Fertility

In Ancient Egypt, a variety of deities are associated with fertility amulets: Min was a male anthropomorphic god represented with an erect penis that he holds in his left and and a flail he holds in his right; being the principle deity of sexuality and virility his worship may have been associated with orgiastic rites as well as being involved in the fertility of agriculture. Tawaret, goddess of childbirth and fertility takes a powerful protective and apotropaic form as a hippopotamus with lions paws and the back of a crocodile. Bes, a male deity, similarly takes on the fearsome form of a rearing lion, his role seems to have originally been as a household protector, however the employment of his image seems to have become increasingly associated with childbirth, fertility and sexuality, especially in later periods. Isis too is significant in this regard; being the mother of Horus, Isis had a difficult birth and then had to protect Horus from malevolent forces, sometimes requiring the aid of humans, furthermore Isis’s reputation for compassion is such that she is a commonly called upon deity concerning matters of fertility. In Ancient Rome, amulets of the phallic deity Fascinus are common. As well as the embodiment of generative masculine power, the Fescinus amulet, often a winged penis, is also associated with the protective aspects common to deities of fertility. Thought to have been worn by babies or children to ward off the evil eye, associated imagery often shows the Fascinus penis ejaculating towards a disembodied eye.


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