If you ever visit my home you will become aware of two things very quickly. First, that our hallway is a dark shade of green and second, that a beautiful glass phallus will appear immediately to your right the moment you enter the living room. This can be jarring for some people. An altar or shrine with a few statues on it and an incense holder is something people can easily understand. But there is something all together foreign, lewd, and dare I say terrifying about seeing a penis given the same place of reverence as an offering bowl.
In reality, phallic worship is nothing new and any Dionysian, Hellenist, or Romana worth their salt knows the various roles phalli have played within our religious and mystical frameworks. Our Paganism these days seems rather sanitized in comparison. While we have embraced feminine sexuality, celebrated the mysteries of the Goddesses, and worked to bridge the gaps of gender-based inequality within our community (and perhaps not getting far enough) I’ll put it plainly;
Modern Paganism appears to be pretty scared of cock.
And maybe with good reason. Collected epigrams from antiquity show Priapos, son of Dionysos and Aphrodite, threatening trespassers in his fields with brutal sodomy in retaliation for the offense;
““… If I do seize you . . . you shall be so stretched that you will think your anus never had any wrinkles.”
Even before some Feminists classified the penis as a weapon, it was already seen as one. Dicks were dangerous, active, fervent, and completely necessary for the continuation of civilization. And more than just the mythical symbolism where a large phallus denoted fertility in its more aggressive forms, the fear of a phallus and what it could do to someone, anyone, may have been part of the reason Herms and statues of Priapos were considered so effective against misfortune. Whether dangling as a set of wind-chimes (which I am seriously going to have to make one of these) or hung around the neck, the power of the prick protected you from all kinds of evils and could ensure your safety during travel.
But many in the past, just as the present, were aware of the connotations of lust attached to portrayals of an erection, even an “inactive” one. Deities like Dionysos, and Priapos in particular, have artwork prominently featuring their loins and the consequences that came because of them. That was one of their many roles. Some deities simply tell you to
“be fruitful and multiply” while others show you how it’s done.
And finally, as a woman who is attracted to Mr. Johnson’s johnson, I think penises are beautiful. I think there’s nothing better than a freshly washed jimmy, knee pads, and a good 20 minutes. The phallus on my altar represents my own lust, sexuality, and desires as much as it does the heavy sway of Priapos across the fields or Dionysos in the mountains. My altar didn’t feel very complete until I purchased the final glass piece to set upon it.
Put out or get out. What are your thoughts about phallic worship? Why has it seemed to slip to the wayside when so many cultures and religions have a place for it somewhere in the canon? Does the phallus have a place in modern Paganism?