The primary phase of what has been continually miscalled “Phallic Worship” originated in the idea and the symbolism of Motherhood. The Earth itself as producer of food and drink was looked upon as the Mother of life. The Cave in the Earth was the Womb of the Bringer-forth, the uterine symbol of the Genetrix. The Mother in Mythology is the Abode. The sign of the female signified the place of birth: the birth-place was in the cave, and the cleft in the rock or entrance to the Mother-earth was the earliest phallic type identified throughout external nature. The Cave, the Cavern, or Cleft in the rock was an actual place of Mother-earth. Hence the mount of earth, or the rock, was made a type of the Earth-mother in the stone seat of Isis, or the conical pillar of Hathor. The Stone-Image of the mount of earth as Mons Veneris was identified at times as female by the kte…j being figured on it, as it was upon the conical stone of Elagabalus: or the impression of Aphrodite which was pointed out upon the Black Stone at Mecca by Byzantine writers. The Cteis or Yoni was the natural entrance to or outrance from the Mount, and all its co-types and equivalents, because it was an emblem of the Mother who brought forth her children from the earth.
The natives of Central Africa have a widespread tradition that the human race sprang out of a soft stone. This goes far towards
identifying the stone as a symbol of the earth; especially the stone with a hole in it that was made use of in the Mysteries as the emblem of a second or spiritual birth. The Yao, of Central Africa, affirm that Man, together with the animals, sprang from a hole in the rock. This birthplace, with the Arunta of Australia, is represented by the stone with a hole in it, from which the children emanate as from the womb of Creation. In their magical ceremonies they represent a woman by the emblematic figure of a hole in the earth. (N.T., p. 550.) Also a figure of the Vulva as the Door of Life is imaged on certain of their Totems. The Esquimaux Great Mother Sidné is the earth itself as producer of life and provider of food, who is a figure of the Mother.
The origin of so-called “Phallic worship” then began with the earth herself being represented as the Womb of Universal Life, with the female emblem for a figure of the Birth-place and Bringer-forth. Not that the emblem was necessarily human, for it might be the sign of the Hippopotamus, or of the Lioness, or the Sow; anything but worshipful or human. The mythical gestator was not imaged primarily as a Woman, but as a pregnant Water-Cow, size being wanted to represent the great, i.e., enceinte, Earth-mother, and her chamber of birth. But, under whatsoever type, the Mother was the abode, and the oval image drawn by the cave-dwellers on their walls as the universal figure of the female proves the type to have been uterine. The Female was the dwelling and the door of life, and this was her image “in all the earth.” The likeness was also continued in the oval burial-place as sign and symbol of re-birth, and lastly as the oval window or the door in architecture; the Vesica in Freemasonry. The Mother’s Womb was not only a prototype of the tomb or temple; it also represented the house of the living.
“When the magistrate of Gwello had his first house built in wattle and daub, he found that the Makalanga women, who were engaged to plaster it, had produced, according to a general custom, a clay image of the female member in relief upon the inside wall. He asked them what they did that for. They answered benevolently that it was to bring him good luck. This illustrates the pure form of the cult of these people, who recognize the unknown and unseen power by reverencing its manifestation (in this instance) on the female side of the creative principle.” (Joseph Millerd Orpen, The Nineteenth Century, August, 1896, pp. 192-3.) They knew the natural magic of the emblem if the European did not. Also, they were identifying the woman with the abode. In Bent’s book he gives an illustration of an iron-smelting furnace, conventionally showing the female figure and the maternal mould. “All the furnaces found in Rhodesia are of that form, but those which I have seen (and I have come upon five of them in a row) are far more realistic, most minutely and statuesquely so, all in a cross-legged sitting position, and clearly showing that the production or birth of the metal is considered worthy of a special religious expression. It recognized the Creator in one form of his human manifestation in creation.” This is lofty language. “We call the same thing by another name in our part of the country.”
The God Seb is the Egyptian Priapus, who might be termed a Phallic deity. But he is the Earth-God and Father of Food; the God
of Fructification associated with plants and fruits, flowers and foliage, which are seen issuing from his body. He is the “Lord of Aliment,” in whom the reproductive powers of earth are ithyphallically portrayed. But the potency represented by Seb was not human, although the human member is depicted as a type of the begetter or producer. The enemies of Ra are repulsed by the phallus of Horus. When the Apap-monster is overthrown it is said, “Thy phallus, O Horus, acts forever. Thy phallus is eternal.” (Rit., XXXIX, 8.) Where Herakles employs his club against the Hydra, the phallus was the typical weapon used by Horus against the Apap-dragon. Apap was the Image of Evil as negation, sterility, non-production; and the weapon of Horus symbolized the virile power of the procreative sun. Again, it is said the phallus of Osiris is agitated for the destruction of the rebels, and it dooms the beast Baba to be powerless during millions of years. (Rit., XCIII, 1.) The Lion and phallus are elsewhere identical as zootype and type of the solar force when it is said the luminous lion in its course (the sun) is the phallus of Ra. (Rit., XVII.) As this was solar and not human, it will account for the enormous size of the image carried in the processions of the Phallus. (Herodotus, B. II, 48.)
Hippolytus, in his account of the Naaseni, speaks of the hidden mystery manifested by the phallic figure which held a “first position in the most ancient places, being shown forth to the world, like a light set upon a candlestick.” This identifies the male emblem with its solar origin as symbol of the Sun. It is something to know that when the long sperm candles are set up in the religious Mysteries to-day, the Ritualists are not doing this to the praise and glory of the human member, but are making use of a type which has been continued in the darkest Christian ignorance of pre-Christian origins.
A still more curious but kindred case of survival occurs in Australia, where it is a custom yet extant amongst the aborigines for the widow of a deceased person of importance to wear the phallus of her dead husband suspended round her neck for some time, even for years, after his death. This is not an action directly natural, but one that is dominated and directed by some religious sentiment, however primitive, which makes the action symbolical, and Egypt, who used such types, intelligently interprets them. By wearing the phallus the widow was preserving it from decaying in the earth, and in wearing it she was preserving that type of resurrection which Isis in her character of the Widow sought so sedulously to preserve in a typical image. (Plutarch, Of Isis and Osiris.) In the Turin Ritual (ch. XCIII) the Manes prays that the Phallus of Ra may not be devoured by the powers of evil at a feast of fiends. In Egyptian Resurrection-scenes the re-arising of the dead or inert Osiris is indicated by the male emblem, re-erection being one with resurrection. It is thus the dead are raised or re-erected as Spirits and the power of rising again is imaged in the life-likeness as by the figure of Amsu-Horus. Thus interpreted few things could be more pathetic than the poor Widow’s devotion to her dead husband, in wearing the emblem as a token of his future resurrection. In point of time and stage of development the Widow in Australia is the natural prototype of the Widow divinized as Isis who consecrated the phallus of Osiris and wore it made of wood. It
is in such ways as this the Wisdom of Old Egypt will enable us to read the most primitive Sign-language and to explicate the most ancient typical customs, because it contains the gnosis or science of the earliest wisdom in the world. The “Language of Animals” is obviously Inner African. It is employed especially by the Bushmen and Hottentots. Just as obviously was it continued by the dwellers in the valley of the Nile. Beyond the hieroglyphics are the living types, many of which were continued as Egyptian, and these have the same significance in Egypt that they had in Inner Africa, and still say the same things in the language of words that they said as zootypes. It appears as if the many links that we thought broken past mending in the long chain of human evolution were preserved in Egypt. There is a Kamite tradition mentioned by Plutarch that previous to the time when Taht first taught a language of words to the human race they used mere cries like the pre-human animals. We know that Homo imitated the cries of the zootypes because he continued to do so in the Totemic Mysteries. We know that the Ape was one of the most prominent zootypes. Now the God Taht who is here called the creator of speech, and whose name of Tehuti is derived from Tehu, a word for speech and to tell, is portrayed in the form of the Kaf-Ape. The Kaf-Ape is the clicking Cynocephalus; and it is recognized as the Clicker who preceded the Speaker; the animal from whom the later language came. Whence the Kaf-headed Taht-Ani is the figure of the God who taught mankind their speech and made the hieroglyphics, which ultimately led to letters. This type of language, speech, the word, the mouth, the tongue, carries us back to the pre-lingual Clickers, and establishes the link betwixt them and the Clicking Ape in tracing the origin and line of descent for human speech. The Cynocephalus, then, represents a pre-human source of speech, and is personified in Taht-Ani as the Divine Speaker. We may look upon the Clicking Ape as one of the animals whose sounds were repeated by his successor Man. The Egyptian record testifies to his preeminence. Possibly the Ape, as typical talker, Sayer or Divine Word, may account for the tradition current among the Negroes in West Africa, also in Madagascar, that the Apes once talked and could do so yet, but they conceal their faculty of speech for fear they should be made to work. The Ass was also honoured like the Ape of Taht-Ani as a saluter of the Gods or Nature-Powers. It was a great past-master of pre-human sounds, as the pre-human utterer of the vowels in their earliest form. (Nat. Genesis.) The Egyptians call the Ass by the name of Iu, Aiu, and Aai, three forms of one primary diphthong in which the seven vowel-sounds originated. Iu signifies to come and go, which might aptly describe the Ass’s mode of producing the voice. Aiu or Iu with the A protheic shows the process of accretion or agglutination which led to the word Aiu, Iao, Ioa, Iahu becoming extended to the seven vowels finally represented in the fully drawn-out name of Jehovah, which was written with the seven vowels by the Gnostics. The English attribute the dual sound of “hee-haw” to the Donkey, and, if we omit the aspirate, “ee-aw” is near enough as a variant and the equivalent of Iu, Aiu, or Aai, as the name given to itself by the Ass which was registered in language by
the Egyptians. The animal with his loud voice and long-continued braying was an unparalleled prototype of the Praiser and Glorifier of the Gods or Nature-Powers. He uttered his vowel-sounds at the bottom and top of the octave which had only to be filled in for the Ass to become one of the authors of the musical scale. Such were two of the Sayers in the language of animals, as zootypes, as pictographs of ideas; as likenesses of nature-powers; as words, syllables, and letters; and what they said is to be read in Totemism, Astronomy, and Mythology; in the primitive symbolism of the aborigines, and in the mystical types and symbols now ignorantly claimed to be Christian.
It is but doing the simplest justice to these our predecessors in the ascending scale of life and evolution to show something of the rôle they once played and the help they have rendered to nascent, non-articulate man in supplying the primary means of imaging the super-human forces surrounding him; in lending him their own masks of personality for Totemic use before he had acquired one of his own, and in giving shape and sound and external likeness to his earliest thought, and so assisting him on his upward way with the very means by which he parted company from them. Whosoever studies this record by the light that shineth from within will surely grow more humanly tender towards the natural zootypes and strive henceforth to protect them from the curse of cruelty, whether inflicted by the fury of the brutal savage or the bloody lust of the violating vivisectionist. This zoomorphic mode of representation offers us the key by which we can unlock the shut-up mind of the earliest, most benighted races so far as to learn more or less what they mean when they also talk or act their unwritten language of animals in Totemic customs and religious rites, and repeat their Märchen and dark sayings which contain the disjecta membra of the myths. It is as perfect for this purpose of interpreting the thought of the remotest past, become confused and chaotic in the present, as in the alphabet for rendering the thought of the present in verbal language.
Homo was the finisher but by no means the initial fashioner of language. Man was preceded by the animals, birds, and reptiles, who were the utterers of pre-verbal sounds that were repeated and continued by him for his cries and calls, his interjections and exclamations, which were afterwards worked up and developed as the constituents of later words in human speech into a thousand forms of language. Thinking, by man or animal, does not depend upon speech. Naming is not necessary for reflecting an image of the place or thing or person in the mirror of the mind. Thought is primarily a mental mode of representing things. Without true images of things, there is no trustworthy process of thought. Doubtless many blank forms may be filled in with a word as a substitute for thinking; but words are not the image of things, nor can they be the equivalent of the mental representation which we call thinking. It is the metaphysician who thinks, or thinks he thinks, in words alone—not the Poet, Dramatist, or natural man. The Argus-eyed Pheasant did not think in words but in images and colours when she painted certain spots upon the feathers of her young progeny. Thought is possible without words to the animals. Thought was possible without words
to inarticulate man and the mere clickers. The faculty of thinking without words is inherent in the dumb, and it is impossible that such faculty should be extinct or not exercised by articulate man. Much thinking had been acted without words before the appearance of Man upon the planet. Also by Homo while as yet there were no words but only cries, ejaculations, and animal sounds. The dog can think without words. To make its hidden meaning heard, how pleadingly he will beseech without one sound of human speech. So it is with the human being. As an example, let us suppose we are going upstairs to bed in the dark. In doing this we do not think “S t a i r s,”—“B a n i s t e r,”—“L a n d i n g,” handle of door, Candle-stick, Matches. We act the same as if we saw, only the vision is within and the dark without. We see the stair and feel for it with the foot. We see the banister mentally and clutch it with the hand. Internal seeing and external touch concern us a thousandfold more than words, and these give us a sensible hold of outer things. Thought does not need to spell its way in letters. We are thinking all the while as a process of mental representation, and do not go on words when we are not called upon to speak.
The Bull and Cow said “Moo”; the Cow with us is still called a “Moo-Cow” in nursery language. The Goat and Ram said “Ba.” The Goose in hissing cried “Su.” The Hippopotamus in roaring said “Rur” or “Rur-rur.” Various others in uttering sounds by nature were giving themselves the names by which they were to be known in later language. The name of the Cat in Egyptian is Mau or Miau. This, then, was one of the self-namers, like the Goose Su. Philologists may tell us that “Mu” and “Ba” and “Su” are not words at all. In Egyptian they are not only words but things, and the things are named by the words. Such words are a part of the primary sound-stuff out of which our later words were coined. Moreover, they are words in the Egyptian language. In that we find the word Ba signifies to be, Ba therefore is a form of to be. Also it is the name for the Ram and the Goat, both of whom are types of the Ba-er or Be-ing, both of whom say “Ba.” The Cow says Moo. Mu (Eg.) means the mother, and the mythical mother was represented as a moo-cow. The Ibis was one of the self-namers with its cry of “Aah-Aah,” consequently Aah-Aah is one name of the bird in the Egyptian hieroglyphics, and also of the moon which the Ibis represented.
It is but natural to infer that the Totemic Mother would make her call with the sound of the animal that was her Totemic zootype. Her zootype was her totem, and her call would identify her with her totem for the children of each particular group. But where the moo-cow made its gentle call at milking-time, the water-cow would roar and make the welkin ring. And the wide-mouthed roarers would be imitated first perforce, because most powerful and impressive. They roared on earth like the thunder or Apap-reptile in the darkness overhead. In the hieroglyphics the word rur is equal to roar in English, or to ruru, for the loud-roarer in Sanskrit; and the greatest type of the roarer under that name is Rurit the hippopotamus, whose likeness was figured in heaven as the Mother of the Beginnings. When the Cat cried “miau” it did not exactly utter the letters which now compose the word, but contributed the primary sounds evolved by
the animal in its caterwauling; and the phonetics that followed were evolved in perfecting the sounds. The shaping of primary into fully developed sounds, and continuing these in words, was the work of the dawning human intelligence. So with other pre-human sounds that were produced by animals before the advent of Man.
According to the hidden Wisdom, which is now almost a dead letter, there are reasons why we should be particular in sounding the letter H as an aspirate. In the hieroglyphics one H or Ha-sign is the fore-part of a Lion, signifying that which is first, beginning, essence, chief, or Lord; and Shu the power of Breathing-force is represented by a panting lion. This, then, is the “Ha,” and in expelling the breath it makes the sound of Ha. Thus the Lion says “Ha,” and is the figure of breathing-force; and this one of the origins in language survives in the letter H—when properly aspirated. It is a dark saying of the Rabbins that “All came out of the letter H.” The Egyptian zootypes and hieroglyphics are the letters in which such dark sayings were written and can still be read. The letter H, Hebrew He, Egyptian Ha, is the sign of breath, as a Soul of Life, but as the hieroglyphics show, even the breath that is first signified was not human. The earliest typical breather is an animal. The panting lion imaged the likeness of the solar force and the breath of the breeze at dawn, as an ideographic zootype of this especial Nature-power. On the line of upward ascent the lion was given to the god Shu, the Egyptian Mars. On the line of descent the ideographic type passes finally into the alphabet for common everyday use as the letter H. The supremacy of the lion amongst animals had made it a figure of firstness. And in the reduced form of the hieroglyphics the forepart of the lion remained the sign of the word “Ha,” which denotes priority. The essence of all that is first and foremost may be thought in this likeness of the lion.
Amongst the natural zootypes which served at first as ideographs that were afterwards reduced to the value of letters in the final phonetic phase, we see that beast, bird, fish, and reptile were continued until the written superseded the painted alphabet. These pictorial signs, as Egyptian, include an
A. from Am, or Hab, the
A. from Akhu, a Bird.
A. from Akhem, the Eagle.
A. from An (Variant Un),
Aa. from Khaa, the Calf.
B. from Ba, the Bird of Soul.
B. from Ba, a Nycticorax.
B. from Ba, the Goat or
F. from Fu, the Puff-adder.
H. from Ha, the panting
H. from Hem or hum, the
K. an erect serpent.
K. from Ka, an Ape.
K. from Kam, the Crocodile’s
Kh. or Q. from Kha, the Fish.
Kh. or Q. the Calf.
M. from Mu, the Owl.
M. from Mau, the Cat or
M. from Mu, the Vulture.
N. from Neh, the Black
N. from the Lizard.
N. from the Fish.
N. from the Crocodile.
P. from Peh, the Lioness.
P. from Pa, a Water-fowl.
R. or L. from Ru, the Lion.
R. from Ru, the Snake.
R. from Ru, the Grasshopper.
S. from Su, the Goose.
S. from Sa, the Jackal.
T. from Tet, the Snake.
T. from Ta, the Nestling.
T. from the Hoopoe.
T. from Tet, the Ibis.
U. from the Duckling.
U. from Un, the Hare.
U. from Ur, the Finch.
The zootypes serve to show the only ground on which a divine origin could have been ascribed to language on account of the pre-human and superhuman sounds. Several of these are representative of Powers in nature that were divinized. They uttered the sounds by which they were self-named, and thus the Language of Animals might become the language of the Gods. The zootype of Apt the Roarer was the Hippopotamus, and Apt of Ombos was “the Living Word.” The zootype of Taht, as God of Speech and Writing, was the Clicking Ape. A zootype of the nocturnal Sun as Atum-Ra was the Ass. The Goose that said “Su” was a zootype of Seb the God of Earth. Ka is the Egyptian name for the Frog; this was obviously self-conferred by the call of the animal, and the Frog was made a zootype of Power divinized in Ptah the God of Transformation and Evolution.
It is obvious that Homo in making his gestures either continued or imitated sounds that were already extant in the animal world, such as the clicks of the Cynocephalus, and other sounds which can be identified with their zootypes, the animals that uttered the sounds before man had come into being. We know that monkeys have an uncontrollable horror of snakes, and no doubt primitive man had a similar feeling. Now, supposing the primitive man in a difficulty wished to warn his fellows of the presence of a snake, and had no words to convey the warning with, what would he do? What could he do but make use of the imitative faculty which he possessed in common with the ape? He would try to utter some signal of warning in an imitative manner! The sound would have to be self-defining i.e., a snake-sound for a snake. It is usually said that snakes hiss. But the Africans represent them as puffing and blowing rather than hissing, as we have it expressed in the name of the puff-adder. When the snake swelled and distended itself, reared up and puffed, it made the sound which constituted its own audible sign: and the human being would naturally repeat that sound as his note of warning to anyone in danger. The apes will do so much, for they will swell and puff and thrust out the mouth, expel their breath and spit at sight of the snake. This representative sound turned into a note of warning would in time be accompanied by a gesture that portrayed to the eye some visible likeness to the thing signified by the sound. To do this the mimic would swell and puff out his cheeks in puffing out his breath. He would thus become the living likeness of the puff-adder, both to eye and ear. The man would represent the audible image and visible likeness of the snake, and such a representation would belong to the very genesis of gesture-language and natural hieroglyphics. Further, we have the means of proving that such was the process in the beginning. The puff-adder, the