The phallus most often refers to the physical male gentalia, although in some cases it can refer to the clitoris, labia majora and labia minora of a female during fetal development, or the term may refer to the organ before sexual differentiation is evident. In its symbolic sense, it is an expression of the active generative power which is inherent in both men and women. It is often represented as an erect penis, although other possible symbols are the cross, the winged globe, the Sun, and the wand.
Arguably, the most basic Thelemic attribution of the phallus is Will. Aleister Crowley stated it most clearly in "The Gun-Barrel" in The Book of Lies:
Mighty and erect is this Will of mine, this Pyramid
of fire whose summit is lost in Heaven. Upon it
have I burned the corpse of my desires.
Mighty and erect is this Phallus of my Will. The
seed thereof is That which I have borne within me
from Eternity; and it is lost within the Body of
Our Lady of the Stars.
I am not I; I am but an hollow tube to bring down
Fire from Heaven.
Mighty and marvellous is this Weakness, this
Heaven which draweth me into Her Womb, this
Dome which hideth, which absorbeth, Me.
This is The Night wherein I am lost, the Love
through which I am no longer I.
Crowley also identified the phallus with the dying god, such as Osiris, Dionysus, or Jesus. This is based on the nature of the physical male penis, which becomes flacid (or "dies") after it has reached ejaculation. On the symbolic level, this can be interpreted as a god giving life followed by his own death. As Crowley wrote in The Vision and the Voice, "[The Pyramid] is also the phallus, which dies itself to communicate life to others."
He states this poetically in "The Sabbath of the Goat," the first chapter from The Book of Lies:
O! the heart of N.O.X. the Night of Pan.
PAN: Duality: Energy: Death.
Death: Begetting: the supporters of O!
To beget is to die; to die is to beget.
Cast the Seed into the Field of Night.
Life and Death are two names of A.
Neither of these alone is enough.
And Crowley explains:
The shape of the figure I suggests the Phallus; this chapter is therefore called the Sabbath of the Goat, the Witches' Sabbath, in which the Phallus is adored.
[ Go Back ]
Encyclopedia of Thelema
Copyright © by The Book of THOTH - The complete guide to the Tarot, Magick and the Occult - (2031 reads)