Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism
by Thomas Inman, M.D. (1874)
Pagan and Christian symbolism
Figure 95 is a copy of a gem figured by Layard (Nineveh and Babylon, p. 156), and represents Harpocrates seated on a lotus, adoring the mundane representative of the mother of creation. I have not yet met with any ancient gem or sculpture which seems to identify the yoni so completely with various goddesses.
Compare this with Figure 138, infra, wherein the Figure 95. emblem is even more strikingly identified with woman, and with the virgin Mary. Those who are familiar with the rude designs too often chalked on hoardings, will see that learned ancients and boorish moderns represent certain ideas in precisely similar fashion, and will understand the mystic meaning of O —— I have elsewhere called attention to the idea that a sight of the yoni is a source of health, and a charm against evil spirits; however grotesque the idea may be, it has existed in all ages, and in civilised and savage nations alike. A rude image of a woman who shamelessly exhibits herself has been found over the doors of churches in Ireland, and at Servatos, in Spain, where she is standing on one side of the doorway, and an equally conspicuous man on the other. The same has been found in Mexico, Peru, and in North America. Nor must we forget how Baubo cured the intense grief of Ceres by exposing herself in a strange fashion to the distressed goddess. Arnobius, Op. Cit., pp. 249, 250.
As I have already noticed modern notions on the influence produced by the exhibition of the yoni on those who are suffering, the legend referred to may be shortly described. The goddess, in the story, was miserable in consequence of her daughter, Proserpine, having been stolen away by Pluto. In her agony, snatching two Etna-lighted torches, she wanders round the earth in search of the lost one, and in due course visits Eleusis. Baubo receives her hospitably; but nothing that the hostess does induces the guest to depose her grief for a moment. In despair the mortal bethinks her of a scheme, shaves off what is called in Isaiah "the hair of the feet" and then exposes herself to the goddess. Ceres fixes her eyes upon the denuded spot, is pleased with the strange form of consolation, consents to take food and is restored to comfort.