Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Authentic Herstory of Prostitution (A brief Chronicle of Sacred Whoredom)

By Gabriel Loch-Lainn Seabrook

Contrary to conventional "wisdom," prostitution has a long and noble legacy, one that began hundreds of thousands of years ago among our prehistoric ancestors. Indeed, it is not only the oldest profession, it is the profession on which both monogamous marriage and human society were originally founded.

At one time, early humans were promiscuous. Like our closest living relatives, the gorilla, chimpanzee, and orangutan, they were pansexual; that is, prehistoric women and men engaged in sexual activities with all other group members, female and male, young and old. This sexual behavioral pattern would eventually change, however, from rampant promiscuity to one in which we formed pair-bonds based around female prostitution. This transformation occurred around 1 million years ago in an early human ancestor known as Homo erectus. Any animal behavior that spans such an enormous length of time will become biologically programmed into that animal's genetic code. And this is precisely what happened in humans when we switched from promiscuity to pair-bonding. To this day-because it is now a genetically determined behavior-pair-bonding is the type of bonding that the majority of women and men in every culture and society engage most actively in. What is the name of this pair-bond?

There are some individuals who would call it "lifetime monogamy." But those individuals would be wrong. In fact, anthropological studies show that humans are not designed for lifetime monogamy, and that even in societies (such as the U.S.A. and England) where lifetime monogamy is held to be the ideal, only a tiny fraction of couples actually practice it. To the contrary, nearly all people, following our prehistoric ancestor's basic mating pattern, form a temporary pair-bond with a single mate, separate, then go in search of a new partner with whom she or he forms another brief, tenuous bond. This primal custom is overtly reflected in our obsession with dating, and in our extremely high rates of desertion, infidelity, divorce, and remarriage. Some go even further by incorrectly referring to this type of short-term intimate bonding as "serial monogamy." An objective observer will quickly realize, however, that our love of short-term pair-bonding is actually a form of what is called, "serial polygamy": having a series of temporary monogamous relationships; not simultaneously (as in straight polygamy), but in succession, spread out over time. More to the point, the modern human practice of both serial polygamy, and the far less popular lifetime monogamy, are rooted firmly in the soil of prostitution, an element without which no sexual relationship could exist. Let us look for a moment at the evolutionary background of our prostitution-based sexual behavior.

With the passage of time, various biological pressures caused the prehistoric human brain to increase in size (a process well-documented in the human fossil record). This probably began when early humans went from independent foraging-and-scavenging groups (like living apes), to cooperative hunting-and-gathering communities, a more complex lifestyle requiring more brain power. Whatever the origins of this phenomenon, with the heads of infants now larger in size, they had to be born sooner in order to fit through the birth canal. This meant, in turn, that human babies were gradually born in a state of greater and greater immaturity. Unlike other primate babies, which mature rather quickly after they are born-and so require only a moderate amount of parental care-human infants now needed more parental care.

Up until this time, human mothers-like nearly all other living primate mothers continue to do-raised their offspring by themselves, in great all-female groups called "Sisterhoods," or "Matriarchies." In the 193 species of living primates, fatherhood and the two-parent family unit are literally all but unknown. Most primate males live as what primatologists call "vagabonds," in all-male groups or hunting parties called "Brotherhoods," or "Bachelorhoods." And so it always was for the human primate. That is, until the change from small-brained mature infants to large-brained immature infants. Now the burden of childrearing was so great that females needed extra help in order to protect and feed their young. It is out of this simple need that we find the origins of prostitution.

Looking around them, the females found a large untapped work force in the nomadic groups of vagabond males. The question was, how to entice these independent creatures into giving up their wandering lifestyle in order to serve the interests of the females. The answer was not long in coming: the females would enlist the aid of the footloose males by offering them sex in exchange for food and protection. This arrangement, well-known to anthropologists as "The Sex Contract," was, of course, eagerly participated in by the males. The more sex the women were willing to provide, the more food and protection they received from the obliging males. Those females who prostituted themselves the most ardently, lived longest and produced the most offspring. Thus, their particular genes were passed on to the next generation in higher concentrations than those of less "sexy" females. The same process occurred among the men: those males who were most attracted to these early female prostitutes, transmitted the highest amounts of DNA into the gene pool.

The result today, 1 million years later, is that modern women are genetically programmed to view men as providers of material comfort, while modern men are genetically programmed to look at women as sex objects. To put it another way: the very nature of all intimate relationships between women and men is inherently prostitutional. Like their prehistoric ancestors, contemporary women provide men with sex in exchange for material goods; contemporary men provide women with material goods in exchange for sex. So strong is this genetic program that it has even been made the foundation of modern monogamous marriage: in all 50 states, by law, husbands are required to financially support their wives and children, while wives are legally required to provide sexual services to their husbands. This is why it is so difficult to convict a husband of raping his wife: until recently, the idea of "marital rape" was unthinkable. This also explains the curious fact that many men prefer that their wives not work outside the home.

And so we see that the monogamous bond began as a sexual contract based on mundane economic considerations rooted in prostitution. Not surprisingly, many contemporary feminists see little difference between the role a wife plays and that of a sex worker paid for hire. Dr. Dale Spender, for example, defines marriage as a form of legalized prostitution; that is, "the exchange of sexual services for material support." Andre Dworkin takes a less charitable view, calling marriage a "legal contract which sanctions rape." Some feminists, using our new politically correct vocabulary, now actually define a wife as "an unpaid sex worker." This is in contrast to a prostitute, who is defined as "a paid sex worker."

The forward-thinking, 19th century English sexologist, Havelock Ellis, described the difference between a wife and a sex worker this way: "The wife who marries for money, compared with a prostitute, is the true scab. She is paid less, gives much more in return in labor and care, and is absolutely bound to her master. The prostitute [on the other hand] never signs away the right over her own person, she retains her freedom and personal rights, nor is she always compelled to submit to man's embraces."

Despite these enlightened views, and our biologically-determined proclivity for indulging in prostitutionary relationships, the modern sex worker continues to live under a dark shadow of misogynistic mythology; demonized by most of her sisters, and even by some of the men who pay for her services. Some of this is the result, of course, of ignorance. But there is no longer any excuse for such naiveté. For the facts not only completely contradict the traditionally slanted view of prostitution, they reveal that whores functioned for thousands of years in roles of great prestige, power, and privilege.

Indeed, by the time of the Neolithic Era (about 8,000 years ago), prostitution was an integral aspect of both society and religion. Prostitutes themselves were regarded as divine bearers of the all-sacred Feminine Power. So how did prostitutes go from being venerated in ancient times as Holy Priestesses to their current status as "wretched sinners" and "home wreckers"? To answer this question, let us begin by looking at the etymological background of the word "whore."

The word whore is an English corruption of the Old Semitic word hor, meaning "hole," "cave," or "pit." Hor, in turn, is a derivation of the pre-Judaic Indo-European word, hora, meaning "hour." In fact, our modern English word "hour" derives from hora. In ancient Greece, for instance, prostitutes were called horae; in Persia, houri; in Babylon, harines; and in Israel, hors. What is the connection between "hour" and "whore"?

Ancient cultures and civilizations practiced commercial and sacred prostitution, both necessary to the functioning and stability of patriarchal marriage (i.e., heterosexual monogamy) and of society itself. In ancient Egypt, whores were known as the "Ladies of the Hour," and in present day India, where prostitute-priestesses still dispense the grace of Goddess in Hindu temples, they are called "Devadasis." Early myths are rife with examples of the vital roles that whores once played in all human cultures. In Hindu mythology, sacred whores appear as the famed "Apsaras"; in Persian myth they are the celebrated "Peris"; and in Greek mythology they are known as the "Charites," or "Horae." In Roman myth they are referred to as the "Charis," or Three "Graces," a personification of the Great Triple Goddess (called Mari-Anna-Ishtar), whose sacred sign was the three-pointed star, a symbol of Goddess's magic (inverted) pubic triangle, out of which her procreative powers flow.

The Triple-Goddess herself is a triplicate-symbol of 1) life, 2) death, and 3) resurrection. According to the 10,000 year-old universal Goddess Creation myth, each year, at the vernal equinox (now called Easter), Goddess ritually killed her Divine Son, the "Savior and Redeemer of the World," known by Pagans across the ancient pre-Christian world as Isua, Horus, Attis, Hesus, Criti, or Chrishna. His death was necessary in order to wash away the sins of the community and revitalize the soil for spring planting. Death was always performed in the traditional Pagan manner: by piercing or crucifixion. The blood of the Savior-Son fructified Mother-Earth as it spilled on the ground. Goddess then resurrected the dead child and mated with him, an act that inaugurated her New Year. The Pagan New Year of Goddess begins in March (ruled by Aries), a month named after the god Mars, who in turn took his name from the great prehistoric Indo-European Mother-Goddess, variously called: Mar, Mari, Maria, Marian, Maris, Mary, Maya, Miriam, the Moerae, Mu, or Myyrha.

The chief roles of the ancient (female) whore were to school men in the sexual mysteries (called by mystics, "The Whore Wisdom"), act as a transmitter of the all-powerful female energy, and keep track of the passage of the seasons, and of time itself. In their role as temple-priestesses, the Horae or Holy Whores would perform a magic ceremony, then anoint a man's penis with sacred oil (called in Greek, chrism), and mount him to orgasm. This allowed for the transfer of procreative power from female to male, since, according to Goddess tradition, men lack the ability to generate the life force. As the "caretakers of time," the whore's role was primarily to aid in the construction of astrological charts, which were called "Whore-Scopes," or rather, "horoscopes" (which literally means, "watcher of time"), named after the temple priestesses-the Horae-who guarded the "heavenly spheres of time" kept inside Goddess's Temples. So honored were the Horae, that in ancient Graeco-Roman times, a festival, called the Horaea, was held every year in their name. Each temple had 12 Holy Harlots (all called "Hora"), headed by a 13th member: the Great Mother-Goddess. The number 13 was considered holy in accordance with Goddess's Lunar Calendar which has thirteen 28-day months in its year. (The Moon was held to be a personification of Goddess since its monthly 28-day phases correspond with a woman's monthly 28-day menstrual cycle.) In this way, the number 13 became one of Goddess's sacred lucky numbers.

Sacred whores were the original "Virgin Mothers" since they gave birth without the aid of men. How was this possible? The notion of paternity was then unknown; women were thought to be parthenogenetic, or self-fertilizing deities. Men, on the other hand, were believed to have no role in the procreative process. They were seen only as adjunct laborers, servants, guards, hunters, sexual companions, and warriors, roles which the men acted out under the authority of the great tribal clan mother and her all-female council of 12 priestesses. Not surprisingly, ancient whores saw little use for men outside of their utilitarian roles, which is why they totally rejected the notion of monogamy. They understood that long-term monogamous relationships mainly benefit men, who use this unnatural form of bonding to manipulate the inherently superior intellectual and sexual powers of women for their own self-serving needs. But ancient whores were far ahead of the men of their day. For they knew, as wise women today know, that a woman's extraordinary multi-orgasmic response requires more stamina than one male can muster. This is why, for thousands of years, during the Neolithic "Golden Age of Woman," or what I call "The Goddess World," the great Whore-Mother-Goddess prohibited monogamy for her followers, calling it a "sin."

Indeed, archaeological findings reveal that Late Paleolithic and Early Neolithic women had loose flexible relationships with men that surrounded the practices of group marriage, mate-swapping, and consort bonding (a series of brief tenuous relationships that we now call "serial polygamy"). Ancient stone etchings and paintings portray women in their preferred sexual position: astride the man.

Naturally, lesbianism was immensely popular in ancient times, with women forming all-female island communities, and even woman-exclusive cities, where great female-only colleges flourished. Here, the Female Principle was venerated, and the feminine arts of lesbian love, poetry, song, and dance, were taught by such famed women as Sappho. (Her all-woman Greek island community, Lesbos, gives us the modern word "lesbian.") When a woman wanted a child, or simply wanted to have sex with the opposite gender, she would leave for the mainland to mate with the man of her choice. Men were never allowed into ancient lesbian colonies: if caught, the punishment was castration and ritual sacrifice. This sentence was meted out by the lesbian militia, comprised of a troop of specially-trained, highly athletic Amazonian warrioresses. After her sojourn to the mainland, the voyaging woman would return to bear and raise the infant among her female colleagues. For such women, the idea of living with a man in a monogamous romantic relationship was considered a "barbarous blasphemy." The only lifestyle deemed appropriate was that of living in a close-knit community of "sisters"; a community where violence, aggression, and deception were unknown, and where tenderness, maternal warmth, and compassion ruled. This lifestyle was not just for lesbians of course. Many thousands of heterosexual women joined these all-female communities as well. For it was only among such humanitarian-based female-exclusive groups that many women felt they could reach their full potential; a vibrant peaceful mode of living where men, with their naturally aggressive and chaotic ways, could not interfere. What these ancient women were doing was keeping alive the great Sisterhood, a tradition that had existed for nearly 70 million years among our non-human female primate ancestors. Here, from out of our long primate heritage, we find the very heart and soul of the great matriarchies of the ancient Goddess World, a tradition that permeated every culture, society, and religion of that age.

Indeed, before Judaism became patriarchal (c. 500 B.C.E.), it was, like all of the earliest religions, matriarchal: ancient Jews worshipped the Feminine Principle, and sacred prostitution played a major function in daily temple life. During the time of King Josiah (640-609 B.C.E.), for instance, Jewish temple prostitutes lived next to the triple-towered Jerusalem Temple, where, as the Bible tells it, they "wove hangings for the Sacred Grove of Goddess" (2 Kings 23:7). Goddess was known to the Israelites by the names: Asherah, Ishtar, Hokmah, Astarte, or Hor. To this day, the oldest authentic Hebrew folkdance is called "Hora," named after the zodiacal circle dances of the ancient Jewish Temple prostitutes.

An entire Semitic culture, the "Horites" (Genesis 14:6), claimed descendence from the Goddess Hor, whose great holy mountain, Mount Hor (Numbers 20:23), stood as a maternal symbol of her life-nurturing female breasts, her magical pregnant abdomen, her round child-bearing hips, and her swollen life-giving vulva (which the Romans called the "Mound of Venus"). The Horites' name refers to their custom of living in caves (symbols of the dark moist vulva of Goddess), evidence of a profound Whore-Mother religion in early Palestine. The Horites were in fact yoni worshippers, whose Cult of the Vagina was banned when Judaism was finally patricized by misogynistic Jewish priests. Today the Horites are variously referred to as "Hurrians," "Hittites," or "Hivites." These modern appellations, however, cannot obscure the true nature of the ancient Horites: the early Jews called them the Hori, a word that literally means "cave-dweller," or mystically speaking, "vulva worshippers."

Following the Jewish male demonization of prostitution and of women in general, Jews no longer referred to Goddess by her once sacred Hebrew title: "The Great Mother-Harlot of the World." Now she was given the disparaging title: "The Whore of Babylon," while her followers were simply called "sodomites." The temples of the whores were renamed "hora-houses," or "whore-houses"; Goddess's sacred number, 13, was altered to mean "bad luck"; and the red erect phallus signs of ancient Rome, once used to direct customers to the city's prostitutes, became signs of disgrace (the red light of the modern whorehouse descends from this custom). Goddess's inverted pubic triangle symbol was blotted out by placing over it an upward pointing triangle, the mystical symbol of the erect Male Principle. The result was the hexagramic symbol of Judaism, now called "the Star of David," or "Solomon's Seal." The "missionary position" was introduced as a way to force women into a sexually submissive role, and the great lesbian communities, all-female colleges, female-headed matriarchies, and women-only island villages of the ancient world, were closed down and dismantled. The circle of the great global Sisterhood had finally been broken. With the arrival of orthodox Christianity, the Whore-Mother-Goddess's temples were destroyed, or even converted to Christian churches, an anti-woman campaign of terror that the misogynist Paul of Tarsus enthusiastically embraced (Acts 19:27).

But ultimately, the Great Whore Wisdom (a tradition carried on by mystics of all religions), and more particularly the love of whores themselves, could not be killed off, or even suppressed. As psychologists well-know, the maternal figure (with her great oceanic "motherly love" for her world-wide family) is the psychic nucleus of not only all personal human relationships, but of human society itself.

On the other hand, neither paternal love, paternity, or the paternal figure, have ever played important roles in human culture. Fatherhood, as Margaret Mead and other anthropologists have repeatedly observed, is a "recent cultural invention." This explains why in almost every society, numerous social, legal, and religious laws have been created to entice men into marriage and keep them there. The truth is that neither long-term monogamous marriage, the two-parent family unit, or the role of "father," are natural to men. These newly created cultural ideas must be intentionally taught to men from an early age on. Without this intensive socialization for family life, few men will find this mode of living inviting or even tolerable.

It should be pointed out here that long-term monogamy is not natural to women either: this type of bond has never occurred at any time in human evolution, therefore neither modern women or men are adapted for it. However, due to a female's maternal instincts, family life is generally more bearable to her than it is to a man. The fact that at least 70 percent of all married women cheat on their husbands, however, reveals that women's polygamous urges are just as strong as they were in prehistoric times; a time when women fulfilled their sexual needs by practicing group marriage and serial polygamy.

Soon realizing that they could not eradicate her, the early Church Fathers simply transformed the Great Virgin Whore-Mother-whom the entire ancient Indo-European world had known as Mari-into "the Virgin Mary." Her sacrificial Divine Son, the Pagan Savior Hesus, they recast as Jesus (whose name is in part a hebracization of the name of the Pagan Greek Savior-God-King, Jason.) The name "Christ," meaning "the anointed," was derived from the Horae's sacred sexual oil, chrism, which means "to anoint." The word chrism is, in turn, a derivation of the ancient Chaldean word, chrs or-with vowels-chris, meaning the "Sun." The great Indo-European Triple-Goddess Mari, the original Holy Trinity, was transformed into both the 3 "Marys" who stood at the foot of Jesus' cross (John 19:25), and into the masculinized "Holy Trinity" of the "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." Her sacred bird, the peaceful dove, was appended to the figure of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 3:16). Goddess and her 12 Temple Harlots were transformed into Jesus and his 12 Disciples, though 13 remained a number associated with bad luck. (To this day, many apartment buildings have no 13th floor, and the phrase "a baker's dozen" allows one to avoid the use of the word "thirteen.")

The ancient Pagan Whore Wisdom, too, was adopted and Christianized by the authors of the New Testament, where it is personified in the temple-whore figure of "Mary Magdalene" (Magdalene literally means "she of the temple-power"). It was Magdalene who "christed" Jesus king in the manner of a Holy Whore: by anointing his head with sacred oil (Matthew 26:7-12). The human head, of course, is a mystical symbol of the head of the penis, while Jesus' royal crown is, in turn, an occult symbol of the vagina which the penis must penetrate in order for the sacred female energy to be transmitted to the male. Mary Magdalene and a group of (12) women are shown as financially and spiritually supporting Jesus and the 12 Apostles during their ministry, since men lack the procreative life-force (Luke 8:1-3). Magdalene and her 12 Holy Harlots are portrayed as the first to visit the vulva-cave of Goddess into which the body of Goddess's divine son Jesus was laid after his crucifixion. Magdalene was also the first to see and speak to the risen Jesus, a necessary act which-according to mystical feminine tradition-revitalizes the male with the female force (John 20). Here, the Temple Whores mourn for Jesus, just as earlier Jewish women mourned outside the Jerusalem Temple for the Syrian Savior Tammuz (Ezekiel 8:14), another of the many pre-Christian saviors whom the figure of Jesus was later patterned on.

Despite centuries of violent anti-Goddess, anti-Woman pogroms and pious anti-prostitution edicts by the Jewish and Christian patriarchies, the attempt to suppress the Great Whore-Mother-Goddess and her global Church ultimately failed. Realizing that humanity's psychic need for an all-giving, life-nurturing maternal figure is indestructible, the early Church Fathers simply merged Goddess and her attributes with the new male Jewish supreme deity called "Yahweh" (whose name derives, in part, from the far older Semitic Moon-Goddess Yareah), with Jesus (see e.g., Galatians 4:19), and with the Holy Ghost (see e.g., John 3:6). It is not surprising to learn then that the etymology of the word "Yahweh" (or "Jehovah," as Christians call him) actually means "the eternal union of the Female and Male Principles." Evidence of a time when Judaism was a matriarchal Goddess-worshipping religion is abundant, no more so than in the Bible itself. In the book of Psalms, for example, ancient Jewish mythographers and scribes accidentally left in a reference to their male "God" as the female Goddess (Psalms 48:3), an inevitable carry-over from the days when the Supreme Being was viewed not as male, but as female. Additional evidence for a once-thriving Goddess-worshipping Jewish religion may also be found in the many biblical references to God as a maternal, nurturing, homemaking, pregnant, birthing, and nursing mother (e.g., Isaiah 42:14; Deuteronomy 32:18; Numbers 11:12-13). Indeed, the Jewish creation legend of Genesis, in which God "gives birth" to the Universe and all life in it, is a masculinized version of the 10,000 year-old Neolithic Creation myth in which the Great Whore-Goddess is the Supreme Being, whose freely-given compassion spawns all living creatures from her oceanic amniotic fluid.

Archaeological evidence also supports the fact that Goddess is not only far older than God, but that God himself is little more than a male-created composite-deity, one that came to life only when the Holy Mother was transformed into the "Holy Father" by women-hating Jewish priests. Indeed, from 500,000 B.C.E. to 10,000 B.C.E.-a period known as the "Golden Age of Women"-not a single representation of a male deity, man-like supreme being, or even a simple father-figure, has ever been found in the art, artifacts, or fossil remains of prehistoric peoples. On the other hand, during this same time period, thousands of statuettes, paintings, carvings, and etchings, of Goddess the Great Whore-Mother-or primitive symbols (such as the triangle) embodying her-have been found in archaeological digs all over the world. Where was God during this immense span of time?

The answer is simple: early peoples did not recognize the human male as possessing divine power. Only the female. Thus, only Woman was deified. The deification of men, and the ensuing creation of the "Father-God," would have to wait until the Patriarchal Takeover, when horse-back-riding, patriarchal warriors, swept across matriarchal Europe from out of southern Russia a mere 6,000 years ago. These Aryans (or Indo-Europeans, as they are also known) crushed the great matriarchies, drove women from their thrones, and stole women's political, legal, economical, sexual, educational, familial, and reproductive powers for themselves. In place of the feminine Goddess, the Aryans worshipped a deity molded in their own image; namely, the masculine image. From out of this period was created the first known male deity, one closely associated, not with vegetation, the harvest, and the female Earth, but with thunder, rain, and the male Sun. In this way, religion went from a matrifocal belief-system based on worship of the Earth-Mother, to a patrifocal belief-system based on the veneration of the Sky-Father. To this day, men still search for their God by shooting phallic rockets into the heavens, while at the same time they show disrespect for Goddess by scaring and raping her body (the Earth) with machines and pollutants.

It is interesting to note that the invention of the father-god form is so recent that when Moses-the founder of Israel-met the Judeo-Christian "God" in the burning bush (said to have taken place around 3,000 years ago), Moses had no idea what name to address him by. When Moses inquired as to the deity's name, it merely replied: "call me I AM" (Exodus 3:13-14). Later, God admitted to Moses that he was not known by name to Abraham, Issac, or Jacob either (Exodus 6:3). In fact, the earliest mention of God's name in the Bible is not "God," "Yahweh," or "Jehovah." It is El Shaddai, a name-phrase purposefully mistranslated throughout the entire Bible by later medieval English scribes as "the "Almighty" (see Genesis 17:1). Throughout earlier passages in Genesis, God is simply referred to as Elohim, an ancient Semitic phrase-word meaning "a council of deities." Early Jews were polytheistic, and embraced the idea that the Universe was ruled by an assembly of 12 male gods and their all-powerful leader (see e.g., Joshua 24:2, 14-15; Hosea 3:1). Some very early Jews even went as far as to refer to the head of this group (i.e., "God") by his Pagan name, Baal, meaning "father" (Joshua 2:16). Jewish priests adopted and incorporated this polytheistic belief into Jewish mythology from various Pagan religions of the day, such as the Greeks, who held that the world was governed by Zeus (to the Romans, Jupiter) and his 12 Titans. Zeus, a name that means "sky-father," was once used by Jews for their supreme god before he was given the name "Yahweh." Finally, Yahweh would be given the name that he is generally known by today: God. But even this name was derived from the great Whore-Mother-Goddess: the word God derives from the ancient Germanic word for Goddess in her Teutonic form, Goden, the sacred consort of the German high-god Woden, who gave his name to the fourth day of our week, Woden's Day, or as we now call it, "Wednesday." (Note: the legendary "Lady Godiva" is an English version of the German goddess Goden.) When Judaism became monotheistic (an idea which the early Hebrews borrowed from the ancient Egyptian religion of the Sun-God Aton, instigated by Pharaoh Akhenaten in the year 1367 B.C.E.), the Jewish father-god (Yahweh or Jehovah) was stripped of his polytheistic attributes, at which time he became a singular high-god. It was at this time that he was given his first Hebrew name: "El Shaddai."

Just what does this name mean? El is an ancient Semitic gender-neutral word meaning "a magnificent deity." Shaddai is an ancient Semitic word meaning "the milk-giving breast," or "the nursing mother." Thus El Shaddai literally means: the "Glorious Mother-Goddess." Indeed, originally, El Shaddai was one of the many name-titles of the Great Whore-Mother herself in the form of a mountain-goddess. (We will recall that the mountain is a female breast symbol, and thus is an emblem of Goddess's maternal, nurturing, outward-pouring, all-embracing love; that is, the "milk of human kindness").

Realizing that they must keep the maternal energy of the Female Principle alive in order to maintain a strong church membership, medieval Christian mythographers parlayed the Whore-Goddess into dozens of bogus female saints, all tellingly made the "patrons of prostitutes." Among these were Saint Aphrodite (a christianization of the Greek sex-goddess and whore-mother, Aphrodite); Saint Maudline (a further christianization of Mary Magdalene); and the three sisters known variously as Saint Irene, Saint Agape, and Saint Chionia; or as Saint Hope, Saint Faith, and Saint Charity. All were said to be the daughters of Saint Sophia. We now know, however, that Saint Sophia herself was but a christianization of the Grecian Whore-Wisdom-Goddess, Sophia (the word sophia is Greek for "wisdom"), and that Saint Chionia, Saint Agape, and Saint Irene, were nothing more than christianizations of the three far older Pagan Holy Whores or Horae named: Eunomia ("Good Order"), Dike ("Justice"), and Eirene ("Peace").

Overt worship of the Whore-Goddess continued on into the Middle Ages, growing in intensity with the passing centuries. The Troubadours, for instance, worshipped the Whore-Goddess under her new medieval name, Minne ("love"), while at the same time, the Catholic Cult of Mary (a christianization of the Cult of the Near-Eastern Whore-Goddess, Mari), had by then become more popular than the Cult of Jesus. (This trend continues in the Catholic Church to this day, a natural result of the human preference for and attraction to the archetypal maternal figure). The original whorehouses of ancient Italy, called "Abbeys," were transformed into nunneries by the Catholic Fathers. The head nun took the title, "the Abbess," from the Italian madams who ran them. Being after all worldly men, several medieval popes maintained brothels (disguised as convents) in Rome, a practice that brought in more money and riches than all of the other sources of Church income combined. Among the many popes who kept brothels and visited prostitutes were Sixtus IV (12th century), Innocent IV (13th century), and Leo X (16th century).

Sacred prostitution still carries on in a few pockets of the world (most notably in India). But it has been almost completely replaced by secular commercial prostitution, an invention of patriarchal men intent on controlling women and wiping out the sacrality of the Female Principle. (In the Goddess World, all forms of female prostitution were embedded in religion and hence were considered extremely sacred.) In the U.S.A. alone, secular prostitution generates some $1 billion dollars a month, a sum paid for by 6 million clients monthly.

Even the patriarchal attempt to wipe out the Great Whore-Goddess by secularizing prostitution has been unsuccessful: the word "marriage" comes from the ancient phrase, "Mari's Age," once used to determine the age at which a woman (or a man) was ready to be sacrally bound to another. The word marriage literally means: "union under the sacred auspices of the Whore-Mother-Goddess Mari." Our word-phrase "Holy Matrimony" has similar origins. "Holy" derives from the word hol, or as we now spell it, "hole," the dark cave-like symbol of Goddess's sacred vulva (recall that the ancient Semitic word for "hole" or "cave" is hor or whore). The word "Hell" is related to hol as well: one of Goddess's ancient Germanic names was Hol, Hel, or Hell, the name given to the dark Christian Underworld by anti-Goddess Christian males. (Note: Christian mythographers intentionally located Hell in the midst of the body of Goddess; that is, at the center of the Earth.) "Matrimony" derives from the words matri, meaning "mother" or "earth" (the words "material" and "matter" derive from matri) and the word mon, meaning "Moon." (Note: the word "man" is a corruption of mon or "moon," originally a word which meant "female." After the Patriarchal Takeover, the word was stolen from women and applied to men, an act meant to devitalize and devalue the human female.)

With its 28-day cycle, the Moon, of course, is Goddess's sacred celestial sphere. In ancient times, the first day of the sacred seven-day week (a number based on Goddess's 4-week, 28-day, 13-month Lunar Year), was called "The Moon's Day," or as we now know it, "Monday." Patriarchalists later switched the first day of the week to "The Sun's Day," or Sunday, the traditional day on which the great male Sun-God was worshipped. Known originally as Zeus, Jove, or Jupiter, early Jews and Christians borrowed the figure of the Pagan Sun-God for their own theologies. In Judaism, Jove was hebracized, becoming Jahu, or Jahveh, or Yhwh (with vowels, Yahweh). Later, Christians borrowed the Jewish all-consonant name Yhwh, and combined it (every other letter) with the vowels of Adonai, the name of a pre-Christian Syrian Pagan Savior (in Greece he was known as Adonis). The result was the hybrid name: Yahoweh, Jehovah, Joshua, or, in its modern corrupted English form, Jesus.

Even the name "Christ" (and thus "Christianity") derives from the Great Whore-Mother-Goddess. We will recall that "Christ," or Christos, is a Greek derivation of the old Mesopotamian word "chrs" or "chris," meaning the "Sun." Long before the rise of Christianity, the Sun was held to be the daytime aspect of the Whore-Goddess (the Moon was her night-time aspect). Ancient Hindus called the Sun-Goddess Aditi: "she who is clothed with the Sun." Like all early forms of Goddess, Aditi was portrayed with 12 children (to create the magic number 13), symbolized in the golden crown of 12 glittering stars that she wore. To the Japanese the Sun-Goddess was Omikami Amaterasu; to the early Arabs she was Atthar; the ancient Celts knew her as Sulis; the Norwegians referred to her as Sol; the Germans called her Sunna; and to the ancient Romans she was Minerva. The early origins of the Sun as the Great Whore-Mother become clear when we realize that she was worshipped all across the ancient Indo-European world as "Mari," which is why early Tantric Buddhists called their Sun-Goddess Marici. Indeed, early Jewish and Christian mythographers adopted the Hindu Sun-Goddess Aditi and converted her into the "Virgin Mary." This is why, to this day, Mary appears in the book of Revelation as the "woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" (Revelation 12:1).

When Christianity passed into the hands of patriarchal misogynists and went from a small mystical solar cult to a large orthodox commercialized religion (in the second century C.E.), the word "Sun" became "Son." It was at this time that the reigns of male power were personified in the mythical figure of "Jesus," known in ancient times to Christians as both "Our Sacred Sun," and the "Son of God." Even the Pagan Sun-Goddess's sacred birthday, December 25, was borrowed from the Pagans and given to Jesus. Long celebrated as Natalis Sol Invictus ("Rebirth of the Invincible Sun-Goddess"), by the Pagan Romans, orthodox Christians renamed the Pagan holy day the "Mass of Christ," or "Christmas." What was so special about December 25? This is the time of the winter solstice when the days get longer, and the Sun appears to be "reborn" as it passes through the astrological version of the Virgin-Whore-Mother-Goddess, the constellation of Virgo ("the "Virgin"). Through the assimilation of these Pagan ideas and practices, early Christians managed to transform the Great Whore-Mother Mari, her custom of sacred prostitution, and her holy bonding ritual, "Mari's Age," into patriarchal symbols. As a result, most women continue to not only take their husband's first and last names after marriage, but allow their children to be given the father's last name. (Originally, men took their wive's names and women named their children after themselves, customs well documented in the remains of Neolithic settlements and in ancient historical records.)

However, by institutionalizing prostitution under the word "marriage," our Judeo-Christian-based society itself continues to keep the whore's trade alive. As was noted earlier, all states have laws that require married men to financially support their wives, while at the same time requiring wives to provide sexual services for their husbands. This relationship form is defined by Webster, as it is by most contemporary sexologists and feminists, as "prostitution." Even in countries where polygyny (a man having multiple wives simultaneously) is practiced, we find the same established custom of "marriage-as-institutionalized prostitution," revealing that the oldest profession in the world has not been exterminated. It has merely been renamed and sanctioned under the catch-phrase "monogamous marriage."

Lastly, it is interesting to note that the modern science of measuring time is still called "horology" by modern clock-makers, time-keepers, and other horologers. Unfortunately, few know that the name originally honored the ancient Whore-Mother-Goddess (Hor), the Sacred Whore Wisdom (attaining spiritual enlightenment through sex), the ancient dancing temple-hors (Goddess's priestesses), and all female sex-workers in general.

Truly, today's sex workers have a long and noble heritage; one which began millions of years ago among our distant primate ancestors; one which allowed our particular hominid species to survive while others perished. We would not be here now if it had not been for the prostitutionary relationships of prehistoric peoples, nor would monogamous marriage be able to function today if it were not itself a form of prostitution. For while long-term monogamy is unnatural to humans, short-term monogamy-along with its prostitutionary quality-is firmly grounded in our biological primate past. Let us then not allow those individuals whose minds are shackled by ignorance, patriarchal phobias, religious prejudice, and misogynistic attitudes, to pervert that heritage. Just as lies can be taught and accepted, they can also be unlearned and rejected. In place of these lies, we must teach others the facts about prostitution through educational illumination. For by filling the mind with the light of truth, we will drive out the darkness of intolerance, fear, and bigotry.

Female sex workers are descended from a great and powerful tradition in which a woman was once regarded as an earthly embodiment of Goddess herself, an eternal image who is, at the same time, both deeply spiritual and intensely sexual. Yes, this tradition has largely disappeared today. But it can be reignited. How? With the individual female sex worker, who must start looking at herself as one who fulfills an all-important role in human society; an honored role; an aristocratic role; a biological role; even a spiritual role. Despite the commercialized, debased, and wholly secular nature of contemporary Western prostitution, female sex workers still truly remain the "Daughters of Goddess" (as opposed to the patriarchal "Sons of God"). For both their willingness to give what others withhold, and their willingness to follow the laws of biology rather than resist them, sets them apart and above all other women. This is why, in defending the regal profession of Harlotry against the sanctimonious declarations of medieval Catholicism, the 15th century Italian philosopher Lorenzo Valla wrote: "Whores and prostitutes deserve more from the human race than do nuns with all of their chastity and virginity!"

If you have questions or comments relating to this article, to the Sacred Whore Wisdom, or to ancient prostitution in general, please address your inquiries to: Gabriel Loch-Lainn Seabrook C/O Coyote L.A. 1626 N. Wilcox Ave. 580 Hollywood, California 90028 USA

Dr. Gabriel Loch- Lainn Seabrook has a Ph.D in divinity and a partial B.A in anthropology. His areas of expertise are comparative religion and comparative mythology; paleoanthropology and cultural anthropology: evolutionary biology and sociobiology: abd archtypal, feminist and Goddess psychology. He is also a free land writer, researcher, encyclopedist , ordained non-demoninational minister, antiquarian scolar, marriage counselor, screenwriter , composer and poet. He is the founder and president of Collegium for Cognitive Numinology, a small consortium which explores religion and myth from an anthropological viewpoint. He has been published in "Free Inquiry" Anthropology and Humanism Quarterly and Skeptical Inquirer. He is currently writing several solo books, as well as three with other authors. Among them are:

The New Monogamy: Redefining the Nature of Sex and Romance Seabrook's Complete Encyclopedia of Dieties

The Heretical Dictionary of Christianity The Whore Wisdom of the Bible

The Holy Deception: How the Bible Chronicles the Overthrow of Goddess and Women

Daughters of Joy: Interviews with Whores, Hookers and Harlots In Praise of Prostitution: The Truth ABout the Sex Work Industry

The Sacred Union (with Dr. Jane Goldberg, NY)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Penis and Vulva Amulets - gifts of protection to everyone in the family

Penis Amulets of the Roman Era
Penis amulets and bas reliefs were fairly common in the late Roman era, especially in the outlying regions of the Empire. The bronze penis amulet shown here is 2" long and dates to the first century AD. It was found in a spring at an old Roman settlement near York, England:

Although most modern practitioners of witchcraft and other forms of magic immediately think of sex magick or some form of sacred sex rite when they see amulets like this, in ancient times such charms were often used as votive offerings, tossed into holy wells or springs in the same way we might toss a penny or dime in a wishing well for luck or when making a prayer-wish for healing. That this amulet was not made to be worn in a sex magick rite is evident by the fact that it has no loop or hole for hanging; instead it ends in a tang-like extension, which gives the impression that it might have been inserted into a terracotta, stone, or bronze figurine of a man or god. 

The glans of the penis is comprised of a grape leaf, the testicles are made up of pomegranates, and bunches of grapes simulate lush public hair, giving this amulet the distinct look of an agrarian fertility charm. It may have been an offering to Bacchus, the god of vintners. The foliated glans is also reminiscent of the post-Roman British development of the Green Man image - a man whose face is made up of leaves. 

Other late Roman penis amulets and bas reliefs depict the penis with lion haunches, sometimes wearing a bell around its neck like a little pet animal, and sometimes winged like a bird. Many of these lion-haunched penis-animals have diminutive penises of their own. These bear an uncanny resemblance to the lion-haunched bronze, brass, pewter, and silver penis amulets of Thailand, manufactured from the 8th century to the present day.

The engraving shown here is from "The Worship of the Generative Powers" by Thomas Wright (1866). It depicts a Roman bas relief found on a monument at Nimes, France in 1825. In this image, the penis forms the tail of a belled, crested bird who sits upon a nest of egg-like vulvas.

Penis Amulets from Thailand
The Thai name for a penis amulet is palad khik, which means "honorable surrogate penis." These small charms, averaging less than 2' in length, are worn by men and young boys on a waist-string under the clothes, off-center from the real penis, in the hope that they will attract and absorb any magical injury directed toward the generative organs. It is not uncommon for a man to wear several palad khiks at one time, one to increase gambling luck, for instance, another to attract women, and a third for invulnerability from bullets and knives. Women in Thailand do not generally wear palad khiks, nor is there a Thai equivalent of the vulva amulet for them to use - although a circular disk amulet called a chaping is worn by young girls to protect their genitals from evil forces. Though not generally worn by women, they may be carried in a purse as protection from rape or purse-snatchers, or used as an offering at a shrine if a specific petition has been granted. A beauty queen in Thailand was said to have hidden a Palad Khik in her hair during a beauty contest to enhance her appeal.
The next style of palad khik is the only one carried by women, who place it in their purses as a form of magical protection to deter purse-snatchers and ward off assaults by men:
The following penis amulet is 2" long and cast in brass. It depicts a naked yogini in the asana called "the bridge," laying atop a lion-haunched "penis-animal." As with all of the penises which depict naked yoginis, it is suitable for men who wish to express devotion to Sakti and can also be carried by women to protect themselves from muggers and rapists:
Here follows a penis amulet of a tiny baby penis cast in brass, only 1" long. As indicated by its small size and non-erect position, it is a charm that parents place on male infants and young boys. It is said to protect their genitals from harmful spells or the jealous gaze of childless women:
The image of the Palad Khik is said to have evolved from the Shiva Linga of early Thai Brahmanic beliefs and were brought to Thailand by Khmer monks in the 8th century AD. (Extant examples of these lingams can still be seen in various temples around Angkor Wat.) It is also said to have originated part of a fertility cult in early Thai history. Early styles of palad khik bear inscribed invocations, entreaties, and praises to Shiva; later ones combine these with interlineated invocations and praises to Buddha; modern ones bear uniformly Buddhist inscriptions, invariably written in an old form of script that cannot be read by contemporary Thais. Palad khik amulets carved from wood, bone, or horn are made by monks who specialize in their manufacture, and the efficacy of a given amulet is dependant on the charisma and reputation of its creator. The lettering of the inscriptions is a matter of serious ritual and can take several days to complete. Cast metal palad khiks do not always bear inscriptions, but they may carry the additional symbolism embodied in an animal holding the penis. 

Palad Khiks are different from normal Buddhist amulets in the sense that one can wear them below waist level, for example in trouser pockets, while it is mandatory for Buddhist amulets to be worn above waist level, like on the neck.

Although palad khik amulets are not designed specifically to use in love spells, among American eclectic pagans, witches, and magicians, they are often employed that way at the present time. Palad Khiks have been known to possess the special power to make a person charming and likeable by people around him. Palad Khiks are also known to be able to bring about great wealth to the person who wears it with faith. Many shop owners in Thailand place images of Palad Khiks at a prominent position in their shops to attract business. Palad Khiks are also able to ward off all kinds of evil.

Now we mothers who are into magick and witchcraft know what we ought to give our sons in present, but what about the protection of our young daughters? A secret penis amulet under the skirt could be too much to bear for some parents, and in that case, what about a vulva amulet?

Vulva Amulets
Although ancient Roman penis amulets are well known and contemporary Thai penis amulets come in numerous forms, charms or amulets that depict the anatomically-correct vulva are relatively uncommon. There are two reasons for this: First, since Neolithic times, the entire human female body (or at least the torso) has been used as a votary figure - as in the famous Sheela-Na-Gig images of Ireland. Second, the subtle folds of the female genitals are more difficult to render than are the bold cone-cylinder-and-spheres of the penis and testicles. 

The metaphoric vulva is the most common form in which this ancient protective charm is found. The British say that old shoes are lucky. The Arabs see protective value in the crescent. A used horseshoe or horseshoe wall plaque is also a stand-in for the vulva, especially when, as in most of the world, it is displayed pointing downward. Likewise the ancient Egyptian buckle of Isis or tit amulet, while not a vulva per se is the thing closest too it - the menstrual pad of the goddess Isis. 
The sterling silver vulva amulets above were commissioned by the Lucky Mojo Curio Company Occult Shopto fill requests from the American sex magick community for symbolic counterparts to contemporary Thai penis amulets. Sculpted by Oberon Zell of Mythic Images, they are modeled from life and are weighty, fully dimensional, wearable art in silver. There are two styles, shown from both the front and back. Each amulet depicts an anatomically accurate vulva flowering from a naturalistic sea shell.