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THE REVEREND HARGRAVE JENNINGS

and

PHALLISM

by catherine yronwode


The illustration on this page is a California Indian charmstone
from the pages of the Lucky W Amulet Archive.

Hargrave Jennings (1817-1890) was an English cleric and author whose studies of comparative religion played an important role in the development of Western interest in sex magic during the Victorian era. A Freemason and Rosicrucian, he numbered among his friends the American sex magician and occult writer Paschal Beverly Randolph.

In addition to covering subjects such as Rosicrucianism, Hinduism, and Buddhism in his books, Jennings drew on the works of predecessors, such as Richard Payne Knight, to developed at length his theory that all religions, including Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism, ultimately derive from in ancient phallic worship, which he properly called "phallism." (In later editions he reluctantly acceded to popular, although incorrect, usage and called his subject "phallicism.")

Unlike many modern authors, for whom he word "phallic" implies the male penis, Jennings used the word "phallic" in its non-gendered sense, meaning "relating to the sexual organs". For this reason, in addition to citing examples of religions which featured worship of the male genitalia, he studied those in which the worship of the female genitalia and the worship of human sexual union were practiced.

Jennings did not limit his description of phallic religions to representations of genitalia or human coitus; he also wrote extensively on the human tendency to utilize natural things, such as snakes, the Sun, fish, and fire as symbols of phallism, and, with the establishment of sacred architecture in prehistoric times, to create specific forms of consecrated structures that had a phallic character, including megaliths, wells, obelisks, and the round towers of Ireland. He was particularly interested in the erotic temple architecture of India, but did not overlook even the humble phallic charmstones of California native tribes. His relish for these matters might seem unexpected in a Christian minister of his time period, but Jennings apparently saw no moral contradiction between studying the Bible and writing enthusiastic descriptions of lingam-in-yoni artifacts from India.

In addition to the works to which he affixed his own name, Jennings is thought by some researchers to have written a number of anonymous volumes in the limited edition and privately printed "Nature Worship and Mystical Series", and possibly also to have written under the pseudonym "Sha Rocco."

The "Nature Worship and Mystical Series" books are typical Victorian era miscellanies. Each one is devoted to a specific aspect of phallism and, in addition to the author's writing (which is virtually identical in style to the signed works of Jennings), they each contain short scrap-book like excerpts from a variety of travel accounts, historical documents, newspaper clippings, and books by other authors that support the authors' ruminations on the several branches of phallism.

Books by Hargrave Jennings

  • "Indian Religions, or Results of the Mysterious Buddhism" (1858)
  • "Curious Things of the Outside World: Last Fire" (1861)
  • "The Rosicrucians: Their Rites and Mysteries" (1870)
  • "Live Lights and Dead Lights" (1873)
  • "One of the Thirty, a Strange History" (1873)
  • "The Obelisk: Notices of the Origin, Purpose and History of Obelisks" (1877)
  • "Childishness and Brutality of the Time" (1883)
  • "Phallicism, Celestial and Terrestrial, Heathen and Christian" (1884)
  • "Charon: Sermons from the Styx: a Posthumous Work by Frederick the Great" (1886).

Books by Sha Rocco

  • "The Masculine Cross and Ancient Sex Worship" (1874);
    Reprinted in the "Nature Worship and Mystical Series" (1890)
  • "Sex Mythology" (1898)
    This was published after Jennings' death, but may be a reprint of earlier writings.)

The Anonymous "Nature Worship and Mystical Series"

  • "Phallic Worship" (1880)
  • "Phallism: A Description of the Worship of Lingam-Yoni" (1889)
    Reprinted as "Phallicism" (ca. 1890-91)
  • "Ophiolatreia: An Account of the Rites and Mysteries Connected with the Origin, Rise, and Development of Serpent Worship" (1889)
  • "Phallic Objects, Monuments, and Remains" (889)
  • "Cultus Arborum: A Descriptive Account of Phallic Tree Worship" (1890)
  • "Fishes, Flowers, and Fire as Elements and Deities in the Phallic Faiths and Worship" (1890)
  • "Archaic Rock Inscriptions: an Account of the Cup and Ring Marking" (1890)
  • "Nature Worship: An Account of Phallic Faiths and Practices" (1891)
  • "Phallic Miscellanies: Facts and Phases of Ancient and Modern Sex Worship, as Explained Chiefly in the Religions of India" (1891)
  • "Mysteries of the Rosie Cross, or the History of that Curious Sect of the Middle Ages, known as the Rosicrucians" (1891)
For the convenience of those interested in a lenthier descriptive bibliography of these rare books, i have written a short catalogue of the "Nature Worship and Mystical Series" attributed to Hargrave Jennings.

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