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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Lo\e, and Cloudy Darkness, regarded by some as no other than
the Khem, Phthah, and Amun Kneph of the Egyptians.

The Heracles or Hercules of the Greeks, known as Arcles of
the Tyrians, was a triple divinity, descril)ed by Hieronymus as a
dragon, with the heads of a bull, of a lion, and of a man with

Among the Philistines also we find their chief god Dragon,
who is the Ouranus of Sanchoniatho. It appears also that Baal
was a triple Divinity : while Chemosh, the abomination of the
Moabites, and Baal Peor, of the ]Midians, seem to be the
Priapaean Khem of Egypt, the god of heat and generation. The
Edessenes also held the triad, and placed Monimus and Azizus
as contemplars with the Sun.''^

* Cory, Mijtho. Inquiry.


The Supreme God of the Feriivians — Assumed Origin of the
Trinity Idea in the Patriarchal Age — Welsh Ideas — Druidi-
cal Triads — The Ancient Religion of America — The Classics
and Heathen Triads — The Tritopatorcia — The Virgin Mary
— The Virgin amongst the Heathen — Ujtiversality of the
Belief in a Trinitx — The Dahomans.

nn HE Supreme God of the Peruvians, was called Viracocha ;
-^ known also as Pachacarnac, Soul of the world, Usapu
admirable, and other names.

Garcilazo says, '' he was considered as the giver of life,
sustainer and nourisher of all things, but because they did not see
him, they erected no temples to him nor offered sacrifices ; how-
ever they worshipped him in their hearts, and esteemed him for
the unknown God."

Generally, speaking, the sun was the great object of Peruvian
idolatry during the dominion of the Incas. Its worship was the
most solemn, and its temples the most splendid in their furniture
and decorations, and the common people, no doubt, reverenced
that luminary as their chief god.

Herrera mentions the circumstance that at one of the festivals,
they exhibited three statues of the sun, each of which had a
particular name, which as he translated them were Father and
Lord Sun, the Son Sun, and the Brother Sun. He also says,
'•' that at Chucuisaea, they worshipped an idol called Tangatanga,
which they said was three and one."

The Spanish writers consider this doctrine to have been
stolen by the devil from Christianity, and imparted by him to
this people. By this opinion they evidently declare its antiquity
in Peru to have been greater than the time of the Spanish

64 Masculine Cross.

Those writers and scholars who refuse to beUeve that the
doctrine of the Trinity as taught in the Christian religion, was
known during the patriarchal or judaical dispensations, and
therefore will not allow that the trinity of the Peruvians had any
reference to the dogma of Christianity, contend that their trinity
was founded in those early corruptions of patriarchal history, in
which men began to represent Adam, and his three sons ; and
Noah, and his three sons ; as being triplicates of the same
essential person, who originally was the universal father of the
human race : and secondly, being triplicated in their three sons,
who also were considered the fathers of mankind. They say
therefore, Adam and Xoah were each the father of three sons ;
and to the persons of the latter of these triads, by whose
descendants the world was repeopled, the whole habitable earth
was assigned in a threefold division. This matter, though it
sometimes appears in an undisguised form, was usually wrapped
up in the cloak of the most profound mystery. Hence instead
of plainly saying, that the mortal who had flourished in the golden
age and who was venerated as the universal demon father both
of gods and men, was the parent of three sons, they were wont
to declare, that the great father had wonderfully triplicated

Pursuing this vein of mysticism, they contrived to obscure
the triple division of the habitable globe among the sons of Noah,
just as much as the characters of the three sons themselves. A
very ancient notion universally prevailed that some such triple
division had once taken place ; and the hierophants when they
had elevated Noah and his three sons to the rank of deity,
proceeded to ring a variety of corresponding changes upon
that celebrated threefold distribution. Noah was esteemed the
universal sovereign of the world ; but, when he branched out
into three kings {i.e., triplicating himself into his three sons),

Masculine Cross. 65

that world was to be divided into three kingdoms, or, as they
were sometimes styled, three worlds. To one of these kings was
assigned the empire of heaven ; to another, the empire of the
earth, including the nether regions of Tartarus ; to a third, the
empire of the ocean.

So again, when Noah became a god, the attributes of deity
were inevitably ascribed to him, otherwise, he would plainly
have become incapable of supporting his new character : yet
even in the ascription of such attributes, the genuine outlines of
his history were never suffered to be wholly forgotten. He had
witnessed the destruction of one world, the new creation (or re-
generation) of another, and the oath of God that he would surely
preserve mankind from the repetition of such a calamity as the
deluge. Hence when he was worshipped as a hero-god, he was
revered in the triple character of the destroyer, the creator, and
the preserver. And when he was triplicated into three cognate
divinities, were produced three gods, different, yet fundamentally
the same, one mild though awful as the creator ; another gentle
and beneficent as the preserver ; a third, sanguinary, ferocious,
and implacable as the destroyer.*

The idea of a trinity was rather curiously developed amongst
the Druids, especially amongst the Welsh. They used a number
of triplicated sentences as summaries of matters relating to their
religion, history, and science, in order that these things might be
the more easily committed to memory and handed down to future
generations. The triads were these : —

I. There are three primeval Unities, and more than one of
each cannot exist :

One God ;

One Truth ;

One Point of Liberty, where all opposites equiponderate.
* Faber, Orig. Pag. Idol.

66 Masculine Cross.

2. Three things proceed from the primeval unities :

All of Life ;

All that is Good ; and

All Power.

3. God consists necessarily of three things :

The Greatest of Life ;

The Greatest of Knowledge ; and

The Greatest of Power. "^

The Druids venerated the Bull and Eagle as emblems of the
god Hu, and like the Jews and Indians, " made use of a term,
only known to themselves, to express the unutterable name of the
Deity, and the letters OIW were used for that purpose.

From Herodotus, Aristotle, Plutarch, and others, we get in-
formation concerning the triads amongst the Persians, and which
were similar in many respects to those recognised by other eastern
nations. Oromasdes and Arimanes were ruling principles always
in opposition to each other, viz., good and evil, and springing
from light and darkness, which they are said to have most
resembled. Eudemus says, '' they proceeded from Place or
Time." Oromasdes was looked upon as the whole expanse of
heaven, and was considered by the Greeks as identical with Zeus.
He was the Preserver ; and Arimanes, the Destroyer. Between
them, according to Plutarch was iNIithras, the Mediator, who
was regarded as the Sun, as Light, as Litellect, and as the creator
of all things. He was a triple deity and was said to have trij^-
licated himself. The Leontine mysteries were instituted in his
honour, the lion being consecrated to him, and the Sun was
represented by the emblems of the Bull, the Lion, and the
Hawk, united.

In the ancient religions of America, a species of trinity was
recognised altogether different to that of Christianity or the

* Meyrick's Cardigan.

Masculine Cross. 67

Trimurti of lidia. In some of the ancient poems a triple nature
is actually ascribed to storms ; and in the Quiche legends we
read : '' The first of Hurakan is the lightning, the second the
track of the lightning, and the third the stroke of the lightning ;
and these three are Hurakan the Heat of the Sky."

In the Iroquois mythology the same thing is found. Heno
was thunder, and three assistants were assigned to him whose
offices were similar to those of the companions of Hurakan.

Heno was said to gather the clouds and pour out the warm
rain ; he was the patron of husbandry, and was invoked at seed-
time and harvest. As the purveyor of nourishment, he was
addressed as grandfather, and his worshippers styled themselves
his grandchildren.

Amongst the Aztecs, Tlaloc, the god of rain and water,
manifested himself under the three attributes of the flash, the
thunderbolt, and the thunder.

But this conception of three in one, says Brinton, " was above
the comprehension of the masses, and consequently these deities
were also spoken of as fourfold in nature, three and one." More-
over, as has already been pointed out, the thunder-god was
usually ruler of the winds, and thus another reason for his quad-
ruplicate nature was suggested. Hurakan, Haokah, Tlaloc, and
probably Heno, are plural as well as singular nouns, and are
used as nominatives to verbs in both numbers. Tlaloc was
appealed to as inhabiting each of the cardinal points and every
mountain top. His statue rested on a square stone pedestal,
facing the east, and had in one hand a serpent in gold. Ribbons
of silver, crossing to form squares, covered the robe, and the
shield was composed of feathers of four colours, yellow, green,
red and blue. Before it was a vase containing all sorts of grain ;
and the clouds were called his companions, the winds his
messengers. As elsewhere, the thunderbolts were believed to be

68 Masculine Cross.

flints, and thus, as the emblem of fire and the storm, this stone
figures conspicuously in their myths. Tohil, the god who gave
the Quiches fire by shaking his sandals, was represented by a
flint-stone. He is distinctly said to be the same as Quetzelcoatl,
one of whose commonest symbols was a flint. Such a stone, in
the beginning of things, fell from heaven to earth, and broke
into 1600 pieces, each of which sprang up a god; an ancient
legend, which shadows forth the subjection of all things to him
who gathers the clouds from the four corners of the earth, who
thunders with his voice, who satisfies with his rain the desolate
and waste ground, and causes the tended herb to spring forth.
This is the germ of the adoration of stones as emblems of the
fecundating rains. This is why, for example, the Xavajos use
as their charm for rain certain long round stones, which they
think fall from the clouds when it thunders.

It is said that all over Africa, belief in a trinity of gods is
found, the same to-day as has prevailed at least for forty
centuries, and perhaps for very much longer. Chaldaea, Assyria,
and the temple of Erektheus, on the Acropolis of Athens,
honoured and sacrificed to Zeus (the Sun, Hercules, or Phallic
idea) the Serpent and Ocean ; and Africa still does so to the
Tree-Stem or Pole, the Serpent, and the Sea or Water ; and this
Trinity is one god, and yet serves to divide all gods into three
classes, of which these are types.

Important and interesting notices relative to the nature of
the deities worshipped by the ancients are to be found in the
treatise of Julius Firmicus Maternus, " De Errore Profanarum
Religionum ad Constantium, et Constantem Angg." Firmicus
attributes to the Persians a belief in the androgynous nature of
the deity [naturam ejus (jovis) ad utriusque sexus transferentes].
No doubt this doctrine has always been recognised, by many
writers, as being held by the philosophers of India and Egypt>

Masculine Cross. 69

and that it constituted a part of the creed of Orpheus, but its
connection with Persia has not been so generally acknowledged.

Firmicus, after speaking of the two-fold powers of Jupiter
(that is, the deity being both male and female) adds, " when they
choose to give a visible representation of him, they sculpture him
as a female." Again, they represent him as a female with three
heads. It was a figure adorned with serpents of a monstrous
size. It was venerated under the symbol of fire. It was called
Mithra. It was worshipped in secret caverns. The rites of
Mithra were familiar to the Romans, but they worshipped them
in a manner different from the Persian ceremonies. Firmicus
had seen Mithra sculptured in two different ways : in one piece of
sculpture he was represented as a female with three faces, and
infolded with serpents ; and in another piece of sculpture he was
represented as seizing a bull.

Classic writers abound with references, not simply to a
plurality of gods among the heathen, but to a trinity in unity and
unity in trinity, sometimes approaching in the similarity of their
broad outlines the doctrine as held by orthodox religionists.
Herodotus calls the deity of the Pelasgians, Gods, and it is
admitted that the passage evidently implies that the expression
was used by the priests of Dodona. The Pelasgians worshipped
the Cabiri, and the Cabiri were originally three in number, hence
it is inferred that these Cabiri were the Pelasgian Trinity, and
that having in ancient times no name which would have implied
a diversity of gods, they worshipped a trinity in unity. The wor-
ship of the Cabiri by the Pelasgians is evident, for Herodotus
says, in his second book, " that the Samothracians learnt the
Cabiric mysteries from the Pelasgians, who once inhabited that
island, and afterwards settled in Greece, near Attica. Cicero
testifies that the Cabiri were originally three in number, and he
carefully distinguishes them from the Dioscuri. A passage in

70 Masculine Cross.

Pausanias states that at Tritia, a city of Achaia, there is a temple
erected to the Dii Magni (or Cabiri) ; their images are a repre-
sentation of a god made of clay, " We need not be surprised,"
said a writer once, " that Pausanias should be puzzled how to
express the fact that, though it was the temple of the three
Cabiri, yet there was only one image in it. Is not this the
doctrine of a trinity in unity ? "

Potter informs us that those who desired to have children
were usually very liberal to the gods, who were thought to preside
over generation. The same writer also says : — '' Who these were,
or what was the origination of their name, is not easy to deter-
mine : Orpheus, as cited by Phanodemus in Suidas, makes their
proper names to be Amaclides, Protocles, and Protocleon, and
will have them to preside over the winds ; Demo makes them to
be the winds themselves." Another author tells us their names
were " Cottus, Briareus, and Gyges, and that they were the sons
of heaven and of earth : Philocrus likewise makes earth their
mother, but instead of heaven, substitutes the sun, or Apollo, for
their father, where he seems to account, as well for their being
accounted the superintendents of generation, as for the name of
T/jiTOTrarepes ; for being immediately descended from two im-
mortal gods, themselves," saith he, " were thought the third
fathers, and therefore might well be esteemed the common parents
of mankind, and from that opinion derive those honours, which
the Athenians paid them as the authors and presidents of human

Again, the Tritopatoreia was a solemnity in which it was usual
to pray for children to the gods of generation, who were some-
times called triiopatcrcs. The names of the Cabiri, as Cicero
says, are Tritopatreus, Eubuleus, and Dionysius : this fact is
supposed to give us a little insight into the origin of the word
triiopatcrcs, or iritopaireis. Philocrus, as we have seen, makes

Masculine Cross. 71^

them the sons of Apollo and of the earth : this fact will help us to
develop the truth : the two last hypostases emanated from the
Creator : thus in the Egyptian Trinity of Osiris, of Isis, and
of Horus, Isis is not only the consort, but the daughter of Osiris,
and Horus was the fruit of their embrace, thus in the Scandina-
vian Trinity of Adin, of Trea, and of Thor, Trea is not only the
wife, but the daughter of Odin, and Thor w^as the fruit of their
embrace, as Maillet observes in his Nortlicrn Antiquities (vol. ii.),
there is the Roman Trinity of Jupiter, of Juno, and of Minerva,
Juno is the sister and the wife of Jupiter, and Minerva is the
daughter of Jupiter : now, it is a singular fact, that in the Pelasgic
Trinity of the Cabirim, two of them are said to have been the
sons of Vulcan, or the Sun, as we read in Potter (vol. i.) Hence
we see, it has been contended, the mistake of Philocrus : there
were not three emanations from the Sun, as he supposes, but
only two : their name tritopateres, which alludes to the doctrine
of the trinity, puzzled Philocrus, who knew nothing of the doctrine,
and he is credited with coining the story, to account for this
appellation : the Cabiri were, as is known from Cicero, called
Tritopatreus, Dionysius, and Eubuleus. Dionysius is Osiris, and
Eubuleus and Tritopatreus are the two hypostases, which eman-
ated from him : the name of the third hypostasis is generally
compounded of some word which signifies the third : hence
Minerva derived her name of Tritonis, or Tritonia Virgo : hence
Minerva is called by Hesiod (referred to in Lempriere's Classical
Dictionary), Tritogenia : hence came the Tritia, of which
Pausanias speaks : hence came the Tritopatreus of Cicero :
hence came the Thridi of the Scandinavians. We read in the
Edda these remarkable words : " He afterwards beheld three
thrones raised one above another, and on each throne sat a
man ; upon his asking w^hich of these was their king, his guide
answered, ' he who sits upon the lowest throne is the king, and

72 Masculine Cross.

his name is Hor, or the Lofty One ; the second is Jaenhar, that
is Equal to the Lofty One; but he who sits upon the highest
throne is called Thridij or the Third." '*

Pausanias has a number of passages which bear upon this
subject, and seem to prove conclusively that the Greeks recog-
nised the doctrine of a trinity in unity and worshipped the same.
In his second book he says : '" Beyond the tomb of Pelasgus is a
small structure of brass, which supports the images of Diana,
of Jupiter, and of Minerva, a work of some antiquity : Lyceas has
in some verses recorded the fact that this is the representation of
Jupiter Machinator." Again, in Book I., when describing the
Areopagite district of Athens, he says: — ""Here are the images
of Pluto, of Mercury, and of Telhis, to whom all such persons,
whether citizens or strangers, as have vindicated their innocence
in the Court Areopagus, are required to sacrihce.*" " In a temple
of Ceres, at the entrance of Athens, there are images of the
goddess herself, of her daughter, and of Bacchus, with a torch in
his hand."

That the grouping of the three deities was not accidental
is evident from the frequency with which they are so mentioned,
and other passages show that they were the three deities who were
worshipped in the Eleusinian mysteries. Thus in Book VIII..
Ch. 25: — '"The river Lado then continues its course to the
temple of the Eleusinian Ceres, which is situated in territories of
the Thelpusians : the three statues in it are each seven feet high,
and all of marble ; they represent Ceres. Proserpine, and Bacchus."'
In another passage (Book II.. Ch. 2). he says: — "By a temple
dedicated to all the gods, there were placed three statues of
Jupiter in the open air, of which one had no title, a second was
styled the Terrestrial, and the third was styled the highest."

The learned say, of course, it is clear that the missing title
should have been the God of Ihc Scj, as the others were the God

Masculine Cross. 73

of Heaven, and the God of the EartJi. Another passage in
Paiisanias confirms this : — ''In a temple of Minerva was placed
a Avooden image of Jupiter with three eyes ; two of them were
placed in the natural position, and the other was placed on the
forehead. . . . One may naturally suppose that Jupiter is repre-
sented with three eyes as the God of the Heaven, as the God
of the Earth, and as the God of the Sea."

It has been remarked that Pausanias records the tradition
that this story of the three-eyed Jupiter comes from Tro}-, and it
is known that the Trojans acknowledged a trinity in the divine
nature, and that the Dii Penates, or the Cabiri of the Romans,
came from Troy. Quotations from the translation of the Atlas
Chinesis of Montanus, by Ogilby, show that the three-eyed Jupiter
was an oriental emblem of the trinity: — "The modern learned,
or followers of this first sect, who are overwhelmed in idolatry,
divide generally their idols, or false gods, into three orders, viz.,
celestial, terrestrial, and infernal : in the celestial they acknow-
ledge a trinity of one godhead, which they worship and serve
by the name of a goddess called Pussa ; which, with the Greeks,
we might call Cybele, and with Egyptians, Isis and Mother of
the Gods. This Pussa (according to the Chinese saying) is the
governess of nature, or, to speak properly, the Chinese Isis, or
Cybele, by whose power they believe that all things are pre-
served and made fruitful, as the three inserted figures relate."

In the doctrine relating to the Virgin Mary as held by the
Church of Rome, there is a remarkable resemblance to the
teaching of the ancients respecting the female constantly asso-
ciated with the triune male deity. Her names and titles are
many, and though diversified, mostly pointing to the same idea.
Some of these are as follows: — ''The Virgin," conceiving and
bringing forth from her own inherent power. The wife of Bel
Nimrod; the wife of Asshur; the wife of Nin. She is called

74 Masculine Cross.

Multa, Mulita, or INIylitta, or Enuta, Bilta or Bilta Nipruta, Ishtar,
Ri, Alitta, Elissa, Bettis, Ashtoreth, Astarte, Saruha, Nana,
Asurah. Amongst other names she is known as Athor, Dea
Syria, Artemis, Aphrodite, Tanith, Tanat, Rhea, Demeter, Ceres,
Diana, INIinerva, Juno, Venus, Isis, Cybele, Seneb or Seben,
Venus Urania, Ge, Hera. " As Anaitis she is the ' mother of
the child;' reproduced again as Isis and Horus ; Devaki with
Christna ; and Aurora with Memnon." Even in ancient Mexico
the mother and child were worshipped. Again she appears as
Davkina Gula Shala, Zirbanit, Warmita Laz. In modern times
she reappears as the Virgin Mary and her son. There were
Ishtar of Nineveh and Ishter of Arbela, just as there are now
Marie de Loretto and Marie de la Garde.

She was the Queen of fecundity or fertility. Queen of the
lands, the beginning of heaven and earth, Queen of all the Gods,
Goddess of war and battle, the holder of the sceptre, the be-
ginning of the beginning, the one great Queen, the Queen of the
spheres, the Virgo of the Zodiac, the Celestial Virgin, Time, in
whose womb all things are born. She is represented in various
ways, and specially as a nude woman carrying an infant in her

The name Ululta, Miilita, or Myliita, Inman contends is
derived from some words resembling the Hebrew meal, the '" place
of entrance," and ia, " a chamber." The whole being a place of
entrance and a chamber. The cognomen Multa, or Malta,
signifies, therefore, the spot through which life enters into the
chamber, i.e., the womb, and through which the fruit matured
within enters into the world as a new being. By the association
of this virgin goddess with the sacred triad of deities is made up
the four great gods, Arba-il.

* Inman, Anc. Faiths, i.

Masculine Cross. 75

We are here reminded of the well-known symbol of the Trinity
which seems to have been as abmidantly used in ancient times,
at least in some countries — Egypt for instance. This is the
triangle — generally the equilateral — which of course symbolised
both the trinity in unity and the equality of the three. Some-
times we get two of those triangles crossing each other, one with
the point upwards, the other with the point downwards, thus
forming a six-rayed star. The first represents the phallic triad,
the two together shew the union of the male and female principles
producing a new figure, each at the same time retaining its own
identity. The triangle with the point downwards, by itself
typifies the Mons Veneris, the Delta, or door through which all
come into the world.

The question has arisen : — " How comes it that a doctrine so
singular, and so utterly at variance with all the conceptions of
uninstructed reason, as that of a Trinity in Unity, should have
been from the beginning, the fundamental religious tenet of every

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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 6 of 11)