E. (Elizabeth) Prentiss.

The Masculine cross, or, A history of ancient and modern crosses, and their connection with the mysteries of sex worship : also an account of the kindred phases of phallic faiths and practices online

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our God. The Meru of the Hindoos has the name of Sabha, or
the congregation, and the gods are seated upon it in the sides of

50 Masculine Cross.

the north. There is the holy city of Brahma-puri, where resides
Brahma with his court in the most pure and holy land of

Thus Meru is the worldly temple of the Supreme Being in an
embodied state, and of the Tri-Murtti or sacred Triad, which
resides on its summit, either in a single or threefold temple, or
rather in both : for it is all one, as they are one and three.
They are three, only with regard to men who have emerged out
of it they are but one : and their threefold temple and mountain,
with its three peaks, become one equally. Mythologists in the
west called the world, or Meru with his appendages, the temple
of God, according to Macrobius. Hence this most sacred temple
of the Supreme Being is generally typified by a cone or pyramid,
with either a single chapel on its summit, or with three ; either
with or without steps.

This worldly temple is also considered by the followers of
Buddha as the tomb of the son of the spirit of heaven. His
bones, or limbs, were scattered all over the face of the earth, like
those of Osiris and Jupiter Zagreus, To collect them was the
first duty of his descendants and followers, and then to entomb
them. Out of filial piety, the remembrance of this mournful
search was yearly kept up by a fictitious one, with all possible
marks of grief and sorrow, till a priest came and announced that
the sacred relics were at last found. This is practised to this day
by several Tartarian tribes of the religion of Buddha ; and the
expression of the bones of the son of the spirit of heaven is
peculiar to the Chinese, and some tribes in Tartary."

Hindu writers represent Narayana moving, as his name im-
plies, on the waters, in the character of the first male, and the
principle of all nature, which was wholly surrounded in the be-
ginning by tamas, or darkness, the Chaos and primordial Night
of the Greek mythologists, and, perhaps, the Thaumaz or Thamas

Masculine Cross. 51

of the ancient Egyptians ; the Chaos is also called Pracriti, or
crude Nature, and the male deity has the name of Purusha, from
whom proceeded Sacti, or, the power of containing or con-
ceiving ; but that power in its first state was rather a tendency or
aptitude, and lay dormant and inert until it was excited by the
bija, or vivifying principle, of the plastic Iswara. This power,
or aptitude, of nature is represented under the symbol of the
yoni, or bhaga, while the animating principle is expressed by the
linga : both are united by the creative power, Brahma ; and the
yoni has been called the navel of Vishnu — not identically, but
nearly; for, though it is held in the Vedanta that the divine
spirit penetrates or pervades all nature, and though the Sacti be
considered as an emanation from that spirit, yet the emanation
is never wholly detached from its source, and the penetration is
never so perfect as to become a total union or identity. In an-
other point of view Brahma corresponds with the Chronos, or
Time of the Greek mythologists : for through him generations
pass on successively, ages and periods are by him put in motion,
terminated and renewed, while he dies and springs to birth
alternately ; his existence or energy continuing for a hundred of
his years, during which he produces and devours all beings of
less longevity. Vishnu represents water, or the humid principle ;
and Iswara fire, which recreates or destroys, as it is differently
applied ; Prithivi, or earth, and Ravi, or the sun, are severally
trimurtis, or forms of the three great powers acting jointly and
separately, but with different natures and energies, and by their
mutual action excite and expand the rudiments of material
substances. The word murti, or form, is exactly synonymous with
ctScoAa, of the supreme spirit, and Homer places the idol of
Hercules in Elysium with other deceased heroes, though the God
himself was at the same time enjoying bUss in the heavenly
mansions. Such a murti, say the Hindus, can by no means

52 Masculine Cross.

affect with any sensation, either pleasing or painful, the bemg
from which it emanated ; though it may give pleasure or pain to
collateral emanations from the same source ; hence they offer
no sacrifices to the supreme Essence, of which our own souls are
images, but adore Kim with silent meditation ; while they make
frequent homas or oblations to fire, and perform acts of worship
to the sun, the stars, the earth, and the powers of nature, which
they consider as murtis, or images, the same in kind with our-
selves, but transcendently higher in degree. The moon is also a
great object of their adoration ; for, though they consider the
sun and earth as the two grand agents in the system of the
universe, yet they know their reciprocal action to be greatly
affected by the influence of the lunar orb according to their
several aspects, and seem even to have an idea of attraction
through the whole extent of nature. This system was known to
the ancient Egyptians ; for according to Diodorus, their A^ulcan,
or elemental fire, was the great and powerful deity, whose in-
fluence contributed chiefly toward the generation and perfection
of natural bodies ; while the ocean, by which they meant water
in a collective sense, afforded the nutriment that was necessary ;
and the earth was the vase, or capacious receptacle, in which
this grand operation of nature was performed : hence Orpheus
described the earth as the universal mother, and this is the true
meaning of the Sanscrit word Amba.

Further information respecting the male and female forms of
the Trimurti has been gathered as follows : —

Atropos (or Raudri), who is placed about the sun, is the
beginning of generation ; exactly like the destructive power, or
Siva among the Hindus, and who is called the cause and the
author of generation : Clotho, about the celestial moon, unites
and mixes : the last, or Lachesis, is contiguous to the earth :
but is greatly under the influence of chance. For whatever being

Masculine Cross.


Is destitute of a sensitive soul, does not exist of its own right;
but must submit to the affections of another principle : for the
rational soul is of its own right impassable, and is not obnoxious
to affections from another quarter. The sensitive soul is a
mediate and mixed being, like the moon, which is a compound
of what is above and of what is below ; and is to the sun in the
same relation as the earth is to the moon. Major Wilford
says : — ''Well Pliny might say, with great truth, the refinements
of the Druids were such, that one would be tempted to believe
that those in the east had largely borrowed from them. This
certainly surpasses everything of the kind I have ever read or
heard in India."

These three goddesses are obviously the Parcoe, or fates,
of the western mythologists, Avhich were three and one. This
female tri-unity is really the Tri-murtti of the Hindus, who call
it the Sacti, or energy of the male Tri-murtti, which in reality is
the same thing. Though the male tri-unity be oftener mentioned,
and better known among the unlearned than the other ; yet the
female one is always understood with the other, because the
Trimurtti cannot act, but through its energy, or Sacti, which is
of the feminine gender. The male Trimurtti was hardly known
in the west, for Jupiter, Pluto, and Neptune have no affinity with
the Hindu Trimurtti, except their being three in number. The
real Trimurtti of the Greeks and Latians consisted of Cronus,
Jupiter and Mars, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. To these three
gods were dedicated three altars in the upper part of the great
circus at Rome. These are brothers in their Calpas ; and
Cronus or Brahma, who has no Calpa of his own, produces them,
and of course may be considered as their father. Thus Brahma
creates in general ; but Vishnu in his own Calpa, assumes the
character of Cronus or Brahma to create, and he is really
Cronus or Brahma : he is then called Brahma-rupi Janardana,

54 Masculine Cross.

or Vishnu, the devourer of souls, with the countenance of
Brahma : he is the preserver of his own character.

These three were probably the Tripatres of the western myth-
ologists, called also Tritopatores, Tritogeneia, Tris-Endaimon,
Trisolbioi, Trismacaristoi, and Propatores. The ancients were
not well agreed who they were : some even said that they were
Cottus, Briareus, and Gyges, the sons of Tellus and the sun.
Others said that they were Amalcis, Prutocles, and Protocless,
the door-keepers and guardians of the minds. Their mystical
origin probably belonged to the secret doctrine, which the Roman
college, like the Druids, never committed to writing, and were
forbidden to reveal. As the ancients swore by them, there can
be little doubt but that they were the three great deities of their

Disentangling the somewhat intricate and involved web of
Indian mythology, and putting the matter as simply as possible,
we may say the deities are only three, whose places are the earth,
the intermediate region, and heaven, namely Fire, Air, and the
Sun. They are pronounced to be deities of the mysterious
names severally, and (Prajapati) the lord of creatures is the deity
of them collectively. The syllable O'ru intends every deity : it
belongs to (Paramasht'hi) him who dwells in the supreme abode ;
it pertains to (Brahma) the vast one ; to (Deva) God ; to
(Ad'hyatma) the superintending soul. Other deities, belonging
to those several regions, are portions of the three gods ; for they
are variously named and described on account of their different
operations, but there is only one deity, the Great Soul (INIaha-
natma). He is called the Sun, for he is the soul of all beings.
The Sun, the soul of (jagat) what moves, and of that which
is fixed ; other deities are portions of him.

The name given by the Indians to their Supreme Deity, or
Monad, is Brahm ; and notwithstanding the appearance of

Masculine Cross. 55

materialism in all their sacred books, the Brahmins never admit
that they uphold such a doctrine, but invest their deities with the
highest attributes. He is represented as the Vast One, self-
existing, invisible, eternal, imperceptible, the only deity, the
great soul, the over-ruling soul, the soul of all beings, and of
whom all other deities are but portions. To him no sacrifices
were ever offered ; but he was adored in silent meditation. He
triplicates himself into three persons or powers, Brahma, Vishnu,
and Siva, the Creator, the Preserver, and the Destroyer, or Re-
producer ; and is designated by the word Om or Aum by the
respective letters of which sacred triliteral syllable are expressed
the powers into which he triplicates himself.

The Metempsychosis and succession of similar worlds, alter-
nately destroyed by flood and fire and reproduced, were doctrines
universally received among the heathens : and by the Indians,
the world, after the lapse of each predestined period of its exist-
ence, was thought to be destroyed by Siva. At each appointed
time of its destruction, Vishnu ceases from his preserving care,
and sleeps beneath the waters : but after the allotted period,
from his navel springs forth a lotus to the surface, bearing
Brahma in its cup, who reorganises the world, and when he has
performed his work, retires, leaving to Vishnu its government
and preservation ; when all the same heroes and persons re-
appear, and similar events are again transacted, till the time
arrives for another dissolution.

After the construction of the world by Brahma, the office
of its preservation is assumed by Vishnu. His chief attribute is
Wisdom : he is the Air, Water, Humidity in general, Space, and
sometimes, though rarely. Earth : he is Time present, and the
middle : and he is the Sun in the evening and at night. His
colour is blue or blackish ; his Vahan, the Eagle named Garuda ;

^5. Masculine Cross.

his allotted place, the Air or intermediate region, and he sym-
bolises Unity. It is he who most commonly appears in the
Avatars or Incarnations, of which nine in number are recorded
as past : the most celebrated of which are his incarnations as
Mateya or the Fish Rama, Krishna, and Buddha : the tenth of
Kalki, or the Horse, is yet to come. It is from him that Brahma
springs when he proceeds to his office of creation.

The destroying and regenerating power, Siva, Maha-deva,
Iswara, or Routrem is regarded metaphysically as Justice, and
physically as Fire or Heat, and sometimes Water. He is the Sun
at noon : his colour is white, with a blue throat, but sometimes
red ; his Vahan is the bull, and his place of residence the heaven.
As destruction in the material world is Ijut change or production
in another form, and was so held by almost all the heathen
philosophers, we find that the peculiar emblems of Siva are, as
we have already shown, the Trident, the symbol of destruction ;
and the Linga or Phallus, of regeneration.

The three deities were called Trimurtti, and in the caverns of
Ellora they are united in a Triune bust. They are collectively
symbolized by the triangle. Vishnu, as Humidity personified, is
also represented by an inverted triangle, and Siva by a triangle
erect, as a personification of Fire ; while the Monad Brahm is
represented by the circle as Eternity, and by a point as having
neither length, nor breadth, as self-existing, and containing
nothing. The Brahmans deny materialism ; yet it is asserted by
Mr. Wilford, that, when closely interrogated on the title of Deva
or God, which their most sacred books give to the Sun, they
avoid a direct answer, and often contradict themselves and one
another. The supreme divinity of the Sun, however, is con-
stantly asserted in their scriptures ; and the holiest verse in the
Vedas, which is called the Gayatri, is: — "Let us adore the
supremacy of that divine sun, the Godhead, who illuminates all.

Masculine Cross. 57

who recreates all, from whom all proceed, to whom all must
return, whom we invoke to direct our understanding aright in our
j)rogress towards his holy seat,"

It has been said that in India is to be found the most ancient
form of that Trinitarian worship which prevails in nearly every
quarter of the known world. Be that as it may, it is not in India
where the most remarkable phase of the worship is to be found ;
for that we turn to Egypt. Here we meet wdth the strange fact
that no two cities worshipped the same triad. " The one remark-
able feature in nearly all these triads is that they are father,
mother, and son ; that is, male and female principles of nature,
with their product."

Mariette Bey says : — ''According to places, the attributes by
which the Divine Personage is surrounded are modified ; but in
each temple the triad would appear as a symbol destined to
affirm the eternity of being. In all triads, the principal god
gives birth to himself. Considered as a Father, he remains the
great god adored in temples. Considered as a Son, he becomes,
by a sort of doubling, the third person of the triad. But the
Father and the Son are not less the one god, while, being double,
the first is the eternal god ; the second is but the living symbol
destined to affirm the strength of the other. The father en-
genders himself in the womb of the mother, and thus becomes
at once his ow^n father and his own son. Thereby are expressed
the uncreatedness and the eternity of the being who has had no
beginning, and who shall have no end."

Generally speaking, the gods of Egypt were grouped in sets
of three, each city having its own Trinity. Thus in Memphis we
find Ptah, Pasht and Month ; in Thebes, Amun-Ra, Athor and
Chonso ; in Ethiopia, Noum, Sate and Anucis ; in Hermonthis,
Monthra, Reto and Harphre ; in Lower Egypt, Seb, Netphe and
Osiris ; in Thinnis, Osiris, Isis and Anhur ; in Abousimbel and

58 Masculine Cross.

Derr, Ptah, Amun-Ra and Horus-Ra ; in Esne, Neph, Neboo
and Hake ; in Dabad, Seb, Netpe and Mandosti ; in Ambos^
Savak, Athor and KhDosn : in Edfou, Horket, Hathor and
Horsenedto. The trinity common throughout the land is that
of Osiris, Isis and Horus.

Dr. Cudworth translates Jamblichus as follows, quoting from
the Egyptian Hermetic Books in defining the Egyptian Trinity : —
Hermes places the god Emeph as the prince and ruler over all
the celestial gods, whom he affirmeth to be a Mind understand-
ing himself, and converting his cogitations or intellections into
himself. Before which Emeph he placeth one indivisible, whom
he calleth Eicton, in which is the first intelligible, and which is
worshipped only by silence. After which two, Eicton and
Emeph, the demiurgic mind and president of truth, as with
wisdom it proceedeth to generations, and bringeth forth the
hidden powers of the occult reasons with light, is called in the
Egyptian language Amnion ; as it artificially affects all things
with truth, Phtha ; as it is productive of good, Osiris ; besides
other names that it hath according to its other powers and
energies."' Upon this. Dr. Cudworth remarks: — "How well
these three divine hypostases of the Egyptians agree with the
Pythagoric or Platonic Trinity of, — first. Unity and Goodness
itself ; secondly, Mind ; and, thirdly, Soul, — I need not here
declare. Only we shall call to mind what hath been already
intimated, that Reason or Wisdom, which was the Demiurgus of
the world, and is properly the second of the fore-mentioned
hypostases, was called also, among the Egyptians by another
name, Cneph ; from whom was said to have been produced or
begotten the God Phtha, the third hypostasis of the Egyptian
Trinity; so that Cneph and Emeph are all one. Wherefore^
we have here plainly an Egyptian Trinity of divine hypostases
subordinate, Eicton, Emeph or Cneph, and Phtha.''

Masculine Cross. 59

Mr. Sharpe, in his Egyptian Inscriptions, mentions the fact
that there is in the British Museum a hieroglyphical inscription
as early as the reign of Sevechus of the eiglith century before
the Christian Era, showing that the doctrine of the Trinity in
Unity already formed part of their religion, and stating that in
each of the two groups, Isis, Nephthis and Osiris, and Osiris,
Isis, and Horus, the three gods made only one person. Also
that the sculptured figures on the lid of the sarcophagus of
Rameses III., now at Cambridge, show us the King, not only as
one of a group of three gods, but also as a Trinity in Unity in
his own person. " He stands between the goddesses, Isis and
Nepthys, who embrace him as if he were the lost Osiris, whom
they have now found again. We further know him to be in the
character of Osiris by the two sceptres which he holds ; but at
the same time the horns upon his head are those of the goddess
Athor, and the ball and feathers above are the ornaments of the
god Ra."

Nearly all writers describe the Egyptian Trinity as consisting
of the generative, the destnicfive, and the preserving powers. Isis
answers to Siva. Iswara, or Lord, is the epithet of Siva. Osiris,
or Ysiris, as Hellanicus wrote the Egyptian name, was the God at
whose birth a voice was heard to declare, " that the Lord of all
nature sprang forth to light."

A peculiar feature in the ancient trinities is the way in which
the worship of the first person is lost or absorbed in the second,
few or no temples being found dedicated to Brahma. Something
very much like this often occurs among Christians; we are
surrounded by churches dedicated to the second and third
persons in the trinity, and to saints, and to the Mother of Christ,
but none to the Father.

It has been noticed that while we find inscribed upon the
monuments of Egypt a vast multitude of gods, as in India,

6o Masculine Cross.

the number diminishes as we ascend. Amun Ra alone is found
dedicated upon the oldest monuments, in three distinct forms,
into one or other of whose characters all the other divinities may
be resolved. Amun was the chief god, the sacred name, cor-
responding with the Aum of the Indians, also, probably, the
Egyptian On. According to Mr. Wilkinson, the Egyptians held
Kneph, Neph, Nef, or Chnoubus, " as the idea of the Spirit
of God which moved upon the face of the waters." He was the
Spirit, animating and perpetuating the world, and penetrating all
its parts ; the same with the Agathodasmon of the Phoenicians,
and like him, was symbolized by the snake, an emblem of the
Spirit which pervades the universe. He was commonly repre-
sented with a Ram's head ; and though the colour of the Egyptian
divinities is perhaps more commonly green than any other, he
is as frequently depicted blue. He was the god of the Nile,
which is indirectly confirmed by Pindar ; and by Ptolemy, who
says that the Egyptians gave the name of Agathodaemon to the
western, or Heracleotic branch. From his mouth proceeded the
Mundane egg, from which sprung Phtah, the creative power. Mr.
Wilkinson proceeds: — '^Having separated the Spirit from the
Creator, and purposing to act apart and defy each attribute,
which presented itself to their imagination, they found it necessary
to form another deity from the creative power, whom they call
Phtah, proceeding from the former, and thence deemed the son
of Kneph. Some difference was observed between the power,
which created the world, an(l that which caused and ruled over
the generation of man, and continued to promote the continuation
of the human species. This latter attribute of the divinity was
deified under the appellation Khem. Thus was the supreme
deity known by the three distinct names of,

Kneph, Phthah, Khem :

to these were joined the goddesses Sate, Xeith, and Buto ; and

Masculine Cross. 6i

the number of the eight deities was completed by the addition of
Ra, or Amun-Ra," this last, however, was not a distinct god, but
a name common to each person of the triad : and, indeed, to all
the three names above the name of Amun was constantly pre-

Phthah corresponds with the Indian Brahma, and the Orphic
Phanes, and appears in several other forms. In one form he is
represented as an infant — often as an infant Priapaean figure, and

The deity called Khem by Mr. Wilkinson, and Mendes by
Champollion, is common on the monuments of Egypt, and is
recognised as corresponding with the Pan of the Greeks. His
chief attribute is heat, which aids the continuation of the various
species, and he is generally coloured red, though sometimes blue,
with his right arm extended upwards. His principal emblems are
a triple-thonged Flagellum and a Phallus. He corresponds with
Siva of the Indians, his attributes being similar, viz., Destroying
and Regenerating. He is the god of generation, and, like Siva,
has his Phallic emblem of reproduction ; the triple-thonged
flagellum is regarded by some as a variation of the trident, or of
the axe of Siva. He has for a vahan the Bull Mneuis, as Sivi
has the Bull Nandi. The Goat Mendes was also consecrated to
him as an emblem of heat and generation ; and it is well known
that this animal is constantly placed in the hands of Siva. '' In
short," says Mr. Cory, " there is scarcely a shade of distinction
between Khem and Siva : the Egyptians venerated the same deity
as the Indians, in his generative character as Khem, when they
suspended the flagellum, the instrument of vengeance, over his
right hand ; but in his destroying character, as the ruler of the
dead, as Osiris, when they placed the flagellum in his hands as
the trident is in that character placed in the hand of Siva."

* Cory, Mytho. Inquiry.

62 Masculine Cross.

In the Chaldean oracles, so far as they have been preserved,
the doctrine of a triad is found everywhere. Allowing for the
existence of much that is forged amongst these oracles, as
suggested by Mr. Cory and others, we may reasonably conclude
that there still remains a deal that is ancient and authentic. They
teach as a fundamental tenet that a triad shines throughout the
whole world, over which a Monad rules. This triad is Father,
Power, and Intellect, having probably once been Air, Fire, and

Amongst the Laplanders the Supreme God was worshipped
as Jumala, and three gods were recognised as subordinate to him.
The first was Thor of the Edda ; the second Storjunkare, his
vicegerent, the common household god ; and the third Bey we,
the Sun.

With regard to the Phoenicians and Syrians, Photius states
that the Kronus of both was known under the names of El, Bel,
and Bolathen.

The Sidonians, Eudemus said, placed before all things Chro-
nus, Pothas, and Omichles, rendered l)y Damascius as Time,

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Online LibraryE. (Elizabeth) PrentissThe Masculine cross, or, A history of ancient and modern crosses, and their connection with the mysteries of sex worship : also an account of the kindred phases of phallic faiths and practices → online text (page 5 of 11)