The Phallus: Sacred Symbol of Male Creative Power
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Beginning with an overview of the symbolism of creative forces in general, The Phallus first examines the representation of male fertility in such forms as the menhirs or standing stones of prehistoric Europe; the Mahalinga and Svayambhu of India; and the ancient Greek Omphalos. The second part of the book surveys the presence of ithyphallic gods in archaic shamanistic religions (the Lord of the Animals), the Greek pantheon (Hermes, Priapus), and the Hindu deities (Ardhanarishvara, the androgyne). Danielou also explores the role of Shaivist and Dionysian initiatory rites in bringing men into communion with the creative forces of life. Illustrated throughout with photographs and line drawings of European and Indian art, The Phallus celebrates the expression of the masculine in the religious traditions of East and West.
Phallic imagery, in one form or another, may be found in the artistic traditions of virtually every world culture since prehistoric times. Alain Danielou here unveils the religious impulse underlying art that at first glance seems to have no purpose beyond the erotic.
concerning masculine processes need involve the female, nor include a knowledge of insemination or fertilization. They could be part of a specialized masculine mythology, perhaps told at the initiation of boys or at a convocation of hunters or as part of the male shaman's repertory" (Alexander Marshack, The Roots of Civilization, pp. 330-32). Beginning with the Magdalenian epoch (about 13,000 B.C. to about 6000 B.C) representations of the phallus multiplied. The site of Audoubert in the Pyrenees
his mysterious presence is felt, and it is there, within caverns or isolated locales, that shrines are built to him and offerings brought. Very close to Shiva in symbolism and legend, Dionysus is the god of vegetation, vines, wine, fruits, and seasonal renewal. As principle and master of animal and human fertility, he is embodied in the form of the bull, the serpent, and the lion, who appear often in his legends and his cult. He is called Phallen or Phallenos. By an interesting reversal
are even older. Corsica: Standing stones in phallic form, 3000 B.C. Photograph by Louis Trémellat. Egypt: Glyph showing Pharaoh's power of procreation, Temple of Karnak exterior wall. Luxor. Photograph by Jeanie Levitan The European megalithic complex precedes the Aegean contribution and the sexual significance of the menhirs is universally attested to.... the belief in the fertilizing virtues of the menhirs was still shared by European peasants at the beginning of the century. ... The
mortals." On the occasion of a marriage a sacrifice was offered to Fricco. Phallic images are to be found everywhere throughout Southeast Asia as well as in Indonesia and the entire Melanesian and Oceanic world. Phallic images can be encountered in the isles of Oceania, including Easter Island. Indonesia: Ithyphallic wood statuette. Collection of Jacques Cloarec. In Melanesia the phallus is worshiped in Sepik and in Borneo. Ithyphallic stone figures are still worshiped in New Guinea, whence a
the cup of the moon worn by Shiva on his forehead. It is the Ganges flowing from the head of the lingam. All forms of oblation and all beverages that give life or immortality are represented as forms of Shiva's sperm. Sperm is called bīja (the semen), soma (the oblation), chandra (the moon), and virya (the virile essence). "In Egypt the sun god Re-Atum-Khepri manufactured all of creation by masturbating" (Mircea Eliade, Histoire des croyances et des idées religieuses, p. 101). The sex organ is