Ithyphallic (Gr.). Qualification of the gods as males and hermaphrodites, such as the bearded Venus, Apollo in woman’s clothes, Ammon the generator, the embryonic Ptah, and so on. Yet the phallus, so conspicuous and, according to our prim notions, so indecent, in the Indian and Egyptian religions, was associated in the earliest symbology far more with another and much purer idea than that of sexual creation. As shown by many an Orientalist, it expressed resurrection, the rising in life from death. Even the other meaning had nought indecent in it: “These images only symbolise in a very expressive manner the creative force of nature, without obscene intention,” writes Mariette Bey, and adds, “It is but another way to express celestial generation, which should cause the deceased to enter into a new life”. Christians and Europeans are very hard on the phallic symbols of the ancients. The nude gods and goddesses and their generative emblems and statuary have secret departments assigned to them in our museums; why then adopt and preserve the same symbols for Clergy and Laity? The love-feasts in the early Church—its agapæ as pure (or as impure) as the Phallic festivals of the Pagans; the long priestly robes of the Roman and Greek Churches, and the long hair of the latter, the holy water sprinklers and the rest, are there to show that Christian ritualism has preserved in more or less modified forms all the symbolism of old Egypt. As to the symbolism of a purely feminine nature, we are bound to confess that in the sight of every impartial archæologist the half nude toilets of our cultured ladies of Society are far more suggestive of female-sex worship than are the rows of yoni-shaped lamps, lit along the highways to temples in India.
Source: H.P.Blavatsky - The Theosophical Glossary