
houses of newly married couples amongst the Jews of Morocco, and seems
to indicate the desire of friends that the man will show that he is
vigorous, and able to have many sprouts from the tree of life. It will
be noticed that on the fillet round the god's head are arranged many
crosses. From Hislop's _Two Babylons_, and Smith's _Dictionary_, p. 208.

Figs. 8 and 5 are intended to show the prevalence of the use of spots
on priestly dresses; they are copied from Hislop's _Two Babylons_,
and Wilkinson, vol. vi., pi. 88, and vol. iv., pp. 841, 858. For an
explanation of the signification of spots, see Plate iv., Fig. 6, infra.

Fig. 1 represents an Assyrian priest worshipping by presentation of the
thumb, which had a peculiar signification. Sometimes the forefinger is
pointed instead, and in both cases the male is symbolised. It is taken
from a plate illustrating a paper by E. C. Ravenshaw, Esq., in _Journal
of Royal Asiatic Society_, vol. xvi., p. 114. Amongst the Hebrews, and
probably all the Shemitic tribes, _bohen_, the thumb, and _ezba_, the
finger, were euphemisms. They are so in some parts of Europe to the
present day.* The hand thus presented to the grove resembles a part
of the Buddhist cross, and the shank of a key, whose signification is
described in a subsequent page.


[Illustration: Plate III. 059]


[Illustration: Plate IV. 062]

Fig. 2 is a Buddhist emblem; the two fishes forming the circle represent
the mystic yoni, the sacti of Mahadeva, while the triad above them
represents the mystic trinity, the triune father, Siva, Bel, or Asher,
united with Anu and Hea. From _Journal of Royal Asiatic Society_, vol.
xviii., p. 892, plate ii.

Fig. 3 is a very remarkable production. It originally belonged to
Mons. Lajard, and is described by him in his second _Memoire_, entitled
_Recherches sur le Culte, les Symboles, les Attributs, et les Monumens
Figurés de Vénus_ (Paris, 1837), in pages 32, _et seq_., and figured in
plate I., fig. 1. The real age of the gem and its origin are not known,
but the subject leads that author to believe it to be of late Babylonian
workmanship. The stone is a white agate, shaped like a cone, and the
cutting is on its lower face. The shape of this gem indicates its
dedication to Venus. The central figures represent the androgyne
deity, Baalim, Astaroth, Elohim, Jupiter genetrix, or the bearded Venus
Mylitta. On the left side of the cutting we notice an erect serpent,
whose rayed head makes us recognise the solar emblem, and its mundane
representative, _mentula arrecta_; on a spot opposite to the centre of
the male's body we find a lozenge, symbolic of the yoni, whilst opposite
to his feet is the amphora, whose mystic signification may readily be
recognised; it is meant for Ouranos, or the Sun fructifying Terra, or
the earth, by pouring from himself into her.

     * A friend has informed me, for example, that he happened,
     whilst at Pesth, to look at a gorgeously dressed and
     handsome young woman. To his astonishment she pointed her
     thumb precisely in the manner adopted by the Assyrian
     priests; this surprised the young man still farther, and
     being, as it were, fascinated, he continued to gaze. The
     damsel then grasped the thumb by the other hand; thus
     indicating her profession. My friend, who was wholly
     inexperienced in the ways of the world, only understood what
     was meant when he saw my explanation of Fig. 1.

The three stars over the head of the figure, and the inverted triangle
on its head, are representations of the mythological four, equivalent to
the Egyptian symbol of life (figs. 31, 82). Opposite to the female are
the moon, and another serpent, which may be recognised by physiologists
as symbolic of _tensio clitoridis_. In a part corresponding to the
diamond, on the left side, is a six-rayed wheel, emblematic, apparently,
of the sun. At the female's feet is placed a cup, which is intended to
represent the passive element in creation. As such it is analogous to
the crescent moon, and is associated in the Roman church with the round
wafer, the symbol of the sun; the wafer and cup thus being synonymous
with the sun and moon in conjunction. It will be observed that each
serpent in the plate is apparently attacked by what we suppose is
a dragon. There is some difficulty in understanding the exact idea
intended to be conveyed by these; my own opinion is that they symbolise
Satan, the old serpent that tempted Eve, viz., fierce lust, Eros,
Cupid, or desire, which, both in the male and female, brings about the
arrectation which the serpents figure. It is not to be passed by without
notice, that the snake which represents the male has the tail so curved
as to suggest the idea of the second and third elements of the trinity.
Monsieur Lajard takes the dragons to indicate the bad principle in
nature, i. e., darkness, night, Ahriman, etc. On the pyramidal portion
of the gem the four sides are ornamented by figures--three represent
animals remarkable for their salacity, and the fourth represents Bel and
Ishtar in conjunction, in a fashion which can be more easily imagined
than described in the mother tongue. The learned will find the position
assumed in Lucretius, _Dê Rerum Naturâ_, book iv., lines 1256, seq.

Fig. 4 is also copied from Lajard, plate i., fig. 10. It is the reverse
of a bronze coin of Vespasian, struck in the island of Cyprus, and
represents the conical stone, under whose form Venus was worshipped at
Paphos, of which Tacitus remarks, Hist, ii., c. 8, "the statue bears
no resemblance to the human form, but is round, broad at one end and
gradually tapering at the other, like a goal. The reason of this is
not ascertained." It is remarkable that a male emblem should be said to
represent Venus, but the stone was an aerolite, like that which fell
at Ephesus, and was said to represent Diana. It is clear that when a
meteoric stone falls, the chief priests of the district can say that it
is to be taken as a representative of their divinity.

My very ingenious friend, Mr. Newton, suggests that the Venus in
question was androgyne; that the cone is a male emblem, within a door,
gateway, or delta, thus resembling the Assyrian grove. It is certain
that the serpents, the two stars, and the two candelabra, or altars with
flame, favour his idea.

Fig. 5 represents the position of the hands assumed by Jewish priests
when they give the benediction to their flock. It will be recognised
that each hand separately indicates the trinity, whilst the junction
of the two indicates the unit. The whole is symbolic of the mystic
Arba--the four, i, e., the trinity and unity. One of my informants
told me that, being a "cohen" or priest, he had often administered the
blessing, and, whilst showing to me this method of benediction, placed
his joined hands so that his nose entered the central aperture. On his
doing so, I remarked "_bene nasatus_," and the expression did more to
convince him of the probability of my views than anything else.

Fig. 6, modified in one form or another, is the position assumed by the
hand and fingers, when Homan and Anglican bishops or other hierarchs
give benediction to their people. A similar disposition is to be met
with in Indian mythology, when the Creator doubles himself into male and
female, so as to be in a position to originate new beings. Whilst the
right hand in Plate VII. symbolises the male, the left hand represents
the mystic feminine circle. In another plate, which is to be found in
Moor's _Hindu Pantheon_, there is a similar figure, but draped fully,
and in that the dress worn by the celestial spouse is covered with
groups of spots arranged in triads and groups of four. With regard to
the signification of spots, we may notice that they indicated, either by
their shape or by their name, the emblem of womankind. A story of Indra,
the Hindoo god of the sky, confirms this. He is usually represented as
bearing a robe covered with eyes; but the legend runs that, like David,
he became enamoured of the wife of another man, who was very beautiful
and seen by chance, but her spouse was one whose austere piety made him
almost equal to Brahma. The evil design of Indra was both frustrated and
punished. The woman escaped, but the god became covered with marks that
recalled his offence to mind, for they were pictures of the yoni. These,
by the strong intercession of Brahma with the Rishi, were changed by the
latter into eyes. This story enables us to recognise clearly the hidden
symbolism of the Hindoo and Egyptian eye, the oval representing the
female, and the circle the male lodged therein--i.e., the androgyne


[Illustration: Plate V. 067]

Is a copy of a mediæval Virgin and Child, as painted in Della Robbia
ware in the South Kensington Museum, a copy of which, was given to me
by my friend, Mr. Newton, to whose kindness I am indebted for many
illustrations of ancient Christian art. It represents the Virgin and
Child precisely as she used to be represented in Egypt, in India, in
Assyria, Babylonia, Phoenicia, and Etruria; the accident of dress being
of no mythological consequence. In the framework around the group, we
recognise the triformed leaf, emblematic of Asher; the grapes, typical
of Dionysus; the wheat ears, symbolic of Ceres, _l'abricot fendu_, the
mark of womankind, and the pomegranate _rimmon_, which characterises the
teeming mother. The living group, moreover, are placed in an archway,
_delta_, or door, which is symbolic of the female, like the _vesica
piscis_, the oval or the circle. This door is, moreover, surmounted by
what appear to be snails, whose supposed virtue we have spoken of under
Plate i. This identification of Mary with the Sacti is strong; by-and-by
we shall see that it is as complete as it is possible to be made.


[Illustration: Plate VI. 070]

Is a copy of figures given in Bryant's _Ancient Mythology_, plates
xiii., xxviii., third edition, 1807. The first two illustrate the story
of Palemon and Getus, introducing the dolphin. That fish is symbolic of
the female, in consequence of the assonance in Greek between its name
and that of the womb, _delphis and delphus_. The tree symbolises the
_arbor vitæ_, the life-giving sprout; and the ark is a symbol of the
womb. The third figure, where a man rests upon a rock and dolphin,
and toys with a mother and child, is equally suggestive. The male is
repeatedly characterised as a rock, hermes, menhir, tolmen, or upright
stone, the female by the dolphin, or fish. The result of the junction
of these elements appears in the child, whom both parents welcome. The
fourth figure represents two emblems of the male creator, a man and
trident, and two of the female, a dolphin and ship. The two last figures
represent a coin of Apamea, representing Noah and the ark, called
_Cibotus_. Bryant labours to prove that the group commemorates the
story told in the Bible respecting the flood, but there is strong doubt
whether the story was not of Babylonian origin. The city referred to
was in Phrygia, and the coin appears to have been struck by Philip of
Macedon. The inscription round the head is [--Greek inscription--]See
_Ancient Faiths_, second edition, Vol. ii.., pp. 128, and 885-892.

The Supreme Spirit in the act of creation became two-fold; the RIGHT

She is Maya, eternal and imperishable, such as the Spirit, such is
the inherent energy. (The Sacti) as the Faculty burning is inherent in

(Bramah Vaivartta Puranu, Professor Wilson.)

[Illustration: 073]


From an original drawing by Chrisna Swami, Punoit.


Is a copy of an original drawing made by a learned Hindoo pundit for Wm.
Simpson, Esq., of London, whilst he was in India studying its mythology.
It represents Brahma supreme, who in the act of creation made himself
double, i.e. male and female. In the original the central part of the
figure is occupied by the triad and the unit, but far too grossly shown
for reproduction here. They are replaced by the _crux ansata_. The
reader will notice the triad and the serpent in the male hand, whilst in
the female is to be seen a germinating seed, indicative of the relative
duties of father and mother. The whole stands upon a lotus, the symbol
of androgyneity. The technical word for this incarnation is "Arddha


[Illustration: Plate III. 075]

Is Devi, the same as Parvati, or Bhavani. It is copied from Moor's
_Pantheon_, plate xxx. The goddess represents the feminine element in
the universe. Her forehead is marked by one of the symbols of the four
creators, the triad, and the unit. Her dress is covered with symbolic
spots, and one foot peculiarly placed is marked by a circle having a
dot in the interior. The two bear the same signification as the Egyptian
eye. I am not able to define the symbolic import of the articles held
in the lower hands. Moor considers that they represent scrolls of paper,
but this I doubt. The raised hands bear the unopened lotus flower, and
the goddess sits upon another.


[Illustration: Plate IX. 078]

Consists of six figures, copied from Maurice's _Indian Antiquities_,
vol. vi., p. 278, and two from Bryant's _Mythology_, vol. ii., third
edition, pp. 203 and 409. All are symbolic of the idea of the male
triad: a central figure, erect, and rising above the other two. In one
an altar and fire indicate, mystically, the linga; in another, the same
is pourtrayed as a man, as Madaheva always is; in another, there is a
tree stump and serpent, to indicate the same idea. The two appendages
of the linga are variously described; in two instances as serpents, in
other two as tree And _concha_, and snake and shell. The two last seem
to embody the idea that the right "egg" of the male germinates boys,
whilst the left produces girls; a theory common amongst ancient
physiologists. The figure of the tree encircled by the serpent, and
supported by two stones resembling "tolmen," is very significant. The
whole of these figures seem to point unmistakably to the origin of the
very common belief that the male Creator is triune. In Assyrian theology
the central figure is Bel, Baal, or Asher; the one on the right Ann,
that on the left Hea. See _Ancient Faiths_, second edition, Vol. i., pp.
88-85. *

There are some authors who have treated of tree and serpent worship, and
of its prevalence in ancient times, without having, so far as I can see,
any idea of that which the two things typify. The tree of knowledge, the
tree of life, the serpent that tempted Eve, and still tempts man by his
subtlety, are so many figures of speech which the wise understand,
but which to the vulgar are simply trees and snakes. In a fine old
bas-relief over the door of the Cathedral at Berne, we see an ancient
representation of the last judgment. An angel is dividing the sheep from
the goats, and devils are drawing men and women to perdition, by fixing
hooks or pincers on the portions of the body whence their sins sprang.
One fat priest, nude as oar risen bodies mast be, is being savagely
pulled to hell by the part symbolised by tree and serpent, whilst she
whom he has adored and vainly sought to disgrace, is rising to take her
place amongst the blest. It is not those of the sex of Eve alone that
are inveigled to destruction by the serpent.

     * For those who have not an opportunity of consulting the
     work referred to, I may observe that the Assyrian godhead
     consisted of four persons, three being male and one female.
     The principal god was Asher, the upright one, the equivalent
     of the Hindoo Mahadeva, the great holy one, and of the more
     modern Priapus. He was associated with Anu, lord of solids
     and of the lower world, equivalent to the "testis," or egg
     on the right side. Hea was lord of waters, and represented
     the left "stone." The three formed the trinity or triad. The
     female was named Ishtar or Astarte, and was equivalent to
     the female organ, the yoni or vulva--the [Greek] of the
     Greeks. The male god in Egypt was Osiris, the female Isis,
     and these names are frequently used as being euphemistic,
     and preferable to the names which are in vulgar use to
     describe the male and female parts.


[Illustration: Plate X. 081]

Contains pagan symbols of the trinity or linga, with or without the
unity or yoni.

Fig. 1 represents a symbol frequently met with in ancient architecture,
etc. It represents the male and female elements, the pillar and the half

Fig. 2 represents the mystic letters said to have been placed on the
portal of the oracle of Delphi. By some it is proposed to read the two
letters as signifying "he or she is;" by others the letters are taken to
be symbolic of the triad and the unit. If they be, the pillar is a
very unusual form for the yoni. An ingenious friend of mine regards the
upright portion as a "slit," but I cannot wholly agree with him, for in
Fig. 1 the pillar cannot be looked upon as an aperture.

Fig. 3 is a Hindoo sectarial mark, copied from Moor's _Hindu Pantheon_,
and is one out of many indicating the union of the male and female.

Fig. 4 is emblematic of the virgin and child. It identifies the two with
the crescent. It is singular that some designers should unite the moon
with the solar symbol, and others with the virgin. We believe that the
first indicate ideas like that associated with Baalim, and Ashtaroth in
the plural, the second that of Astarte or Venus in the singular. Or, as
we may otherwise express it, the married and the immaculate virgin.

Fig. 5 is copied from Sharpe's _Egyptian Mythology_, p. 15. It
represents one of the Egyptian trinities, and is highly symbolic, not
only indicating the triad, here Osiris, Isis, and Nepthys, but its union
with the female element. The central god Osiris is himself triune, as he
bears the horns symbolic of the goddess Athor and the feathers of the
god Ra.

Fig. 6 is a Hindoo sectarial mark, from Moor's _Hindu Pantheon_. The
lozenge indicates the yoni. For this assertion we not only have evidence
in Babylonian gems, copied by Lajard, but in Indian and Etruscan
designs. We find, for example, in vol. v., plate xlv., of _Antiquités
Etrusques_, etc., par. F. A. David (Paris, 1785), a draped female,
wearing on her breast a half moon and mural crown, holding her hands
over the middle spot of the body, so as to form a "lozenge" with the
forefingers and thumbs. The triad in this figure is very distinct; and
we may add that a trinity expressed by three balls or three circles is
to be met with in the remotest times and in most distant countries.

Figs. 7, 8, 9 and 10 are copied from Cabrera's account of an ancient
city discovered near Palenque, in Guatemala, Spanish America (London,
1822). Although they appear to have a sexual design, yet I doubt whether
the similarity is not accidental. After a close examination of the
plates given by Cabrera, I am inclined to think that nothing of
the ling-yoni element prevailed in the mind of the ancient American
sculptors. All the males are carefully draped in appropriate girdles,
although in some a grotesque or other ornament, such as a human or
bestial head, a flower, etc., is attached to the apron or "fall" of the
girdle, resembling the sporran of the Highlander and the codpiece
of mediæval knights and others. I may, however, mention some very
remarkable sculptures copied; one is a tree, whose trunk is surrounded
by a serpent, and whose fruit is shaped like the _vesica piscis_; in
another is seen a youth wholly unclothed, save by a cap and gaiters, who
kneels before a similar tree, being threatened before and behind by some
fierce animal. This figure is peculiar, differing from all the rest in
having an European rather than an American head and face. Indeed, the
features, etc., remind me of the late Mr. Cobden, and the cap is such as
yachting sailors usually wear. There is also another remarkable group,
consisting apparently of a man and woman standing before a cross,
proportioned like the conventional one in use amongst Christians.
Everything indicates American ideas, and there are ornaments or designs
wholly unlike any that I have seen elsewhere. The man appears to offer
to the cross a grotesque human figure, with a head not much unlike
Punch, with a turned-up nose, and a short pipe shaped like a fig in his
mouth. The body is well formed, but the arms and thighs are rounded off
like "flippers" or "fins." Besting at the top of the cross is a bird,
like a game cock, ornamented by a necklace. The male in this and the
other sculptures is beardless, and that women are depicted, can only
be guessed at by the inferior size of some of the figures. It would be
unprofitable to carry the description farther.

Figs. 11, 12 are from vol. i., plates xix. and xxiii. of a remarkably
interesting work, _Recherches sur l' origine, l' esprit, et les progrès
des Arts de la Grèce_, said to be written by D'Harcanville, published at
London, 1785. The first represents a serpent, coiled so as to symbolise
the male triad, and the crescent, the emblem of the yoni.

Fig. 12 accompanies the bull on certain coins, and symbolises the sexual
elements, _le baton et l'anneau_. They were used, as the horse-shoe is
now, as a charm against bad luck, or vicious demons or fairies.

Fig. 13 is, like figure 5, from Sharpe's _Egyptian Mythology_, p. 14,
and is said to represent Isis, Nepthys, and Osiris; it is one of the
many Mizraite triads. The Christian trinity is of Egyptian origin, and
is as surely a pagan doctrine as the belief in heaven and hell, the
existence of a devil, of archangels, angels, spirits and saints, martyrs
and virgins, intercessors in heaven, gods and demigods, and other forms
of faith which deface the greater part of modern religions.

Figure 14 is a symbol frequently seen in Greek churches, but appears to
be of pre-Christian origin.* The cross we have elsewhere described as
being a compound male emblem, whilst the crescent symbolises the female
element in creation.

Figure 15 is from D'Harcanville, _Op. Cit_., vol. i., plate xxiii. It
resembles Figure 11, _supra_, and enables us by the introduction of the
sun and moon to verify the deduction drawn from the arrangement of the
serpent's coils. If the snake's body, instead of being curved above the
8 like tail, were straight, it would simply indicate the linga and the
sun; the bend in its neck, however, indicates the yoni and the moon.

Figure 16 is copied from plate xvi., fig. 2, of _Recueil de Pierres
Antiques Gravés_, folio, by J. M. Raponi (Rome, 1786). The gem
represents a sacrifice to Priapus, indicated by the rock, pillar,
figure, and branches given in our plate. A nude male sacrifices a goat;
a draped female holds a kid ready for immolation; a second man, nude,
plays the double pipe, and a second woman, draped, bears a vessel on her
head, probably containing wine for a libation.

Figure 17 is from vol. i. _Récherches_, etc., plate xxii. In this medal
the triad is formed by a man and two coiled serpents on the one side of
the medal, whilst on the reverse are seen a tree, surrounded by a snake,
situated between two rounded stones, with a dog and a conch shell below.
See _supra_, Plate ix., Fig. 6.


[Illustration: Plate XI. 087]

With two exceptions, Figs. 4 and 9,--exhibits Christian emblems of the
trinity or linga, and the unity or yoni, alone or combined; the whole
being copied from Pugin's _Glossary of Ecclesiastical Ornament_ (London,

Fig. 1 is copied from Pugin, plate xvii., and indicates a doable anion
of the trinity with the unity, here represented as a ring, _Vanneau_.

     * There is an able essay on this subject in No. 267 of the
     Edinburgh Review--which almost exhausts the subject--but is
     too long for quotation here.

Figs. 2, 8, are from Pagin, plate xiv. In figare 2, the two covered
balls at the base of each limb of the cross are extremely significant,
and if the artist had not mystified the free end, the most obtuse
worshipper must have recognised the symbol. We may add here that in the
two forms of the Maltese cross, the position of the lingam is reversed,
and the egg-shaped bodies, with their cover, are at the free end of each
limb, whilst the natural end of the organ is left unchanged. See figs.
85 and 86. This form of cross is Etruscan. Fig. 8 is essentially the
same as the preceding, and both may be compared with Fig. 4. The balls
in this cross are uncovered, and the free end of each limb of the cross
is but slightly modified.

Fig. 4 is copied in a conventional form from plate xxxv., fig. 4,
of _Two Essays on the Worship of Priapus_ (London, 1865). It is thus
described (page 147): "The object was found at St. Agati di Goti, near
Naples.......It is a _crux ansata_ formed by four phalli, with a circle
of female organs round the centre; and appears by the look to have been
intended for suspension. As this cross is of gold, it had no doubt been
made for some personage of rank, possibly an ecclesiastic." We see here
very distinctly the design of the egg- and sistrum- shaped bodies. When
we have such an unmistakable bi-sexual cross before our eyes, it is
impossible to ignore the signification of Figs. 2 and 8, and Plate xii.,
Figs. 4 and 7.

Figs. 5, 6 are from Pugin, plates xiv. and xv., and represent the
trinity with the unity, the triune god and the virgin united in one.

Fig. 7 represents the central lozenge and one limb of a cross, figured
plate xiv. of Pugin. In this instance the Maltese cross is united with
the symbol of the virgin, being essentially the same as Fig. 9, _infra_.
It is a modified form of the _crux ansata_.

Fig. 8 is a compound trinity, being the finial of each limb of an
ornamental cross. Pugin, plate xv.

Fig. 9 is a well-known Egyptian symbol, borne in the hand of almost
every divinity. It is a cross, with one limb made to represent the
female element in creation. The name that it technically bears is _crux
ansata_, or "the cross with a handle." A reference to Fig. 4 serves to
verify the idea which it involves.

Fig. 10 is from Pugin, plate xxxv. In this figure the cross is made by
the intersection of two ovals, each a _vesica piscis_, an emblem of the
yoni. Within each limb a symbol of the trinity is seen, each of which is
associated with the central ring.

Fig. 11 is from Pugin, plate xix., and represents the _arbor vitæ_, the
_branch_, or tree of life, as a triad, with which the ring is united.

It has been said by some critics that the figures above referred to
are mere architectural fancies, which never had pretensions to embody
a mystery; and that any designer would pitch upon such a style of
ornamentation although profoundly ignorant of the doctrine of the
trinity and unity. But this assumption is not borne out by fact;
the ornaments on Buddhist topes have nothing in common with those of
Christian churches; whilst in the ruined temple of the sun at Marttand,
India, the trefoil emblem of the trinity is common. Grecian temples
were profusely ornamented therewith, and so are innumerable Etruscan
sculptures, but they do not represent the trinity and unity. It has been
reserved for Christian art to crowd our churches with the emblems of Bel
and Astarte, Baalim and Ashtoreth, linga and yoni, and to elevate the
phallus to the position of the supreme deity, and assign to him a virgin
as a companion, who can cajole him by her blandishment, weary him
by wailing, or induce him to change his mind by her intercessions.
Christianity certainly requires to be purged of its heathenisms.


[Illustration: Plate XII. 091]

Contains both pagan and Christian emblems.

Fig. 1 is from Pugin, plate xviii., and is a very common finial
representing the trinity. Its shape is too significant to require an
explanation; yet with such emblems our Christian churches abound, that
the Trinity may never be absent from the minds of man or woman!

Fig. 2 is from Pugin, plate xxi. It is a combination of ideas concealing
the union patent in Fig. 4, Plate xi., _supra_.

Fig. 3 is from Moor's _Hindu Pantheon_. It is an ornament borne by Devi,
and symbolises the union of the triad with the unit.

Fig. 4 is from Pugin, plate xxxii. It is a double cross made up of the
male and female emblems. It is a conventionalised form of Fig. 4, Plate
xi., _supra_. Such eight-rayed figures, made like stars, seem to have
been very ancient, and to have been designed to indicate the junction of
male and female.

Fig. 5 is from Pugin, plate xvii., and represents the trinity and the

Fig. 6 is a Buddhist emblem from Birmah, _Journal of Royal Asiatic
Society_, vol. xviii., p. 392, plate i., fig. 62. It represents the
short sword, _le bracquemard_, a male symbol.

Fig. 7. is from Pagin, plate xvii. See Plate xi., Fig. 3, _supra_.

Figs. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 are Buddhist (see Fig. 6, supra), and symbolise
the triad.

Figs. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 are from Pugin, and simply represent the

Figs. 18 and 19 are common Grecian emblems. The first is associated
with Neptune and water, the second with Bacchus. With the one we see
dolphins, emblems of the womb, the name of the two being assonant in
Greek; with the other, the saying, _sine Baccho et Cerere friget Venus_,
must be coupled.


[Illustration: Plate XIII. 094]

Consists of varions emblems of the triad and the unit, drawn almost
exclusively from Grecian, Etruscan, Roman, and Indian gems, figures,
coins, or sculptures, Maffei's _Gemme Antiche Figurate_, Raponi's
_Recueil_, and Moor's _Hindu Pantheon_, being the chief authorities.


[Illustration: Plate XIV. 096]

Is a copy of a small Hindoo statuette in the Mayer Collection in the
Free Museum, Liverpool. It probably represents Parvati, the Hindoo
virgin, and her child. The right hand of the figure makes the symbol
of the yoni with the forefinger and thumb, the rest of the fingers
typifying the triad. In the palm and on the navel is a lozenge,
emblematic of woman. The child, perhaps Crishna, equivalent to the
Egyptian Horus and the Christian Jesus, bears in its hand one of
the many emblems of the linga, and stands upon a lotus. The monkey
introduced into the group plays the same part as the cat, cow, lioness,
and ape in the Egyptian mythology, being emblematic of that desire which
eventuates in the production of offspring.


[Illustration: Plate XV. 099]

Fig. 1, the cupola, is well known in modern Europe; it is equally so in
Hindostan, where it is sometimes accompanied by pillars of a peculiar
shape. In one such compound the design is that of a cupola, supported by
closely placed pillars, each of which has a "capital," resembling "the
glans" of physiologists; in the centre there is a door, wherein a nude
female stands, resembling in all respects Figure 61, except in dress and
the presence of the child. This was copied by the late Mr. Sellon, from
a Buddhist Dagopa in the Jumnar Cave, Bombay Presidency, a tracing of
his sketch having been given to me by William Simpson, Esq., London.

The same emblem may be found amongst the ancient Italians. Whilst I
was staying in Malta during the carnival time in 1872, I saw in all
directions men and women selling cakes shaped like the yoni shown in
Fig. 1. These sweetmeats had no special name, but they came in and went
out with the carnival.

Fig. 2 represents Venus standing on a tortoise, whose symbolic import
will be seen by referring to Fig. 74, _infra_. It is copied from Lajard,
_Sur le Culte de Venus_, plate iiia., fig. 5, and is stated by him to
be a drawing of an Etruscan candelabrum, existing in the Royal Museum
at Berlin. In his account of Greece, Pausanias mentions that he saw one
figure of Venus standing on a tortoise, and another upon a ram, but he
declines to give the reason of the conjunction.

Is a representation of Siva, taken from Moor's _Hindu Pantheon_, plate
xiii. Siva is supposed to be the oldest of the Indian deities, and to
have been worshipped by the aborigines of Hindostan, before the Aryans
invaded that country. It is thought that the Vedic religion opposed this
degrading conception at the first, but was powerless to eradicate it.
Though he is yet the most popular of all the gods, Siva is venerated,
I understand, chiefly by the vulgar. Though he personifies the male
principle, there is not anything indecent in pictorial representations
of him. In one of his hands is seen the trident, one of the emblems
of the masculine triad; whilst in another is to be seen an oval
sistram-shaped loop, a symbol of the feminine unit. On his forehead he
bears an eye, symbolic of the Omniscient, the sun, and the union of the

As it has been doubted by some readers, whether I am justified in
regarding the sistrum as a female emblem, I append here a quotation from
Socrates' _Ecclesiastical History_, Bohn's translation, p. 281, seq.
In Rome, in the early time of Theodosius, "when a woman was detected in
adultery.... they shut her up in a narrow brothel, and obliged her to
prostitute herself in a most disgusting manner; causing little bells
to be rang at the time.... As soon as the emperor was apprised of this
indecent usage, he would by no means tolerate it; but having ordered the
_Sistra_ (for so these places of penal prostitution were denominated)
to be pulled down," &c. One can as easily see why a female emblem should
mark a brothel in Rome as a male symbol did at Pompeii.


[Illustration: Plate XVI. 101]

[Illustration: 104]

This Figure represents Assyrian priests offering in the presence of what
is supposed to be Baal--or the representative of the sun god and of the
grove. The first is typified by the eye, with wings and a tail, which
make it symbolic of the male triad and the female unit. The eye, with
the central pupil, is in itself emblematic of the same. The grove
represents mystically _le verger de Cypris_. On the right stands the
king; on the left are two priests, the foremost clothed with a fish's
skin, the head forming the mitre, thus showing the origin of modern
Christian bishops' peculiar head-dress. Arranged about the figures are,
the sun; a bird, perhaps the sacred dove, whose note, _coa_ or _coo_,
has, in the Shemitic, some resemblance to an invitation to amorous
gratification; in Latin _coi_, _coite_; the oval, symbol of the yoni;
the basket, or bag, emblematic of the scrotum, and apparently the lotus.
The trinity and unity are carried by the second priest.

Figure 2 is copied from an ancient copper vase, covered with Egyptian
hieroglyphic characters, found at Cairo, and figured in a book entitled
_Explication des divers monument singuliers, qui ont rapport à la
religion des plus anciens peuples_, par le R. P. Dom.......á Paris,

[Illustration: 105]

The group of figures represents Isis and Horns in an unusual attitude.
They are enclosed in a framework of the flowers of the Egyptian bean,
or of the lotus. This framework may be compared to the Assyrian "grove,"
and another in which the Virgin Mary stands. The bell was of old a
symbol of virginity, for Eastern maidens wore them until marriage (see
Isa. iii. 16). The origin of this custom was the desire that every
maiden should have at her marriage, or sale, that which is spoken of in
the Pentateuch as "the token of virginity." It was supposed that this
membrane, technically called "the _hymen_" might be broken by too long a
stride in walking or running, or by clambering over a stile or wall.
To prevent such a catastrophe, a light chain or cord was worn, under or
over the dress, at the level of the knees or just above. Its length only
permitted a short step and a mincing gait. Slight bells were used as a
sort of ornament, and when the bearer was walking their tinkling was a
sort of proclamation that the lady who bore them was in the market as a
virgin. After "the flower" had been plucked, the bells were no longer of
use. They were analogous to the virgin snood worn on the head of Scotch
maidens. Isis bears the horns of a cow, because that animal is equally
noted for its propensity to seek the male and its care to preserve the
offspring. As the bull with a human head, so a human being with cow's
horns, was made to represent a deity. The solar orb between the horns,
and the serpent round the body, indicate the union with the male;
an incongruous conjunction with the emblem of the sacred Virgin,
nevertheless a very common one. In some of the coins pictured by E. P.
Knight, in _Worship of Priapus_, etc., a cow caressing her sucking
calf replaces Isis and Horns, just as a bull on other coins replaces
Dionysus. The group is described in full in _Ancient Faiths_, second
edition, Vol. i., pp. 53, 54.

[Illustration: 106]

Figures 3, 4, are taken from Ginsburg's _Kabbalah_, and illustrate that
in the arrangement of "potencies" two unite, like parents, to form
a third. Sometimes we see also how three such male attributes as
splendour, firmness, and solidity join with beauty to form the mystic
_arba_, the trinity and unity.

[Illustration: 107]

Figures 5, 6, are copies from figures found in Carthage and in Scotland,
from Forbes Leslie's Early _Races of Scotland_, vol. i., plate vi.,
p. 46 (London, 1866). This book is one to which the reader's attention
should be directed. The amount of valuable information which it contains
is very large, and it is classified in a philosophical, and, we may add,
attractive manner. The figures represent the _arbor vitæ_.

Figure 7 is from Bonomi, page 292, _Nineveh and its Palaces_ (London,
1865). It apparently represents the mystic yoni, door, or delta; and it
may be regarded as an earlier form of the framework in Plate iv. It will
be remarked, by those learned in symbols, that the outline of the hands
of the priests who are nearest to the figure is a suggestive one, being
analogous to the figure of a key and its shank, whilst those who stand
behind these officers present the pine cone and bag, symbolic of Ann,
Hea, and their residence.

[Illustration: 108]

It is to be noticed, and once for all let us assert our belief, that
every detail in a sculpture relating to religion has a signification;
that the first right hand figure carries a peculiarly shaped staff; and
that the winged symbol above the yoni consists of a male archer in a
winged circle, analagous to the symbolic bow, arrow, and target. The bow
was an emblem amongst the Romans, and _arcum tendere_ was equivalent to
_arrigere_. In the _Golden Ass_ of Apuleius we find the metaphor used in
his account of his dealings with amorous frolicsome Fotis, "Ubi primam
sagittam sævi cupidinis in ima procordia mea delapsam excepi, arcum,
meum et ipse vigore tetendi."

Again, we find in Petronius--

     Astra igitur mea mens arcum dum tendit in ilia.
     Ex imo ad summum viva sagitta volat.

Figures 8 to 14 are representations of the goddess mother, the virgin
and child, Ishtar or Astarte, Mylitta, Ceres, Rhea, Venus, Sacti, Mary,
Yoni, Juno, Mama Ocello.

Fig. 8 is a copy of the deified woman or celestial mother, from Idalium,
in Cyprus. Fig. 9 is from Egypt, and is remarkable for the cow's horns
(for whose signification see Vol. i., p. 54, Ancient Faiths, second
edition), which here replace the lunar crescent, in conjunction with the
sun, the two being symbolic of hermaphroditism, whilst above is a seat
or throne, emblematic of royalty.

[Illustration: 109]

The two figures are copied from Rawlinson's _Herodotus_, vol. ii., p.
447, in an essay by Sir Gardiner Wilkinson, wherein other illustrations
of the celestial virgin are given. Fig. 10 is a copy of plate 59, Moor's
Hindu Pantheon, wherein it is entitled, "Crishna nursed by Devaki, from
a highly finished picture." In the account of Crishna's birth and early
history, as given by Moor (Op. Cit., pp. 197, et seq.), there is
as strong a resemblance to the story of Christ as the picture here
described has to papal paintings of Mary and Jesus. Fig. 11 is an
enlarged representation of Devaki. Fig. 12 is copied from Rawlinson's
_Ancient Monarchies_, vol. iii., p. 899. Fig. 13 is a figure of the
mother and child found in ancient Etruria at Volaterra; it is depicted
in Fabretti's Italian Glossary, plate xxvi., figure 349.

[Illustration: 110]

It is described as a marble statue, now in the Guarnacci Museum. The
letters, which are Etruscan, and read from right to left, may be thus
rendered into the ordinary Latin characters from left to right, MI:
GANA: LARTHIAS ZANL: VELKINEI: ME - SE.; the translation I take to
be, "the votive offering of Larthias (a female) of Zanal, ( = Zancle
= Messana in Sicily), (wife) of Velcinius, in the sixth month." It
is uncertain whether we are to regard the statue as an effigy of the
celestial mother and child, or as the representation of some devout lady
who has been spared during her pregnancy, her parturition, or from some
disease affecting herself and child. Analogy would lead us to infer that
the Queen of Heaven is intended. Figure 14 is copied from Hislop's _Two
Babylons_; it represents Indranee, the wife of Indra or Indur, and is to
be found in Indur Subba, the south front of the Caves of Ellora, Asiatic
Researches, vol. vi., p. 893.

[Illustration: 111]

Indra is equivalent to Jupiter Tonans, and is represented as seated on
an elephant; "the waterspout is the trunk of this elephant, and the iris
is his bow, which it is not auspicious to point out," Moor's _Pantheon_,
p. 260. He is represented very much as if he were a satyr, Moor's
_Pantheon_, p. 264; but his wife is always spoken of as personified
chastity and propriety. Indranee is seated on a lioness, which replaces
the cow of Isis, the former resembling the latter in her feminine and
maternal instincts.

Figures 15, 16, are copies of Diana of the Ephesians; the first is from
Hislop, who quotes Kitto's _Illustrated Commentary_, vol. v., p. 250;
the second from Higgins' _Anacalypsis_, who quotes Montfauçon, plate 47.
I remember to have seen a figure similar to these in the Royal Museum at

[Illustration: 112]

The tower upon the head represents virginity (see _Ancient Faiths_,
second edition, Vol. i., p. 144); the position of the hand forms a cross
with the body: the numerous breasts indicate abundance; the black colour
of Figure 16 indicates the ordinary tint of the feminine _lanugo_, the
almost universal colour of the hair of the Orientals being black about
the yoni as well as on the head; or, as some mythologists imagine,
"Night," who is said to be one of the mothers of creation. (See _Ancient
Faiths_, second edition, Vol. n., p. 882.) The emblems upon the body
indicate the attributes or symbols of the male and female creators.

[Illustration: 113]

Figure 17 is a complicated sign of the yoni, delta, or door of life. It
is copied from Bonomi's _Palaces of Nineveh_, p. 809.

Figure 18 signifies the same thing; the priests adoring it present the
pine cone and basket, symbolic of Ann, Hea, and their residence. Compare
the object of the Assyrian priest's adoration with that adored by a
Christian divine, in a subsequent figure. (See _Ancient Faiths_, second
edition, Vol. I., p. 88, et seq., and Vol. n., p. 648.)

[Illustration: 114]

Figure 19 is copied from Lajard (Op. Cit.), plate xxii., fig. 5. It is
the impression of an ancient gem, and represents a man clothed with a
fish, the head being the mitre; priests thus clothed, often bearing in
their hand the mystic bag, are common in Mesopotamian sculptures; two
such are figured on Figs. 63, 64, infra. In almost every instance it
will be recognised that the fish's head is represented as of the same
form as the modern bishop's mitre.

[Illustration: 115]

Figure 20 represents two equilateral triangles, infolded so as to make
a six-rayed star, the idea embodied being the androgyne nature of the
deity, the pyramid with its apex upwards signifying the male, that with
the apex downwards the female. The line at the central junction is
not always seen, but the shape of the three parallel bars reappears in
Hindoo frontlet signs in conjunction with a delta or door, shaped
like the "grove" in Fig. 17; thus showing that the lines serve also to
indicate the masculine triad. The two triangles are also understood
as representing fire, which mounts upwards, and water, which flows
downwards. Fire again is an emblem of the sun, and water of the passive
or yielding element in nature. Fire also typifies Eros or Cupid. Hymen
is always represented carrying a torch. It is also symbolic of love;
e.g., Southey writes.

     "But love is indestructible,
     Its holy flame for ever burneth;
     From heaven it came,
     To heaven returneth."

And again, Scott writes--

     "It is not phantasy's hot fire
     Whose wishes, soon as granted, fly," &c.

Figures 21, 22, are other indications of the same fundamental idea. The
first represents Nebo, the Nahbi, or the navel, characterised by a ring
with a central mound.

[Illustration: 116]

The second represents the circular and upright stone so common in
Oriental villages. The two indicate the male and female; and a medical
friend resident in India has told me, that he has seen women mount upon
the lower stone and seat themselves reverently upon the upright one,
having first adjusted their dress so as to prevent it interfering with
their perfect contact with the miniature obelisc. During the sitting, a
short prayer seemed flitting over the worshippers' lips, but the whole
affair was soon over.

Whilst upon this subject, it is right to call attention to the fact that
animate as well as inorganic representatives of the Creator have been
used by women with the same definite purpose. The dominant idea is
that contact with the emblem, a mundane representative of the deity, of
itself gives a blessing. Just as many Hindoo females seek a benefaction
by placing their own yoni upon the consecrated linga, so a few
regard intercourse with certain high priests of the Maharajah sect as
incarnations of Vishnu, and pay for the privilege of being spouses of
the god. In Egypt, where the goat was a sacred animal, there were some
religious women who sought good luck by uniting themselves therewith.
We have heard of British professors of religion endeavouring to persuade
their penitents to procure purity by what others would call defilement
and disgrace. And the "cord of St. Francis" replaces the stone "linga."
Sometimes with this "cord" the rod is associated; and those who have
read the trial of Father Gerard, for his seduction of Miss Cadiére under
a saintly guise, will know that Christianity does not always go hand in
hand with propriety.

With the Hindoo custom compare that which was done by Liber on the
grave of Prosumnus (_Arnobius adverma Gentes_, translated by Bryce and
Campbell, T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh, pp. 252, 258), which is far too
gross to be described here; and as regards the sanctity of a stone whose
top had been anointed with oil, see first sentence of paragraph 89,
ibid, page 81. The whole book will well repay perusal.

Figures 28, 24, are discs, circles, aureoles, and wheels, to represent
the sun. Sometimes the emblem of this luminary is associated with rays,
as in Plate iii., Fig. 8, and in another Figure elsewhere. Occasionally,
as in some of the ancient temples in Egypt discovered in 1854, the sun's
rays are represented by lines terminating in hands. Sometimes one or
more of these contain objects as if they were gifts sent by the god;
amongst other objects, the _crux ansata_ is shown conspicuously. In
a remarkable plate in the Transactions of the _Royal Society of
Literature_ (second series, vol. i., p. 140), the sun is identified with
the serpent; its rays terminate in hands, some holding the handled cross
or _tau_, and before it a queen, apparently, worships. She is offering
what seems to be a lighted tobacco pipe, the bowl being of the same
shape as that commonly used in Turkey; from this a wavy pyramid of flame
rises. Behind her, two female slaves elevate the sistrum; whilst before
her, and apparently between herself and her husband, are two altars
occupied by round cakes and one crescent-shaped emblem.

[Illustration: 118]

The aureole was used in ancient days by Babylonian artists or sculptors,
when they wished to represent a being, apparently human, as a god. The
same plan has been adopted by the moderns, who have varied the symbol by
representing it now as a golden disc, now as a terrestrial orb, again as
a rayed sphere. A writer, when describing a god as a man, can say that
the object he sketches is divine; but a painter thinks too much of his
art to put on any of his designs, "this woman is a goddess," or "this
creature is a god"; he therefore adds an aureole round the head of his
subject, and thus converts a very ordinary man, woman, or child into a
deity to be reverenced; modern artists thus proving themselves to be
far more skilful in depicting the Almighty than the carpenters and
goldsmiths of the time of Isaiah (xl. 18, 19, xli. 6, 7, xliv. 9-19),
who used no such contrivance.

Figure 24 is another representation of the solar disc, in which it is
marked with a cross. This probably originated in the wheel of a chariot
having four spokes, and the sun being likened to a charioteer. The
chariots of the sun are referred to in 2 Kings xxiii. 11 as idolatrous
emblems. Of these the wheel was symbolic. The identification of this
emblem with the sun is very easy, for it has repeatedly been found in
Mesopotamian gems in conjunction with the moon. In a very remarkable one
figured in Rawlinson's _Ancient Monarchies_, vol. ii., p. 249, the
cross is contrived as five circles. It is remarkable that in many papal
pictures the wafer and the cup are depicted precisely as the sun and
moon in conjunction. See Pugin's Architectural Glossary, plate iv., fig.

[Illustration: 119]

Figures 25, 26, 27, are simply varieties of the solar wheel, intended to
represent the idea of the sun and moon, the mystic triad and unit, the
"arba," or four. In Figure 26, the mural ornament is introduced, that
being symbolic of feminine virginity. For explanation of Figure 27, see
Figures 85, 86.

Figure 28 is copied from Lajard, Op. Cit., plate xiv. F. That author
states that he has taken it from a drawing of an Egyptian stèle, made by
M. E. Prisse (_Monum. Egypt_., plate xxxvii.), and that the original is
in the British Museum. There is an imperfect copy of it in Rawlinson's
_Herodotus_, vol. ii.

[Illustration: 120]

The original is too indelicate to be represented fully. Isis, the
central figure, is wholly nude, with the exception of her head-dress,
and neck and breast ornaments. In one hand she holds two blades of corn
apparently, whilst in the other she has three lotus flowers, two being
egg-shaped, but the central one fully expanded; with these, which
evidently symbolise the mystic triad, is associated a circle emblematic
of the yoni, thus indicating the fourfold creator. Isis stands upon a
lioness; on one side of her stands a clothed male figure, holding in
one hand the _crux ansata_, and in the other an upright spear. On the
opposite side is a male figure wholly nude, like the goddess, save his
head-dress and collar, the ends of which are arranged so as to form a
cross. His hand points to a flagellum; behind him is a covert reference
to the triad, whilst in front Osiris offers undisguised homage to Isis.
The head-dress of the goddess appears to be a modified form of the
crescent moon inverted. It is not exclusively Egyptian, as it has
been found in conjunction with other emblems on an Assyrian obelisc of
Phallic form.

[Illustration: 121]

Figures 29, 80, 31, 32, represent the various triangles and their union,
which have been adopted in worship. Figure 29 is said to represent fire,
which amongst the ancient Persians was depicted as a cone, whilst the
figure inverted represents water.

[Illustration: 122]

Figure 83 is an ancient Hindoo emblem, called Sri Iantra. The circle
represents the world, in which the living exist; the triangle pointing
upwards shows the male creator; and the triangle with the apex downwards
the female; distinct, yet united. These have a world within themselves,
in which the male is uppermost. In the central circle the image to be
worshipped is placed. When used, the figure is placed on the ground,
with Brahma to the east, and Laksmi to the west. Then a relic of any
saint, or image of Buddha, like a modern papal crucifix, is added, and
the shrine for worship is complete. It has now been adopted in Christian
churches and Freemasons' lodges.

It will be noticed that the male emblem points to the rising sun, and
the female triangle points to the setting sun, when the earth seems to
receive the god into her couch.

[Illustration: 123]

Figure 84 is a very ancient Hindoo emblem, whose real signification I am
unable to divine. It is used in calculation; it forms the basis of some
game, and it is a sign of vast import in sacti worship.

A coin, bearing this figure upon it, and having a central cavity with
the Etruscan letters SUPEN placed one between each two of the angles,
was found in a fictile urn, at Volaterræ, and is depicted in Fabretti's
_Italian Glossary_, plate xxvi., fig. 858, bis a. As the coin is round,
the reader will see that these letters may be read as Supen, Upens,
Pensu, Ensup, or Nsupe. A search through Fabretti's _Lexicon_ affords
no clue to any meaning except for the third. There seems, indeed,
strong reason to believe that _pensu_ was the Etruscan form of the
Pali _panca_, the Sanscrit _pânch_, the Bengalli _pânch_, and the Greek
_penta_, i. e., five. Five, certainly, would be an appropriate word for
the pentangle. It is almost impossible to avoid speculating upon the
value of this fragment of archæological evidence in support of the idea
that the Greeks, Aryans, and Etruscans had something in common; but into
the question it would be unprofitable to enter here.

But, although declining to enter upon this wide field of inquiry, I
would notice that whilst searching Fabretti's _Glossary_ my eye fell
upon the figure of an equilateral triangle with the apex upwards,
depicted plate xliii., fig. 2440 ter. The triangle is of brass, and was
found in the territory of the Falisci. It bears a rude representation of
the outlines of the soles of two human feet, in this respect resembling
a Buddhist emblem; and there is on its edge an inscription which may be
rendered thus in Roman letters, KAYI: TERTINEI. POSTIKNU, which probably
signifies "Gavia, the wife of Tertius, offered it." The occurrence
of two Hindoo symbols in ancient Italy is very remarkable. It must,
however, be noticed that similar symbols have been found on ancient
sculptured stones in Ireland and Scotland. There may be no emblematic
ideas whatever conveyed by the design; but when the marks appear
on Gnostic gems, they are supposed to indicate death, i. e., the
impressions left by the feet of the individual as he springs from earth
to heaven.

[Illustration: 124]

Figures 35, 36, are Maltese crosses. In a large book of Etrurian
antiquities, which came casually under my notice about twenty years ago,
when I was endeavouring to master the language, theology, etc., of the
Etruscans, but whose name, and other particulars of which, I cannot
now remember; I found depicted two crosses, made up of four masculine
triads, each _asher_ being erect, and united to its fellows by the
gland, forming a central diamond, emblem of the yoni. In one instance,
the limbs of the cross were of equal length; in the other, one _asher_
was three times as long as the others. A somewhat similar cross, but one
united with the circle, was found some time ago near Naples. It is made
of gold, and has apparently been used as an amulet and suspended to
the neck. It is figured in plate 35 of _An Essay on the Worship of the
Generative Powers during the Middle Ages_ (London, privately printed,
1865). It may be thus described: the centre of the circle is occupied by
four oblate spheres arranged like a square; from the salient curves of
each of these springs a yoni (shaped as in Figure 59), with the point
outwards, thus forming a cross, each ray of which is an egg and fig. At
each junction of the ovoids a yoni is inserted with the apex inwards,
whilst from the broad end arise four ashers, which project beyond the
shield, each terminating in a few golden bead-like drops. The whole is
a graphic natural representation of the intimate union of the male and
female, sun and moon, cross and circle, Ouranos and Ge. The same idea is
embodied in Figure 27, p. 86, but in that the mystery is deeply veiled,
in that the long arms of the cross represent the sun, or male, indicated
by the triad; the short ones, the moon, or the female (see Plate xi.
Fig. 4).

The Maltese cross, a Phoenician emblem, was discovered cut on a rock
in the island from which it takes its name. Though cruciform, it had
nothing Christian about it; for, like the Etruscan ones referred to
above, it consisted of four lingas united together by the heads, the
"eggs" being at the outside. It was an easy thing for an unscrupulous
priesthood to represent this "invention" of the cross as a miracle,
and to make it presentable to the eyes of the faithful by leaving the
outlines of Anu and Hea incomplete. Sometimes this cross is figured
as four triangles meeting at the points, which has the same meaning,
Generally, however, the Church (as may be seen by a reference to Pugin's
_Glossary of Ecclesiastical Ornament_) adopts the use of crosses where
the inferior members of the trinity are more or less central, as in our
Plate xi., Figs. 2, 8, and as in the Figures 40, 41, 42, _infra_. When
once a person knows the true origin of the doctrine of the Trinity--one
which is far too improper to have been adopted by the writers of the
New Testament--it is impossible not to recognise in the signs which are
symbolic of it the thing which is signified.

It may readily be supposed that those who have knowledge of the
heathenish origin of many of the cherished doctrines of the so-called
Christian church, cannot remain enthusiastic members of her communion;
and it is equally easy for the enlightened philosopher to understand why
such persons are detested and abused by the ignorant, and charged with
being freethinkers, sceptics, or atheists. Sciolism is ever intolerant,
and theological hatred is generally to be measured by the mental
incapacity of those who indulge in the luxury. But no amount of abuse
can reduce the intrinsic value of facts. Nor will the most fiery
persecution demonstrate that the religion of Christ, as it appears
in our churches and cathedrals, especially if they are papal, is not
tainted by a mass of paganism of disgusting origin.

[Illustration: 126]

Figure 87 is copied from the _Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society_,
vol. xviii., p 898, plate 4. It is a Buddhist emblem, and represents the
same idea under different aspects. Each limb of the cross represents
the _fascinum_ at right angles with the body, and presented towards a
barleycorn, one of the symbols of the yoni. Each limb is marked by the
same female emblem, and terminates with the triad triangle; beyond this
again is seen the conjunction of the sun and moon. The whole therefore
represents the mystic curba, the creative four, by some called Thor's
hammer. Copies of a cross similar to this have been recently found by
Dr. Schliemann in a very ancient city, buried under the remains of two
others, which he identifies as the Troy of Homer's Iliad.

[Illustration: 127]

Figures 38 to 42 are developments of the triad triangle, or trinity. If
the horizontal limb on the free end of the arm were to be prolonged
to twice its length, the most obtuse would recognise _Asher_, and the
inferior or lower members of the "triune."

Figure 43 is by Egyptologists called the 'symbol of life.'

It is also called the 'handled cross,' or _crux ansata_. It represents
the male triad and the female unit, under a decent form. There are
few symbols more commonly met with in Egyptian art than this. In
some remarkable sculptures, where the sun's rays are represented as
terminating in hands, the offerings which these bring are many a _crux
ansata_, emblematic of the truth that a fruitful union is a gift from
the deity.

Figures 44, 45, are ancient designs, in which the male and female
elements are more disguised than is usual. In Fig. 44 the woman is
indicated by the dolphin.

[Illustration: 128]

Figures 48, 49, represent the trefoil which was used by the ancient
Hindoos as emblematic of the celestial triad, and adopted by
modern Christians. It will be seen that from one stem arise three
curiously-shaped segments, each of which is supposed to resemble the
male _scrotum, "purse," "bag," or "basket_.".

Figure 50 is copied from Lajard, Culte de Venus, plate i., fig. 2.
He states that it is from a gem cylinder in the British Museum. It
represents a male and female figure dancing before the mystic palm-tree,
into whose signification we need not enter beyond saying that it is a
symbol of Asher. Opposite to a particular part of the figures is to be
seen a diamond, or oval, and a _fleur de lys_, or symbolic triad. This
gem is peculiarly valuable, as it illustrates in a graphic manner the
meaning of the emblems in question and how the "lillies of France" had a
pagan origin.

[Illustration: 120]

Figures 51 to 60 are varions representations of the union of the four,
the arba, the androgyne, or the linga-yoni.

Figure 61. In modern Christian art this symbol is called _vesica
piscis_, and is sometimes surrounded with rays. It commonly serves as a
sort of framework in which female saints are placed, who are generally
the representatives of the older Juno, Ceres, Diana, Venus, or other
impersonations of the feminine element in creation. We should not feel
obliged to demonstrate the truth of this assertion if decency permitted
us to reproduce here designs which naughty youths so frequently chalk
upon walls to the disgust of the proper part of the community. We must,
therefore, have resort to a religious book, and in a subsequent figure
demonstrate the meaning of the symbol unequivocally.

[Illustration: 130]

Figure 62 represents one of the forms assumed by the sistrum of Isis.
Sometimes the instrument is oval, and occasionally it terminates below
in a horizontal line, instead of in an acute angle. The inquirer can
very readily recognise in the emblem the symbol of the female creator.
If there should be any doubt in his mind, he will be satisfied after a
reference to Maffei's _Gemme Antiche Figurate_ (Rome, 1707), vol. ii.,
plate 61, wherein Diana of the Ephesians is depicted as having a body
of the exact shape of the sistrum figured in Payne Knight's work on the
remains of the worship of Priapus, etc. The bars across the sistrum show
that it denotes a pure virgin (see _Ancient Faiths_, second edition,
Vol. n., pp. 743-746). On its handle is seen the figure of a cat--a
sacred animal amongst the Egyptians, for the same reason that Isis was
figured sometimes as a cow--viz., for its salacity and its love for its

[Illustration: 131]

Figures 63 to 66 are all drawn from Assyrian sources.

[Illustration: 132]

The central figure, which is probably the biblical "grove," represents
the delta, or female "door." To it the attendant genii offer the pine
cone and basket. The signification of these is explained subsequently. I
was unable at first to quote any authority to demonstrate that the pine
cone was a distinct masculine symbol, but now the reader may be referred
to Maffei, _Gemme Antiche Figurate_ (Rome, 1708), where, in vol. iii.,
he will see a Venus Tirsigera.

The goddess in plate 8, is nude, and carries in her hand the tripliform
arrow, emblem of the male triad, whilst in the other she bears a
thyrsus, terminating in a pine or fir cone. Now this cone and stem are
carried in the Bacchic festivities, and can be readily recognised as
_virga cum ovo_. Sometimes the thyrsus is replaced by ivy leaves, which,
like the fig, are symbolic of the triple creator. Occasionally the
thyrsus was a lance or pike, round which vine leaves and berries were
clustered; Bacchus _cum vino_ being the companion of Venus _cum cerere_.
But a stronger confirmation of my views may be found in a remarkable
group (see Fig. 124 infra). This is entitled _Sacrifizio di Priapo_, and
represents a female offering to Priapus. The figure of the god stands
upon a pillar of three stones, and it bears a thyrsus from which depend
two ribbons. The devotee is accompanied by a boy, who carries a pine-
or fir- cone in his hand, and a basket on his head, in which may be
recognised a male effigy. In Figure 64 the position of the advanced hand
of each of the priests nearest to the grove is very suggestive to the
physiologist. It resembles one limb of the Buddhist cross, Fig. 37,
_supra_. The finger or thumb when thus pointed are figurative of Asher,
in a horizontal position, with Anu or Hea hanging from one end. Figure
65 is explained similarly. It is to be noticed that a door is adopted
amongst modern Hindoos as an emblem of the sacti (see Figs. 152, 153,

[Illustration: 133]

My friend Mr. Newton, who has taken great interest in the subject of
symbolism, regards these "groves" as not being simply emblems of the
yoni, but of the union of that part with the lingam, or mystic palm
tree. As his ideas are extremely ingenious, and his theory perfect, I
have requested him to introduce them at the end of this work.

Figures 67, 68, 69, are fancy sketches intended to represent the "sacred
shields" spoken of in Jewish and other history. The last is drawn from
memory, and represents a Templar's shield. According to the method in
which the shield is viewed, it appears like the _os tincæ_ or the navel.
Figures 70, 71, represent the shape of the sistrum of Isis, the fruit of
the fig, and the yoni. When a garment of this shape is made and worn, it
becomes the "pallium" donned alike by the male and female individuals
consecrated to Roman worship.

King, in his _Ancient Gnostics_, remarks: "The circle of the sun is the
navel, which marks the natural position of the womb--the navel being
considered in the microcosm as corresponding to the sun in the universe,
an idea more fully exemplified in the famous hallucination of the Greek
anchorites touching the mystical 'Light of Tabor,' which was revealed to
the dèvotee after a fast of many days, all the time staring fixedly upon
the region of the navel, whence at length this light streamed as from a
focus." Pages 158, 154.

[Illustration: 134]

Figures 72, 73, represent an ancient Christian bishop, and a modern
nun wearing the emblem of the female sex. In the former, said (in _Old
England Pictorially Illustrated_, by Knight) to be a drawing of St.
Augustine, the amount of symbolism is great. The "nimbus" and the
tonsure are solar emblems; the pallium, the feminine sign, is studded
with phallic crosses; its lower end is the ancient T the mark of the
masculine triad; the right hand has the forefinger extended, like the
Assyrian priests whilst doing homage to the grove, and within it is the
fruit, _tappuach_, which is said to have tempted Eve. When a male dons
the pallium in worship, he becomes the representative of the trinity
in the unity, the _arba_, or mystic four. See _Ancient Faiths_, second
edition, Vol. n., pp. 915-918.

I take this opportunity to quote here a pregnant page of King's
_Gnostics and their Remains_, (Bell & Daldy, London, 1864). To
this period belongs a beautiful sard in my collection representing
Serapis,... whilst before him _stands_ Isis, holding in one hand the
sistrum, in the other a wheatsheaf, with the legend... 'Immaculate is
our lady Isis,' the very terms applied afterwards to that personage
who succeeded to her form (the 'Black Virgins,' so highly reverenced in
certain French Cathedrals during the middle ages, proved, when
examined critically, basalt figures of Isis), her symbols, rites, and
ceremonies.... Her devotees carried into the new priesthood the former
badges of their profession, the obligation to celibacy, the tonsure, and
the surplice, omitting, unfortunately, the frequent ablutions prescribed
by the ancient creed. The sacred image still moves in procession as when
Juvenal laughed at it, vi. 530.

[Illustration: 135]

Escorted by the tonsured surpliced train. Her proper title, Domina, the
exact translation of Sanscrit Isi, survives with slight change in the
modern Madonna, Mater Domina.

By a singular permutation the flower borne by each, the lotus--ancient
emblem of the sun and fecundity--now re-named the lily, is interpreted
as significant of the opposing quality. The tinkling sistrum... is
replaced by... the bell, taken from Buddhist usages.... The erect oval
symbol of the Female Principle of Nature became the Vesica Piscis, and
the Crux Ansata, testifying the union of the male and female in the most
obvious manner, is transformed into the orb surmounted by the cross, as
an ensign of royalty. Pp. 71, 72.

[Illustration: 136]

Figure 74 is a well known Christian emblem, called "a foul anchor." The
anchor, as a symbol, is of great antiquity. It may be seen on an old
Etruscan coin in the British Museum, depicted in _Veterum Popvlorum et
Regum Nummi_, etc. (London, 1814), plate ii., fig. 1. On the reverse
there is a chariot wheel. The foul anchor represents the crescent moon,
the yoni, ark, navis, or boat; in this is placed the mast, round which
the serpent, the emblem of life in the "verge," entwines itself. The
cross beam completes the mystic four, symbolic alike of the sun and of
androgeneity. The whole is a covert emblem of that union which results
in fecundity. It is said by Christians to be the anchor of the soul,
sure and steadfast. This it certainly cannot be, for a foul anchor will
not hold the ground.

Figures 75 to 79 are Asiatic and Egyptian emblems in use amongst
ourselves, and receive their explanation similarly to preceding ones.

Figure 80 is copied from Godfrey Higgins' _Anacalypsis_, vol. ii., fig.
27. It is drawn from Montfauçon, vol. ii., pi. cxxxii., fig. 6. In his
text, Higgins refers to two similar groups, one which exists in the
Egyptian temple of Ipsambal in Nubia, and is described by Wilson, _On
Buddhists and Jeynes_, p. 127, another, found in a cave temple in the
south of India, described by Col. Tod, in his _History of Raj-pootanah_.
The group is not explained by Montfauçon. It is apparently Greek, and
combines the story of Hercules with the seductiveness of Circe. The
tree and serpent are common emblems, and have even been found in Indian
temples in central America, grouped as in the woodcut.

[Illustration: 137]

[Illustration: 138]

Figure 81 is copied from Lajard, _Culte de Venus_, plate xix., fig.
11, The origin of this, which is a silver statuette in that author's
possession, is unknown. The female represents Venus bearing in one hand
an apple; her arm rests upon what seems to be a representative of the
mystic triad (the two additions to the upright stem not being seen in
a front view) round which a dolphin for 'womb' is entwined, from whose
mouth comes the stream of life. The apple plays a strange part in Greek
and Hebrew mythology. The story of "the apple of discord," awarded by
Paris to Venus, seems to indicate that where beauty contends against
majesty and wisdom for the love of youth, it is sure to win the day. We
learn from Arnobius that a certain Nana conceived a son by an apple (Op,
Cit., p. 286), although in another place the prolific fruit is said to
have been a pomegranate. Mythologically, that writer sees no difficulty
in the story, for those who affirm that rocks and hard stones have
brought forth. In the Song of Solomon, apples and the tree that bears
them are often referred to; and we have in Ch. ii. 5 the curious
expression, "Comfort me with apples, for I am sick of love." We are
familiar with the account of Eve being tempted by the same fruit.
Critics imagine that as the apple in Palestine is not good eating, the
quince is meant; if so, we know that a leaf of that tree is to be seen
in every amorous picture found in Pompeii, the plant having been
supposed to increase virile power. Others imagine that the citron is
intended, whose shape makes it an emblem of the testis. However this may
be decided, it is tolerably clear, from all the tales and pictures in
which a fruit like the apple figures, that the emblem symbolised a
desire for an intimate union between the sexes. The reader will
doubtless remember how, in Genesis xxx, Leah is represented as
purchasing her husband's company for a night by means of mandrakes, the
result being the birth of Issachar; and in the well-known story of the
Creation we find that the apple gives birth to desire, as shown in the
recognition for the first time of the respective nudity of the couple,
which was followed immediately, or as soon as it was possible
afterwards, by sexual intercourse and the conception of Cain.

[Illustration: 139]

Figure 82 is from Lajard (Op. Cit.), plate xivb, fig. 3.

The gem is of unknown origin, but is apparently Babylonish; it
represents the male and female in conjunction: each appears to be
holding the symbol of the triad in much respect, whilst the curious
cross suggests a new reading to an ancient symbol.

I have of late heard it asserted, by a man of considerable learning,
though of a very narrow mind in everything which bears upon religious
subjects, that there is no proof that the sun was commonly regarded as a
male, or the moon as a female; and he based his strange assertion solely
upon the ground that in German and some other languages the sun was
represented by a feminine, and the moon by a masculine noun. The
argument is of no value, for [--Greek--] and other Greek and Latin names
of the yoni, are masculine nouns, and Virga and Mentula, the Roman words
for the Linga, are feminine. In Hindostan, the sun is always represented
as a God; the moon is occasionally a male, and sometimes a female deity.
In ancient Gaulish and Scandinavian figures, the sun was always a male,
and the moon a female. Their identification will be seen in Figure
118--as their conjunction is in the one before us--in the position of
the individuals, and in the _fleur-de-lys_ and oval symbol.

[Illustration: 140]

Figure 88 may be found in Fabretti's _Corpus Inscriptionum Italicarum_
(Turin, 1867), plate xxv., fig. 808 f. The coins which bear the figures
are of brass, and were found at Volaterræ. In one the double head is
associated with a dolphin and crescent moon on the reverse, and the
letters Velathri, in Etruscan. A similar inscription exists on the one
containing the club. The club, formed as in Figure 88, occurs frequently
on Etruscan coins. For example, two clubs are joined with four balls on
a Tudertine coin, having on the reverse a hand apparently gauntleted for
fighting, and four balls arranged in a square. On other coins are to
be seen a bee, a trident, a spear head, and other tripliform figures,
associated with three balls in a triangle; sometimes two, and sometimes
one. The double head with two balls is seen on a Telamonian coin, having
on the reverse what appears to be a leg with the foot turned upwards. In
a coin of Populonia the club is associated with a spear and two balls,
whilst on the reverse is a single head. I must notice, too, that on
other coins a hammer and pincers, or tongs, appear, as if the idea was
to show that a maker, fabricator, or heavy hitter was intended to be
symbolised. What that was is further indicated by other coins, on which
a head appears thrusting out the tongue. At Cortona two statuettes of
silver have been found, representing a double-faced individual. A lion's
head for a cap, a collar, and buskins are the sole articles of dress
worn. One face appears to be feminine, and the other masculine, but
neither is bearded. The pectorals and the general form indicate the
male, but the usual marks of sex are absent. On these have been found
Etruscan inscriptions (1) v. cvinti arntias CULPIANSI ALP AN TURCE; (2)
V. CVINTE ARNTIAS SELANSE TEZ alpan TUBCE. Which may be rendered (1)
"V. Quintus of Aruntia, to Culpian pleasing, a gift"; (2) "V. Quintus
of Aruntia to Vulcan pleasing gave a gift," evidently showing that they
were ex voto offerings.

[Illustration: 141]

Col. Forbes Leslie's Early Races of Scotland. In plate 49 it is
associated with a serpent, apparently the cobra. The design is spoken
of as "the spectacle ornament," and it is very commonly associated with
another figure closely resembling the letter Z. It is very natural for
the inquirer to associate the twin circles with the sun and earth, or
the sun common amongst the sculptured stones in Scotland. Four varieties
may be seen in plate 48 of sun and moon. On one Scottish monument the
circles represent wheels, and they probably indicate the solar chariot.
As yet I have only been able to meet with the Z and "spectacle ornament"
once out of Scotland; it is figured on apparently a Gnostic gem (_The
Gnostics and their Remains_, by C. W. King, London, 1864, plate ii.,
fig. 5). In that we see in a serpent cartouche two Z figures, each
having the down stroke crossed by a horizontal line, both ends
terminating in a circle; besides them is a six-rayed star, each ray
terminating in a circle, precisely resembling the star in Plate in.,
Fig. 8, supra. I can offer no satisfactory explanation of the emblem.

[Illustration: 142]

Figures 85, 86, represent a Yorkshire and an Indian stone circle. The
first is copied from _Descriptions of Cairns, Cromlechs, Kistvaens, and
other Celtic, Druidical, or Scythian Monuments in the Dekkan_, by Col.
Meadows Taylor, _Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy_, vol. xxiv.
The mound exists at Twizell, Yorkshire, and the centre of the circle
indicates an ancient tomb, very similar to those found by Taylor in the
Dekkan; this contained only one single urn, but many of the Indian
ones contained, besides the skeleton of the great man buried therein,
skeletons of other individuals who had been slaughtered over his tomb,
and buried above the kistvaen containing his bones; in one instance two
bodies and three heads were found in the principal grave, and twenty
other skeletons above and beside it. A perusal of this very interesting
paper will well repay the study bestowed upon it. Figure 86 is copied
from Forbes Leslie's book mentioned above, plate 59. It represents a
modern stone circle in the Dekkan, of very recent construction. The
dots upon the stones represent dabs of red paint, which again represent
blood. The circles are similar to some which have been found in
Palestine, and give evidence of the presence of the same religious ideas
existing in ancient England and Hindostan, as well as in modern India.
The name of the god worshipped in these recent shrines is Vetal, or
Betal. It is worth mentioning, in passing, that there is a celebrated
monolith in Scotland called the Newton Stone, on which are inscribed,
evidently with a graving tool, an inscription in the Ogham, and another
in some ancient Aryan character (see Moore's Ancient Pillar Stones of

[Illustration: 143]

Figure 87 indicates the solar wheel, emblem of the chariot of Apollo.
This sign is a very common one upon ancient coins; sometimes the rays or
spokes are four, at others they are more numerous. Occasionally the tire
of the wheel is absent, and amongst the Etruscans the nave is omitted.
The solar cross is very common in Ireland, and amongst the Romanists
generally as a head dress for male saints.

[Illustration: 144]

Figure 88 is copied from Hyslop, who gives it on the authority of Col.
Hamilton Smith, who copied it from the original collection made by
the artists of the French Institute of Cairo. It is said to represent
Osiris, but this is doubtful. There is much that is intensely mystical
about the figure. The whip, or flagellum, placed over the tail, and the
head passing through the yoni, the circular spots with their central
dot, the horns with solar disc, and two curiously shaped feathers (?),
the calf reclining upon a plinth, wherein a division into three is
conspicuous, all have a meaning in reference to the mystic four.

I have long had a doubt respecting the symbolic meaning of the scourge.
Some inquirers have asserted that it is simply an emblem of power
or superiority, inasmuch as he who can castigate must be in a higher
position than the one who is punished. But of this view I can find no
proof. On the other hand, any one who is familiar with the effect
upon the male produced by flagellation, and who notices that the
representations of Osiris and the scourge show evidence that the deity
is in the same condition as one who has been subjected to the rod, will
be disposed to believe that the flagellum is an indication or symbol
of the god who gives to man the power to reproduce his like, or who can
restore the faculty after it has faded. It is not for a moment to be
supposed that a deity who was to be worshipped would be depicted as
a task-master, whose hands are more familiar with punishment than

[Illustration: 145]

Figure 89 is taken from Lajard's _Culte de Venus_, plate i., fig. 14,
and is an enlarged impression of a gem. A similar figure is to be found
in Payne Knight's work _On the Worship of Priapus_. In both instances
the female is fringed with male emblems. In the one before us a fish,
apparently a dolphin, is borne in one hand. In the other the woman is
bearded. These are representations of Ashtaroth--the androgyne deity in
which the female predominates.

Fig. 90 represents an ancient Italian form of the Indian Ling Yoni. It
is copied from a part of the Frontispiece of Faber's _Dissertation on
the Cabiri_, where it is stated that the plate is a copy of a picture of
a nymphoeum found when excavating a foundation for the Barbarini
Palace at Rome. It deserves notice, because the round mound of masonry
surmounted by the short pillars is precisely similar to similar
erections found in Hindostan on the East and America on the West, as
well as in varions parts of Europe. The oval in the pediment and the
solitary pillar have the same meaning as the Caaba and hole--the upright
stone and pit revered at Mecca long before Mahomet's time--the tree
serves to identify the pillar, and _vice versa_. Apertures were common
in ancient sepulchral monuments, alike in Hindostan and England; one
perforated stone is preserved as a relic in the precincts of an old
church in modern Rome. The aperture is blackish with the grease of many
hands, which have been put therein whilst their owners took a sacred
oath. We have already remarked how ancient Abraham and a modern Arab
have sworn by the Linga; it is therefore by no means remarkable that
some of a different form of faith should swear by the Yoni.

[Illustration: 146]

Figure 91 is stated by Higgins, Anacalypm, p. 217, to be a mark on the
breast of an Egyptian mummy in the Museum of University College,
London. It is essentially the same symbol as the _crux ansata_, and is
emblematic of the male triad and the female unit.

Figure 92 is simply introduced to show that the papal tiara has not
about it anything particularly Christian, a similar head-dress having
been worn by gods or angels in ancient Assyria, where it appeared
crowned by an emblem of "the trinity." We may mention, in passing, that
as the Romanists adopted the mitre and the tiara from "the cursed brood
of Ham," so they adopted the episcopalian crook from the augurs of
Etruria, and the artistic form with which they clothe their angels from
the painters and um-makers of Magna Gracia and Central Italy.

[Illustration: 147]

Figure 98 is the Mithraic lion. It may be seen in Hyde's _Religion of
the Ancient Persians_, second edition, plate i. It may also be seen in
vol. ii., plates 10 and 11, of Maffei's _Gemme Antiche Figurate_ (Rome,
1707). In plate 10 the Mithraic lion has seven stars above it, around
which are placed respectively, words written in Greek, Etruscan and
LNKELLP., apparently showing that the emblem was adopted by the
Gnostics. It would be unprofitable to dwell upon the meaning of these
letters. After puzzling over them, I fancy that "Bad spirits, pity us,"
"Just one, I call on thee," may be made out by considering the words to
be very bad Greek, and the letters to be much transposed.

[Illustration: 148]

Figure 94 is copied by Higgins, _Anacalypsis_, on the authority of
Dubois, who states, vol. iii., p. 88, that it was found on a stone in
a church in France, where it had been kept religiously for six hundred
years. Dubois regards it as wholly astrological, and as having no
reference to the story told in Genesis. It is unprofitable to speculate
on the draped figures as representatives of Adam and Eve. We have
introduced it to show how such tales are intermingled with Sabeanism.

[Illustration: 149]

Figure 95 is a copy of a gem figured by Layard (_Nineveh and Babylon_,
p. 156), and represents Harpocrates seated on a lotus, adoring the
mundane representative of the mother of creation. I have not yet met
with any ancient gem or sculpture which seems to identify the yoni so
completely with various goddesses.

Compare this with Figure 138, _infra_, wherein the Figure 95. emblem is
even more strikingly identified with woman, and with the virgin Mary.
Those who are familiar with the rude designs too often chalked on
hoardings, will see that learned ancients and boorish moderns represent
certain ideas in precisely similar fashion, and will understand the
mystic meaning of O ---- I have elsewhere called attention to the idea
that a sight of the yoni is a source of health, and a charm against evil
spirits; however grotesque the idea may be, it has existed in all ages,
and in civilised and savage nations alike. A rude image of a woman who
shamelessly exhibits herself has been found over the doors of churches
in Ireland, and at Servatos, in Spain, where she is standing on one side
of the doorway, and an equally conspicuous man on the other. The same
has been found in Mexico, Peru, and in North America. Nor must we forget
how Baubo cured the intense grief of Ceres by exposing herself in a
strange fashion to the distressed goddess. Arnobius, _Op. Cit_., pp.
249, 250.

As I have already noticed modern notions on the influence produced
by the exhibition of the yoni on those who are suffering, the legend
referred to may be shortly described. The goddess, in the story, was
miserable in consequence of her daughter, Proserpine, having been stolen
away by Pluto. In her agony, snatching two Etna-lighted torches, she
wanders round the earth in search of the lost one, and in due course
visits Eleusis. Baubo receives her hospitably; but nothing that the
hostess does induces the guest to depose her grief for a moment. In
despair the mortal bethinks her of a scheme, shaves off what is called
in Isaiah "the hair of the feet" and then exposes herself to the
goddess. Ceres fixes her eyes upon the denuded spot, is pleased with the
strange form of consolation, consents to take food and is restored to

[Illustration: 150]

Figure 96 is copied from plate 22, fig. 8, of Lajard's _Culte de Venus_.
He states that it is an impression of a cornelian cylinder, in the
collection of the late Sir William Ouseley, and is supposed to represent
Oannes, or Bel and two fish gods, the authors of fecundity. It is
thought that Dagon of the Philistines resembled the two figures
supporting the central one.

Figure 97 is a side view of plate 1. The idol represents a female.
Dagon, the fish god, male above, piscine below, was one of the many
symbols of an androgyne creator. In the first of the Avatars of Vishnu,
he is represented as emerging from the mouth of a fish, and being a fish
himself; the legend being that he was to be the saviour of the world in
a deluge which was to follow. See Moor's _Hindu Pantheon_, and Coleman's
_Mythology of the Hindus_.

[Illustration: 151]

Figure 98 is a fancy sketch of the _fleur-de-lys_, the lily of A France.
It symbolises the male triad, whilst the ring around it represents
the female. The identification of this emblem of the trinity with the
tripliform Mahadeva, and of the ring with his sacti, may be seen in the
next figure.

Figure 99, which we have already given on page 46, is one of great value
to the inquirer into the signification of certain symbols. It has been
reintroduced here to show the identification of the eye, fish, or oval
shape, with the yoni, and of the _fleur-de-lys_ with the lingam, which
is recognised by the respective positions of the emblems in front of
particular parts of the mystic animals, who both, on their part, adore
the symbolic palm tree, with its pistil and stamens. The rayed branches
of the upper part of the tree, and the nearness to it of the crescent
moon, seem to indicate that the palm was a solar as well as a sexual

[Illustration: 152]

The great similarity of the palm tree to the ancient round towers
in Ireland and elsewhere will naturally strike the observer. He will
perhaps remember also that on certain occasions dancing, feasting, and
debauchery were practised about a round tower in Wicklow, such as were
practised round the English may-pole, the modern substitute of the
mystic palm tree. We have now humanised our practice, but we have not
purified our land of all its veiled symbols.

In some parts, where probably the palm tree does not flourish, the pine
takes its place as an emblem. It was sacred to the mother of the gods,
whose names, Rhoea, Ceres, Cybele, are paraphrastic of the yoni. We
learn from Araobius, _Op. Cit._, p. 239, that on fixed days that tree
was introduced into the sanctuary of that august personage, being
decorated by fleeces and violets. It does not require any recondite
knowledge to understand the signification of the entrance of the pine
into the temple of the divine mother, nor what the tree when buried in
the midst of a fleece depicts. Those who have heard of the origin of
the Spanish Royal Order of the Golden Fleece know that the word is an
enphemism for the _lanugo_ of the Romans. Parsley round a carrot root
is a modern symbol, and the violet is as good an emblem of the lingam as
the modern pistol.

It has long been known that the ancient custom of erecting a may-pole,
surrounding it with wreaths of flowers, and then dancing round it in
wild orgy, was a relic of the ancient custom of reverencing the symbol
of creation, invigorated by the returning spring time, without whose
powers the flocks and herds would fail to increase. It will not fail to
attract the notice of my readers, that à pine cone is constantly being
offered to the sacred "grove" by the priests of Assyria.

[Illustration: 153]

Figures 100, 101, represent the Buddhist cross and one of its arms.
The first shows the union of four phalli. The single one being a
conventional form of a well-known organ. This form of cross does not
essentially differ from the Maltese cross. In the latter, Asher stands
perpendicularly to Anu and Hea; in the former it is at right angles to
them. "The pistol" is a well-known name amongst our soldiery, and
four such joined together by the muzzle would form the Buddhist cross.
Compare Figure 37, _ante_.

Figures 102, 108, 104, indicate the union of the four creators, the
trinity and the unity. Not having at hand any copy of an ancient key,
I have used a modern one; but this makes no essential difference in the

Figures 105, 106, are copied from Lajard, _Sur le Culte de Venus_, plate
ii. They represent ornaments held in the hands of a great female figure,
sculptured in bas relief on a rock at Yazili Kaia, near to Boghaz Keni,
in Anatolia, and described by M. C. Texier in 1834. The goddess is
crowned with a tower, to indicate virginity; in her right hand she holds
a staff, shown in Figure 106; in the other, that given in Figure 105,
she stands upon a lioness, and is attended by an antelope. Figure 105 is
a complicated emblem of the four.

[Illustration: 154]

Figures 107, 108, 109, are copied from Moor's _Hindu Pantheon_, plate
lxxxiii. They represent the lingam and thenyoni, which amongst the
Indians are regarded as holy emblems, much in the same way as a crucifix
is esteemed by certain modern Christians.

[Illustration: 155]

In worship, _ghee_, or oil, or water, is poured over the pillar, and
allowed to ran off by the spout. Sometimes the pillar is adorned by a
necklace, and is associated with the serpent emblem. In Lucian's account
of Alexander, the false prophet, which we have condensed in _Ancient
Faiths_, second edition, there is a reference to one of his dupes, who
was a distinguished Roman officer, but so very superstitious, or, as he
would say of himself, so deeply imbued with religion, that at the sight
of a stone he would fall prostrate and adore it for a considerable time,
offering prayers and vows thereto. This may by some be thought quite
as reasonable as the practice once enforced in Christian Rome, which
obliged all persons in the street to kneel in reverence when an ugly
black doll, called "the bambino," or a bit of bread, over which some
cabalistic words had been muttered, was being carried in procession past
them. Arnobins, _Op, Cit_., p. 81, says, "I worshipped images produced
from the furnace, gods made on anvils and by hammers, the bones of
elephants, paintings, wreaths on aged trees; whenever I espied an
anointed stone, and one bedaubed with olive oil, as if some person
resided in it, I worshipped it, I addressed myself to it, and begged
blessings from a senseless stock." Compare Gen. xxviii. 18, wherein we
find that Jacob set up a stone and anointed it with oil, and called the
place Bethel, and Is. xxvii. 19, xl. 20, xliv. 10-20.

I copy the following remarks from a paper by Mr. Sellon, in _Memoirs of
the London Anthropological Society_, for 1868-4. Speaking of Hindostan,
he remarks, "As every village has its temple so every temple has its
Lingam, and these parochial Lingams are usually from two to three feet
in height, and rather broad at the base. Here the village girls, who are
anxious for lovers or husbands, repair early in the morning. They make
a lustration by sprinkling the god with water brought from the Ganges;
they deck the Linga with garlands of the sweet-smelling bilwa flower;
they perform the _mudra_, or gesticulation with the fingers, and,
reciting the prescribed _mantras_, or incantations, they rub themselves
against the emblem, and entreat the deity to make them fruitful mothers
of _pulee-pullum_ (i.e., child fruit).

"This is the celebrated Linga puja, during the performance of which the
_panchaty_, or five lamps, must be lighted, and the _gantha_, or bell,
be frequently rung to scare away the evil demons. The _mala_, or rosary
of a hundred and eight round beads, is also used in this puja."

See also Moor's _Hindu Pantheon_, plate xxii, pp. 68, 69, 70. Again, in
the _Dabistan_, a work written in the Persian language, by a travelled
Mahometan, about a. d. 1660, and translated by David Shea, for the
Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland (8 vols., 8vo.,
Allen and Co., Leadenhall Street, London), we read, vol. ii., pp.
148-160, "The belief of the Saktian is that Siva, that is, Mahadeva, who
with little exception is the highest of deities and the greatest of the
spirits, has a spouse whom they call _Maya_ Sakti.....With them the
power of Mahadeva's wife, who is Bhavani, surpasses that of the husband.
The zealous of this sect worship the _Siva Linga_, although other
Hindoos also venerate it. _Linga_ is called the virile organ, and they
say, on behalf of this worship, that as men and all living beings derive
their existence from it, adoration is duly bestowed upon it. As the
linga of Mahadeva, so do they venerate the _bhaga_, that is, the female
organ. A man very familiar with them gave the information that,
according to their belief, the high altar, or principal place in a
mosque of the Mussulmans, is an emblem of the _bhaga_. Another man among
them said that as the just-named place emblems the bhaga, the minar or
turret of the mosque represents the linga." The author then goes on to
describe the practices of the sect, which may be summed up in the
words--the most absolute freedom of love.

_Apropos_ of the Mahometan minaret and Christian church towers and
spires, I may mention that Lucian describes the magnificent temple of
the Syrian goddess as having two vast phalli before its main entrance,
and how at certain seasons men ascended to their summit, and remained
there some days, so as to utter from thence the prayers of the faithful.

[Illustration: 158]

Figures 110, 111, both from Moor, plate lxxxvi., are forms of the
_argha_, or sacred sacrificial cup, bowl, or basin, which represent the
yoni, and some other things besides. See Moor, _Hindu Pantheon_, pp.
898, 894.

Figure 112. Copied from Rawlinson's _Ancient Monarchies_, vol. i., p.
176, symbolises Ishtar, the Assyrian representative of Devi, Parvati,
Isis, Astarte, Venus, and Mary. The virgin and child are to be found
everywhere, even in ancient Mexico.

[Illustration: 159]

Figure 118 is copied from Lajard, _Sur le Culte de Venus_, plate xix.,
fig. 6, and represents the male and female as the sun and moon, thus
identifying the symbolic sex of those luminaries. The legend in the
Pehlevi characters has not been interpreted.

[Illustration: 159]

Figure 114 is taken from a mediæval woodcut, lent to me by my friend,
Mr. John Newton, to whom I am indebted for the sight of, and the
privilege to copy, many other figures. In it the virgin Mary is seen
as the Queen of Heaven, nursing her infant, and identified with the
crescent moon, the emblem of virginity. Being before the sun, she almost
eclipses its light. Than this, nothing could more completely identify
the Christian mother and child with Isis and Horns, Ishtar, Venus, Juno,
and a host of other pagan goddesses, who have been called 'Queen of
Heaven,' 'Queen of the Universe' 'Mother of God,' 'Spouse of God,' the
'Celestial Virgin,' the 'Heavenly Peace Maker,' etc.

Figures 115, 116, are common devices in papal churches and pagan
symbolism. They are intended to indicate the sun and moon in
conjunction, the union of the triad with the unit. I may notice, in
passing, that Mr. Newton has showed to me some mediæval woodcuts, in
which the young unmarried women in a mixed assemblage were indicated by
wearing upon their foreheads a crescent moon.

[Illustration: 160]

Figure 117 is a Buddhist symbol, or rather a copy of Maityna Bodhisatwa,
from the monastery of Gopach, in the valley of Nepaul.

[Illustration: 161]

It is taken from Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, vol. xviii., p. 894.
The horse-shoe, like the _vesica piscis_ of the Roman church, indicates
the yoni; the last, taken from some cow, mare, or donkey, being used in
eastern parts where we now use their shoes, to keep off the evil eye.
It is remarkable that some nations should use the female organ, or an
effigy thereof, as a charm against ill luck, whilst others adopt the
male symbol. In Ireland, as we have previously remarked, a female
shamelessly exhibiting herself, and called Shelah-na-gig, was to be seen
in stone over the door of certain churches, within the last century.

From the resemblance in the shape of the horse-shoe to the "grove" of
the Assyrian worshippers, and from the man standing within it as the
symbolic pine tree stands in the Mesopotamian, "Asherah," I think we may
fairly conclude that the Indian, like the Shemitic emblem, typifies the
union of the sexes--the androgyne creator.

That some Buddhists have mingled sexuality with their ideas of religion,
may be seen in plate ii. of Emil Schlagintweit's _Atlas of Buddhism in
Tibet_, wherein Vajarsattva, "The God above all," is represented as a
male and female conjoined. Rays, as of the sun, pass from the group;
and all are enclosed in an ornate oval, or horse-shoe, like that in this
figure. Few, however, but the initiated would recognise the nature of
the group at first sight.

[Illustration: 162]

I may also notice, in passing, that the goddess Doljang (a.d. 617-98)
has the stigmata in her hands and feet, like those assigned to Jesus of
Nazareth and Francis of Assisi.

Figure 118 is a copy of the medal issued to pilgrims at the shrine of
the virgin at Loretto. It was lent to me by Mr. Newton, but the engraver
has omitted to make the face of the mother and child black, as the most
ancient and renowned ones usually are.

Instead of the explanation given in _Ancient Faiths_, Vol. ii., p. 262,
of the adoption of a black skin for Mary and her son, D'Harcanville
suggests that it represents night, the period during which the feminine
creator is most propitious or attentive to her duties. It is unnecessary
to contest the point, for almost every symbol has more interpretations
given to it than one. I have sought in vain for even a plausible reason
for the blackness of sacred virgins and children, in certain papal
shrines, which is compatible with decency and Christianity. It is clear
that the matter will not bear the light.

[Illustration: 163]

Figure 119 is from Lajard, Op. Cit., plate iii., fig. 8. It represents
the sun, moon, and a star, probably Venus.

The legend is in Phoenician, and may be read LNBRB. Levy, in Siegel und
Gemmen, Breslau, 1869, reads the legend [------], LKBRBO, but does not
attempt to explain it.

Figure 120 is also from Lajard, plate i., fig. 8. It represents an act
of worship before the symbols of the male and female creators, arranged
in three pairs. Above are the heavenly symbols of the sun and moon.
Below are the male palm tree, and the barred [------], identical in
meaning with the sistrum, i. e., _virgo intacta_. Next come the male
emblem, the cone, and the female symbol, the lozenge or yoni.

[Illustration: 164]

Figure 121 represents also a worshipper before the barred female symbol,
surmounted by the seven-rayed star, emblem of the male potency, and
of the sun or the heavens. It will be noticed--and the matter is
significant--that the hand which is raised in adoration is exactly
opposite the conjunction of the two. Compare this with Fig. 95, where
the female alone is the object of reverence.

Lajard and others state that homage, such as is here depicted, is
actually paid in some parts of Palestine and India to the living symbol;
the worshipper on bended knees offering to it, _la bouche inférieure_,
with or without a silent prayer, his food before he eats it. A
corresponding homage is paid by female devotees to the masculine emblem
of any very peculiarly holy fakir, one of whose peculiarities is, that
no amount of excitement stimulates the organ into what may be called
creative energy. It has long been a problem how such a state of apathy
is brought about, but modern observation has proved that it is by the
habitual use of weights. Such homage is depicted in Picart's _Religious
Ceremonies of all the People in the World_, original French edition,
plate 71.

[Illustration: 165]

Figure 122 is copied from Bryant's _Ancient Mythology_, third edition,
vol. iii., p. 193. That author states that he copied it from Spanheim,
but gives no other reference. It is apparently from a Greek medal, and
has the word CAMIÛN as an inscription. It is said to represent Juno,
Sami, or Selenitis, with the sacred peplum. The figure is remarkable
for showing the identity of the moon, the lozenge, and the female. It
is doubtful whether the attitude of the goddess is intended to represent
the cross.

As in religious Symbolism every detail has a signification, we naturally
speculate upon the meaning of the beads which fringe the lower part of
the diamond-shaped garment. We have noticed in a previous article that
the Linga when worshipped was sometimes adorned with beads, which were
the fruit of a tree sacred to Mahadeva; in the original of fig. 4, plate
xi. _supra_, the four arms of the cross have a series of beads depending
from them. On a very ancient coin of Citium, a rosary of beads, with a
cross, has been found arranged round a horse-shoe form; and beads
are common ornaments on Hindoo Divinities. They may only be used for
decoration and without religious signification; if they have the last, I
have not been able to discover it.

[Illustration: 166]

Figure 128 is a composition taken from Bryant, vol. iv., p. 286. The
rock, the water, the crescent moon as an ark, and the dove hovering
over it, are all symbolical; but though the author of it is right in his
grouping, it is clear that he is not aware of its full signification.
The reader will readily gather their true meaning from our articles
upon the Abk and Water, and from our remarks upon the Dove in _Ancient
Faiths_, second edition.

Figure 124 is copied from Maffei's _Gemme Antiche Figurate_, vol.
8, plate xl. In the original, the figure upon the pillar is very
conspicuously phallic, and the whole composition indicates what was
associated with the worship of Priapus.

[Illustration: 167]

This so-called god was regarded much in the same light as 'St. Cosmo and
St. Damian were at Iseraia, and St. Foutin in Christian France. And it
is not at all surprising that a church, which has deified or made saints
of a spear and cloak, under the names Longinus and Amphibolus, should
also adopt the "god of the gardens," and consecrate him as an object for
Christian worship, and give him an appropriate name and emblem. But the
patron saint of Lampsacus was not really a deity, only a sort of saint,
whose business it was to attend to certain parts. The idea of guardian
angels was once common, see Matt, xviii. 10, where we read, that each
child has a guardian in heaven, who looks after his infantile charge. As
the pagan Hymen and Lucina attended upon weddings and parturitions,
so the Christian Cosmo and Damian attended to spouses, and assisted in
making them fruitful. To the last two were offered, by sterile wives,
wax effigies of the part left out from the nude figure in our plate.
To the heathen saint, we see a female votary offer quince leaves,
equivalent to _la feuille de sage_, egg-shaped bread, apparently a
cake; also an ass's head; whilst her attendant offers a pine cone. This
amongst the Greeks was sacred to Cybele, as it was in Assyria to Astarte
or Ishtar, the name given there to 'the mother of all saints.' The
basket contains apples and phalli, which may have been made of pastry.
See Martial's _Epigrams_, b. xiv. 69. This gem is valuable, inasmuch as
it assists us to understand the signification of the pine cone offered
to the 'grove,' the equivalent of _le Verger de Cypris_. The pillar and
its base are curiously significant, and demonstrate how completely
an artist can appear innocent, whilst to the initiated he unveils a

[Illustration: 168]

Figures 125, 126, 127, are various contrivances for indicating decently
that which it was generally thought religious to conceal, _la bequile,
au les instrumens_.

Figure 128 represents the same subject; the cuts are grouped iso as to
show how the knobbed stick, _le bâton_, becomes converted either into a
bent rod, _la verge_, or a priestly crook, _le bâton pastoral_. There
is no doubt that the episcopal crozier is a presentable effigy of a very
private and once highly venerated portion of the human frame, which was
used in long by-gone days by Etruscan augurs, when they mapped out
the sky, prior to noticing the flight of birds. Perhaps we ought to be
grateful to Popery for having consecrated to Christ what was so long
used in that which divines call the service of the devil.

[Illustration: 169]

Figures 129, 130, 131, are, like the preceding four, copied from various
antique gems; Fig. 129 represents a steering oar, _le timon_, and is
usually held in the hand of good fortune, or as moderns would say "Saint
Luck," or _bonnes fortunes_; Fig. 180 is emblematic of Cupid, or Saint
Desire; it is synonymous with _le dard, or la pique_; Fig. 131 is a form
less common in gems; it represents the hammer, _le marteau qui frappe
l'enclume et forge les enfans_. The ancients had as many pictorial
euphemisms as ourselves, and when these are understood they enable us
to comprehend many a legend otherwise dim; e. g., when Fortuna, or luck,
always depicted as a woman, has for her characteristic _le timon_,
and for her motto the proverb, "Fortune favours the bold." we readily
understand the _double entente_. The steering oar indicates power,
knowledge, skill, and bravery in him who wields it; without such a
guide, few boats would attain a prosperous haven.

[Illustration: 170]

Figure 132 is copied from plate xxix. of Pugin's Glossary of
Ecclesiastical Ornament (Lond., 1868). The plate represents "a pattern
for diapering," and is, I presume, thoroughly orthodox. It consists of
the double triangle, see Figures 20, 80, 81, 82, pp. 82, 88, the emblems
of Siva and Parvati, the male and female; of Rimmon the pomegranate,
the emblem of the womb, which is seen to be full of seed through the
"_vesica piscis," la fente, or la porte de la vie_. There are also two
new moons, emblems of Venus, or _la nature_, introduced. The crown above
the pomegranate represents the triad, and the number four; whilst in the
original the group which we copy is surrounded by various forms of the
triad, all of which are as characteristic of man as Rimmon is of woman.
There are also circles enclosing the triad, analogous to other symbols
common in Hindostan.

[Illustration: 171]

Figure 133 is copied from Moor's _Hindu, Pantheon_, pi. ix., fig. 8.
It represents Bhavhani, Maia, Devi, Lakshmi, or Kamala, one of the many
forms given to female nature. She bears in one hand the lotus, emblem of
self-fructification,--in other similar figures an effigy of the phallus
is placed,--whilst in the other she holds her infant Krishna, Crishna,
or Vishnu. Such groups are as common in India as in Italy, in pagan
temples as in Christian churches. The idea of the mother and child is
pictured in every ancient country of whose art any remains exist.

[Illustration: 172]

Figure 184 is taken from plate xxiv., fig. 1, of Moor's _Hindu
Pantheon_. It represents a subject often depicted by the Hindoos and the
Greeks, viz., androgynism, the union of the male and female creators.
The technical word is Arddha-Nari. The male on the right side bears the
emblems of Siva or Mahadeva, the female on the left those of Parvati or
Sacti. The bull and lioness are emblematic of the masculine and feminine
powers. The mark on the temple indicates the union of the two; an
aureole is seen around the head, as in modern pictures of saints. In
this drawing the Ganges rises from the male, the idea being that the
stream from Mahadeva is as copious and fertilising as that mighty river.
The metaphor here depicted is common in the East, and is precisely the
same as that quoted in Num. xxiv. 7, and also from some lost Hebrew
book in John vii. 38. It will be noticed, that the Hindoos express
androgyneity quite as conspicuously, but generally much less
indelicately, than the Grecian artists.

[Illustration: 173]

Figure 135 is a common Egyptian emblem, said to signify eternity, but
in truth it has another meaning. The serpent and the ring indicate
_l' andouille and l' anneau_. The tail of the animal, which the mouth
appears to swallow, is _la queue dans la bouche_. The symbol resembles
the _crux ansata_ in its signification, and imports that life upon the
earth is rendered perpetual by means of the union of the sexes. A ring,
or circle, is one of the symbols of Venus, who carries indifferently
this, or the triad emblem of the male. See Maffei's _Gemme_, vol. iii.,
page 1, plate viii.

Figure 136 is the _vesica piscis_, or fish's bladder; the emblem of
woman and of the virgin, as may be seen in the two following woodcuts.

[Illustration: 174]

Figures 137, 138, are copied from an ancient Rosary of the Blessed
Virgin Mary, printed at Venice, 1524, with a license from the
Inquisition; the book being lent to me by my friend, Mr. Newton.
The first represents the same part as the Assyrian "grove." It may
appropriately be called the Holy Yoni. The book in question contains
numerous figures, all resembling closely the Mesopotamian emblem of
Ishtar. The presence of the woman therein identifies the two as symbolic
of Isis, or _la nature_; and a man bowing down in adoration thereof
shows the same idea as is depicted in Assyrian sculptures, where males
offer to the goddess symbols of themselves. Compare Figs. 68, 64, 65,
66, pp. 48 seq.

If I had been able to search through the once celebrated Alexandrian
library, it is doubtful whether I could have found any pictorial
representation more illustrative of the relationship of certain symbolic
forms to each other than is Figure 138. A circle of angelic heads,
forming a sort of sun, having luminous rays outside, and a dove, the
emblem of Venus, dart a spear (_la pique_) down upon the earth (_la
terré_), or the virgin. This being received, fertility follows.

[Illustration: 175]

In Grecian story, Ouranos and Ge, or heaven and earth, were the parents
of creation; and Jupiter came from heaven to impregnate Alcmena. The
same mythos prevailed throughout all civilised nations. Christianity
adopted the idea, merely altering the names of the respective parents,
and attributed the regeneration of the world to "holy breath" and Mary.
Every individual, indeed, extraordinarily conspicuous for wisdom, power,
goodness, etc., is said to have been begotten on a woman by a celestial
father. Within the _vesica piscis_, artists usually represent the virgin
herself, with or without the child; in the figure before us the child
takes her place. It is difficult to believe that the ecclesiastics who
sanctioned the publication of such a print could have been as ignorant
as modern ritualists. It is equally difficult to believe that the
latter, if they knew the real meaning of the symbols commonly used by
the Roman church, would adopt them.

The last two figures, symbolic of adoration before divine sexual
emblems, afford me the opportunity to give a description of a similar
worship existent in Hindostan at the present time. My authority is H.
H. Wilson, in _Essays on the Religion of the Hindoos_, Trübner and Co.,
London. "The worshippers," he remarks, vol. i., p. 240, "of the Sakti,
the power or energy of the divine nature in action, are exceedingly
numerous amongst all classes of Hindoos--about three-fourths are of this
sect, while only a fifth are Vaishnavas and a sixteenth Saivas. This
active energy is personified, and the form with which it is invested
depends upon the bias of the individuals. The most favourite form is
that of Parvati, Bhavani, or Durga, the wife of Siva, or Mahadeva."

"The worship of the female principle, as distinct from the divinity,
appears to have originated in the literal interpretation of the
metaphorical language of the Vedas, in which the _will or purpose to
create_ the universe is represented as originating from the creator, and
consistent with him as his bride." "The Samavedaf for example, says,
the creator felt not delight being alone; he wished another, and caused
his own self to fall in twain, and thus became husband and wife. He
approached her, and thus were human beings produced." A sentiment
or statement which we may notice in passing is very similar to that
propounded in Genesis, ch. i. 27, and v. 1, 2, respecting Elohim--viz.,
that he created man and woman in his own image, i.e., as male and
female, bisexual but united--an androgyne.

"This female principle goes by innumerable cognomens, inasmuch as every
goddess, every nymph, and all women are identified with it. She--the
principle personified--is the mother of all, as Mahadeva, the male
principle, is the father of all."

"The homage rendered to the Sakti may be done before an image of any
goddess--Prakriti, Lakshmi, Bhavani, Durga, Maya, Parvati, or Devi--just
in the same way as Romanists may pray to a local Mary, or any other.
But in accordance with the weakness of human nature, there are many who
consider it right to pay their devotions to the thing itself rather than
to an abstraction. In this form of worship six elements are required,
flesh, fish, wine, women, gesticulations and _mantras_ which consist
of various unmeaning monosyllabic combinations of letters of great
imaginary efficacy."

"The ceremonies are mostly gone through in a mixed society, the Sakti
being personified by a naked female, to whom meat and wine are
offered and then distributed amongst the company. These eat and drink
alternately with gesticulations and mantras--and when the religious part
of the business is over, the males and females rush together and
indulge in a wild orgy. This ceremony is entitled the _Sri Chakra or
Purnabhisheka_, the Ring or Full Initiation."

In a note apparently by the editor, Dr. Rost, a full account is given
in Sanscrit of the _Sakti Sodhana_, as they are prescribed in the _Devi
Rahasya_, a section of the _Rudra Yâmala_, so as to prove to his readers
that the _Sri Chakra_ is performed under a religious prescription.

We learn that the woman should be an actress, dancing girl, a courtesan,
washerwoman, barber's wife, flower-girl, milk-maid, or a female devotee.
The ceremony is to take place at midnight with eight, nine, or eleven
couples. At first there are sundry mantras said, then the female is
disrobed, but richly ornamented, and is placed on the left of a circle
(Chakra) described for the purpose, and after sundry gesticulations,
mantras, and formulas she is purified by being sprinkled over with wine.
If a novice, the girl has the radical mantra whispered thrice in her
ear. Feasting then follows, lest Venus should languish in the absence of
Ceres and Bacchus, and now, when the veins are full of rich blood, the
actors are urged to do what desire dictates, but never to be so carried
away by their zeal as to neglect the holy mantras appropriate to every
act and to every stage thereof.*

     * The above quotations from Wilson's work are selections
     from his and his Editor's account. In the original the
     observations extend over eighteen pages, and are too long to
     be given in their entirety: the parts omitted are of no

[Illustration: 178]

It is natural that such a religion should be popular, especially amongst
the young of both sexes.

Figures 139 to 158 are copied from Moor's _Hindu Pantheon_; they are
sectarial marks in India, and are usually traced on the forehead. Many
resemble what are known as "mason's marks," i. e., designs found on
tooled stones, in various ancient edifices, like our own, "trade marks."
They are introduced here to illustrate the various designs employed to
indicate the union of the "trinity" with the "unity," and the numerous
forms representative of "_la nature" A priori_, it appears absurd to
suppose that the eye could ever have been symbolical of anything but
sight; but the mythos of Indra, given in _Ancient Faiths_, second
edition, Vol. n., p. 649, and p. 7 _supra_, proves that it has another
and a hidden meaning. These figures are alike emblematic of the
"trinity," "the virgin," and the "four." Figure 154 is from Pugin, plate
v., figure 3. It is the outline of a pectoral ornament worn by some
Roman ecclesiastic in Italy, a. d. 1400; it represents the Egyptian crux
ansata under another form, the T signifying the triad.

[Illustration: 179]

Figures 155, 156, are different forms of the sistrum, one of the emblems
of Isis. In the latter, the triple bars have one signification, which
will readily suggest itself to those who know the meaning of the triad.
In the former, the emblem of the trinity, which we have been obliged to
conventionalise, is shown in a distinct manner. The cross bars indicate
that Isis is a virgin. The cat at the top of the instrument indicates
"desire," Cupid, or Eros. Fig. 155 is copied from plate ix., R. P.
Knight's _Worship of Priapus_.

Figure 157 represents the cup and wafer, to be found in the hands of
many effigies of papal bishops; they are alike symbolic of the sun and
moon, and of the elements in the Eucharist. See Pugin, plate iv., figs.
5, 6, represents a temple in a conventional form; whilst below, Ceres
appears seated within a horse-shoe shaped ornament.

[Illustration: 180]

[Illustration: 181]

This, amongst other symbols, tends to show what we have so frequently
before observed, that the female in creation is characterised by a great
variety of designs, of which the succeeding woodcuts give us additional

Figure 159 represents the various forms symbolic of Juno, Isis, Parvati,
Ishtar, Mary, or woman, or the virgin.

Figures 160, 161, 162, are copied from Audsley's _Christian Symbolism_
(London, 1868). They are ornaments worn by the Virgin Mary, and
represent her as the crescent moon, conjoined with the cross (in
Fig. 160), with the collar of Isis (in Fig. 161), and with the double
triangle (in Fig. 162).

[Illustration: 182]

Figure 163 represents a tortoise. When one sees a resemblance between
this creature's head and neck and the linga, one can understand why both
in. India and in Greece the animal should be regarded as sacred to the
goddess personifying the female creator, and why in Hindoo myths it is
said to support the world.

In the British Museum there are three Assyrian obeliscs, all of which
represent, in the most conspicuous way, the phallus, one of which has
been apparently circumcised. The body is occupied with an inscription
recording the sale of land, and also a figure of the reigning king,
whilst upon the part known as the _glans penis_ are a number of symbols,
which are intended apparently to designate the generative powers in
creation. The male is indicated by a serpent, a spear head, a hare, a
tiara, a cock, and a tortoise. The female appears under precisely the
same form as is seen on the head of the Egyptian Isis, Fig. 28. The
tortoise is to this day a masculine emblem in Japan. See Figs. 174, 175.

But there is no necessity for the animal itself always to be depicted,
inasmuch as I have discovered that both in Assyrian and Greek art the
tortoise is pourtrayed under the figure which resembles somewhat the
markings upon the segments into which the shell is divided. In symbolism
it is a very common thing for a part to stand for the whole; thus an egg
is made to do duty for the triad; and a man is sometimes represented by
a spade. A woman is in like manner represented by a comb, or a mirror;
and a golden fleece typifies in the first place the "grove," which it
overshadows, and the female who possesses both.

[Illustration: 183]

It has been stated on page 19 _supra_, that Pausanias mentions having
seen at some place in Greece one figure of Venus standing on a tortoise,
and another upon a ram, but he leaves to the ingenious to discover why
the association takes place.

It was this intimation which led me to identify the tortoise as a male
symbol. Any person who has ever watched this creature in repose, and
seen the action of the head and neck when the quadruped is excited, will
recognise why the animal is dear to the goddess of amorous delight, and
that which it may remind her of. In like manner, those who are familiar
with the ram will know that it is remarkable for persistent and
excessive vigour. Like the cat, whose salacity caused it to be honoured
in Egypt, the ram was in that country also sacred, as the bull was in
Assyria and Hindostan.

In fact, everything which in shape, habits, or sound could remind
mankind of the creators and of the first part of creation was regarded
with reverence. Thus tall stones or natural pinnacles of rock, the palm,
pine, and oak trees, the fig tree and the ivy, with their tripliform
leaves, the mandrake, with its strange human form, the thumb and finger,
symbolised Bel, Baal, Asher, or Mahadeva. In like manner a hole in the
ground, a crevice in a rock, a deep cave, the myrtle from the shape of
its leaf, the fish from its scent, the dolphin and the mullet from their
names, the dove from its note, and any umbrageous retreat surrounded
with thick bushes, were symbolic of woman.

So also the sword and sheath, the arrow and target, the spear and
shield, the plough and furrow, the spade and trench, the pillar by a
well, the thumb thrust between the two fore-fingers or grasped by the
hand, and a host of other things were typical of the union which brings
about the formation of a new being.

I cannot help regarding the sexual element as the key which opens almost
every lock of symbolism, and however much we may dislike the idea that
modern religionists have adopted emblems of an obscene worship,
we cannot deny the fact that it is so, and we may hope that with a
knowledge of their impurity we shall cease to have a faith based upon a
trinity and virgin--a lingam and a yoni. Some may cling still to such a
doctrine, but to me it is simply horrible--blasphemous and heathenish.

[Illustration: 184]

Figures 164, 165, represent a pagan and Christian cross and trinity. The
first is copied from B. P. Knight (plate x., fig. 1), and represents a
figure found on an ancient coin of Apollonia. The second may be seen in
any of our churches to-day.

Figure 166 is from an old papal book lent to me by Mr. Newton, _Missale
Romanum_, illustrated by a monk (Venice, 1509). It represents a
confessor of the Roman church, who wears the _crux ansata_, the Egyptian
symbol of life, the emblem of the four creators, in the place of the
usual _pallium_.

[Illustration: 185]

It is remarkable that a Christian church should have adopted so many
pagan symbols as Rome has done. Figure 167 is copied from a small
bronze figure in the Mayer collection in the Free Museum, Liverpool.
It represents the feminine creator holding a well marked lingam in her
hand, and is this emblematic of the four, or the trinity and the virgin.

Figure 168 represents two Egyptian deities in worship before an emblem
of the male, which closely resembles an Irish round tower.

[Illustration: 186]

Figure 169 represents the modern _pallium_ worn by Roman priests. It
represents the ancient sistrum of Isis, and the yoni of the Hindoos. It
is symbolic of the celestial virgin, and the unit in the creative
four. When donned by a Christian priest, he resembles the pagan male
worshippers, who wore a female dress when they ministered before the
altar or shrine of a goddess. Possibly the Hebrew ephod was of this form
and nature.

Figure 170 is a copy of an ancient _pallium_, worn by papal
ecclesiastics three or four centuries ago.. It is the old Egyptian
symbol described above. Its common name is _crux ansata_, or the cross
with a handle.

Figure 171 is the albe worn by Roman and other ecclesiastics when
officiating at mass, etc. It is simply a copy of the chemise ordinarily
worn by women as an under garment.

[Illustration: 187]

Figure 172 represents the _chamble_ worn by papal hierarchs. It is
copied from Pugin's _Glossary_, etc. Its form is that of the _vesica
piscis_, one of the most common emblems of the yoni. It is adorned by
the triad. When worn by the priest, he forms the male element, and with
the chasuble completes the sacred four. When worshipping the ancient
goddesses, whom Mary has displaced, the officiating ministers clothed
themselves in feminine attire. Hence the use of the chemise, etc.
Even the tonsured head, adopted from the priests of the Egyptian Isis,
represents "l' anneau;" so that on head, shoulders, breast and body, we
may see on Christian priests the relics of the worship of Venus, and
the adoration of woman! How horrible all this would sound if, instead of
using veiled language, we had employed vulgar words. The idea of a man
adorning himself, when ministering before God and the people, with the
effigies of those parts which nature as well as civilisation teaches us
to conceal, would be simply disgusting, but when all is said to be
mysterious and connected with hidden signification, almost everybody
tolerates and many eulogise or admire it!

[Illustration: 188]


By John Newton, M.R.C.S.

The study of sacred symbols is as yet in its infancy. It has hitherto
been almost ignored by sacerdotal historians; and thus a rich mine of
knowledge on the most interesting of all subjects--the history of the
Religious Idea in man--remains comparatively unexplored. The topic has
a two-fold interest, for it equally applies to the present and the past.
As nothing on earth is more conservative than religion, we have still a
world of symbolism existing amongst us which is far older than our sects
and books, our creeds and articles, a relic of a forgotten, pre-historic
past. Untold ages before writing was invented, it is believed that men
attempted to express their ideas in visible forms. Yet how can a savage,
who is unable to count his fingers up to five, and has no idea of
abstract number, apart from things, whose habits and thoughts are of the
earth, earthy, form a conception of the high and holy One who inhabiteth
eternity? Even under the highest forms of ancient civilisation, abundant
proofs exist that the imagination of men, brooding over the idea of the
Unseen and the Infinite, were bounded by the things which were presented
in their daily experience, and which most moved their passions, hopes
and fears. Through these, then, they attempted to embody such religious
ideas as they felt. They could not teach others without visible symbols
to assist their conceptions; and emblems were rather crutches for the
halting than wings to help the healthy to soar. Mankind in all ages
has clung to the visible and tangible. The people care little for the
abstract and unseen. The Israelites preferred a calf of gold to the
invisible Jehovah; and sensuous forms of worship still fascinate the

Whilst studying a collection of symbols, gathered from many climes and
ages, such as this volume presents, I feel sure that every intelligent
student will have asked himself more than once--Is there not some key
which unlocks these enigmas, some grand idea which runs through them
all, connecting them like a string of beads? I believe that there is,
and that it is not far to seek. What do men desire and long for most?
_Life_. "Skin for skin; all that a man hath will he give for his life,"
is a saying as true now as in the days of Job. "Give me back my youth,
and I will give you all I possess," was said by the aged Voltaire to his
physician. And our poet laureate has sung,

     'Tis Life, whereof our nerves are scant,
     O life, not death, for which we pant;
     More life, and fuller, that I want.

But we must add, as necessarily contained in the idea of Life in its
highest sense, _those things which make Life desirable_.

This fulness of life has been the _summum bonum_, the highest good,
which mankind has sighed for in every age and clime. For this the
alchemists toiled, not to advance chemistry, but to discover the Elixir
of Life and the Philosopher's Stone. But what nature refused to science,
the gods, it was believed, would surely give to the pious! and the
glorious prize referred to has been promised by every religion. "I
am come that they might have Life, and that they might have it more
abundantly." Life is the reward which has been promised under every
system, including that of the founder of Christianity. A Tree of Life
stood in the midst of that Paradise which is described in the book
of Genesis; and when the first human couple disobeyed their Maker's
command, they were punished by being cut off from the perennial fount of
vitality, lest they should eat its fruit and thus live for ever; and in
a second Paradise, which is promised to the blessed by the author of
the book of Revelation, a tree of life shall stand once more "for the
healing of the nations." To the good man is promised, in the Hebrew
Scriptures, long life, prosperity, and a numerous offspring. "Thy youth
is renewed like the eagle's."* Ps. ciii. 5.

In the wondrous theology of Ancient Egypt, which at length is open to
us, the "Ritual of the Dead" celebrates the mystical reconstruction of
the body of the deceased, whose parts are to be reunited, as those of
Osiris were by Isis; the trials are recorded through which the deceased
passes, and by which all remaining stains of corruption are wiped away;
and the record ends when the defunct is born again glorious, like that
Sun which typified the Egyptian resurrection.**

     * St. Paul points oat (Eph. vi. 2) that to only one of the
     ten commandments is a promise added. And what is the
     promise? "That thy days may be long." (Exod. xx. 12.) See
     also Psalm cxxxiii. 3, "the blessing, even life for

     ** Apuleius, who had been initiated into the mysteries of
     Isis, informs us that long life was the reward promised to
     her votaries. (Metam. cap. xi.)

In the ancient mythology of India, it is recounted that of old the gods
in council united together to procure, by one supreme effort, the Amrita
cup of immortality, which, after the success of their scheme, they
partake of with their worshippers. Even for the Buddhist, his cold,
atheistical creed promises a Nirvana, an escape from the horrors of
metempsychosis, a haven of eternal calm, where "there shall be no more
death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain,
for the former things are passed away;" "there the weary be at rest."
Rev. xxi. 4, Job iii. 17.

This idea of tranquillity is in striking contrast to the heaven promised
by the religion of the north of Europe, which was the one most congenial
to a people whose delight was in conquest and battle. Those who had led
a life of heroism, or perished bravely in fight, ascended to Valhalla;
and the eternal manhood which awaited them there was to be passed in
scenes that were rapture to the imagination of a Dane or a Saxon. Every
day in that abode of bliss was to be spent in furious conflict, in
the struggle of armies and the cleaving of shields; but at evening
the conflict was to cease; every wound to be suddenly healed. Then the
contending warriors were to sit down to a banquet, where, attended by
lovely maidens, they could feast on the exhaustless flesh of the boar
Sæhrimnir, and drink huge draughts of mead from the skulls of those
enemies who had not attained to the glories of Valhalla.

The paradise promised to the faithful by Mahomet is full of sensuous
delights. The Arabian prophet dwells with rapture on its gardens and
palaces, its rivers and bowers. Seventy-two houris, or black-eyed girls,
rejoicing in beauty and ever-blooming youth, will be created for the
use of the meanest believer; a moment of pleasure will be prolonged to
a thousand years, and his powers will be increased a hundred-fold to
render him worthy of his felicity.

Thus we see that in all these great historical faiths the prize held
out to the true believer has this in common, viz., _Life, overflowing,
ever-renewed, with the addition of those things which make life
desirable for men_; whether they are sensuous pleasures, or those which,
under the loftier ideal of Christianity, are summed up in _Life, both
temporal and eternal, in the light of God_.

Such being the case, we might anticipate that the symbols of every
religion would reproduce, in some shape or other, the ideal which is
common to all. The earliest and rudest faiths were content with gross
and simple emblems of life. In the later and more refined forms of
worship, the ruder types were highly conventionalised, and replaced by a
more intricate and less obvious symbolism.

We proceed now to investigate the more primitive emblems. The origin of
life is, even to us, with all our lights, as great a mystery as it was
to the ancients. To the primitive races of mankind the formation of a
new being appeared to be a constant miracle, and men very naturally used
as tokens of life, and even worshipped, those objects or organs by which
the miracle appeared to be wrought. Thus, the glorious sun, that "god
of this world," the source of life and light to our earth, was early
adored, and an effigy thereof used as a symbol. Mankind watched with
rapture its rays gain strength daily in the Spring, until the golden
glories of Midsummer had arrived, when the earth was bathed during the
longest days in his beams, which ripened the fruits that his returning
course had started into life. When the sun once more began its course
downwards to the Winter solstice, his votaries sorrowed, for he seemed
to sicken and grow paler at the advent of December, when his rays
scarcely reached the earth, and all nature, benumbed and cold, sunk into
a death-like sleep. Hence feasts and fasts were instituted to mark
the commencement of the various phases of the solar year, which have
continued from the earliest known period, under various names, to our
own times.

The daily disappearance and the subsequent rise of the sun, appeared to
many of the ancients as a true resurrection; thus, while the east came
to be regarded as the source of light and warmth, happiness and glory,
the west was associated with darkness and chill, decay and death. This
led to the common custom of burying the dead so as to face the east when
they rose again, and of building temples and shrines with an opening
towards the east. To effect this, Vitruvius, two thousand years ago,
gave precise rules, which are still followed by Christian architects.

Sun-worship was spread all over the ancient world. It mingled with other
faiths and assumed many forms.* Of the elements, fire was naturally
chosen as its earthly symbol. A sacred fire, at first miraculously
kindled, and subsequently kept up by the sedulous care of priests
or priestesses, formed an important part of the religions of Judea,
Babylonia, Persia, Greece and Rome, and the superstition lingers amongst
us still.

     * We may point out that, according to all the Gospels,
     Christ expired towards sunset, and the sun became eclipsed
     as he was dying. He rose again exactly at daybreak.

So late as the advent of the Reformation, a sacred fire was kept ever
burning on a shrine at Kildare, in Ireland, and attended by virgins of
high rank, called "_inghean au dagha_," or daughters of fire. Every year
is the ceremony repeated at Jerusalem of the miraculous kindling of the
Holy Fire at the reputed sepulchre, and men and women crowd to light
tapers at the sacred flame, which they pass through with a naked body.
Indeed, solar myths form no unimportant part of ancient mythology. Thus
the death of nature in the winter time, through the withdrawal of the
sun, was supposed to be caused by the mourning of the earth-goddess
over the sickness and disappearance into the realms of darkness of her
husband and mate, the sun.

Mr. Fox Talbot has lately given the translation of an Egyptian poem,
more than three thousand years old, and having for its subject the
descent of Ishtar into Hades. To this region of darkness and death the
goddess goes in search of her beloved Osiris, or Tammuz. This Ishtar is
identical with the Assyrian female in the celestial quartette, the
later Phoenician Astarte, "The Queen of Heaven with crescent horns,"
the moon-goddess, also with the Greek Aphrodite and Roman Venus; and the
Egyptian legend reappears in the west as the mourning of Venus for the
loss of Adonis.

Again, the fable of Ceres mourning the death of her daughter Proserpine
is another sun-myth. The Roman Ceres was the Greek [----------], Mother
Earth, who through the winter time wanders inconsolable. Persephone,
her daughter, is the vegetable world, whose seeds or roots lie concealed
underground in the darkness of winter. These, when Spring comes with its
brightness, bud forth and dwell in the realms of light during a part of
the year, and provide ample nourishment for men and animals with their
fruits. The sun, being the active fructifying cause in nature, was
generally regarded as male. Thus, in the Jewish scriptures, he is
compared to "a bridegroom coming out of his chamber" (Ps. xix. 5), i.e.,
as a man full of generative, procreative vigour. The moon and the earth,
being receptive were naturally regarded as female.

At the vernal equinox, the ancients celebrated the bridal of the sun and
the earth. Yet, inasmuch as the orbs of heaven and the face of nature
remain the same from year to year, and perpetually renew light and life,
themselves remaining fresh in vigour and unharmed by age, the ancients
conceived the bride and mate of the sun-god as continuing ever virgin.
Again, as the ancient month was always reckoned by the interval between
one new moon and the next,--an interval which also marks a certain
recurring event in women, that ceases at once on the occurrence of
pregnancy,--the lunar crescent became a symbol of virginity, and as such
adorns the brow of the Greek Artemis and Roman Diana. This was used as
a talisman at a very remote period, and was fixed over the doors of the
early lake-dwellers in Switzerland, like the horse-shoe is to modern
side-posts. With the sun and moon were often associated the five visible
planets, forming a sacred seven,--a figure which is continually cropping
up in religious emblems.

So much for the great cosmic symbols of Life. But the primitive races
of mankind found others nearer home, and still more suggestive--the
generative parts in the two sexes, by the union of which all animated
life, and mankind, the most interesting of all to human beings,
appeared to be created. This reverence for, or worship of, the organs of
generation, has been traced to a very early period in the history of the
human race. In a bone-cave recently excavated near Venice, and
beneath its ten feet of stalagmite, were found bones of animals, flint
implements, a bone needle, and a phallus in baked clay. And if we turn
to those savage tribes who still reproduce for us the prehistoric past,
this form of religions symbolism meets as everywhere. In Dahomey, beyond
the Ashantees, it is, according to Captain Barton, most uncomfortably
prominent. In every street of their settlements are priapic figures.
The "Tree of Life" is anointed with palm oil, which drips into a pot or
shard placed below it, and the would-be mother of children prays before
the image that the great god Legba would make her fertile.

Burton tells us that he peeped into an Egba temple or lodge, and found
it a building with three courts, of which the innermost was a sort of
holy of holies. Its doors had carvings on them of a leopard, a fish, a
serpent, and a land tortoise. The first two of these are female symbols,
the two latter emblems of the male. There were also two rude figures
representing their god Obatala, the deity of life, who is worshipped
under two forms, a male and a female. Opposite to these was the male
symbol or phallus, conjoined _in coitu_ with the female emblem. Du
Chaillu met with some tribes in Africa who adore the female only. His
guide, he informs us, carried a hideous little image of wood with him,
and at every meal he would take the little fetish out of his pocket, and
pour a libation over its _feet_ before he would drink himself.

We know that a similar superstition prevailed in Ireland long after
the advent of Christianity. There a female, pointing to her symbol,
was placed over the portal of many a church as a protector from evil
spirits; and the elaborate though rude manner in which these figures
were sculptured shows that they were considered as objects of great
importance. It was the universal practice among the Arabs of Northern
Africa to stick up over the door of their house or tent the genital
parts of a cow, mare, or female camel, as a talisman to avert the
influence of the evil eye. The figure of this organ being less definite
than that of the male, it has assumed in symbolism very various forms.
The commonest substitution for the part itself has been a horse-shoe,
which is to this day fastened over many of the doors of stables and
shippons in the country, and was formerly supposed to protect the cattle
from witchcraft. From a lively story by Beroalde de Verville, we learn
that in France a sight of the female organ was believed, as late as the
sixteenth century, to be a powerful charm in curing any disease in, and
for prolonging the life of, the fortunate beholder.

As civilisation advanced, the gross symbols of creative power were cast
aside, and priestly ingenuity was taxed to the utmost in inventing a
crowd of less obvious emblems, which should represent the ancient ideas
in a decorous manner. The old belief was retained, but in a mysterious
or sublimated form. As symbols of the male, or active element in
creation, the sun, light, fire, a torch, the phallus or linga, an erect
serpent, a tall straight tree, especially the palm and the fir or pine,
were adopted. Equally useful for symbolism were a tall upright stone
(menhir), a cone, a pyramid, a thumb or finger pointed straight, a mast,
a rod, a trident, a narrow bottle or amphora, a bow, an arrow, a
lance, a horse, a bull, a lion, and many other animals conspicuous for
masculine power. As symbols of the female, the passive though fruitful
element in creation, the crescent moon, the earth, darkness, water, and
its emblem a triangle with the apex downwards, "the yoni," a shallow
vessel or cup for pouring fluid into (_cratera_), a ring or oval, a
lozenge, any narrow cleft, either natural or artificial, an arch or
doorway, were employed. In the same category of symbols came a ship or
boat, the female date-palm bearing fruit, a cow with her calf by her
side, the fish, fruits having many seeds, such as the pomegranate, a
shell (_concha_), a cavern, a garden, a fountain, a bower, a rose, a
fig, and other things of suggestive form, etc.

These two great classes of conventional symbols were often represented
_in conjunction with_ each other, and thus symbolised in the highest
degree the great source of life, ever originating, ever renewed. The
Egyptian temple at Denderah has lately been explored by M. Mariette. In
a niche of the Holy of Holies he discovered the sacred secret. This was
simply a golden sistrum (see _ante_, pp. 44 and 70), an emblem formed by
uniting the female oval O with the male sacred Tau T; and thus identical
in meaning with the coarse emblem seen by Captain Burton in the African
idol temple. A similar emblem is the linga standing in the centre of
a yoni, the adoration of which is to this day characteristic of the
leading dogma of Hindu religion. There is scarcely a temple in India
which has not its lingam; and in numerous instances this symbol is the
only form under which the great god Siva is worshipped. (See _ante_, pp.
72, 78.)

The linga is generally a tall, polished, cylindrical, black stone,
apparently inserted into another stone formed like an elongated saucer,
though in reality the whole is sculptured out of one block of basalt.
The outline of the frame, which reminds us of a Jew's harp (the
conventional form of the female member), is termed _argha or yoni_. The
former, or round perpendicular stone, the type of the virile organ, is
the _linga_. The entire symbol, to which the name _lingyoni_ is given,
is also occasionally called _lingam_. This representative of the union
of the sexes typifies the divine _sacti_, or productive energy, in union
with the procreative, generative power seen throughout nature. The earth
was the primitive _pudendum, or yoni_, which is fecundated by the solar
heat, the sun, the primitive _linga_, to whose vivifying rays man
and animals, plants and the fruits of the earth, owe their being and
continued existence. These "lingas" vary in size from the tiny amulets
worn about the neck, to the great monoliths of the temples. Thus the
lingam is an emblem of the Creator, the fountain of all life, who is
represented in Hindu mythology as uniting in Himself the two sexes.

Another symbol, the _caduceus_, older than Greek and Roman art, in which
it is associated with Esculapius and Hermes, the gods of health and
fertility, has precisely the same signification as the sistrum and the
lingam. This is made clear enough in the following extract from a
letter by Dr. C. E. Balfour, published in Fergusson's _Tree and Serpent
Worship_, 1878. "I have only once seen living snakes in the form of the
Esculapian rod. It was at Ahmednuggar, in 1841, on a clear moonlight
night. They dropped into the garden from the thatched roof of my house,
_and stood erect_."

[Illustration: 200]

"They were all cobras, and _no one could have seen them without at once
recognising that they were in congress_. Natives of India consider that
it is most fortunate to witness serpents so engaged, and believe that if
a person can throw a cloth at the pair so as to touch them with it,
the material becomes a representative form of Lakshmi,* of the highest
virtue, and is preserved as such." The serpent, which casts its skin and
seems to renew its youth every year, has been used from remotest times
as a living symbol of generative energy, and of immortality; indeed,
in the most ancient Eastern languages, the name for the serpent also
signifies life.** It has been usually worshipped as the _Agathodoemon_,
the god of good fortune, life, and health; though in the
Hebrew scriptures, and elsewhere, we meet with a good and a bad
serpent--Oriental dualism. The _Kakodoemon_, however, is usually
represented as winged--the Dragon, as in the following example.

     * The consort, or life-giving energy of Vishnu.

     ** As in French, the name for the male organ and for life is
     the same in sound, though not in spelling or gender.

In the remarkable Babylonian seal, Plate iv., Fig. 8, the deity is
represented as uniting in himself the male and the female. On each side
is a serpent, as the emblem of the life flowing from the Creator; that
on the male side, having round his head the solar glory, is compared
to the sun-god, as the active principle in creation; that on the female
side, over whose head is the lunar crescent, to the moon- and earth-
goddess, the passive principle in creation. Both are attacked by a
winged dragon, the kakodoemon, or the evil principle. This is according
to the ancient Chaldean doctrine of two creations of living beings, the
one good and the other malign. The Chinese still think that an eclipse
is caused by the efforts of a furious dragon to destroy the sun and
moon; and Apollo, the sun-god, destroying the serpent Python, has
reappeared on our coin as St. George killing the dragon. Even Apollyon
appears in old paintings with huge wings, like those of a bat.

Having thus explained what appears to be the key to a wide range of
religious symbolism, and shown its application in many cases, we shall
further apply it to unlock the famous object of Assyrian worship.
Soon after the discoveries of Botta and Layard were published, it was
conjectured that this strange object, so continually represented
as being adored, might be the _asherah_ of the Hebrew scriptures,
translated "grove" in the English version. How far the view was correct
we shall now proceed to examine.

The religion of the East at a very remote period appears to have been
the worship of one God, under several names. The most primitive was _El,
Il, or Al_, = the strong, the mighty one; or its plural _Elohim_, as
expressing His many powers and manifestations. Another name was _Baal or
Bel_,--the lord, which also had a plural form, _Baalim_. The first word
is continually used in the Hebrew scriptures, and applied both to the
true God and the gods of the nations. Baal is only once thus applied,
Hosea ii. 16; yet Balaam, inspired by God, prophesies from the high
places of Baal. This name, though so appropriate to the Almighty,
became abhorrent to the Jews when it was so frequently associated with
idolatry, and a new cognomen, or "the Supreme," was adopted by them,
viz., Jehovah, = the Eternal, the Ever-Living One, the Creator;
see Exod. iii. 14. "Baal" was the supreme god of all the great
Syro-Phoenician nations, with the insignificant exception of the Jews;
and when the latter migrated into Canaan they were surrounded on all
sides by his worshippers. Towns, temples, men, including even a son of
Saul, of David and of Jonathan, viz., Eshbaal, Meribbaal, and Beelida,
were called after him. As the sun-god, Baal-Hammon, Song of Sol. viii.
11; 2 Kings xxiii. 5; he was worshipped on high places, Num. xxii. 41;
and an image of the sun appeared over his altars, 2 Chron. xxxiv. 4. As
the generative and productive power, he was worshipped under the form
of the phallus, Baal-Peor; and youths and maidens, even of high birth,
prostituted themselves in his honour or service; Num. xxv.; 2 Kings
xxiii. 7. As the creator, he was represented to be of either or of both
sexes; and Arnobius tells us that his worshippers invoked him thus:

     "Hear us, Baal! whether thou be a god or a goddess."

Though he is of the masculine gender in the Hebrew, the lord, yet Baal
is called [------], = the lady, in the Septuagint; Hos. ii. 8; Zeph. i.
4; and in the New Testament, Romans xi. 4. At the licentious worship
of this androgyne, or two-sexed god, the men on certain occasions wore
female garments, whilst the women appeared in male attire, brandishing
weapons. Each of this god's names had a female counterpart; and the
feminine form of _Baal was Beltis, Ishtar, and Ashtarte_. As he was the
sun-god, she was the moon-goddess. Now, whilst the masculine name (as
Bël or Bâl, Baal, Baalim,) appears nearly one hundred times in the
Hebrew Old Testament, the feminine equivalent is only found three times
in the singular Ashtoreth, and six times in the plural Ashtaroth;
always in association with Baal-worship. Knowing, as we do, the immense
diffusion of her worship amongst the Babylonians, Assyrians, and
Phoenicians, this appears strange. There is a word of the feminine
gender occurring in the Hebrew twenty-four times, viz., Asherah or
_Asharah_; plural, _Asharth_ translated in the Septuagint and Latin
vulgate, a tree, or "grove," in which they have been followed by most
modern versions, including the English. This supplies the void, for
_Asharah_ may be regarded as another name for the goddess _Ashtoreth_,
as is plainly seen by the following passages: "They forsook Jehovah
and served Baal and Ashtoreth;" Judges ii. 18; whilst in the following
chapter we read, "They forgot Jehovah their God, and served the Baalim
and the Asharoth;" iii. 7. What, then, was the _Asharah_? It was of
wood, and of large size; the Jews were ordered to cut it down; Exod.
xxxiv. 18, etc.; and Gideon offered a bullock as a burnt sacrifice with
the wood of the Asherah. Occasionally it was of stone. It was carved or
graven as an image; 2 Kings xxi. 7. It often stood close to the altar
of Baal; Judges vi. 25 and 80; 1 Kings xvi. 82, 88; 2 Chron. xxxiii.
8. Usually on high places and under shady trees; 1 Kings xiv. 28; Jer.
xvii. 2; but one was erected in the temple of Jehovah by Manasseh; 2
Kings xxi. 7. It had priests; 1 Kings xviii. 19; and its worship was as
popular as that of Baal; for whilst the priests of "the Baal" were four
hundred and fifty, those of "the Asherah" were four hundred, who ate at
the table of Queen Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Sidon. It was
sometimes surrounded with hangings, and was worshipped by both sexes
with licentious rites; 2 Kings xxiii. 7; Ezek. xvi. 16. As Baal was
associated with sun-worship, so was the Asherah with that of the moon; 2
Kings xxi. 8; 2 Chron. xxxiv. 4.

Besides these Asheroth, female emblems of Baal, there were Asherim,
male emblems of Baal, "symbolising his generative power" (Furst, Hebrew
Lexicon), which are mentioned sixteen times in the Hebrew scriptures.
It is only found in the plural, and must have been a multiple
representation of the singular, Asher, which means "to be firm, strong,
straight, prosperous, happy," * and cognate with the Phoenician (Osir),
"husband," "lord," an epithet of Baal.

     * The lupanars at Pompeii were distinguished by a sign over
     the street door, representing the erect phallus, painted or
     carved, and having the words underneath, "Hie habitat

Doubtless this was also identical with the Egyptian Osiris, = the sun,
= the phallus. He was said to have suffered death like the sun; and
Plutarch tells us that Isis, unable to discover all the remains of
her husband, consecrated the phallus as his representative. Thus "the
Asharim" were male symbols used in Baal-worship, and sometimes consisted
of multiple phalli, of which the branch carried by an Assyrian
priest, in Plate iii. Fig. 4, is a conventional form. They were then
counterparts of the "_multimammia_" of Greek and Roman worship.* This
is confirmed by a curious passage, 1 Kings xv. 13 (repeated 2 Chron. xv.
16). We learn (xiv. 28) that the Jews, under Rehoboam, son of Solomon,
having lapsed into idolatry, had "built them high places, images, and
Asharim ("groves," A. V.) on every high hill, and under every green
tree; and that there were also consecrated ones ("sodomites," A. V.) in
the land." But Asa, his brother, on succeeding to the throne, swept
away all these things, and (xv. 18) deposed the queen mother, Maachah,
because she had made a _miphletzeth_ to an Asherah ("an idol in a
grove," A. V.) _miphletzeth_, is rendered by the Vulgate "simulacrum
Priapi." The word is derived from _palatz_, "to be broken," "terrified,"
or the cognate, _phalash, palash_, "to break or go through," "to open
up a way;" a word or root found in the Hebrew, Phoenician, Syriac, and
Ethiopie. Doubtless the Greek [------] _phallus_, was hence derived,
since it has no independent meaning in Greek; and Herodotus and Diodorus
expressly assert that the chief gods of Greece and their mysteries,
especially the Dionysiac or Bacchic revels, in which the _phallus_ was
carried in procession, were derived from the east. Compare also the
Latin _pales_, English _pale, pole_, = May_pole_. A similar word, with a
corresponding meaning, exists in the Sanscrit. Thus, then, according to
the Hebrew scriptures, there were two chief symbols used in the worship
of Baal, one male, the other female.

See Figs. 15, 16.

We can now look upon the very symbols themselves, which were so
used--perhaps the most remarkable in existence. It is well known that
the Chaldeans, from whom all other nations derived their religion,
astronomy, and science, gave the name of Bel or Baal to their chief
god. In the most ancient inscription yet deciphered, written in the
Babylonian and Arcadian languages, a king rules by "the favour of Bel."
Another name for Baal is Assur, or Asher, from whom Assyria is named.
In the cuneiform inscriptions of Sennacherib, the great king of Assyria,
Nineveh is called "the city of Bel," and "the city beloved by Ishtar."
In another inscription he says of the king of Egypt:--"the terror of
Ashur and Ishtar overcame him and he fled." Assurbanipal thus commences
his annals "The great warrior, the delight of Assur and Ishtar, the
royal offspring am I." In a cuneiform inscription of Nebobelzitri, we
read:--"Nineveh the city, the delight of Ishtar, wife of Bel." Again,
"Beltis, the consort of Bel." "Assur and Beltis, the gods of Assyria."
Thus we see that Baal and Bel were identical with Assur, and Ashur.
Doubtless, then, "_Asherah_" is the last name with the feminine
termination (as Ish = man, Ishah=woman), and is identical with Ishtar,
Ashteroth, Astarte and Beltis. The Septuagint has rendered "Asherah" by
"Astarte," in 2 Chron. xv. 16, and the Vulgate by "Astaroth," in Judges
iii. 7. Herodotus described (b.c. 450) the great temple of Belus at
Babylon, and its seven stages dedicated to the sun, moon, and planets,
on the top of which was the shrine. This contained no statue, but there
was a golden couch, upon which a chosen female lay, and was nightly
visited by the god. Now, therefore, that the palaces of the Assyrian
kings, and their "chambers of imagery," have been by great good fortune
laid open to us, we might expect to discover the long-lost symbolism of
Baal-worship. And so we have.

To commence with the simplest. The (Ashcrim) is seen as the mystic
palm-tree, the tree of life, Fig. 99; the phallic pillar putting
forth branches like flames, Fig. 65; and the tree with seven phalloid
branches, so common on Assyrian and Babylonian seals, Plate xvii., Fig.
4. See also the remarkable Syrian medals, Plate xvii., Fig. 2, on which
is represented Baal as the sun-god, holding the bow, and surrounded by

Or, least conventional of all, the simple phallus, of which there are
two remarkable specimens in the British Museum. Each of these is about
two and a half feet high, and once guarded the bounds of an estate.
Among the Greeks and Romans, boundaries were also marked by a phallic
statue of Hermes, the god of fertility. These Assyrian emblems have
doubtless often been honoured with rural sacrifice. Themselves the most
expressive symbol of life, they are also covered with its conventional

[Illustration: 207]

A back view of one is given, Figure 174. The body is mainly occupied
with a full length portrait of the great king. For as the Assyrians
represented the Deity, the source of all life, by the phallus, so the
monarch was the god of this lower world, the incarnation of God
on earth. He was the source of life to the empire, and as such was
addressed--"O king, live for ever" (Dan. v. 10). He, like the gods,
never dies. "_Le Roi est mort; Vive le Roi_" The ensigns of royalty were
also those of the creator-god. Accordingly, his garments and crown
are embroidered with that sacred emblem, the Asherah. He bears the
strung-bow and arrows, emblems of virile power, borne afterwards by the
sun-god Apollo, and the western son of Venus. An erect serpent occupies
the other side, and ends with forky tongue near the orifice. The _glans_
is covered with symbols. On the summit is a triad of sun emblems;
beneath are three altars, over two of which are the glans-shaped caps,
covered with bulls' horns, always worn by the Assyrian guardian angels,
and intense emblems of the male potency. For in ancient symbolism, _a
part of a symbol stands for the whole_; as here, the horns represent the
bull, and the glans the phallus. Above the third altar is a tortoise,
whose protruded head and neck reminded the initiated of the phallus; and
the altars are covered with a pattern drawn from the tortoise scales. We
have, besides, a vase with a rod inserted, emblem of sexual union, and
a cock, with wings and plumage ruffled, running after a hen in amorous
heat. The glans only of the other is copied.

[Illustration: 208]

Fig. 175. At the top are the sun-symbols, as before. Beneath is the
horse-shoe-like head-dress of Isis, and there are two altars marked with
the tortoise-emblem in front. Over both rises the erect serpent, and
upon one lies the head of an arrow or a dart, both male symbols.
The _miphletzeth_ which Queen Maachah placed in or near the Asherah,
probably resembled these Assyrian phalli, or the Asherim.

And now we come to the Asherah, a much more complex and difficult
symbol than any other which we have named. This object has long puzzled
antiquarians, and though it is continually recurring in the sculptures
from Nineveh, it has not yet been fully explained. In Fig. 176 we see it
worshipped by human figures, with eagles' heads and wings, who present
to it the pine-cone, = the testis, and the basket, =the scrotum (?),
intense emblems of the male creator.

[Illustration: 209]

Fig. 177 it is adored by the king and his son or successor, with their
attendant genii. The kings present towards it a well-known symbol of
life and good fortune, the fist with the forefinger extended, or
"the phallic hand." Here, then, we have evidently the Asherah, or
Ashtaroth-symbol, the female Baal, the life-producer, "the door" whence
life issues to the world. As such the goddess is here symbolised as an
arched door-way. In the Phonician alphabet, the fourth letter, _daleth_,
= a door, has the shape of a tent-door, as on the Moabite stone, A, and
also in the Greek [------] But another form, perhaps as ancient, is D,
which, when placed in its proper position, would be [--], the very
form of the Asherah.* In the plural, this word stands for the _labia
pudendi_, [--------], "because it shut not up the _doors_ of the womb,"
Job iii. 10.** We infer from Numbers xxv. 6-8, that in the rites
of Baal-peor, the _Kadeshoth_, or women devoted to the god, offered
themselves to his worshippers each in a peculiar bower or small arched
tent, called a _qubbah_. The part also through which Phinehas drove his
spear (see Num. xxv. 8), the woman's vulva, is also called _qobbah_, the
one word being derived from the other, according to Onkelos, Aquila, and
others. Qubbah means, according to Fürst, Heb. Lex., "something hollow
and arched, an arched tent, like the Arabic El. Kubba, whence the
Spanish _Al-cova_, and our _Alcove_." In the Latin also, the word
_fornix_, a vault, an arch, meant a brothel, and from it was derived
_fornicatio_. Qubbah is translated by the LXX., kaminos, "an oven or
arched furnace" (Liddell and Scott); but it meant also the female parts.
See Herodotus v. 92 (7). Thus, then, the Alcove was itself a symbol of
woman, as though a place of entrance and emergence, and whence new life
issues to the world. And when the male worshipper of Baal entered to
the _kadeshah_, the living embodiment of the goddess, the analogy to the
Asherah became complete, as we shall now show.

     * The first letter, Aleph, = an ox, is, even on the Moabite
     stone, written thus, and has become the modern A. In the
     earlier hieroglyph it must have been thus V. The Egyptian
     hieroglyph for ten is [] Compare the Greek [--] and Latin

     ** The first of the Orphic Hymns is addressed to the goddess
     Artemisias (Prothnraia) or the Door-keeper, who presided
     over childbirths, like the Roman Diana Lucina.

The central object in the Assyrian "grove" is a male date-palm, which
was well known as an emblem of Baal, the sun, the phallus, and life.
This remarkable tree, _Tamar_ in Phoenician and Hebrew, the _phoenix_
in Greek, was formerly abundant in Palestine and the neighbouring
regions. The word _Phoenicia_ (Acts xi. 19, xv. 8) is derived from
_phoinix_, as the country of palms; like the "_Idumeo palmo_" of Virgil.
Palmyra, the city of the sun, was called in the Hebrew _Tamar_ (1
Kings ix. 18). In Vespasian's famous coin, "_Judoa capta_," Judoa is
represented as a female sitting under a palm-tree. The tree can at once
be identified by its tall, straight, branchless stem, of equal
thickness throughout, crowned at the top with a cluster of long, curved,
feather-like branches, and by its singularly wrinkled bark. All these
characteristics are readily recognised in the highly conventional forms
of the religious emblem, even in the ornament on the king's robe, fig.
174. The date-palm is dioecious, the female trees, which are sometimes
used as emblems, being always distinguished by the clusters of date
fruit. "Thy stature is like to a palm-tree, thy breasts to clusters"
(Cant. vii. 7). "The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree" (Ps.
xcii. 12), fruitful and ever green. "They are upright as the palm-tree,
but speak not" (Jer. x. 8-5). The prophet is evidently describing the
making of an Asherah. There was a Canaanite city called Baal-Tamar, =
Baal, the palm-tree, designated so, it is probable, from the worship of
Baal there "under the form of a priapus-column," says Fürst, Heb. Lex.
The real form was doubtless an "Asherim," a modified palm-tree, as we
have already shown. Palm-branches have been used in all ages as
emblems of life, peace, and victory. They were strewn before Christ.
Palm-Sunday, the feast of palms, is still kept. Even within the present
century, on this festival, in many towns of France, women and children
carried in procession at the end of their palm-branches a phallus
made of bread, which they called, undisguisedly, "la pine," whence the
festival was called "La Fête des Pinnes." The "pine" having been blest
by the priest, the women carefully preserved it during the following
year as an amulet. (Dulaure, _Hist, des differens Cultes._)

[Illustration: 213]

Again, the Greek name for the palm-tree, _phoenix_, was also the name
of that mythical Egyptian bird, sacred to Osiris, and a symbol of
the resurrection. With some early Christian writers, Christ was "the
Phoenix." The date-palm is figured as a tree of life on an Egyptian
sepulchral tablet, older than the Exodus, now preserved in the museum at
Berlin. Two arms issue from the top of the tree; one of which presents
a tray of dates to the deceased, whilst the other gives him water, "the
water of life." The tree of life is represented by a date-palm on some
of the earliest Christian mosaics at Rome. Something very like the
Assyrian Asherah, or sacred emblem, was sculptured on the great doors of
Solomon's temple, by Hiram, the Tyrian (1 Kings vii. 18-21). We read "he
carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm-trees and open flowers,
and spread gold upon the cherubims and palm-trees" (1 Kings vi. 82-35).
He also erected two phallic pillars in front of the Temple, Jachin
and Boaz, = It stands--In strength. No wonder Solomon fell to worship
Astarte, Chemosh, and Milcom.

Although to our modern ideas the mystical tree, symbol of life and
immortality, seems out of place in Judaism, yet no sooner did the
Jews possess a national coinage under the Maccabees than the palm-tree
reappears, _always with seven branches_ (like the golden candlestick,
Ex. xxv.), as on the shekel represented Plate xvii., Fig. 4. The
Assyrian tree has _always_ the same number, and the tufts of foliage
(symbolising the entire female tree) which deck the margins of the
mystic D--apt emblems of fertility--have also invariably seven branches.
This may remind us of the seven visible spheres that move around our
earth "in mystic dance," and of Balak's offering, upon seven altars,
seven bulls and seven rams (Num. xxiii. 1; Rev. ii. 1) The mystic door
is also barred, like the Egyptian sistrum carried by the priestesses of
Isis, to represent the inviolable purity and eternal perfection which
were associated with the idea of divinity. When Mary, the mother of
Jesus, took the place in Christendom of "the great goddess," the dogmas
which propounded her immaculate conception and perpetual virginity
followed as a matter of course.

Thus, then, we explain the greatest symbol in Eastern worship,--it is
the "Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden," which has remained so
long a mystery. To Dr. Inman belongs the distinguished merit of having
first broken ground in the right direction. In his _Ancient Faiths_,
vol. 1, 1868, he identified the Assyrian "Asherah" with the female "door
of life," and pointed out its analogy to the barred sistrum. We have
seen that it is really much more complex, being precisely analogous in
meaning to the famous _crux ansata_ (Fig. 170), the central mystery of
Egyptian worship; to the lingam or lingyoni of India (Fig. 109), the
great emblem of Siva-worship; and to the caduceus of Greece and Rome. As
represented on the Assyrian sculptures, it is always substantially
the same. Probably this stereotyped form was the result of a gradual
refinement upon some rude primitive type, perhaps as coarse as that seen
by Captain Burton in the African idol-temple.

To exhibit all the strange developments and modifications which this
idea has assumed in the religious symbolism of Eastern and Western
nations would require a large volume. But the subject is so rich in
varied interest that we cannot conclude without taking a glance at it.
First, the simple O, barred, is reproduced with a contraction towards
the base, as in the Indian "yoni," and the Egyptian sistrum, used in
the worship of Isis. Second, within the O was represented the goddess
herself, as revealed within her own symbol. This is illustrated in
Plate xvii., Fig. 5, where Demeter or Ceres is thus depicted, with
her cornucopia, from a bronze coin of Damascus. Thirdly, but much more
commonly, the goddess holds in her hands emblems of the male potency in
creation, and thus completes the symbol. As in the coin figured Plate
xvii., Fig. 8, the goddess, standing within the O, the portico of her
temple, holds in her right hand the cross, that most ancient emblem of
the male and of life. In the beautiful Greek coin of Sidon next
figured, the goddess--evidently Astarte, the moon-goddess, the Queen of
Heaven--stands on a ship, the mystic Argha or Ark, holding in one hand a
crozier, in the other the cross. (Plate xvii., Fig. 7.)

[Illustration: 217]

Under Christianity, the Virgin Mary, who, as Queen of Heaven, stands on
the crescent moon, is pictured beneath the mystic doorway, with (the God
as) a male child in her arms. See Plate xviii., copied from the woodcut
title to the _Psalter of the Blessed Virgin_, printed at Czenna, in old
Prussia, 1492. Like Isis, she is the mother and yet the spouse of God,
"clothed with the sun, and having the moon under her feet" (Rev. xii.
1). The upper half of the picture is very like the Assyrian scenes.
On either side is a king, Frederick III. and his son the Emperor
Maximilian, at their devotions. The alcove is of roses, an emblem of
virginity. The famous Mediæval "Romaunt de la Rose" turns upon this.
Among the many titles given to "the Virgin" in Mediæval times, we find
_Santa Maria della Rosa_, that flower being consecrated to her. Hence it
is often represented in her hand. Dante writes

     "Here is the Rose,
     Wherein the Word Divine was made incarnate."

In Plate xviii., the Virgin goddess is seated with the God-child in
a bower, exactly the shape of the Assyrian, composed of fruits highly
significant of sex, as has already been explained. In some Hindoo
pictures, the child is naked, having the member erect, and also making
the phallic hand, with the right forefinger erected. (Plate xiv., Fig.

[Illustration: 219]

In other conventional forms we have male symbols only within the female
O. This is a very numerous class. In the Fig. 3, Plate xvii., we see the
fir-tree or pine take the place of the palm-tree, and in Fig. 6, Plate
xvii., the cone. On this remarkable medal of Cyprus is a representation
of the temple of Venus at Paphos, famous even in the days of Homer.
(Odyss. viii. 862.) The worship of that divinity is said to have been
imported into Cyprus from the East. The goddess united both sexes in her
own person, and was served by castrated priests. We see here, within the
innermost sanctum of the temple, a cone as emblem of the male; and the
meaning is further pointed by the sun-emblem above, inserted within the
crescent moon.

Let us next examine how the cone came to be used as a masculine emblem.
If we turn to Figs. 174 and 175, it will be seen that the "glans" was
particularly honoured as the head of the phallus; it was also the part
dedicated to God by effusion of blood in the rite of circumcision. This
"acorn" is conical or dome-shaped, and thus--a part being taken for the
whole--the cone or pyramid was used as a conventional symbol of the male
creator. Placed on a stem it is frequently represented as worshipped on
Assyrian bas reliefs. See Fig. 177. It was also a symbol of fire, the
sun, and life; as such it formed a fitting monument for the Egyptian
kings. Our word pyramid is from the Greek _puramis_, itself derived from
pur, Jire, and puros, wheat, because pyramid-shaped cakes of wheat and
honey were used in the Bacchic Fig. 177. rites. It played an important
part in sun-worship. The emperor Heliogabalus (who, as his name implies,
had been a priest of Baal, the sun-god, in Syria,) established the
Syrian worship at Rome. He himself drove the golden chariot of the sun,
drawn by six white horses, through the streets of Rome to a splendid
new temple on the Palatine mount, the god being represented by a conical
black stone, said to have fallen from heaven; and which the emperor
removed from a temple of the sun, at Emesa, in Syria. At a subsequent
period, an image of the moon-goddess, or Astarte, was brought by his
orders from a celebrated fane at Carthage to Rome, and there solemnly
married with licentious rites to the sun-god, amidst general rejoicing.*

     * In Astrology, the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus was
     considered the most fortunate of all; such as kings and
     princes should be born under.

A curious parallel to these mystic nuptials of the Assyrian god and
goddess may be found in some of the religious ceremonies of the modern
Hindoos. Fergusson tells us that "the most extraordinary buildings
connected with Hindu temples are the vast pillared colonnades or
choultries. By far their most important application is when used as
nuptial halls, in which the mystic union of a male and female divinity
is celebrated once a year."

[Illustration: 220]

Again, in Indian mythology, the pyramid plays an important part. It
belongs to Siva, = the sun, = fire, = the phallus, = life. By one
complex symbol, very common on ancient Hindoo monuments in China and
Thibet, the universe was thus represented. Notice the upward gradation.
Earth + water = this globe. The creator-god, whose emblem, flame, mounts
upwards, is the author and representative of all life upon it; he is the
connecting link, united by the crescent moon with heaven. The arrow-
or spear- head inserted within the crescent is an earth emblem of Siva;
like the lingam it typified the divine source of life, and also the
doctrine that perfect wisdom was to be found only in the combination of
the male and female principles in nature. It decorates the roofs of the
Buddhist monasteries in Thibet, and like the sacred lotus flower and the
linga, both of which became emblems of Buddha, was derived from older
faiths. Other interpretations may suggest themselves. This will enable
us to understand the remarkable sculptures of the second or third
century, from the Amravati Tope, Plate xix., which present so many
points in common with the religious symbols of the Chaldeans. In Fig. 2
we see a congregation of males and females, the sexes being separated,
worshipping a linga, or stone conical pillar, on the front of which is
sculptured the sacred tree, with branches like flames; three symbols of
life in one. It rises from a throne, on the seat of which are placed
the two emblems of earth and water. In the other figure, the sacred tree
takes the place of the linga, rising above the throne, as if from the
trisul or trident, male emblems of Siva. Winged figures, Garudas, attend
it above, floating over the heads of the worshippers. An intrusion of
the newer faith is also to be recognised, as the feet of Buddha are
sculptured before the throne.

In the mysteries of Mithra, the symbols in Fig. 178 were also employed.
They represented the elements to which the soul ought to be successively
united in passing through the new birth.

[Illustration: 221]

We will add but two more emblems, culled from medieval heraldry, Figs.
179 and 180, in both of which the Asherah, the "grove" of Baal-worship,
will be at once recognised; the arrow and the cross, symbols of the male
creator, taking the place of the mystic palm-tree.

In all these, from the rudest to the most complex, we are thus able to
trace a common idea, viz., a feeling after God, as the Life and Light of
the Universe, and an attempt to express a common hope in visible forms.

[Illustration: 222]

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