A study of ancient religions shows that worship of the sex organs (both male and female) played a key role. All kinds of sex acts cannot be ruled out at one point or the other. Today, as ancient paganism is being revived, there is a growing erosion of sexual mores and the lines are becoming blurred. Free sex and nudity has become a selling point, whether in the field of entertainment or religion. These are not new. We are only committing ancient sins in modern ways.
In Hinduism, one of the oldest pagan religions, the phallus (penis) of Shiva has a special place. The Hindu mythology says that when Shiva is killed, his wife, goddess Kali squats over his body, rips out and eats his organs, and then mounts his still erect phallus to complete the cycle of creation. In many Hindu temples, images of Shiva’s phallus (“lingam”) is depicted without the rest of Shiva, and is worshipped by devotees.
The vagina (called “yoni”) is also worshipped. Various objects are shown depicting both lingam and yoni in full penetration. Most devotees would visit these temples, pour milk or water over the lingam and meditate. Smaller, pocket-sized lingams are also purchased and rubbed with the hands.
The Canaanites were also immersed in sex rites revolved around their father god El, the mother goddess Ashera and their son called Baal. They believed that sex acts would stimulate the passion of their father and mother deities to give them fertility. They linked the fertility of the women to the fruitfulness of the land, thus they believed that sex orgies would make the land grow good crops because the “gods” would be pleased.
These sex rites made the ancient Canaanite cults so appealing. This is why the Bible makes several references to the nation of Israel becoming ensnared in their worship (Num 22:41, Jud 2:13, 8:33, Jer 5:7 etc).
In the 1960s, some archaeologists unearthed the temple of Baal-berith at Shechem and found in it the sacred pillar (the phallus), an emblem of Baal. According to Unger’s Bible Dictionary:
“Baal was the son of El, the father of the gods and the head of the Canaanite pantheon…The inhabitants of Canaan were addicted to Baal worship which was conducted by priests in temples and in good weather outdoors in fields and particularly hilltops called ‘high places’. The cult included animal sacrifice, ritualistic meals and licentious dances. Near the rock altar was a sacred pillar or Massebah and close by the symbol of Asherah, both of which apparently symbolized human fertlity” (Merril F. Unger, Chicago. art “Baal”, 413).
Most historians agree that fertility and phallus worship existed in prehistoric central and Eastern Asia which influenced the pre-Buddhist and pre-Shinto religions. A relic of this can be seen in the yearly Hounen fertility festival in Komaki, Japan (held on March 15). A 9 ft long phallus is carried and followed by a crowd. At a temple, it is spinned around in a 360 degree fashion. The people are “blessed” by Shinto priests and they pray for a fruitful year.
In ancient Egypt, Min, a fertility deity (often shown with an erect phallus) was extensively worshipped around 2050-1550 BC. Coronation ceremonies of a new pharaoh involved sex rites. In the Yoruba religion in West Africa, the staff of Oranmiyan is also an emblem of the phallus, though disguised with non-sexual legends.
The ancient Greeks were not far behind. Apostle Paul wrote that “it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret” (Eph 5:12). He was making a reference to the Eleusinian and Bacchanalian mysteries which were performed in the dark at nights and were known to be so immoral that the Roman senate banished them from Italy. Plato wrote about seeing the entire population of Athens drunk at these festivals. (Dake Annotated Bible, 2001, 370)
The myths of Greek deities also indicated the level of sexual depravity in Greek culture. For instance, Flora was a prostitute; Apollo was a seducer of women; Zeus had sex with many women and a boy (Ganymede); Pan was into little girls and masturbation; Hades captured Persephone for pleasure and Bacchus was a drunkard and reveler. The early church thrived in the midst of this perverse culture. This is why the epistles kept emphasizing Godly separation.
Ancient Roman deities were also worshipped with immoralities. A good example was Dionysus (symbolized by the bull and goat). The rites of Dionysus was famous for sex orgies and revelries. Obelisks (phallus emblems) were moved over to Rome by the emperors. One of it is still in the Vatican square today – opening the door wide to the ancient stronghold of sex worship.
Modern Neo-Pagan movements follow the same route of sexual permissiveness. Gavin and Yvonne Frost of the Church and School of Wicca wrote a book many years ago, The Witch’s Bible: How To Practice the Oldest Religion, detailing sexual initiation of pubescent boys and girls by older coven members, using artificial “phalli” on girls and group sex magic.
The book attracted a howl of rage from the Wiccans back then. But the fact is, these authors were honest about what goes on in many pagan circles today. Many higher level initiations in the occult are sexual in nature.
Many of these ancient pagan civilizations rotted from within and died. Their despicable acts attracted divine judgement and their power sank into the dust- giving us an example of what will eventually befall cultures that follow suit. Sadly, these same perversions are being promoted by modern entertainment.