Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism
by Thomas Inman, M.D. (1874)
Pagan and Christian symbolism
Figures 21, 22, are other indications of the same fundamental idea. The first represents Nebo, the Nahbi, or the navel, characterised by a ring with a central mound.
The second represents the circular and upright stone so common in Oriental villages. The two indicate the male and female; and a medical friend resident in India has told me, that he has seen women mount upon the lower stone and seat themselves reverently upon the upright one, having first adjusted their dress so as to prevent it interfering with their perfect contact with the miniature obelisc. During the sitting, a short prayer seemed flitting over the worshippers' lips, but the whole affair was soon over.
Whilst upon this subject, it is right to call attention to the fact that animate as well as inorganic representatives of the Creator have been used by women with the same definite purpose. The dominant idea is that contact with the emblem, a mundane representative of the deity, of itself gives a blessing. Just as many Hindoo females seek a benefaction by placing their own yoni upon the consecrated linga, so a few regard intercourse with certain high priests of the Maharajah sect as incarnations of Vishnu, and pay for the privilege of being spouses of the god. In Egypt, where the goat was a sacred animal, there were some religious women who sought good luck by uniting themselves therewith. We have heard of British professors of religion endeavouring to persuade their penitents to procure purity by what others would call defilement and disgrace. And the "cord of St. Francis" replaces the stone "linga." Sometimes with this "cord" the rod is associated; and those who have read the trial of Father Gerard, for his seduction of Miss Cadiére under a saintly guise, will know that Christianity does not always go hand in hand with propriety.
With the Hindoo custom compare that which was done by Liber on the grave of Prosumnus (Arnobius adverma Gentes, translated by Bryce and Campbell, T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh, pp. 252, 258), which is far too gross to be described here; and as regards the sanctity of a stone whose top had been anointed with oil, see first sentence of paragraph 89, ibid, page 81. The whole book will well repay perusal.