Ever since it has accompanied men, it is clear that the penis is more than just a part of the body. A walk through history shows us the divine cult of penis worship and phallicity.
A few years ago finding in Germany suprised researchers. They discovered the oldest phallic depiction to date. It is a 19 cm high and almost 3 cm wide precisely shaped stone in the shape of a phallus. Its use is not precisely defined, but scientists do not rule out that it may also have served as a sex tool. The age of the finding is estimated at about 28,000 years.
Slightly younger cave depictions of the erectile penis, as symbol of life, are also known. They are interpreted as if the phallus represents the creator of the Universe.
We are aware that different people throughout history have depicted male genitals very vividly and more or less explicitly.
For instance- the ancient Egyptians recognized fertility in the erectile image of the penis. The god of fertility was also exemplified by Osiris, whose legend says that his posthumous parts were scattered throughout Egypt; except for the penis, which was eaten by a fish.
Nevertheless, Osiris’ wife managed to collect the parts and revive him. Instead of a lost penis, she gave him a wooden replica. Myth tells us, that she was even supposed to conceive successfully.
One of the earliest Egyptian deities, Min, the so-called itiphalic creature, was depicted with a huge upright penis held in his hands.
It’s well known that the ancient Greeks did not hide their enthusiasm for sexuality.
So it was no surprise when a pile of penises was discovered during an archaeological excavation of ancient Pompeii.
Even today, the condition of painful and prolonged erections is called “priapism”. The term derives from the name of the Greek god of fertility, Priapus, who is depicted with a disproportionately large penis. Priapus is said to have even had his own cult in Pompeii, and above all, many depicted statues of phallic shapes were discovered at his expense. Chimneys, bells, knockers… all in erect penis shape.
A mosaic of a young man holding an upright erectile penis was discovered in a Roman toilet in Turkey. It is said to be Narcissus, only in this depiction his attention is completely focused on his upright phallus.
The dynamics of depicting phalluses in ancient Greece and Rome were quite diverse.
The Greek connection with aesthetics dictated the depiction of smaller phalluses. Wide shoulders, strong breasts, light complexion and a small penis. This was the ancient Greek aesthetic ideal. Large penises were considered grotesque.
Zeus and Poseidon, both depicted with perfect athletic bodies, also have a perfect crotch, a perfectly sculpted smaller penis, and anatomically almost too perfect testicles.
What all these depictions mean is certainly subject to many psychoanalytic and historical interpretations. It is clear that the phallus has historically been associated with fertility. Without it life ends, so the penis as such is also the creator of life. The sky-reaching penile body is associated with uprightness and even integrity. For the ancient Greeks, it may indicate a homoerotic atmosphere or even a mockery of their own mythology.
The cult of penis worship certainly reached its peak in Asia and on the Indian subcontinent. Shiva, the supreme god in Shivaism, is most often worshiped as a lingam. It is a complex phallic symbol representing the original energy.
Complex esoterics, however, is also behind the extensive phallus worship in Bhutan. Explicitly depicted penises are a typical totem of good energy when moving into a new home. According to the Bhutanese belief, a unique relic of wooden penises cares for the well-being, health and peace in the family.
With the entry into the Middle Ages, the body lost its permission for pleasures and all its once worshiped attributes were forbidden, punished and disgraced. At least that was the way to make an impression in the eyes of the public. Lust has become dangerous, and the temptation was probably only stronger fort he same reason.
The church took control of the Law and people’s life. The so-called theological penis developed. The clergy taught that the purpose of sex was reproduction and the pleasure associated with it was negligible. Mentality that persists somewhere even today, in the Middle Ages taught that masturbation was a sin. Touching and exploring your own body is a ticket to hell.
Perhaps the most famous phallic depiction of that time is the so called Phallus Tree.
It is a motif depicting a tree with phalluses arranged across all it’s branches. The phalluses are shown in a variety of sizes, all in an erectile state and some even include the scrotum.
The phallus tree is a famous motif of that time in Western Europe. Its meaning is usually interpreted as the link between infertility and impotence on the one hand, and witchcraft and even Satanism on the other.
Today, we can find explicit images of the male genitalia at every turn. The first sketches on freshly fallen snow, that well-known one-way outline on public and school toilets,… And uninvited messages, the so-called dick picks in the inbox, as an expression of modern flirting :/
Its value is often reduced to a “male joystick” or a feminist antithesis. The penis has also become a manifest organ of patriarchal society. All this negative and banalized connotation, however, deprives him of the altar value he once assigned.
Let's again worship phalluses!
Let us return these upright deities to our shelves, worshiping them as an ancient connection between man and woman. As a symbol of human life and connection with nature. Like a fluid life that changes form every day but is always in balance. It encourages us to rise upright when we fall and comforts us that even if we are not always full of power, it is nothing serious, as life is balance. Life is the constantly in changing.
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