By way of definition of terms, very few words are needed in introducing our present treatise. Phallic worship (the phase of nature worship to which our attention will be directed) is the adoration of the human organs of generation, from (/)aAAo? (membrum virile). Originally it was of a character free from all associations of licentiousness and indecency, — viewed of course in the light of remoter times—it simply represented allegorically, the mysterious union of male and female as the source of the continuation of the existence of animated beings. In course of time, however, it was attended with so much that was detrimental to the morals of the people, especially in the degenerate days of Rome, that the governing authorities had to interfere and in turn modify and suppress it. Extraordinary as this worship, in its extensive and varied forms and wide-spread prevalance in almost every nation on the face of the earth, may well be termed, there will be found when it comes to be carefully regarded and studied, very much in it that for want of better information and education is both reasonable and natural. Men have always to some extent been observers of the processes constantly going on under the control of the ordinary laws of nature, and it was not likely that they would fail to be impressed with the profound mysteries connected with the propagation of their own and other species.

 

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