Robert Allen Campbell.

Phallic worship : an outline of the worship of the generative organs, as being, or as representing, the Divine Creator, with suggestions as to the influence of the phallic idea on religious creeds, ce online

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Online LibraryRobert Allen CampbellPhallic worship : an outline of the worship of the generative organs, as being, or as representing, the Divine Creator, with suggestions as to the influence of the phallic idea on religious creeds, ce → online text (page 2 of 12)
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obsei*vance of all the ceremonies then established, they
seek to gain the special but uncertain favor of God —
or the gods — they worship. They thus seek to secure,
for a favorite — because obedient — few, release from
the ills of this life, as well as desirable advantages in
the life to come. They oppose all change of creed,
lament every modification of ceremony as a degeneracy ;
and leave it for therr children and successors to adapt


themselves to the new order of tilings by accepting the
inevitable in progress.

Tbe radicals may, to some extent, acknowledge the
truth and the authority of former revelations — for the
time Avhen it was given. They may also recognize,
more or less, the time-honored traditions, as well as en-
gage reverently in the o1)servance of the established
ceremonies. They will, however, claim that the ti'uth
was not fully revealed to the prophets of old — wise
and holy though they were. At least they will claim
that even if these ancient prophets were fully instructed,
still we do not, from their revelations, fully understand
all truth. They will assert that revelation has not
entirely ceased ; and will maintain that God — or the
gods — will no more retire from the world as teachers
than as creators and preservers. They profess to ac-
knowledge the teachings of traditions and phenomena,
but claim to look upwai'd and onward for fuller light
through intuition and new revelations. Their almost
constant argument is that the asserted new revelntion
is in perfect harmony with the older — with all that is
understood to be true and useful in the established cult.
Their claim usually is, that the new light restores a
lost — or brings into prominence a neglected meaning ;
that it unfolds an internal or spiritual interpretation —
higher and fuller than the mere literal statement, or
that it adds to it a new, but still harmonious, unfold-
ment of truth. In either case they will generally claim
that there is no attempt — and no desire — to substitute
a new worship in the place of the old one. On the


contrary, they aim simply to develop the alread}^ ac-
cepted dogmas and practices into a clearer light and a
broader usefulness.

The radicals, when wise, honest, and enthusiastic, are
the real '' reformers." They do not seek to substitute
an entirely new authority, creed, or ceremony, but to im-
provingly modify — ' ' reform ' ' — those already accepted
and in use.

True reformers, by the very constitution of their
mental make-up, necessarily value more the truth than
the special method of its expression ; and the}^ hold in
higher estimation the spirit of the doctrines thau the
formal ceremonies and conventional symbols which
illustrate, impress, and represent those doctrines. Their
policy is, therefore, to unfold and enlarge dogmas, to
re-interpret ceremonies and symbols. They seek to
excise only that which the newer and clearer light
shows to be false in creed, and misleading in ceremony
and symbol. They aim to add only such new state-
ments of doctrine as will express more clearly the larger
truth of the new revelation. They profess to introduce
only such modifications of ceremony and symbol as are
absolutely necessary to more fully and more distinctly
represent and impress this broader and clearer truth.
The ty]:>ical conservative and radical is here drawn with
sufficient distinctness for the purpose in hand. It must,
howevei", be remembered that mankind as they are —
and were — range in all possible gradations of mental
idiosyncrasy from the bigot — who says no change is


desii-able, to the fanatic — who wants eveiytlimg
changed — and at once.

Kings and priests — those who are in possession of
mherited, vested, or permanent position, influence, or
income — are, natm-ally, both from education and selfish
interest, consei-vative in all things. The masses —
that is, a majority of them — are not only naturally
conservative, but lack the development to readily under-
stand enlarged statements of truths. The vast majority
of mankind are relio-ious after the definition of reUoion,
which is given elsewhere. All religion is based upon
what is, according to some definitions, divine revelation.
"There is no God but God; Mohammed is the
prophet of God," says the follower of the faith foimded
upon the Koran as the onlyinspu-ed and perfect revela-
tion of Allah, the Most High. Ajid the Mohammedan
is as earnest and pious in his devotions, and as well
convinced that he is a professor of the only true religion
as is the Cliiistian who accepts his Jewish Bible an 1
the Gospel as the only revelation of God to man : and
who declares there is no God but Jehovah, and no
Savior of man but Jesus, the Christ — the only begot-
ten Son of the Father. The Brahmin, the Buddhist
and the Parsee, are each equally well assured that his
is the onlv ti*ue religion, his object of worship the only
real God, and his sacred books the only truth man has
received from the creator, preserver, and savior of the

Tliis truth concerrung the dominant cults of the pres-


exit day is also true of all the minor faiths. In short,
every religious teacher — from the one purest in affec-
tion and clearest in intelligence, who patiently and
persistently seeks to lead his followers to worship in
spirit and in truth, to the one who ignorantly and
fanatically insists upon the grossest and baldest fetich-
ism — is in our day presenting to his listeners what he
believes — or assumes to beUeve — the truth, the whole
truth, nothing but the truth, as attested by what he
claims is a special divine revelation to him or his

The Christian says the Mohammedan is an ignorant
bigot, accepting the teaching of a false prophet, and
following the practices of a fanatical and profligate im-
postor. The believer in the Koran returns the compli-
ment by caUing tlie follower of Jesus a Christian dog,
worshiping a bastard, who is admitted to be only one-
third of a man. Similar insulting designations are
used by each great cult for those who accept and teach
a different revelation and consequently a diffei'ent God.

This state of affairs in the religious world of the
present time is no new, or even modern, condition of
feeling and belief — of doctrine and practice. Au-
thentic history, mythology, and the dimmest traditions
of the remotest past reveal to us that man is a wor-
shiping being ; that he has always worshiped a being,
or beings, which he supposed like himself, but whom he
exalted as above himself in wisdom and power ; that
by whatsoever name or names this b.eing, or beings, may
have been known, the central idea was a superhuman


wisdom and power who created the world and snpervised
humanity and human affairs ; that the good will of
this power was to be propitiated, and hence man's wel-
fare secured by the worship and obedience of this
being, Avhile the ill-will, and hence misfortune to man,
resulted from denial and disobedience

Every cult has taught that it worshiped the only true
god — or gods — and that hence its followers were the
favorite or chosen people — the rightful lords of crea-
tion. Every sect claimed that all others were worship-
ing false gods (or worshiping the true god — or gods —
in an imperfect and unholy manner) ; that hence they
were enemies of the true divine — aliens, heathens, and
barbarians, who had no rights that the true believers
were bound respect.

As a result of this belief, dominant and strong relig-
ious nations and sects have always persecuted the
weaker " worshipers of false gods." These persecu-
tions were graded in severity. This severity depended
upon many circumstances, such as the development of
philanthropy and intelUgence, the comparative power
of the opposing sects, and the co-operation or opposi-
tion of the civil authority. Sometimes these persecu-
tions went as far as the extermination of the weaker
''heretics," and the confiscation or even the total de-
struction of their property. Sometimes only the males
were killed — oi* castrated and held as slaves — the
women carried off as concubines or servants, while
their property enriched the stronger worshipers of the
"true god."


The fag-got pile, or the headsman's axe, the confisca-
tion of estates, and the abrogation of civil and religious
rights are matters of a more recent history.

All this will illustrate why mankind are conservative
from policy as well as from the natural constitution of

But the mind of man is so constituted that he natur-
ally perceives, and, therefore, must (whether he will or
no, and whether or not lie acknowledges the fact to
himself and his fellows), recognize and accept the
highest truth he is capable of comprehending whenever
it is clearly presented. The uniform result of this
eternal harmony between mind and truth is, that how-
ever conservative one may be in avowedly changing his
creed, still the clear presentation of truth, to a mind
capable of recognizing it as truth, forces its mental

Again, man, in all stages of his development natur-
ally loves the marvelous. To all classes mystery is
fascinating. The presentation of anew interpretation,
the pointing out of a new idea as embodied in an old
saying, the elucidation of a transcendental meaning in a
time-worn proverb — in a word the mystic unfolding of
a holier purpose, a clearer enlightenment, and a greater
use, in a recognized dogma or symbol, is always charm-
mg, instructive, and potential.

Different classes of conservatives may designate this
unfolding as "esoteric teaching," "merely poetical,"
"fanciful," "impractical transcendentalism," or
" nonsense."


It is, nevertheless, fascinating and effective ; for even
if unwarranted — nay, if it be even nonsensical and
absurd — still it provokes thought, arouses the imagin-
ation, stimulates inquiry, and must result, therefore, in
new and broader perception of truth.

"While man cannot avoid believing the presented
truth, which he recognizes as truth, still there are many
reasons why he may not avow the acceptance of truth.
The modest man may fear being mistaken, and hon-
estly doubt the validity of his perceptions — especially
when his acknowledged teachers refuse to accept, or de-
nounce as false, what appears to him as true. Even if
convinced he may dislike the undesirable prominence
that an avowal of his yet unpopular convictions would
give him. The pride of being consistent — or the
vanity of being thought consistent — will prevent many
an avowal. The fear of being fickle — or of being
thought so — will deter many others. But, above all
the fear — always well grounded — of losing favor, po-
sition, or caste among his fellows, keeps many a one
from freely avowing the truth he mentally accepts.

Even some of the rulers, who were convinced by the
gracious and lucid teachings of Jesus, did not openly
admit the fact, because they feared the Pharisees would
exclude them from the synagogue. The fear of being
looked upon as unworthy in conduct on account of a
change in religious connections, and especially the fear
in past times — and in some places even now — of a
more sanguinary and even deadly persecution, has
kept — and still keeps — many a tongue from speaking


a truth clear to the brain and dear to the heart. The
long line of religions martyrs attest the truth of this,
and those Avho are persecuted for " heresy " know how
severe are the penalties inflicted, even now, upon all
'* schismatics."

The great Galileean strove assiduously to enlighten
his chosen and especially intimate disciples. It is of
record that he gave them esoteric instruction, which the
less enlightened could not comprehend. Among his
last sayings to these specially instructed followers was
the assertion, " I have yet many things to say unto you,
but ye cannot bear them now." But for the consola-
tion and histruction of all his followers — (for he prom-
ised to the humblest of his followers all that he promised
to his immediate disciples) — he immediately added this
Avonderful statement : " But the Spirit of Truth will
come unto you ; and when he is come he shall guide
you into all truth." He identifies himself with this
Spirit of Truth, and promises, that for the enlightenment
and assistance of those who believe, " Lo, I am with
you always, even unto the end of the world."

The professed followers (and there is no question of
their integrity) of this great teacher — whom they rec-
ognize as Divine — constantly pray for the enlighten-
ing presence of this Spirit of Truth. Unquestionably
religious toleration finds its highest development in the
Christianity of this age and nation. Yet Christians
(at least a great majority of its official teachers and
prominent members — who are recognized as " pillars "
in the church and strong on the faith) , even in this ad-


vanced civilization, and in this age of unprecedented
religious freedom, denounce with anathemas and perse-
cute with yigor all " heretics and schismatics."

The simple truth is now — as it has always been —
the great majority of official religious teachers, and
their lay adherents, persecute relentlessly all *' schismat-
ics" and " heretics," punishing them with all the de-
nunciations, pains, and penalties that their sectarian
prejudices prompt, and that civil law and public opin-
ion will allow them to inflict.

Modern religious persecution is still justified by those
who practice it, just as it was in former times, by the
specious, but false, plea, that the revealed will of God de-
mands that " heathen " should be — not converted to
the truth — but punished for their errors.

The crucifix, the faggot pile, and the thumb-screw
cannot in this age, and in western civilization, be used
to punish religious innovators ; but there remains —
and they are in constant use — anathemas (that is God-
damnings), denunciation from the pulpit, denial of
church privileges and social ostracism.

The outcome of all this is that, in nearly every com-
munity — certainly in every civilization — past and pres-
ent, there were, and are, those who repeat the same
creed, perform the same ceremonies, and use the same
symbology, and yet give to nearly every sentence, act,
and sign an almost totally different interpretation from
that given by another of the same cult.

There may be in the same association — there surely
is in every nation — those who, in their worship, regard


the symbol merely, looking- upon it as a fetich, which
they fear or invoke for its intrinsic power merely.

The writer became convinced of the truth of this
statement by careful and extensive investigation in the
principal cities of the United States.*

On the other hand there are those who entirely lose
sight — or at least cognizance — of the symbol, and
looking beyond all creeds and forms, "worship in spirit
and in truth ' ' that which they think of as ' ' the ineffable
love, wisdom, and power," and which they do not as-
sume to name — much less define.

Such worshipers are numerous in modern times, and
include many who are honored for their exceptional
purity, admired for their superior intelligence, and
revered for their philanthropic lives. That they had
representatives in the olden time might be shown by
innumerable citations from ancient writings. Homer
says: "Hear me, oh King, whoever thou art."
Plato and Socrates are abundant in sayhigs which show

* It has come under the personal observation of the writer that one man in
Wisconsin was excluded from church fellowship for cutting wood on Sunday
for a sick woman. His fault was not the charitable work of providing a
Sunday fire; but because he cut enough to keep the poor and bed-ridden
woman warm on Monday and Tuesday. Another was excluded for teaching
his Sunday-school class that he believed that a non-professor, who lived a
good life, was just as likely to be saved as one who professed Christ, but
lived a bad life. He has it upon undoubtedly truthful information that in
Ohio, recently, a man was excluded from his church (the Dunkersj for trim-
ming his beard round at the corners, and another for having his hair shin-
gled — because the Bible says: "You shall not round the corners of your
heads; neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard." A man was
excluded from his church (the Amish Brotherhood) for having buttons on
his coat, and a woman for wearing ear-rings.


they did not attempt to define the great first cause.
Philomon writes: "Revere and worship God; seek
not to know more; you need seek nothing further."
Meander says : " Seek not to learn who God is ; they
who are anxious to know what may not he known are

Every change in dogma — and consequent modifica-
tion of ceremony and interpretation of symbol — is, of
necessity, based upon a real or supposed larger and
clearer perception of truth. It is always easier, as well
as safer, for one who has this new enlightenment, to
secretly read into the official creed a new meaning, and
to give the established ceremonies and symbols a new
interpretation, than to meet the opposition of the powers
that be by any open advocacy or practice of an innova-
tion. Many motives, commendable, permissible, and
selfish, prompt — nay, almost, in many instances, force —
such a course of procedure. Then, again, the order
and development of mind which discovers or readily
recognizes the larger truth when presented is also the
order of mind which values forms as relatively of less
importance than truths. It is usual, too, for those of
advanced views to claim that the recognition of the
larger light requires a preparation and expansion of
mind which they profess to think the multitude do not
possess ; and this considei-ation will also keep many
wise and prudent men from freely stating or discussing
newly perceived truths.

But men, in their religious and intellectual pursuits,
desire and require — as in other avocations m fife —


associates of similar cliaracter aiul taste, as Avell as of
harmonious attainments, though those attainments may
be — as they naturally will be — of differing degrees.
Such men soon discover each other. They are prone
to meet together ; and when confidence m each other
is established, they gladly compare views, imparting
and receiving mutual suggestion and instruction.
These meetings and discussions in past ages, when
free expression of innovating views were dangerous,
were at first, doubtless, attended only by those per-
sonally knowai to each other, and, of coui'se, not in the
presence of any not known to sympathize with them.
When their numbers mcreased, so that the time and
place of their meetings would become noticeable, they
found it necessary, foi- reasons already stated, as well
as for others peculiar to their age and surroundings, to
organize a more formal association. This association
sought to increase the light they already possessed, as
well as to instruct all others who were capable of re-
ceiving their higher interpretations and purer doctrines.
The association, however, was composed of men who
were wise and prudent, as well as enthusiastic and be-
nevolent. They, therefore, sought to increase their num-
bers by the admission of those only who were of such
advanced intelligence as to be able to teach or ap-
preciate (and therefore accept) the unfolding truth ; of
such discretion that they would not "profane" the
sacred interpretations by stating, much less discussing,
them before those who were unable to recognize their
worth and beauty — and, therefore, "unworthy" to


receive them ; and of such fidehty that they would not
betray the association, or any of its members or teach-

The founder of Christianity selected and instructed
his disciples on principles similar to those upon which this
society was organized. He taught the multitudes by alle-
gory and parable, as they were able to hear — that is, un-
derstand. When he was alone with his disciples he ex-
pounded all things unto them, "because," he said to
them, " unto you it is given to know the mysteries of
the kingdom of God, but unto them that are without,
all these things are done in parables."

The prime object of this association was not, as has
been plausibly maintained by some, to veil the truth from
the masses, retaining it as the means of personal grat-
ification, and for profitable use, in the close corporation
of a select and selfish few. The grand purpose was to
develop the truth to broader dimensions and a clearer
light ; to unveil it to all who could appreciate and re-
ceive it — and, therefore, be benefited by its posses-
sion ; to insure that those wlio entered upon its study
would, so far as they were capable, continue and com-
plete their labors; and to prevent the profanation of
the truth by its misuse. These associations gradually
developed into secret societies, composed of members
whose fitness as to intelligence, fidelity, discretion, and
courage was not only vouched for by members of the
society who knew them, but who were tested by exami-
nation and trial, and who were solemnly sworn to se-
cresy, under painful penalties for any unfaithfulness.


This was the origin of the Ancient " Mysteries ; "
and, in fact, of all subsequent secret societies. Whether
there was only one original org-anization, and the others
were all or mainly descended froui it • or whether there
were independent orders originating in different places
under similar circumstances, cannot now be definitely
decided. Each view is advocated by intelligent stu-
dents who have given the subject patient and seemingly
exhaustive study.

Alexander Wilder, whose natural bent of mind and
scholarly attainments pecuharly fit him for the patient
and exhaustive study he has given this matter, says : —

"It is not practicable to ascertain with certainty
when or by whom the Ancient Mysteries were instituted.
Their forms appear to have been as diversified as the
genius of the worship that celebrated them, while the
esoteric idea was so universally similar as to incUcate
identity of origin. In some were performed the rites
of the Bona I)ea, the Saturnalia, and Liberalia, which
seem to have been perpetuated inour festivals of Christ-
mas, the Blessed Virgin, and St. Patrick; in Greece
were the Eleusinia, or rites of the Coming One, which,
were probably derived from the Phrygian and Chaldean
rites ; also, the Dionysia, which Herodotus asserts were
introduced there by Melampus, a mantis^ or prophet,
who got his knowledge of them by the way of the
Tyrians, in Egypt. The same great historian, treating
of the Orphic and Bacchic rites, declares that they
* are in reality Egyptian and Pythagorean.' The
Mysteries of Isis in Egypt and of the Cabeirian divini-
ties in Asia and Samothrace, are probably anterior and
the origin of the others. The Thesmophoria, or as-


eemblages of the women in honor of the Great Moth-
er, as the mstituter of the social state, were celebi'ated
in Egypt, Asia Minor, Greece, and Sicily ; and we no-
tice expressions in Exodus (xxxviii:8), Samuel (^I-ii :
22), and Ezekiel (viii : 14). which indicate that they
were observed by the Israelites in Arabia and Palestine.
The rites of Serapis were inti-oduced into Egypt by
Ptolemy, the Sa^'ior, and supei'seded tlie worship of
Osiris ; and after the Conquest of Pontns, where the
Persian religion prevailed, the Mysteries of Mithras
were carried thence into the countries of the West, and
existed among the Gnostic sects many centuries after
the general dissemination of Christianity. The Albi-
genscs, it is supposed, wei-e Manicheans or Mithracis-
ing (.'hristians. The Mithraic doctrines appear to have
comprised all the promuient features of the Magian or
Chaldean system. The Alexandrian Platonists evi-
dently regarded them favorably as being older than the
western sv stems, and probably more g-enuine.'"

From the very nature of the case we can have but
little direct information as to the special dogmas taught,
the ceremonies practiced, or the higher interpretations
of the symbols used in the secret proceedhigs of the
'' Mysteries."

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Online LibraryRobert Allen CampbellPhallic worship : an outline of the worship of the generative organs, as being, or as representing, the Divine Creator, with suggestions as to the influence of the phallic idea on religious creeds, ce → online text (page 2 of 12)