Phallic symbols: Cultic worship of the penis

The meaning of the phallus in different cultures

Wooden phalli in the princess cave on Phra Nang Beach

There is much evidence of the cultic worship of the penis in ancient religions and cultures around the world. Phallic symbols (the pictorial representation of the erect penis) often stand for positively connoted attributes such as masculinity, fertility, strength or have a protective function against evil. Some customs and rituals in which the phallus plays a key role are still practiced today. In Thailand and Japan, for example, tourists can still experience the ritual worship of the penis up close in certain places or at certain times. What may seem absurd to outsiders is a living tradition and living folklore for the locals.

Phallic symbols in antiquity

Shrine with phallic symbols on Phra Nang Beach in Thailand.

Cultural artefacts that focus on the worship of the phallus or at least attach special significance to the penis have been handed down from the time of ancient Rome and Greece. Archaeologists are constantly unearthing new images and bronze figurines with one or more erect penises in the ruins of the Roman city of Pompeii. An oversized phallus as a motif in erotic-looking reliefs or as a signpost to the nearest brothel had a clearly sexual meaning. Not only in Pompeii, but throughout the Roman Empire, a so-called tintinnabulum was often placed at the entrance to houses, stores or gardens. This was a wind chime in the shape of a man with one or more oversized phalli. It was supposed to offer protection against evil, supernatural forces and promised people luck and fertility. Amulets and images of a winged phallus (fascinus) also played an important role in ancient Roman religion and magical customs.

In ancient Greece (and later also in Rome), there was a cultic veneration of the penis in the form of the god Priapos, who is depicted in some stories as the son of Dionysus and Aphrodite. A curse gives him a misshapen body and an oversized penis. Most portraits of him show him with a phallus that is almost as big as his entire body. He was worshipped as a god who gave the faithful protection and a rich harvest.

Incidentally, in ancient times, the image of male beauty was characterized by a rather small penis. Marble sculptures from this period still illustrate this today.

Penis cult in Thailand: Phra Nang Cave (Princess Cave)

In Thailand, you can still marvel at a form of the phallus cult in the Phra Nang Cave on Phra Nang Beach. The cave is particularly popular with tourists because of its stalagmites and stalactites. There is also a shrine with huge phallic symbols carved out of wood. The local fishermen believe that a sea princess lives in the cave. The wooden penises are offered to her as a tribute for a safe return from the sea. Local women visit the shrine mainly at full moon and worship the phallus as a sacred symbol in the hope of being blessed with children.

"Phallus festival" in Japan: Hōnen-Matsuri

Hōnen-Matsuri is a Japanese harvest and fertility festival that is celebrated with Shinto rites and parades. The event is particularly well-known in the city of Komaki, where it is known to many as the "phallus" or "penis festival". In a procession-like parade, a 2.5-metre-long wooden phallus is carried from one shrine to another. The custom is so well known that tourists can buy a wide range of phallus-shaped souvenirs in the city.

Meaning of the phallus today

In the Western world, the phallic symbol no longer plays a major mythical or religious role (apart from the phallic symbol in psychoanalysis). Nowadays, the penis has more of a purely sexual connotation: as a man's sexual organ, as an object of (female) desire. The ideal male image includes a large penis, an absolute prerequisite for a good lover.

Opinions differ as to how important penis size really is. What is undisputed, however, is the fact that many men long for a larger penis, which they hope will improve their sex life and generally make them feel better about their bodies. Orthopaedic penis enlargement is a promising and cost-effective option. PHALLOSAN forte must be worn over a longer period of time (six months at best), but provides a reliable, sustainable and above all risk-free method of lengthening the penis.