Phallic saints

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The feet of the statue of Saint Guénolé (Winwaloe, Guignolé), in a chapel of Prigny (Loire-Atlantique), are pierced with needles by local girls who hope to find their soulmates in this way.

Phallic saints were actual saints or local deities who were invoked for fertility. More than vulgar representations of the phallus, phallic saints were benevolent symbols of prolificacy and reproductive fruitfulness, and objects of reverence and especial worship among barren women and young girls.[1] Many were legitimate saints who acquired their priapic attributes through the process of folk-etymology. Sir William Hamilton (1730–1803)[2] reported that, among the wax representations of body parts then presented as offerings to Cosmas and Damian at Isernia, near Naples, on their feast day, those of the penis were the most common.[3] Hamiliton's observations led Richard Payne Knight to write his Account of the Remains of the Worship of Priapus, in which he reproduced examples of the effigies.

List of phallic saints[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f The Minor Themes,
  2. ^ Sir William Hamilton was the husband of Emma, Lady Hamilton, the mistress of Horatio Nelson.
  3. ^ Whitney Davis, Wax Tokens of Libido,
  4. ^ Worship of the Generative Powers: Priapus Worship,

External links[edit]