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The God-Idea of the Ancients or Sex in Religion by Eliza Burt Gamble

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BY ELIZA BURT GAMBLE Author of "The Evolution of Woman"

Much of the material for this volume was collected during the
time that I was preparing for the press the Evolution of Woman,
or while searching for data bearing on the subject of
sex-specialization. While preparing that book for publication,
it was my intention to include within it this branch of my
investigation, but wishing to obtain certain facts relative to
the foundations of religious belief and worship which were not
accessible at that time, and knowing that considerable labor and
patience would be required in securing these facts, I decided to
publish the first part of the work, withholding for the time
being that portion of it pertaining especially to the development
of the God-idea.

As mankind construct their own gods, or as the prevailing ideas
of the unknowable reflect the inner consciousness of human
beings, a trustworthy history of the growth of religions must
correspond to the processes involved in the mental, moral, and
social development of the individual and the nation.

By means of data brought forward in these later times relative to
the growth of the God-idea, it is observed that an independent
chain of evidence has been produced in support of the facts
recently set forth bearing upon the development of the two
diverging lines of sexual demarcation. In other words, it has
been found that sex is the fundamental fact not only in the
operations of Nature but in the construction of a god.

In the Evolution of Woman it has been shown that the peculiar
inheritance of the two sexes, female and male, is the result of
the bias given to these separate lines of development during the
earliest periods of sex-differentiation; and, as this division of
labor was a necessary step in the evolutionary processes, the
rate of progress depended largely on the subsequent adjustment of
these two primary elements or forces. A comprehensive study of
prehistoric records shows that in an earlier age of existence
upon the earth, at a time when woman's influence was in the
ascendancy over that of man, human energy was directed by the
altruistic characters which originated in and have been
transmitted through the female; but after the decline of woman's
power, all human institutions, customs, forms, and habits of
thought are seen to reflect the egoistic qualities acquired by
the male.

Nowhere is the influence of sex more plainly manifested than in
the formulation of religious conceptions and creeds. With the
rise of male power and dominion, and the corresponding repression
of the natural female instincts, the principles which originally
constituted the God-idea gradually gave place to a Deity better
suited to the peculiar bias which had been given to the male
organism. An anthropomorphic god like that of the Jews--a god
whose chief attributes are power and virile might--could have had
its origin only under a system of masculine rule.

Religion is especially liable to reflect the vagaries and
weaknesses of human nature; and, as the forms and habits of
thought connected with worship take a firmer hold on the mental
constitution than do those belonging to any other department of
human experience, religious conceptions should be subjected to
frequent and careful examination in order to perceive, if
possible, the extent to which we are holding on to ideas which
are unsuited to existing conditions.

In an age when every branch of inquiry is being subjected to
reasonable criticism, it would seem that the origin and growth of
religion should be investigated from beneath the surface, and
that all the facts bearing upon it should be brought forward as a
contribution to our fund of general information. As well might
we hope to gain a complete knowledge of human history by studying
only the present aspect of society, as to expect to reach
reasonable conclusions respecting the prevailing God-idea by
investigating the various creeds and dogmas of existing faiths.

The object of this volume is not only to furnish a brief outline
of religious growth, but to show the effect which each of the two
forces, female and male, has had on the development of our
present God- idea, which investigation serves to accentuate the
conclusions arrived at in the Evolution of Woman relative to the
inheritance of each of the two lines of sexual demarcation.







Through a study of the primitive god-idea as manifested in
monumental records in various parts of the world; through
scientific investigation into the early religious conceptions of
mankind as expressed by symbols which appear in the architecture
and decorations of sacred edifices and shrines; by means of a
careful examination of ancient holy objects and places still
extant in every quarter of the globe, and through the study of
antique art, it is not unlikely that a line of investigation has
been marked out whereby a tolerably correct knowledge of the
processes involved in our present religious systems may be
obtained. The numberless figures and sacred emblems which appear
carved in imperishable stone in the earliest cave temples; the
huge towers, monoliths, and rocking stones found in nearly every
country of the globe, and which are known to be closely connected
with primitive belief and worship, and the records found on
tablets which are being unearthed in various parts of the world,
are, with the unravelling of extinct tongues, proving an almost
inexhaustible source for obtaining information bearing upon the
early history of the human race, and, together, furnish
indisputable evidence of the origin, development, and unity of
religious faiths.

By comparing the languages used by the earlier races to express
their religious conceptions; by observing the similarity in the
mythoses and sacred appellations among all tribe and nations, an
through the discovery of the fact that the legends extant in the
various countries of the globe are identical, or have the same
foundation, it is probable that a clue has already been obtained
whereby an outline of the religious history of the human family
from a period even as remote as the "first dispersion," or from a
time when one race comprehended the entire population of the
globe, maybe traced. Humboldt in his Researches observes: "In
every part of the globe, on the ridge of the Cordilleras as well
as in the Isle of Samothrace, in the Aegean Sea, fragments of
primitive languages are preserved in religious rites."

Regarding the identity of the fundamental ideas contained in the
various systems of religion, both past and present, Hargrave
Jennings, in referring to a parallel drawn by Sir William Jones,
between the deities of Meru and Olympus, observes:

"All our speculations tend to the same conclusions. One day it
is a discovery of cinerary vases, the next, it is etymological
research; yet again it is ethnological investigation, and the day
after, it is the publication of unsuspected tales from the Norse;
but all go to heap up proof of our consanguinity with the peoples
of history--and of an original general belief, we might add."

That the religious systems of India and Egypt were originally the
same, there can be at the present time no reasonable doubt. The
fact noted by various writers, of the British Sepoys, who, on
their overland route from India, upon beholding the ruins of
Dendera, prostrated themselves before the remains of the ancient
temples and offered adoration to them, proves the identity of
Indian and Egyptian deities. These foreign devotees, being asked
to explain the reason of their strange conduct declared that they
"saw sculptured before them the gods of their country."

Upon the subject of the identity of Eastern religions, Wilford
remarks that one and the same code both of theology and of
fabulous history, has been received through a range or belt about
forty degrees broad across the old continent, in a southeast and
northwest direction from the eastern shores of the Malaga
peninsula to the western extremity of the British Isles, that,
through this immense range the same religious notions reappear in
various places under various modifications, as might be expected;
and that there is not a greater difference between the tenets and
worship of the Hindoos and the Greeks than exists between the
churches of Home and Geneva.

Concerning the universality of certain religious beliefs and
opinions, Faber, commenting upon the above statement of Wilford,
observes that, immense as is this territorial range, it is by far
too limited to include the entire phenomenon, that the

"applies with equal propriety to the entire habitable globe; for
the arbitrary rites and opinions of every pagan nation bear so
close a resemblance to each other, that such a coincidence can
only have been produced by their having had a common origin.
Barbarism itself has not been able to efface the strong primeval
impression. Vestiges of the ancient general system may be traced
in the recently discovered islands in the Pacific Ocean; and,
when the American world was first opened to the hardy adventurers
of Europe, its inhabitants from north to south venerated, with
kindred ceremonies and kindred notions, the gods of Egypt and
Hindostan, of Greece and Italy, of Phoenicia and Britain."[1]

[1] Pagan Idolatry, book i., ch. i.

"Though each religion has its own peculiar growth, the seed from
which they spring is everywhere the same."[2]

[2] Max Muller, Origin and Growth of Religion, p. 48.

The question as to whether the identity of conception and the
similarity in detail observed in religious rites, ceremonies, and
symbols in the various countries of the globe are due to the
universal law of unity which governs human development, or
whether, through the dispersion of one original people, the early
conceptions of a Deity were spread broadcast over the entire
earth, is perhaps not settled; yet, from the facts which have
been brought forward during the last century, the latter theory
seems altogether probable, such divergence in religious ideas as
is observed among the various peoples of the earth being
attributable to variations in temperament caused by changed
conditions of life. In other words, the divergence in the course
of religious development has doubtless been due to environment.

In an attempt to understand the history of the growth of the
god-idea, the fact should be borne in mind that, from the
earliest conception of a creative force in the animal and
vegetable world to the latest development in theological
speculation, there has never been what might consistently be
termed a new religion. On the contrary, religion like everything
else is subject to the law of growth; therefore the faiths of
to-day are the legitimate result, or outcome, of the primary idea
of a Deity developed in accordance with the laws governing the
peculiar instincts which have been in the ascendancy during the
life of mankind on the earth.

The erroneous impression which under a belief in the unknown has
come to prevail, namely, that the moral law is the result of
religion; or, in other words, that the human conscience is in
some manner dependent on supernaturalism for its origin and
maintenance, is, with a better and clearer understanding of the
past history of the development of the human race, being
gradually dispelled. On one point we may reasonably rest assured
that the knowledge of right and wrong and our sense of justice
and right-living have been developed quite independently of all
religious beliefs. The moral law embodied in the golden rule is
not an outgrowth of mysticism, or of man's notions of the
unknowable; but, on the contrary, is the result of experience,
and was formulated in response to a recognized law of human
necessity,--a law which involves the fundamental principle of
progress. The history of human development shows conclusively
that mankind GREW into the recognition of the moral law, that
through sympathy, or a desire for the welfare of others,--a
character which had its root in maternal affection,--conscience
and the moral sense were evolved.

While the moral law and the conscience may not be accounted as in
any sense the result of man's ideas concerning the unknowable,
neither can the errors and weaknesses developed in human nature
be regarded as the result of religion. Although the sexual
excesses which during three or four thousand years were practiced
as sacred rites, and treated as part and parcel of religion in
various parts of the world, have had the effect to stimulate and
strengthen the animal nature in man, yet these rites may not be
accounted as the primary cause of the supremacy of the lower
nature over the higher faculties. On the contrary, the impulse
which has been termed religion, with all the vagaries which its
history presents, is to be regarded more as an effect than as a
cause. The stage of a nation's development regulates its
religion. Man creates his own gods; they are powerless to change

As written history records only those events in human experience
which belong to a comparatively recent period of man's existence,
and as the primitive conceptions of a Deity lie buried beneath
ages of corruption, glimpses of the earlier faiths of mankind, as
has already been stated, must be looked for in the traditions,
monuments, and languages of extinct races.

In reviewing this matter we shall doubtless observe the fact that
if the stage of a nation's growth is indicated by its religious
conceptions, and if remnants of religious beliefs are everywhere
present in the languages, traditions, and monuments of the past
through a careful study of these subjects we may expect to gain a
tolerably correct understanding not alone of the growth of the
god-idea but of the stage of development reached by the nations
which existed prior to the beginning of the historic age. We
shall be enabled also to perceive whether or not the course of
human development during the intervening ages has been
continuous, or whether, for some cause hitherto unexplained, true
progress throughout a portion of this time has been arrested,
thus producing a backward movement, or degeneracy.

If we would unravel the mysteries involved in present religious
faiths, we should begin not by attempting to analyze or explain
any existing system or systems of belief and worship. Such a
course is likely to end not only in confusion and in a subsequent
denial of the existence of the religious nature in mankind, but
is liable, also, to create an aversion for and a distrust of the
entire subject of religious experience. In view of this fact it
would appear to be not only useless but exceedingly unwise to
spend one's time in attempting to gain a knowledge of this
subject simply by studying the later developments in its history.

If we are really desirous of obtaining information regarding
present religious phenomena, it is plain that we should adopt the
scientific method and turn our attention to the remote past,
where, by careful and systematic investigation, we are enabled to
perceive the earliest conception of a creative force and the
fundamental basis of all religious systems, from which may be
traced the gradual development of the god-idea.



In the study of primitive religion, the analogy existing between
the growth of the god-idea and the development of the human race,
and especially of the two sex-principles, is everywhere clearly

"Religion is to be found alone with its justification and
explanation in the relations of the sexes. There and therein

[3] Hargrave Jennings, Phallicism.

As the conception of a deity originated in sex, or in the
creative agencies female and male which animate Nature, we may
reasonably expect to find, in the history of the development of
the two sex-principles and in the notions entertained concerning
them throughout past ages, a tolerably correct account of the
growth of the god-idea. We shall perceive that during an earlier
age of human existence, not only were the reproductive powers
throughout Nature, and especially in human beings and in animals,
venerated as the Creator, but we shall find also that the
prevailing ideas relative to the importance of either sex in the
office of reproduction decided the sex of this universal creative
force. We shall observe also that the ideas of a god have always
corresponded with the current opinions regarding the importance
of either sex in human society. In other words, so long as
female power and influence were in the ascendency, the creative
force was regarded as embodying the principles of the female
nature; later, however, when woman's power waned, and the
supremacy of man was gained, the god-idea began gradually to
assume the male characters and attributes.

Through scientific research the fact has been observed that, for
ages after life appeared on the earth, the male had no separate
existence; that the two sex-principles, the sperm and the germ,
were contained within one and the same individual. Through the
processes of differentiation, however, these elements became
detached, and with the separation of the male from the female,
the reproductive functions were henceforth confided to two
separate individuals.

As originally, throughout Nature, the female was the visible
organic unit within whom was contained the exclusive creative
power, and as throughout the earlier ages of life on the earth
she comprehended the male, it is not perhaps singular that, even
after the appearance of mankind on the earth, the greater
importance of the mother element in human society should have
been recognized; nor, as the power to bring forth coupled with
perceptive wisdom originally constituted the Creator, that the
god-idea should have been female instead of male.

From the facts to be observed in relation to this subject, it is
altogether probable that for ages the generating principle
throughout Nature was venerated as female; but with that increase
of knowledge which was the result of observation and experience,
juster or more correct ideas came to prevail, and subsequently
the great fructifying energy throughout the universe came to be
regarded as a dual indivisible force--female and male. This
force, or agency, constituted one God, which, as woman's
functions in those ages were accounted of more importance than
those of man, was oftener worshipped under the form of a female

Neith, Minerva, Athene, and Cybele, the most important deities of
their respective countries, were adored as Perceptive Wisdom, or
Light, while Ceres and others represented Fertility. With the
incoming of male dominion and supremacy, however, we observe the
desire to annul the importance of the female and to enthrone one
all-powerful male god whose chief attributes were power and

Notwithstanding the efforts which during the historic period have
been put forward to magnify the importance of the male both in
human affairs and in the god-idea, still, no one, I think, can
study the mythologies and traditions of the nations of antiquity
without being impressed with the prominence given to the female
element, and the deeper the study the stronger will this
impression grow.

During a certain stage of human development, religion was but a
recognition of and a reliance upon the vivifying or fructifying
forces throughout Nature, and in the earlier ages of man's
career, worship consisted for the most part in the celebration of
festivals at stated seasons of the year, notably during seed-time
and harvest, to commemorate the benefits derived from the grain
field and vineyard.

Doubtless the first deified object was Gaia, the Earth. As
within the bosom of the earth was supposed to reside the
fructifying, life-giving power, and as from it were received all
the bounties of life, it was female. It was the Universal
Mother, and to her as to no other divinity worshipped by mankind,
was offered a spontaneity of devotion and a willing
acknowledgment of dependence. Thus far in the history of mankind
no temples dedicated to an undefined and undefinable God had been
raised. The children of Mother Earth met in the open air,
without the precincts of any man-made shrine, and under the
aerial canopy of heaven, acknowledged the bounties of the great
Deity and their dependence upon her gifts. She was a beneficent
and all-wise God, a tender and loving parent--a mother, who
demanded no bleeding sacrifice to reconcile her to her children.
The ceremonies observed at these festive seasons consisted for
the most part in merry-making and in general thanksgiving, in
which the gratitude of the worshippers found expression in song
and dance, and in invocations to their Deity for a return or
continuance of her gifts.

Subsequently, through the awe and reverence inspired by the
mysteries involved in birth and life, the adoration of the
creative principles in vegetable existence became supplemented by
the worship of the creative functions in human beings and in
animals. The earth, including the power inherent in it by which
the continuity of existence is maintained, and by which new forms
are continuously called into life, embodied the idea of God; and,
as this inner force was regarded as inherent in matter, or as a
manifestation of it, in process of time earth and the heavens,
body and spirit, came to be worshipped under the form of a mother
and her child, this figure being the highest expression of a
Creator which the human mind was able to conceive. Not only did
this emblem represent fertility, or the fecundating energies of
Nature, but with the power to create were combined or correlated
all the mental qualities and attributes of the two sexes. In
fact the whole universe was contained in the Mother idea--the
child, which was sometimes female, sometimes male, being a scion
or offshoot from the eternal or universal unit.

Underlying all ancient mythologies may be observed the idea that
the earth, from which all things proceed, is female. Even in the
mythology of the Finns, Lapps, and Esths, Mother Earth is the
divinity adored. Tylor calls attention to the same idea in the
mythology of England,

"from the days when the Anglo-Saxon called upon the Earth, 'Hal
wes thu folde fira modor' (Hail, thou Earth, men's mother), to
the time when mediaeval Englishmen made a riddle of her asking
'Who is Adam's mother?' and poetry continued what mythology was
letting fall, when Milton's Archangel promised Adam a life to
'. . . till like ripe fruit thou drop
Into thy Mother's lap.' "[4]

[4] Primitive Culture, vol. i., p. 295.

In the old religion the sky was the husband of the earth and the
earth was mother of all the gods.[5] In the traditions of past
ages the fact is clearly perceived that there was a time when the
mother was not only the one recognized parent on earth, but that
the female principle was worshipped as the more important
creative force throughout Nature.

[5] Max Muller, Origin and Growth of Religion, p. 279.

Doubtless the worship of the female energy prevailed under the
matriarchal system, and was practised at a time when women were
the recognized heads of families and when they were regarded as
the more important factors in human society. The fact has been
shown in a previous work that after women began to leave their
homes at marriage, and after property, especially land, had
fallen under the supervision and control of men, the latter, as
they manipulated all the necessaries of life and the means of
supplying them, began to regard themselves as superior beings,
and later, to claim that as a factor in reproduction, or
creation, the male was the more important. With this change the
ideas of a Deity also began to undergo a modification. The dual
principle necessary to creation, and which had hitherto been
worshipped as an indivisible unity, began gradually to separate
into its individual elements, the male representing spirit, the
moving or forming force in the generative processes, the female
being matter--the instrument through which spirit works. Spirit
which is eternal had produced matter which is destructible. The
fact will be observed that this doctrine prevails to a greater or
less extent in the theologies of the present time.

A little observation and reflection will show us that during this
change in the ideas relative to a creative principle, or God,
descent and the rights of succession which had hitherto been
reckoned through the mother were changed from the female to the
male line, the father having in the meantime become the only
recognized parent. In the Eumenides of Aeschylus, the plea of
Orestes in extenuation of his crime is that he is not of kin to
his mother. Euripides, also, puts into the mouth of Apollo the
same physiological notion, that she who bears the child is only
its nurse. The Hindoo Code of Menu, which, however, since its
earliest conception, has undergone numberless mutilations to suit
the purposes of the priests, declares that "the mother is but the
field which brings forth the plant according to whatsoever seed
is sown."

Although, through the accumulation of property in masses and the
capture of women for wives, men had succeeded in gaining the
ascendancy, and although the doctrine had been propounded that
the father is the only parent, thereby reversing the established
manner of reckoning descent, still, as we shall hereafter
observe, thousands of years were required to eliminate the female
element from the god-idea.

We must not lose sight of the fact that human society was first
organized and held together by means of the gens, at the head of
which was a woman. The several members of this organization were
but parts of one body cemented together by the pure principle of
maternity, the chief duty of these members being to defend and
protect each other if needs be with their life blood. The fact
has been observed, in an earlier work, that only through the gens
was the organization of society possible. Without it mankind
could have accomplished nothing toward its own advancement.

Thus, throughout the earlier ages of human existence, at a time
when mankind lived nearer to Nature and before individual wealth
and the stimulation of evil passions had engendered superstition,
selfishness, and distrust, the maternal element constituted not
only the binding and preserving principle in human society, but,
together with the power to bring forth, constituted also the
god-idea, which idea, as has already been observed, at a certain
stage in the history of the race was portrayed by a female figure
with a child in her arms.

From all sources of information at hand are to be derived
evidences of the fact that the earliest religion of which we have
any account was pure Nature-worship, that whatever at any given
time might have been the object adored, whether it were the
earth, a tree, water, or the sun, it was simply as an emblem of
the great energizing agency in Nature. The moving or forming
force in the universe constituted the god-idea. The figure of a
mother with her child signified not only the power to bring
forth, but Perceptive Wisdom, or Light, as well.

As through a study of Comparative Ethnology, or through an
investigation into the customs, traditions, and mythoses of
extant races in the various stages of development, have been
discovered the beginnings of the religious idea and the mental
qualities which among primitive races prompted worship, so, also,
through extinct tongues and the symbolism used in religious rites
and ceremonies, many of the processes have been unearthed whereby
the original and beautiful conceptions of the Deity, and the
worship inspired by the operations of Nature, and especially the
creative functions in human beings gradually became obscured by
the grossest ideas and the vilest practices. The symbols which
appear in connection with early religious rites and ceremonies,
and under which are veiled the conceptions of a still earlier and
purer age, when compared with subsequently developed notions
relative to the same objects, indicate plainly the change which
has been wrought in the original ideas relative to the creative
functions, and furnish an index to the direction which human
development, or growth, has taken.

As the human race constructs its own gods, and as by the
conceptions involved in the deities worshipped at any given time
in the history of mankind we are able to form a correct estimate
of the character, temperament, and aspirations of the
worshippers, so the history of the gods of the race, as revealed
to us through the means of symbols, monumental records, and the
investigation of extinct tongues, proves that from a stage of
Nature worship and a pure and rational conception of the creative
forces in the universe, mankind, in course of time, degenerated
into mere devotees of sensual pleasure. With the corruption of
human nature and the decline of mental power which followed the
supremacy of the animal instincts, the earlier abstract idea of
God was gradually lost sight of, and man himself in the form of a
potentate or ruler, together with the various emblems of
virility, came to be worshipped as the Creator. From adorers of
an abstract creative principle, mankind had lapsed into
worshippers of the symbols under which this principle had been

Although at certain stages in the history of the human race the
evils, which as a result of the supremacy of the ruder elements
developed in mankind had befallen the race were lamented and
bewailed, they could not be suppressed. Man had become a lost
and ruined creature. The golden age had passed away.



When mankind first began to perceive the fact of an all-pervading
agency throughout Nature, by or through which everything is
produced, and when they began to speculate on the origin of life
and the final cause and destiny of things, it is not in the least
remarkable that various objects and elements, such as fire, air,
water, trees, etc., should in their turn have been venerated as
in some special manner embodying the divine essence. Neither is
it surprising although this universal agency was regarded as one,
or as a dual entity, they should have recognized its manifold
expressions or manifestations.

To primitive man, the visible sources whence proceeded his daily
sustenance doubtless constituted the first objects of his regard
and adoration. Hence, in addition to the homage paid to the
earth, in due course of time would be added the worship of trees,
upon which the early race was directly dependent for food. At a
time when the art of agriculture had not been attained, all such
trees as yielded their fruit for the support of the human race,
and which afforded to mankind pleasant beverages or cooling
shade, would come to be regarded as embodying the universal
beneficent principle--the great creating and preserving agency of
Nature, and therefore as proper objects of veneration.

According to the Phoenician theogony, "the first gods which were
worshipped by oblations and sacrifices were the fruits of the
earth, on which they and their descendants lived as their
forefathers had done."

Although, after the art of agriculture had been developed,
mankind was gradually relieved from its past dependence on the
tree as a means of support, it nevertheless continued to be
regarded with veneration as an emblem of creative power or of
productive energy.

Among the traditions and monuments of nearly every country of the
globe are to be found traces of a sacred tree--a Tree of Life.
In various countries there appear two traditional trees, the one
typical of the continuation of physical life, the other
representing spiritual life, or the life of the soul. After the
age of pure Nature-worship had passed, however, and serpent,
fire, and phallic faiths had been introduced, the original
signification of the tree, like that of all other religious
emblems, became considerably changed. Through its energies, or
life-giving properties, existence had long been maintained, and
for this reason, as has already been observed, it became an
object of veneration; but, after the reproductive power in man
had risen to the dignity of a supreme God, the tree, to the
masses of the people, became a symbol of the physical,
life-giving energy in mortals and in animals. In other words, it
became a phallic emblem representing the continuation of
existence, or the power to reproduce or continue life on the
earth. As a religious symbol it became the traditional Tree of

The tree, like nearly every other object in nature, was and still
is, in various parts of the world, either female or male, and all
ideas connected with it are sacred and closely interwoven with

The extent to which trees have been venerated in past ages seems
to be little understood, and there are doubtless few persons, at
the present time, who would willingly believe that all along the
religious stream, from its source to its latest developed
branches, are to be observed traces of this ancient worship,
which, in its earliest stages, was simply a recognition of
Nature's bounties.

Barlow, in his work on Symbolism, says that "the most generally
received symbol of life is a tree--as also the most appropriate."

Again the same writer observes: "Besides the monumental evidence
thus furnished of a sacred tree, or Tree of Life, there is an
historical and traditional evidence of the same thing, found in
the early literature of various nations, in the customs, and
popular usages."[6] As tree- and sun-worship, or the adoration of
Nature's processes, finally became interwoven with phallic
faiths, its history can be understood only after these later
developments in the religious stream have been examined, or after
the true significance of the serpent as a religious emblem, and
the various ideas connected with the traditional Tree of Life,
have been exposed.

[6] Essays on Symbolism, p. 84.

The palm, the pine, the oak, the banian, or bo, and many other
species of trees, have, at different times, and by various
nations, been invested with divine honors; but, in oriental
countries, by far the most sacred among them is the Ficus
Religiosa, or the holy bo tree of India. Something of the true
significance of the traditional Tree of Life may be observed in
the ideas connected with the worship of this emblem. The fig,
when planted with the palm, as it frequently is in the East, near
temples and holy shrines, is regarded as a peculiarly sacred
object. When entwining the palm, which is male, it is always
female; from their embrace Kalpia, or passion, is developed.
This union causes the continuation of existence and the
"revolutions of time." The whole constitutes the Tree of Life.

In Ceylon, there stands at the present time a tree which we are
told is still worshipped by every follower of Buddha. It is a
sacred bo, or Ficus Religiosa, which stands adjacent to an
ancient holy shrine known as the Brazen Monastery, now in ruins.
Of this tree Forlong remarks:

"Though now amidst ruins and wild forests, and although having
stood thus in solitary desolation for some 1500 years, yet there
it still grows, and is worshipped and deeply revered by more
millions of our race than any other god, prophet, or idol, which
the world has ever seen."[7]

[7] Rivers of Life, vol. i., p. 35.

This tree is sacred to Sakyu Mooni, is 2200 years old, and is
said to be a slip from a tree planted by Bood Gaya, one of the
three former Buddhas who, like Sakyu Mooni, visited Ceylon.
Under the parent of this tree the great prophet reposed after he
had attained perfect rest, or after he had overcome the flesh and
become Buddha. It was under a bo tree that Mai, Queen of Heaven,
brought him forth, and, in fact, very many of the most important
incidents of his life are closely connected with this sacred

In an allusion to the bo tree of Ceylon, a slip of which is said
to have been carried from India to that island by a certain
priestess in the year 307 B.C., Forlong observes:

"This wonderful idol has furnished shoots to half Asia, and every
shoot is trained as much as possible like the parent, and like
it, also, enclosed and tended. Men watch and listen for signs
and sounds from this holy tree just as the priests of Dodona did
beneath their rustling oaks, and, as many people, even of these
somewhat sceptical days, still do, beneath the pulpits of their
pope, priest, or other oracle."[8]

[8] Rivers of Life, vol. i., p, 36.

The sacred Ficus is worshipped in India and in many of the
Polynesian islands.

Regarding the palm, Inman assures us that it is emblematical of
the active male energy, or the continuation of existence.[9]

[9] Ancient Faiths Embodied in Ancient Names, vol. ii., p. 448.

Within the legends underlying the Jewish religion, it will be
remembered that the tree appears mysteriously connected with the
beginning of life and is interwoven with the first ideas of human
action and experience. The literal sense, however, of the
allegory in Genesis concerning the woman, the tree, and the
serpent, and its meaning as generally accepted by laymen and the
uneducated among the priesthood, has little in common with its
true significance as understood by the initiated.

In Vedic times, the home tree was worshipped as a god, and to the
exhilarating properties in its juice was ascribed that subtle
quality which was regarded as the life-giving, or creative,
energy supposed to reside in heat, and which was closely
connected with passion or procreative energy. This quality was
their Bacchus, Dionysos, or god-idea--the creator not alone of
physical existence, but of good and evil as well. It was the
Destroyer, yet the Regenerator, of life.

Of the Zoroastrian home, or sacred tree, which by the Persians
was worshipped for thousands of years, Layard remarks: "The plant
or its product was called the mystical body of God, the living
water or food of eternal life, when duly consecrated and
administered according to Zoroastrian rites." It has been
suggested, and not without reason, that to this idea of the
ancients, respecting the sacred character of the properties of
the home juice, may be traced the "origin of the celebration of
Jewish holy or paschal suppers and other eucharistic rites."

Although by the ancients water was sometimes regarded as the
original principle, later, wine, or the intoxicating quality
within it, came to constitute the god-idea. It was spirit, while
water was matter; hence, in the sacraments, water and wine were
commingled, wine representing the essence or blood of God; water,
at the same time, standing for the people. Cyprian, the bishop
martyr, while contending for the use of wine in the Sacrament of
the Lord's Supper, makes use of the following argument:

"The Holy Spirit also is not silent in the Psalms on the
sacrament of this thing, when He makes mention of the Lord's Cup,
and says 'Thy intoxicating cup how excellent it is!' Now the cup
which intoxicates is assuredly mingled with wine, for water
cannot intoxicate anybody. And the Cup of the Lord in such wise
inebriates, as Noe also was intoxicated drinking wine in Genesis.
. . . For because Christ bore us all, in that he also bore our
sins, we see that in the water is understood the people, but in
the wine is showed the blood of Christ. . . . Thus,
therefore, in consecrating the Cup of the Lord, water alone
cannot be offered, even as wine alone cannot be offered. For if
anyone offer wine only, the blood of Christ is dissociated from
us; but if the water be alone, the people are dissociated from

[10] Epistles of Cyprian, vol. i., pp. 215-217.

The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, at which wine is mysteriously
converted into the essence of Deity, or into the blood of Christ,
is without doubt a relic of the idea once entertained regarding
the homa tree. Certain writers entertain the opinion that from
the use of the sacred homa juice have arisen various religious
practices and rites, such for instance as offering oblations to
the gods, anointing holy stones, and pouring wine on sacred
hills, also the custom of pledging oaths over glasses of wine.

The May pole, a decidedly phallic emblem, whose festivals until a
very recent time were celebrated in England by the old as well as
the young, was usually if not always sprinkled with wine. From
the accounts which we have of this sacred emblem and its
festival, it seems that no royal edict nor priestly denunciation
was sufficient to expel it from the country.

According to Dr. Stevenson, the festival of Holi or the worship
of Holika Devata, in the island of Ceylon, "has a close
resemblance to the English festival of the May-pole, which
originated in a religious ceremony or festival of the Cushites
(called Phoenicians) who anciently occupied Western Europe."[11]

[11] Quoted by Baldwin, Prehistoric Nations, p. 223.

The ash is the Scandinavian Tree of Life, and, like the sacred
trees of all nations, is emblematical of the continuation of
existence. This tree has a triple root, which peculiarity
doubtless accounts for its sacred character. It is both female
and male, and is said to be regarded as a "sort of Logos or
Wisdom." It is the first emanation from the Deity, and yet a
Trinity in Unity. To insult or injure this tree was sacrilege,
to cut it down was an offense punishable with death.

In the old Egyptian and Zoroastrian story, appear the
descriptions of two Trees of Life, also a Tree of Knowledge. In
the accounts given of these trees, the Ficus, the female Tree of
Life, represents the life of the soul, while the palm, the male
Tree of Life, is that which gives physical life, which also is
the true significance of the word "lord." When, however, either
of these trees stood alone, or unaccompanied by its counterpart,
by it both of the creative principles were understood. By these
ideas is suggested the thought which among a certain school of
psychologists of the present century seems to be gaining ground,
namely: that man is a dual entity, or, in other words, that he
has a subjective mind and an objective self, which so long as
this life endures must co-operate or work together.

In the following descriptions of Egyptian emblems, will be
perceived some of the changes which finally took place relative
to the idea of sex in the god-idea.

In the museum of Egyptian antiquities in Berlin is a sepulchral
tablet representing the Tree of Life. This emblem figures the
trunk of a tree, from the top of which emerges the bust of a
woman--Netpe. She is the goddess of heavenly existence, and is
administering to the deceased the water and the bread of life,
the latter of which is represented by a substance in the form of
cakes or rolls. The time at which this tablet was found is not
known, but it is supposed to belong to the period of the XIXth
dynasty, or about the time of Rameses II., 1400 years B.C.

There is also in the Berlin museum another representation of the
Egyptian Tree of Life, in which the trunk has given place to the
entire body of a woman. This, also, is Netpe, who is still
spiritual wisdom or the maternal principle. We are informed by
Forlong that Diana was worshipped by the Amazons under a sacred
tree.[12] From this symbol the tree, which grew first into the
figure of a divine woman, and later assumed the form of a divine
man, arose the emblem of the cross.

[12] Rivers of Life, vol. i., p. 70.

On the Nineveh tablets is pictured a Tree of Life which is
surrounded by winged spirits, bearing in their hands the pine
cone, a symbol indicating life, and which is said to have the
same significance as the crux-ansata, or cross, among the

In later ages, the Tree of Life, i. e., the divine man, or
cross, or both together, furnish immortal food to those who lay
hold upon them, exactly in the same manner as did Netpe, the
goddess of wisdom, or spiritual life, in former times. According
to the testimony of Barlow, this is the subject "most frequently
symbolized on early Christian sepulchral tablets and
monuments."[13] Christ's body was the "bread of life," and his
blood was the "wine from the Tree of Life," of which to partake
was life eternal. The cross, as in earlier religions,
represented completeness of life. The jambu tree, the Buddhist
god-tree, is in the shape of a cross.[14]

[13] Essays on Symbolism, p. 74.

[14] Wilford, Asiatic Researches.

Among the Kelti a tall oak was not only a symbol of the Deity,
but it was Jupiter himself, while the earth from which it sprang
was the Great Mother. Throughout Europe, in all ages, the oak
has received divine honors. The fact that under its branches
Jew, Pagan, and Christian alike swore their most solemn oaths,
shows that its veneration was not confined to any particular
nation or locality.

The sacredness of the oak among the Druids is well attested by
all writers who have dealt with this interesting people. In Rome
its branches formed the badge of victory worn by conquering
heroes, this emblem being the highest mark of distinction which
could be conferred upon them.

Forlong assures us that the oak was even more worshipped at the
West than was the sacred Ficus at the East. Like it, the wood of
the oak must be used

"to call down the sacred fire from Heaven and gladden in the yule
(Suiel or Seul) log of Christmas-tide even Christian fires, as
well as annually renew with fire direct from Ba-al, on Beltine
day, the sacred flame on every public and private hearth, and
this from the temples of Meroe on the Nile, to the farthest icy
forests and mountains of the Sklavonian."[15]

[15] Faiths of Man in All Lands, vol. i., p. 68.

Among the Druids, the mistletoe was also sacred especially when
entwining the oak. Together they represented the Tree of Life,
or the two generating agencies throughout Nature. Of the species
of it which grows on the oak, Borlaise says that they deified the
mistletoe and were not to look upon it but in the most devout and
reverential manner: "When the end of the year approached, they
marched with great solemnity to gather the mistletoe of the oak
in order to present it to Jupiter, inviting all the world to
assist in the ceremony."[16]

[16] Borlaise.

According to the Latin writer Pliny, the "Druids have nothing
more sacred than the mistletoe and the tree on which it grows,
provided it be an oak." This plant, which is called All Heal,
although sought after with the greatest religious ardor, is
seldom found, but should the people who go forth at Christmas
time in large numbers succeed in finding it they immediately set
about preparing feasts under the tree upon which it grows; at the
same time, in the most solemn manner, two white bulls are brought
forth to be sacrificed. After the feast has been prepared and
the sacrifice made ready, the priest ascends the tree and with a
golden pruning-knife cuts the sacred branches of the mistletoe,
dropping them into a white cloth prepared for the occasion. The
bulls are then sacrificed and a prayer offered that "God would
render his own gift prosperous to those on whom he has bestowed
it." They believed that administered in a potion it would impart
fecundity to any barren animal, and that it was a remedy against
all kinds of poison. The branches of the mistletoe were then
distributed among the faithful, each cherishing the token as the
most sacred emblem of his faith. It is thought that the
Christmas tree is a remnant of this custom.

Although the Christbaum of the Germans, the Yggdrasill of the
Scandinavians, and the Christmas tree of the English speaking
nations are still regarded as belonging exclusively to
Christianity, their birthplace was the far East, and their origin
long anterior to our present era. This subject will be referred
to later in these pages. The palm, which in course of time
became the most sacred tree of Egypt, is said to have put forth a
shoot every month during the year. At Christmas tide, or at the
winter solstice, a branch from this tree was used as a symbol of
the renewal of time or of the birth of the New Year.

On the Zodiac of Dendera, preserved in the National Library at
Paris, are two trees, the one representing the East, or India and
China, the other, the West, or Egypt. The former of these trees
is putting forth a pair of leaves and is topped by the emblems of
Siva, emblems which indicate the fructifying powers of Nature,
whilst the Egyptian sacred tree, which is surmounted by the
ostrich plume, the emblem of truth, is indicative of Light,
Intelligence, or the life of the soul. In a discourse delivered
by Dr. Stukeley in 1760, attention was directed to the grove of
Abraham as "that famous oak grove of Beersheba, planted by the
illustrious prophet and first Druid--Abraham; and from whom our
celebrated British Druids came, who were of the same patriarchal
reformed religion, and brought the use of sacred groves to

[17] Barlow, Symbolism, p. 98.

The fact has been ascertained that in Arabia, in very ancient
times, there was a goddess named Azra who was worshipped under
the form of a tree called Samurch, and that in Yemen tree-worship
still prevails. To the date is ascribed divine honors. This
tree is said to have its regular priests, services, rites, and
festivals, and is as zealously worshipped as are the gods of any
other country. We are not informed as to whether the Jewish Tree
of Life was borrowed from the Chaldeans or the Egyptians, but, as
the significance is the same in all countries, it is of little
consequence which furnished a copy for the writer in Genesis.

In Dr. Inman's Ancient Faiths, is a drawing from the original,
by Colonel Coombs, of the "Temptation," or of the ancient
tree-and-serpent myth in Genesis. This drawing, in which it is
observed that the Jewish idea of woman as tempter is reversed,
was copied from the inner walls of a cave in Southern India. The
picture is said to be a faithful representation of the version of
the story as accepted in the East.

Of the myrtle, Payne Knight says that it "was a symbol both of
Venus and Neptune, the male and female personifications of the
productive powers of the waters, which appear to have been
occasionally employed in the same sense as the fig and fig leaf."

The same writer refers to the fact that instead of beads, wreaths
of foliage, generally of laurel, olive, myrtle, ivy, or oak,
appear upon coins; sometimes encircling the symbolical figures,
and sometimes as chaplets on their heads. According to Strabo,
each of these is sacred to some particular personification of the
Deity, and "significant of some particular attribute, and in
general, all evergreens were Dionysiac plants, that is, symbols
of the generative power, signifying perpetuity of youth and
vigor." The crowns of laurel, olive, etc., with which the
victors in the Roman triumphs and Grecian games were honored,
were emblems of immortality, and not merely transitory marks of
occasional distinction.[18]

[18] Payne Knight, Symbolism of Ancient Art. We are informed
that this book was never sold, but only given away. Although a
copy of it was formerly in the British Museum, care was taken by
the trustees to keep it out of the catalogues.

The tree and serpent, according to Ferguson, are symbolized in
all religious systems which the world has ever known. The two
together are typical of the processes of reproduction or
generation. They also symbolize good and evil and the cause
which underlies the decline of virtue.

Among the numberless fruits which from time to time have been
regarded as divine emblems, the principal are perhaps the fig,
the pomegranate, the mandrake, the almond, and the olive. The
peculiarly sacred character which we find attached to the fig
ceases to be a mystery so soon as we remember that the organs of
generation, male and female, had, in process of time, come to be
objects of worship and that the fig was the emblem of the latter.

A basket of this fruit is said to have been the most acceptable
offering to the god Bacchus, and therefore, by his devotees, was
regarded as the most sacred symbol. The favorite material for
phallic devices was the wood of the sacred fig, for it was by
rubbing together pieces of it that holy fire was supposed to be
drawn from heaven. By holy fire, however, was meant not so much
the natural visible element which was kindled, as that subtle
substance contained in fire or heat which was supposed to contain
the life principle, and which was sent in response to the
cravings of pious devotees for procreative energy, which
blessing, among various peoples, notably the Jews, was indicative
of special divine favor.

By pagans, Jews, and Christians, the pomegranate has long been
regarded as a sacred emblem. It is a symbol of reproductive
energy. Representations of it were embroidered on the Ephod, and
Solomon's Temple is reported as having been literally covered
with decorations, in which, among the devices noticed, this
particular fruit appears the most conspicuous. Its significance,
as revealed by Inman and other writers, is too gross to be set
forth in these pages.

Among the most sacred plants or flowers were the lotus and the
fleur de lis, both of which were venerated because of some real
or fancied organic sexual peculiarity. The lotus is adored as
the female principle throughout Nature, or as the "womb of all
creation," and is sacred throughout oriental countries. It is
said to be androgynous or hermaphrodite--hence its peculiarly
sacred character.

It has long been thought that this lily is produced without the
aid of the male pollen, hence it would seem to be an appropriate
emblem for that ancient sect which worshipped the female as the
more important creative energy.

Of the lotus, Inman remarks: "Amongst fourteen kinds of food and
flowers presented to the Sanskrit God Anata, the lotus only is
indispensable." This emblem, as we have seen, was the symbol of
the Great Mother, and we are assured that it was "little less
sacred than the Queen of Heaven herself."

Regarding the lotus and its universal significance as a religious
emblem, Payne Knight says:

"The lotus is the Nelumbo of Linnaeus. This plant grows in the
water, and amongst its broad leaves puts forth a flower, in the
center of which is formed the seed vessel, shaped like a bell or
inverted cone, and punctured on the top with little cavities or
cells, in which the seeds grow. The orifices of these cells
being too small to let the seeds drop out when ripe, they shoot
forth into new plants, in the places where they were formed, the
bulb of the vessel serving as a matrix to nourish them until they
acquire such a degree of magnitude as to burst it open and
release themselves, after which, like other aquatic weeds, they
take root wherever the current deposits them. This plant,
therefore, being thus productive of itself, and vegetating from
its own matrix, without being fostered in the earth, was
naturally adopted as the symbol of the productive power of the
waters, upon which the creative spirit of the Creator operated in
giving life and vegetation to matter. We accordingly find it
employed in every part of the Northern hemisphere, where the
symbolical religion improperly called idolatry does or did
prevail. The sacred images of the Tartars, Japanese, and Indians
are almost all placed upon it, of which numerous instances occur
in the publication of Kaempfer, Sonnerat, etc: The Brama of India
is represented sitting upon a lotus throne, and the figures upon
the Isaic table hold the stem of this plant, surmounted by the
seed vessel in one hand, and the cross representing the male
organs in the other: thus signifying the universal power, both
active and passive, attributed to that goddess."[19]

[19] Symbolism of Ancient Art.

The lotus is the most sacred and the most significant symbol
connected with the sacred mysteries of the East. Upon this
subject, Maurice observes that there is no plant which has
received such a degree of honor as has the lotus. It was the
consecrated symbol of the Great Mother who had brought forth the
fecundative energies, female and male. Not only throughout the
Northern hemisphere was it everywhere held in profound
veneration, but among the modern Egyptians it is still worshipped
as symbolical of the Great First Cause. The lotus was the emblem
venerated in the solemn celebration of the Mysteries of Eleusis
in Greece and the Phiditia in Carthage.

In referring to the degree of homage paid to the lotus by the
ancients, Higgins says: "And we shall find in the sequel that it
still continues to receive the respect, if not the adoration, of
a great part of the Christian world, unconscious, perhaps, of the
original reason of their conduct." It is a significant fact that
in nearly all the sacred paintings of the Christians in the
galleries throughout Europe, especially those of the
Annunciation, a lily is always to be observed. In later ages as
the original significance of the lotus was lost, any lily came to
be substituted. Godfrey Higgins is sure that although the
priests of the Romish Church are at the present time ignorant of
the true meaning of the lotus, or lily, "it is, like many other
very odd things, probably understood at the Vatican, or the Crypt
of St. Peter's."[20]

[20] Anacalypsis, book vii., ch. xi.

Of the lotus of the Hindoos Nimrod says:

"The lotus is a well-known allegory, of which the expanse calyx
represents the ships of the gods floating on the surface of the
water, and the erect flower arising out of it, the mast thereof .
. . but as the ship was Isis or Magna Mater, the female
principle, and the mast in it the male deity, these parts of the
flower came to have certain other significations, which seem to
have been as well known at Samosata as at Benares."[21]

[21] Quoted in Anacalypsis.

In other words it was a phallic emblem and represented the
creative processes throughout Nature. Susa, the name of the
capital of the Cushites, or ancient Ethiopians, meant "the City
of Lilies." In India the lotus frequently appears among phallic
devices in place of the sacred Yoni. From the foregoing pages
the fact will be observed that the God of the ancients embodied
the two creative agencies throughout the universe, but as nothing
could exist without a mother, the great Om who was the
indivisible God and the Creator of the sun was the mother of
these two principles, while the Tree of Life was the original
life-giving energy upon the earth, represented in the creation
myths of the first man Adam, and the first woman Eve or Adama.

Throughout the ages, this force, or creative agency has been
symbolized in various ways, many of which have been noted in the
foregoing pages. We have observed that notwithstanding the fact
that the supremacy of the male had been established, the sacred
Yoni and the lotus were still reverenced as symbols of the most
exalted God. Finally, when the masculine energy began to be
worshipped as the more important agency in reproduction, the
female, although still necessary to complete the god-idea, was

Among the sect known as Lingaites, those who adored the male
creative power, Man, Phallus, and Creator in religious symbolism
signified one and the same thing in the minds of the people.
Each represented a Tree of Life, the beginning and end of all

Tree-worship was condemned by the councils of Tours, Nantes, and
Auxerre, and in the XIth century it was forbidden in England by
the laws of Canute, but these edicts seem to have had little
effect. In referring to this subject, Barlow says: "In the
XVIIIth century it existed in Livonia, and traces of it may still
be found in the British Isles."[22] The vast area over which
tree- and plant-worship once extended, and the tenacity with
which it still clings to the human race, indicate the hold which,
at an earlier age in the history of mankind, it had taken upon
the religious feelings of mankind.

[22] Essays on Symbolism, p. 118.

So closely has this worship become entwined with that of serpent
and phallic faiths, that it is impossible to consider it, even in
a brief manner, without anticipating these later developments;
yet linked with earth- and sun-worship, it doubtless prevailed
for many ages absolutely unconnected with the grosser ideas with
which it subsequently became associated.



"When we inquire into the worship of nations in the earliest
periods to which we have access by writing or tradition, we find
that the adoration of one God, without temples or images,
universally prevailed."[23]

[23] Godfrey Higgins, Celtic Druids.

Underlying all the ancient religions of which we have any
account, may be observed the great energizing force throughout
Nature recognized and reverenced as the Deity. This force
embraces not only the creative energies in human beings, in
animals, and in plants, but in the earlier ages of human history
it included also Wisdom, or Law--that "power by which all things
are discriminated or defined and held in their proper places."
The most renowned writers who have dealt with this subject agree
in the conclusion that, during thousands of years among all the
nations of the earth, only one God was worshipped. This God was
Light and Life, both of which proceeded from the sun, or more
properly speaking were symbolized by the sun.

In Egyptian hymns the Creator is invoked as the being who "dwells
concealed in the sun"; and Greek writers speak of this luminary
as the "generator and nourisher of all things, the ruler of the
world." It is thought, however, that neither of these nations
worshipped the corporeal sun. It was the "centre or body from
which the pervading spirit, the original producer of order,
fertility, and organization, continued to emanate to preserve the
mighty structure which it had formed."

It is evident that at an early age, both in Egypt and in India,
spiritualized conceptions of sun-worship had already been formed.

We have seen that Netpe, the Goddess of Light, or Heavenly
Wisdom, conferred spiritual life on all who would accept it. The
Great Mother of the Gods in India was not only the source whence
all blessings flow, but she was the Beginning and the End of all

Of "Aditi, the boundless, the yonder, the beyond all and
everything," Max Muller says that in later times she "may have
become identified with the sky, also with the earth, but
originally she was far beyond the sky and the earth."[24] The
same writer quotes the following, also from a hymn of the

[24] Origin and Growth of Religion, p. 221.

"O Mitra and Varuna, you mount your chariot which, at the dawning
of the dawn is golden-colored and has iron poles at the setting
of the sun; from thence you see Aditi and Diti--that is, what is
yonder and what is here, what is infinite and what is finite,
what is mortal and what is immortal."[25]

[25] Ibid.

Aditi is the Great She that Is, the Everlasting. Muller refers
to the fact that another Hindoo poet "speaks of the dawn as the
face of Aditi; thus indicating that Aditi is here not the dawn
itself, but something beyond the dawn." This Goddess, who is
designated as the "Oldest," is implored "not only to drive away
darkness and enemies that lurk in the dark, but likewise to
deliver man from any sin which he may have committed." "May
Aditi by day protect our cattle, may she, who never deceives,
protect us from evil."

In the Egyptian as in the Indian and Hebrew religions, the two
generating principles throughout Nature represent the Infinite,
the Holy of Holies, the Elohim or Aleim--the Ieue. Within the
records of the earliest religions of Ethiopia or Arabia, Chaldea,
Assyria, and Babylonia, is revealed the same monad principle in
the Deity. This monad conception, or dual unity, this God of
Light and Life, or of Wisdom and generative force, is the same
source whence all mythologies have sprung, and, as has been
stated, among all peoples the fact is observed that the religious
idea has followed substantially the same course of development,
or growth. Within the sacred writings of the Hindoos there is
but one Almighty Power, usually denominated as Brahm or Brahme--
Om or Aum. This word in India was regarded with the same degree
of veneration as was the sacred Ieue of the Jews. In later ages,
the fact is being proved that this God, into whom all the deities
worshipped at a certain period in human history resolve
themselves, is the sun, or if not the actual corporeal sun, then
the supreme agency within it which was acknowledged as the great
creative or life-force-- that dual principle which by the early
races was recognized as Elohim, Om, Ormuzd, etc., and from which
the productive power in human beings, in plants, and in animals
was thought to emanate.

Prior to the development of either tree or phallic worship, the
sun as an emblem of the Deity had doubtless become the principal
object of veneration. Ages would probably elapse before
primitive man would observe that all life is dependent on the
warmth of the sun's rays, or before from experience he would
perceive the fact that to its agency as well as to that of the
earth he was indebted both for food and the power of motion.
However, as soon as this knowledge had been gained, the great orb
of day would assume the most prominent place among the objects of
his regard and adoration. That such has been the case, that the
sun, either as the actual Creator, or as an emblem of the great
energizing force in Nature, has been worshipped by every nation
of the globe, there is no lack of evidence to prove; neither do
we lack proof to establish the fact that, since the adoption of
the sun as a divine object, or perhaps I should say as the emblem
of Wisdom and creative power, it has never been wholly eliminated
from the god-idea of mankind.

Bryant produces numberless etymological proofs to establish the
fact that all the early names of the Deity were derived or
compounded from some word which originally meant the sun.

Max Muller says that Surya was the sun as shining in the sky.
Savitri was the sun as bringing light and life. Vishnu was the
sun as striding with three steps across the sky, etc.

Inman, whose etymological researches have given him considerable
prominence as a Sanskrit and Hebrew scholar, says that Ra, Ilos,
Helos, Bil, Baal, Al, Allah, and Elohim were names given to the
sun as representative of the Creator.

We are assured by Godfrey Higgins that Brahme is the sun the same
as Surya. Brahma sprang from the navel of Brahme. Faber in his
Pagan Idolatry says that all the gods of the ancients "melt
insensibly into one, they are all equally the sun." The word
Apollo signifies the author or generator of Light. In the Rig
Veda, Surya, the sun, is called Aditya. "Truly, Surya, thou art
great; truly Aditya, thou art great."

Selden observes that whether the gods be called Osiris, or
Omphis, or Nilus, or any other name, they all center in the sun.

According to Diodorus Siculus, it was the belief of the ancients
that Dionysos, Osiris, Serapis, Pan, Jupiter and Pluto were all
one. They were, the sun.

Max Muller says that a very low race in India named the Santhals
call the sun Chandro, which means "bright." These people
declared to the missionaries who settled among them, that Chandro
had created the world; and when told that it would be absurd to
say that the sun had created the world, they replied: "We do not
mean the visible Chandro, but an invisible one."

Not only did Dionysos, and all the rest of the gods who in later
ages came to be regarded as men, represent the sun, but after the
separation of the male and female elements in the originally
indivisible God, Maut or Minerva, Demeter, Ceres, Isis, Juno, and
others less important in the pagan world were also the sun, or,
in other words, they represented the female power throughout the
universe which was supposed to reside in the sun.

In most groups of Babylonian and Assyrian divine emblems, there
occur two distinct representations of the sun, "one being figured
with four rays or divisions within the orb, and the other, with
eight." According to George Rawlinson, these figures represent a
distinction between the male and female powers residing within
the sun, the quartered disk signifying the male energy, and the
eight-rayed orb appearing as the emblem of the female![26]

[26] Essay x.

During an earlier age of human history, prior to the dissensions
which arose over the relative importance of the sexes in
reproduction, and at a time when a mother and her child
represented the Deity, the sun was worshiped as the female Jove.
Everything in the universe was a part of this great God. At that
time there had been no division in the god-idea. The Creator
constituted a dual but indivisible unity. Dionysos formerly
represented this God, as did also Om, Jove, Mithras, and others.
Jove was the "Great Virgin" whence everything proceeds.

"Jove first exists, whose thunders roll above,
Jove last, Jove midmost, all proceeds from Jove;
Female is Jove, Immortal Jove is male;
Jove the broad Earth, the heavens irradiate pale.
Jove is the boundless Spirit, Jove the Fire,
That warms the world with feeling and desire."

In a former work the fact has been mentioned that the first clue
obtained by Herr Bachofen, author of Das Mutterrecht, to a former
condition of society under which gynaecocracy, or the social and
political pre-eminence of women, prevailed, was the importance
attached to the female principle in the Deity in all ancient

According to the testimony of various writers, Om, although
comprehending both elements of the Deity, was nevertheless female
in signification. Sir William Jones observes that Om means
oracle--matrix or womb.[27] Upon this subject Godfrey Higgins,
quoting from Drummond, remarks:

[27] See Anacalypsis, book iii., ch. ii.

"The word Om or Am in the Hebrew not only signifies might,
strength, power, firmness, solidity, truth, but it means also
Mother, as in Genesis ii., 24, and Love, whence the Latin Amo,
Mamma. If the word be taken to mean strength, then Amon will
mean (the first syllable being in regimine) the temple of the
strength of the generative or creative power, or the temple of
the mighty procreative power. If the word Am means Mother, then
a still more recondite idea will be implied, viz.: the mother
generative power, or the maternal generative power: perhaps the
Urania of Persia or the Venus Aphrodite of Crete and Greece, or
the Jupiter Genetrix of the masculine and feminine gender, or the
Brahme Mai of India, or the Alma Venus of Lucretius. And the
City of On or Heliopolis will be the City of the sun, or City of
the procreative powers of nature of which the sun was always an

According to Prof. W. R. Smith, Om means uniting or binding, a
fact which is explained by the early significance of the mother
element in early society. The name of the great Deity Om or Aum
scarcely passes the lips of its worshippers, and when it is
pronounced is always reverently whispered. Regarding the mystic
word Om, we are told that it is the name given to Delphi, and
that "Delphi has the meaning of the female organs of generation
called in India the Os Minxoe."

Although the great God of India was female and male, yet we are
assured by Forlong that the female energy Maya, Queen of Heaven,
even at the present time is more heard of than the male

According to Bryant, the worship of Ham is the most ancient as
well as the most universal of any in the world. This writer
remarks that Ham, instead of representing an individual, is but a
Greek corruption of Om or Aum, the great androgynous God of
India, a God which is identical in significance with Aleim,
Vesta, and all the other representatives of the early dual,
universal power. "In the old language God was called Al, Ale,
Alue, and Aleim, more frequently Aleim than any other name."
According to the testimony of Higgins, Aleim denotes the feminine
plural. The heathen divinities Ashtaroth and Beelzebub were both
called Aleim, Ashtaroth being simply Astarte adorned with the
horns of a ram. Ishtar not unfrequently appears with the horns
of a cow. We are informed by Inman that whenever a goddess is
observed with horns--emblems which by the way always indicate
masculine power--it is to denote the fact that she is
androgynous, or that within her is embodied the complete
Deity--the dual reproductive energy throughout Nature. The
"figure becomes the emblem of divinity and power."[28]

[28] Ancient Faiths Embodied in Ancient Names, vol. i., p. 311.

Mithras--the Savior, the great Persian Deity which was worshipped
as the "Preserver," was both female and male. Among the
representations of this divinity which appear in the Townley
collection in the British Museum, is one in which it is figured
in its female character, in the act of killing the bull. The
Divinity Baal was both female and male. The God of the Jews in
an early stage of their career was called Baal. The oriental
Ormuzd was also dual or androgynous.

Orpheus teaches that the divine nature is both female and male.
According to Proclus, Jupiter was an immortal maid, "the Queen of
Heaven, and Mother of the Gods." All things were contained
within the womb of Jupiter. This Virgin within whom was embodied
the male principle "gave light and life to Eve." She was the
life-giving, energizing power in Nature, and was identical with
Aleim, Om, Astarte, and others. The Goddess Esta, or Vesta, or
Hestia, whom Plato calls the "soul of the body of the universe,"
is believed by Beverly and others to be the Self-Existent, the
Great "She that Is" of the Hindoos, whose significance is
identical with the Cushite or Phoenician Deity, Aleim.

According to Marco Polo, the Chinese had but one supreme God of
whom they had no image, and to whom they prayed for only two
things--"a sound mind in a sound body." They had, however, a
lesser god--probably the same as the "Lord" (masculine) of the
Jews, to whom they petitioned for rain, fair weather, and all the
minor accessories of existence. Upon the walls of the houses of
the Chinese is a tablet to which they pay their devotion. On
this tablet is the name of the "high, celestial, and supreme
God." The principal word which this tablet contains is "Tien."
Of this Chinese Deity Barlow says: "The Chinese recognize in
Tienhow, the Queen of Heaven nursing her infant son. Connected
with this figure is a lotus bud, symbol of the new birth.

Originally in Chaldea and in Egypt, only one supreme God was
worshipped. This Deity was figured by a mother and her child, as
was the great Chinese God. It comprehended the universe and all
the attributes of the Deity. It was worshipped thousands of
years prior to the birth of Mary, the Mother of Christ, and
representations of it are still extant, not only in oriental
lands, but in many countries of Europe. Within the oldest
temples of Egypt are still to be observed sacred apartments which
contain the "Holy of Holies," and to which, in past ages, none
might gain access but priests and priestesses of the highest
order. Within these apartments are pictured the mysteries of
birth, together with the symbols of generation emblems of

On the banks of the river Nile are observed the ruins of the
temple of Philae, which structure, it is said, represents the
most ancient style of architecture. Within these ruins is to be
seen an inner chamber in which are depicted the birth scenes of
the child god Horus, and, indeed, everywhere among the monuments
and ruins of Egypt, is plainly visible the fact that the creative
power and functions in human beings, in animals, and in vegetable
life, together with Wisdom, once constituted the god-idea.

Between the ruins of the palace of Amunoph III. and the Nile are
two colossal statues, each hewn from a single block of stone.
These figures, although in a sitting posture, are sixty feet
high. It is thought that they once formed the entrance to an
avenue of similar figures leading up to the palace. It has been
supposed that the most northern statue represents Ammon, and that
its companion piece is his Mother. It is now believed by many
writers, however, that these figures do not represent two persons
at all, but that in a remote age of the world's history they were
worshipped as the two great principles, female and male, which
animate Nature. The fact has been observed that Am or Om was
originally a female Deity, within whom was contained the male
principle; when, however, through the changes wrought in the
relative positions of the sexes, the male element in the Divinity
adored came to be represented as a man instead of as a child, he
was Ammon. He was the sun, yet notwithstanding the fact that he
had drawn to himself the powers of the sun, he was still,
himself, only a production of or emanation from the female Deity
Om, Mother of the Gods and Queen of Heaven. She it was who had
created or brought forth the sun.

There is a tradition which asserts that every morning a melodious
sound is emitted from the first named of these two colossal
figures as he salutes his rosy-fingered Mother whom he
acknowledges as the source of all Light and Wisdom. The bodies
are described as being "without motion, the faces without
expression, the eyes looking straight forward, yet a certain
grand simplicity occasions them to be universally admired."

The Goddess Disa or Isa of the North, as delineated on the sacred
drums of the Laplanders, was accompanied by a child similar to
the Horus of the Egyptians.[29] It is observed also that the
ancient Muscovites worshipped a sacred group composed of a mother
and her children, probably a representation of the Egyptian Isis
and her offspring, or at least of the once universal idea of the

[29] Jennings, Phallicism.

The following is from Payne Knight:

"A female Pantheitic figure in silver, with the borders of the
drapery plated with gold, and the whole finished in a manner
surpassing almost anything extant, was among the things found at
Macon on the Saone, in the year 1764, and published by Caylus.
It represents Cybele, the universal mother, with the mural crown
on her head, and the wings of pervasion growing from her
shoulders, mixing the productive elements of heat and moisture by
making a libation upon the flames of an altar. On each side of
her head is one of the Discouri, signifying the alternate
influence of the diurnal and nocturnal Sun; and, upon a crescent
supported by the tips of her wings, are the seven planets, each
signified by a bust of its presiding deity resting upon a globe,
and placed in the order of the days of the week named after them.

In her left hand she holds two cornucopiae, to signify the result
of her operation on the two hemispheres of the Earth; and upon
them are the busts of Apollo and Diana, the presiding deities of
these hemispheres, with a golden disk, intersected by two
transverse lines, such as is observed on other pieces of ancient
art, and such as the barbarians of the North employed to
represent the solar year, divided into four parts, at the back of

[30] Symbolism of Ancient Art.

It was doubtless at a time when woman constituted the head of the
gens, and when the feminine element in the sun, in human beings,
and in Nature generally was regarded as the more important, that
Latona and her son Apollo were worshipped together. Latona,
Apollo, and Diana constituted the triune God. The last two were
the female and male energies, the former being the source whence
they sprang. As soon as one is divested of a belief in the
popular but erroneous opinion that the gods of the early
Egyptians and Greeks were deified heroes of former ages, he is
prepared to perceive the fact that, although to the uninitiated
these gods appear numberless, in reality they all represent the
same idea, namely: the dual, moving force in Nature, together
with Light or Wisdom.

We have seen that when among the nations of antiquity
civilization had reached its height, the god-idea was represented
by the figure of a woman with her child; subsequently, however,
as these nations began to decline, the creative energy
comprehended simply physical life, or the power to reproduce, and
was represented by various emblems which will be noticed farther
on in this work. In still later ages, after male reproductive
power had become God, and when, through superstition and
sensuality, the masses of the people had descended to the rank of
slaves, monarchs, representing themselves to their ignorant
subjects as the source of all blessings, even of life itself,
appropriated the titles of the sun, and claimed for themselves
the adoration which had formerly belonged to it. From this fact
has doubtless arisen the opinion so tenaciously upheld in recent
times, that the gods of the ancients were only deified heroes of
former times.

If, during the earlier ages of human existence, all the gods
resolved themselves into the sun, and if Light and Life, or
Wisdom and the power to reproduce and sustain life, constituted
the Deity, then of course God or the sun would be female or male,
or both, according to the prevailing belief in the comparative
creative and sustaining forces of the sexes.

From what appears in the foregoing pages the fact has doubtless
been perceived that the worship of a Virgin and Child does not,
as is usually supposed, belong exclusively to the Romish
Christian Church, but, on the contrary, that it constitutes the
most remote idea of a Creator extant. As has been hinted, there
is little doubt that the earliest worship of the woman and child
was much simpler than was that which came to prevail in later
ages, at a time when every religious conception was closely
veiled beneath a mixture of astrology and mythology. After the
planets came to be regarded as active agencies in reproduction,
and powerful in directing all mundane affairs, the Virgin of the
Sphere while she represented Nature was also the constellation
which appeared above the horizon at the winter solstice, or at
the time when the sun had reached its lowest point and had begun
to return. At this time, the 25th of December, and just as the
days began to lengthen, this Virgin gave birth to the Sun-God.
It is said that he issued forth from her side, hence the legend
that Gotama Buddha was produced from the side of Maya, and also
the story believed by the Gnostics and other Christian sects that
Jesus was taken from the side of Mary.[31]

[31] The fact will doubtless be remembered that a similar belief
was entertained concerning the birth of Julius Caesar.

Within the churches and in the streets of many cities of Germany
are to be observed figures of this traditional Virgin. She is
standing, one foot upon a crescent and the other on a serpent's
head, in the mouth of which is the sprig of an apple tree on
which is an apple. The tail of the serpent is wound about a
globe which is partially enveloped in clouds. On one arm of the
Virgin is the Child, and in the hand of the other arm she carries
the sacred lotus. Her head is encircled with a halo of light
similar to the rays of the sun.

One is frequently disposed to query: Do the initiated in the
Romish Church regard these images as legitimate representations
of Mary, the wife of Joseph and Mother of Christ, or are they
aware of their true significance? Certainly the various
accessories attached to this figure betray its ancient origin and
reveal its identity with the Egyptian, Chaldean, and Phoenician
Virgin of the Sphere.

The fact has already been observed that in the original
representation of the "Temptation" in the cave temple of India,
it is not the woman but the man who is the tempter, and a
singular peculiarity observed in connection with this ancient
female Deity is that it is SHE and NOT HER SEED who is trampling
on the serpent, thus proving that originally woman and not man
was worshipped as the Savior. Another significant feature
noticed in connection with this subject is that the oldest
figures which represent this Goddess are black, thus proving that
she must have belonged to a dark skinned race.

This image, although black, or dark skinned, had long hair, hence
not a negress. The most ancient statue of Ceres was black, and
Pausanias says that at a place called Melangea in Arcadia there
was a black Venus. In the Netherlands only a few years ago, was
a church dedicated to a black goddess. The Virgin of the Sphere
who treads on the head of the serpent represents universal
womanhood. She is the Virgin of the first book of Genesis and
mother of all the Earth. She represents not only creative power
but Perceptive Wisdom. Although this Goddess is usually seen
with the lotus in her hand, she sometimes carries ripe corn or

The mother of Gotama Buddha was called Mai or Maya, after the
month in which the Earth is arrayed in her most beautiful attire.

Maya is the parent of universal Nature. According to Davis, the
mother of Mercury "is the universal genius of Nature which
discriminated all things according to their various kinds of
species," the same as was Muth of Egypt. Mai is said to mean
"one who begins to illuminate." She was in fact the mother of
the sun whence everything proceeds. She was matter, within which
was concealed spirit.

In the representations of Montfaucon appears the Goddess Isis
sitting on the lotus. Her head, upon which is a globe, is
surrounded by a radiant circle which evidently represents the
sun. On the reverse side is Ieu, the word "which is the usual
way of the ecclesiastical authors reading the Hebrew word
Jehovah." Referring to this from Montfaucon, Godfrey Higgins
observes: "Here Isis, whose veil no mortal shall ever draw aside,
the celestial Virgin of the Sphere, is seated on the
self-generating sacred lotus and is called Ieu or Jove."[32] She
has also the mystic number 608 which stands for the Deity. Her
breasts show plainly that it is a female representation, although
connected with the figure appears the male emblem to indicate
that within her are contained both elements, or that the universe
is embodied within the female.

[32] Anacalypsis, book v., ch. iv.

Higgins thinks there is no subject on which more mistakes have
been made than on that of the Goddess Isis, both by ancients and
moderns. He calls attention to the inconsistency of calling her
the moon when in many countries the moon is masculine. He is
quite positive that if Isis is the moon, Ceres, Proserpine,
Venus, and all the other female gods were the same, which in view
of the facts everywhere at hand cannot be true. It is true,
however, that "the planet called the moon was dedicated to her in
judicial astrology, the same as a planet was dedicated to Venus
or Mars. But Venus and Mars were not these planets themselves,
though these planets were sacred to them."[33] Higgins then calls
attention to her temple at Sais in Egypt, and to the inscription
which declares that "she comprehends all that is and was and is
to be," that she is "parent of the sun," and he justly concludes
that Isis can not be the moon.

[33] Anacalypsis, book vi., ch. ii.

Apuleius makes Isis say:

"I am the parent of all things, the sovereign of the elements,
the primary progeny of time, the most exalted of the deities, the
first of the heavenly gods and goddesses, whose single deity the
whole world venerates in many forms, with various rites and
various names. The Egyptians worship me with proper ceremonies
and call me by my true name, Queen Isis."

Isis, we are told, is called Myrionymus, or goddess with 10,000
names. She is the Persian Mithra, which is the same as Buddha,
Minerva, Venus, and all the rest.

Faber admits that the female principle was formerly regarded as
the Soul of the World. He says:

"Isis was the same as Neith or Minerva; hence the inscription at
Sais was likewise applied to that goddess. Athenagoras informs
us that Neith or the Athene of the Greeks was supposed to be
Wisdom passing and diffusing itself through all things. Hence it
is manifest that she was thought to be the Soul of the World; for
such is precisely the character sustained by that mythological

[34] Pagan Idolatry, book i., p. 170.

The same writer says further:

"Ovid gives a similar character to Venus. He represents her as
moderating the whole world; as giving laws to Heaven, Earth, and
Ocean, as the common parent both of gods and men, and as the
productive cause both of corn and trees. She is celebrated in
the same manner by Lucretius, who ascribes to her that identical
attribute of universality which the Hindoos give to their Goddess
Isi or Devi."[35]

[35] Ibid.

It seems to be the general belief of all writers whose object is
to disclose rather than conceal the ancient mysteries, that until
a comparatively recent time the moon was never worshipped as
Isis. Until the origin and meaning of the ancient religion had
been forgotten, and the ideas underlying the worship of Nature
had been lost, the moon was never regarded as representing the
female principle.

When man began to regard himself as the only important factor in
procreation, and when the sun became masculine and heat or
passion constituted the god-idea, the moon was called Isis. The
moon represented the absence of heat, it therefore contained
little of the recognized god-element. It was, perhaps, under the
circumstances, a fitting emblem for woman.

In the sacred writings of the Hindoos there is an account of the
moon, Soma, having been changed into a female called Chandra,
"the white or silvery one."

While speaking of the moon, Kalisch says: "The whole ritual of
the Phoenician Goddess Astarte with whom that Queen of Heaven is
identical, and who was the goddess of fertility seems to have
been transferred to her."[36]

[36] Historical and Critical Commentary of the Old Testament.

To such an extent, in the earlier ages of the world had the
female been regarded as the Creator, that in many countries where
her worship subsequently became identified with that of the moon,
Luna was adored as the producer of the sun. According to the
Babylonian creation tablets, the moon was the most important
heavenly body. In later ages, the gender of the sun and the moon
seems to be exceedingly variable. The Achts of Vancouver's
Island worship sun and moon--the sun as female, the moon as
male.[37] In some of the countries of Africa the moon is adored
as female and sun-worship is unknown. Among various peoples the
sun and the moon are regarded as husband and wife, and among
others as brother and sister. In some countries, both are
female. I can find no instance in which both are male. Hindoos
and Aztecs alike, at one time, said that Luna was male and often
that the sun was female.

[37] Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. ii., p. 272.

The fact that among the Persians the moon as well as the sun was
at a certain period regarded as a source of procreative energy
and as influencing the generative processes, is shown by various
passages in the Avestas. In the Khordah Avesta, praise is
offered to "the Moon which contains the seed of cattle, to the
only begotten Bull, to the Bull of many kinds."

Perhaps the most widely diffused and universally adored
representation of the ancient female Deity in Egypt was the
Virgin Neit or Neith, the Athene of the Greeks and the Minerva of
the Romans. Her name signifies "I came from myself." This Deity
represents not only creative power, but abstract intelligence,
Wisdom or Light. Her temple at Sais was the largest in Egypt.
It was open at the top and bore the following inscription: "I am
all that was and is and is to be; no mortal has lifted up my
veil, and the fruit which I brought forth was the sun." She was
called also Muth, the universal mother. Kings were especially
honored in the title "Son of Neith."

To express the idea that the female energy in the Deity
comprehended not alone the power to bring forth, but that it
involved all the natural powers, attributes, and possibilities of
human nature, it was portrayed by a pure Virgin who was also a
mother. According to Herodotus, the worship of Minerva was
indigenous in Lybia, whence it travelled to Egypt and was carried
from thence to Greece. Among the remnants of Egyptian mythology,
the figure of a mother and child is everywhere observed. It is
thought by various writers that the worship of the black virgin
and child found its way to Italy from Egypt.

The change noted in the growth of the religious idea by which the
male principle assumes the more important position in the Deity
may, by a close investigation of the facts at hand, be easily
traced, and, as has before been expressed, this change will be
found to correspond with that which in an earlier age of the
world took place in the relative positions of the sexes. In all
the earliest representations of the Deity, the fact is observed
that within the mother element is contained the divinity adored,
while the male appears as a child and dependent on the
ministrations of the female for existence and support.
Gradually, however, as the importance of man begins to be
recognized in human affairs, we find that the male energy in the
Deity, instead of appearing as a child in the arms of its mother,
is represented as a man, and that he is of equal importance with
the woman; later he is identical with the sun, the woman,
although still a necessary factor in the god-idea, being
concealed or absorbed within the male. It is no longer woman who
is to bruise the serpent's head, but the seed of the woman, or
the son. He is Bacchus in Greece, Adonis in Syria, Christna in
India. He is indeed the new sun which is born on the 25th of
December, or at the time when the solar orb has reached its
lowest position and begins to ascend. It is not perhaps
necessary to add that he is also the Christ of Bethlehem, the son
of the Virgin.

Nowhere, perhaps, is the growing importance of the male in the
god-idea more clearly traced than in the history of the Arabians.
Among this people are still to be found certain remnants of the
matriarchal age--an age in which women were the recognized heads
of families and the eponymous leaders of the gentes or clans.
Concerning the worship of a man and woman as god by the early
Arabians, Prof. Robertson Smith remarks:

"Except the comparatively modern Isaf and Naila in the sanctuary
at Mecca where there are traditions of Syrian influence, I am not
aware that the Arabs had pairs of gods represented as man and
wife. In the time of Mohammed the female deities, such as
Al-lat, were regarded as daughters of the supreme male God. But
the older conception as we see from a Nabataean inscription in De
Vogue, page 119, is that Al-lat is mother of the gods. At Petra
the mother-goddess and her son were worshipped together, and
there are sufficient traces of the same thing elsewhere to lead
us to regard this as having been the general rule when a god and
goddess were worshipped in one sanctuary."[38]

[38] Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, ch. vi., p. 179.

As the worship of the black virgin and child is connected with
the earliest religion of which we may catch a glimpse, the exact
locality in which it first appeared must be somewhat a matter of
conjecture, but that this idea constituted the Deity among the
Ethiopian or early Cushite race, the people who doubtless carried
civilization to Egypt, India, and Chaldea, is quite probable.

If we bear in mind the fact that the gods of the ancients
represented principles and powers, we shall not be surprised to
find that Muth, Neith, or Isis, who was creator of the sun, was
also the first emanation from the sun. Minerva is Wisdom--the
Logos, the Word. She is Perception, Light, etc. At a later
stage in the history of religion, all emanations from the Deity
are males who are "Saviors."

That the office of the male as a creative agency is dependent on
the female, is a fact so patent that for ages the mother
principle could not be eliminated from the conception of a Deity,
and the homage paid to Athene or Minerva, even after women had
become only sexual slaves and household tools, shows the extent
to which the idea of female supremacy in Nature and in the Deity
had taken root.

Notwithstanding the efforts which during numberless ages were
made to dethrone the female principle in the god-idea, the Great
Mother, under some one of her various appellations, continued,
down to a late period in the history of the human race, to claim
the homage and adoration of a large portion of the inhabitants of
the globe. And so difficult was it, even after the male element
had declared itself supreme, to conceive of a creative force
independently of the female principle, that oftentimes, during
the earlier ages of their attempted separation, great confusion
and obscurity are observed in determining the positions of male
deities. Zeus who in later times came to be worshipped as male
was formerly represented as "the great dyke, the terrible virgin
who breathes out on crime, anger, and death." Grote refers to
numerous writers as authority for the statement that Dionysos,
who usually appears in Greece as masculine, and who was doubtless
the Jehovah of the Jews, was indigenous in Thrace, Phrygia, and
Lydia as the Great Mother Cybele. He was identical with Bacchus,
who although represented on various coins as a "bearded venerable
figure" appears with the limbs, features, and character of a
beautiful young woman. Sometimes this Deity is portrayed with
sprouting horns, and again with a crown of ivy. The Phrygian
Attis and the Syrian Adonis, as represented in monuments of
ancient art, are androgynous personifications of the same
attributes. According to the testimony of the geographer
Dionysius, the worship of Bacchus was formerly carried on in the
British Islands in exactly the same manner as it had been in an
earlier age in Thrace and on the banks of the Ganges.

In referring to the Idean Zeus in Crete, to Demeter at Eleusis,
to the Cabairi in Samothrace, and Dionysos at Delphi and Thebes,
Grote observes: "That they were all to a great degree analogous,
is shown by the way in which they necessarily run together and
become confused in the minds of various authors."

Concerning Sadi, Sadim, or Shaddai, Higgins remarks:

"Parkhurst tells us it means all-bountiful--the pourer forth of
blessings; among the Heathen, the Dea Multimammia; in fact the
Diana of Ephesus, the Urania of Persia, the Jove of Greece,
called by Orpheus the Mother of the Gods, each male as well as
female--the Venus Aphrodite; in short, the genial powers of

To which Higgins adds: "And I maintain that it means the figure
which is often found in collections of ancient statues, most
beautifully executed, and called the Hermaphrodite."

As in the old language there was no neuter gender, the gods must
always appear either as female or male. For apparent reasons, in
all the translations, through the pronouns and adjectives used,
the more important ancient deities have all been made to appear
as males.

By at least two ancient writers Jupiter is called the Mother of
the Gods. In reference to a certain Greek appellation, Bryant

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