The Silent Orgy
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the infernal consequences of illicit sex

SATAN IN THE GROIN

exhibitionist carvings
on mediæval churches

 


female exhibitionists:
the sheela-na-gig conundrum

 

HIGH-RESOLUTION PHOTOGRAPHS OF MALE AND FEMALE EXHIBITIONISTS

 

the column-swallower mystery

 

beard-pullers
in the silent orgy

 

ireland
& the phallic continuum

 

field guide
to megalithic ireland

 

irish sweathouses

 

the earth-mother's
lamentation

 

"images of lust"

 

beasts and monsters of the mediæval bestiaries

 

LICENCES ET OBSCENÆ
DANS LES EGLISES ROMANES BRETONNES

 

bibliographie / bibliography

 

LINKS

 

beyond-the-pale

 

 

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South Doorway, Lincoln Cathedral

 

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Exterior stone corbel on the church of Saint-Pierre-d'Excideuil (Vienne), France.


by
Anthony Weir, author of "Images of Lust"

male figures: part I


click for a female in the same church

Interior corbel, church of Sainte-Radegonde, Poitiers (Vienne), France


The word Fascination derives from the Roman
fascinum:
a tiny model of an erect penis often contained in a bulla or locket
for boys to wear around their neck in anticipation of their mature virility and its gender-status.


But for the fourth-century former 'Cathar' Saint Augustine of Hippo, erectile male lust was both the cause and the effect of Original Sin.

The male erection was both the symptom and the innate disease caused by the insuperable power of Satan which was displayed by the involuntariness of penile erection. This involition was most dramatically demonstrated by the erection of the Hanged Man. The most notorious hanged man was Judas, the betrayer for money, the victim of Satan through greed for money, and the unredeemable suicide. Judas thus embodied the three most terrible sins of Christian Europe: avaritia, concupiscentia and suicide.

The sins of sexual desire were listed by St Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians, chapter five. These are somewhat vaguely and prudishly described in terms such as Lusts of the Flesh, Uncleanness, and so on, thus giving plenty of opportunity to those inclined to condemn any sexual act not in the 'missionary position' and not for the purpose of procreation. (The latter has recently been evoked as an argument against same-sex marriage.)

Many male exhibitionists on Romanesque churches have scrotal sacs disproportionally larger even than their disproportionate penises. The modern French for scrotum is bourse, the word also for money-bag or purse. (Spanish bolsa, Italian borsa.) Purses were made from the scrota of boars, bulls, rams and goats. Thus the 'licentious' motif of the male exhibitionist incorporated, through the medium of the pun which has been largely ignored in Romanesque art, the motif of the Moneybags, the usurer.

The product of the diabolical power of the penis was semen, a pollution which ensured that every human born was contaminated by evil. Augustine thus - contrary to scripture - asserted that, despite the possibility of our 'redemption through Jesus', men and Man had no Divine gift of Freedom of the will.

Augustine's horror of the erection - at odds with almost every culture on the planet, and even with the declarations of the contemporaneous Council of Elvira - dominated European thought and society from the fifth century to the twentieth, at least.


Interior corbel, Poitiers Cathedral, France


The twelfth century was the most prodigious period of building in human history, with tens of thousands of churches built (in the style called Romanesque) across the length and breadth of Europe from Norway to Sicily and across the Mediterranean to Palestine, and Ireland to Hungary and Dalmatia. Tens of thousands of trees were felled to provide scaffolding and structural timbers.

Skilled sculptors and masons could move from a contract on the shores of the Mediterranean to another on the shores of the Baltic within a fortnight, bringing new motifs and improved techniques with them. Communications, obviously, were much better than in later times. Many Roman roads were still viable. In recent times, French masons and sculptors all came from the Limousin (modern Creuse). The main school of sculpture in France was evidently farther West in Romanesque times, in the Atlantic lowlands where some very fine and durable limestones could be quarried, and where the greatest concentration of Romanesque churches is to be found.

This explosion of energy reflected, and further contributed to, an economic boom that led to the rise of cities, the export of money and criminals on Crusade, and the decline of the monasteries which had generated wealth by their greatly-increased land-cultivation and output.

The history of Christianity- a religion of cheap miracles and false humility - is a history of infamy. The Romanesque period (from the 10th to the end of the 12th centuries) was that of the first three Crusades and the ongoing 'reconquest' of tolerant, cosmopolitan and enlightened Spain: horrible hate-filled campaigns of terror - for 'Christianity' is ironically and essentially a religion of hate, especially (and consistently since the 11th century) against Muslims.

Many of these churches presented to illiterate parishioners 'sermons in stone' through carved glimpses of Heaven and Hell on their doorways (or painted as murals on walls), and images of sin (and, occasionally, virtue) on the stone corbel-tables (like the one below) which supported their rooves. They resemble the emblem-books distributed in later centuries by the Jesuits, with their moral tales of storks and pelicans drawn from the bestiaries.


Click for high-resolution enlargement.

Saint-Contest (Calvados), France
click for high-resolution enlargement


Some very important churches (for example, on the Pilgrim Roads across Europe and the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela, which were tramped by millions of feet and hooves every year) had whole façades wonderfully carved with apocalyptic and heavenly scenes designed to instruct the pilgrim.


click to Click to enlarge enlarge

Tuscania (Viterbo), Italy
click for detail of tricephalos



Some collegiate churches attached to important monasteries featured hundreds of figures illustrating and warning against all sorts of sin from gluttony and drunkenness, dancing and lewd behaviour to calumny, simony and sodomy - and most particularly wealth and the sins of luxury to which wealth inevitably leads.


Male exhibitionist with moneybag, Domfront (Orne) France

 

click for more at Givrezac

Male exhibitionist with barrel-like dolio, Givrezac (Charente-Maritime), France

Acrobats and musicians are frequent, for to Christian - as to some Muslim - clerics of the time, all secular music was 'the devil's tunes', and the ubiquitous bagpipe was an obvious - if later - metaphor for male genitals, as, to a lesser extent was the flute. At Givrezac (above) a megaphallic male blows on a dolio, which might have sounded something like a jug played in an Alabama jazz-band of the 1920s. Harp- and Rote-players are not uncommon,


click to
enlarge

Corullón (León), Spain


and rub shoulders with beasts such as pigs and dogs and bears who, even when not ithyphallic, represent lusts and degradation.

click for click for more more

Plaisance-sur-Gartempe (Vienne)


click for more

Ithyphallic bear on the church tower at Aston Somerville (Gloucestershire)


Bear-cults were as important as Wolf-cults in Classical and pagan pre-Romanesque times. Just as the Roman Republic claimed its origin in the suckling of two abandoned twins by a she-wolf, so princes, leaders & heroes used to claim that their genealogy began with union of a bear with a female ancestor. Since, of course, the cult was seen as a threat to the church, it wanted bears to be domesticated, dominated and humiliated. This accounts for the hundreds of years of appalling cruelty to bears in Europe - as to wolves - which still has not ceased, (and in China amounts now to a pseudo-scientific holocaust, for magical reasons).


click to click to enlarge enlarge

Window-voussoir, Annaghdown (Galway), Ireland

 

Mauriac (Cantal), France: absidiole corbels
and a detail of a sinful variant of the Ouroboros or Ourobolos

click to enlarge
click for high-resolution enlargements by Tina Negus - and another example


Amongst the beasts symbolising lascivious concupiscence is the hare, in Classical times the animal associated with Venus. A rare and primitive depiction of hares with a male exhibitionist can be seen on a chancel-arch capital of an early Romanesque church in Auvergne.

click to enlarge

Saint-Etienne-de-Vicq (Allier)
click for an enlargement

On an English church a classic vulva-pulling female exhibitionist (of the type now commonly known as a Sheela-na-Gig) is approached with intent by an ithyphallic, bearded man-beast, somewhat resembling a Babylonian lion. The large limestone carving has been cut to form a window-top on a tower built mainly from flint. Above it is the church clock: Temporality combines powerfully with lechery and concupiscence.

Whittlesford (Cambridgeshire), England
click for a high-resolution enlargement

Apes, coming from Barbary, represented the barbaric and blaspheming (if not demonic) Moors, and, to emphasise the point, displayed their circumcisions.


click for click to enlarge more apes

Droiturier (Allier), France


As well as fabulous beasts, beard-pullers, foliage-spewers, mouth-pullers, tongue-stickers and column-swallowers are also well-known from hundreds of churches. But comparatively rare are the exhibitionist versions of these motifs, such as the megaphallic dolio-player (Givrezac, above), mouth-puller...

León, Spain

photo by Tina Negus

Thorpe Arnold (Leicestershire), England
click for high-resolution enlargement by Tina Negus


...or
cake-eater.

Click for high-resolution enlargement.

Champagnolles (Charente-Maritime), France
click for high-resolution enlargement

 

click for click for another view another view

Megaphallic glutton, Barahona (Segovia), Spain


Even some remote churches feature remarkable figures in frozen demonstration of mortal sins - especially the sins of carnality and consumption - to be avoided on pain of eternal punishment.


La Godivelle (Puy-de-Dome), France

Click for details.

Studland (Dorset), England
click to see some corbels

 



part 2>

from Drakestown, county Meath

 


This web-page is dedicated to the late Martha Weir,
who was amazed but unfazed by these carvings,
and without whom "Images of Lust"
would never have been researched or written.


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Click here for a related essay:

POTENCY AND SIN : IRELAND AND THE
PHALLIC CONTINUUM

 


LIST of PHOTOGRAPHS of MALE and FEMALE EXHIBITIONISTS
on this site

the nature of 'christianity'

 

 
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