THE yoni and phallus were worshiped by nearly all ancient peoples as appropriate symbols of God's creative power. The Garden of Eden, the Ark, the Gate of the Temple, the Veil of the Mysteries, the vesica piscis or oval nimbus, and the Holy Grail are important yonic symbols; the pyramid, the obelisk, the cone, the candle, the tower, the Celtic monolith, the spire, the campanile, the Maypole, and the Sacred Spear are symbolic of the phallus. In treating the subject of Priapic worship, too many modern authors judge pagan standards by their own and wallow in the mire of self-created vulgarity. The Eleusinian Mysteries--the greatest of all the ancient secret societies--established one of the highest known standards of morality and ethics, and those criticizing their use of phallic symbols should ponder the trenchant words of King Edward III, "Honi soit qui mal y pense."
The obscene rites practiced by the later Bacchanalia and Dionysia were no more representative of the standards of purity originally upheld by the Mysteries than the orgies occasionally occurring among the adherents of Christianity till the eighteenth century were representative of primitive Christianity. Sir William Hamilton, British Minister at the Court of Naples, declares that in 1780, Isernia, a community of Christians in Italy, worshiped with phallic ceremonies the pagan god Priapus under the name of St. Cosmo. (See Two Essays on the Worship of Priapus, by Richard Payne Knight.)
Father, mother, and child constitute the natural trinity. The Mysteries glorified the home as the supreme institution consisting of this trinity functioning as a unit. Pythagoras likened the universe to the family, declaring that as the supreme fire of the universe was in the midst of its heavenly bodies, so, by analogy, the supreme fire of the world was upon its hearthstones. The Pythagorean and other schools of philosophy conceived the one divine nature of God to manifest itself in the threefold aspect of Father, Mother, and Child. These three constituted the Divine Family, whose dwelling place is creation and whose natural and peculiar symbol is the 47th problem of Euclid. God the Father is spirit, God the Mother is matter, and God the Child--the product of the two--represents the sum of living things born out of and constituting Nature. The seed of spirit is sown in the womb of matter, and by an immaculate (pure) conception the progeny is brought into being. Is not this the true mystery of the Madonna holding the Holy Babe in her arms? Who dares to say that such symbolism is improper? The mystery of life is the supreme mystery, revealed in all of its divine dignity and glorified as Nature's per feet achievement by the initiated sages and seers of all ages.
The prudery of today, however, declares this same mystery to be unfit for the consideration of holy-minded people. Contrary to the dictates of reason, a standard has been established which affirms that innocence bred of ignorance is more to be desired than virtue born of knowledge. Eventually, however, man will learn that he need never be ashamed of truth. Until he does learn this, he is false to his God, to his world, and to himself. In this respect, Christianity has woefully failed in its mission. While declaring man's body to be the living temple of the living God, in the same breath it asserts the substances and functions of this temple to be unclean and their study defiling to the sensitive sentiments of the righteous. By this unwholesome attitude, man's body--the house of God--is degraded and defamed. Yet the cross itself is the oldest of phallic emblems, and the lozenge-shaped windows of cathedrals are proof that yonic symbols have survived the destruction of the pagan Mysteries. The very structure of the church itself is permeated with phallicism. Remove from the Christian Church all emblems of Priapic origin and nothing is left, for even the earth upon which it stands was, because of its fertility, the first yonic symbol. As the presence of these emblems of the generative processes is either unknown or unheeded by the majority, the irony of the situation is not generally appreciated. Only those conversant with the secret language of antiquity are capable of understanding the divine significance of these emblems.