The attraction of wood carver Daniel D. Ziegler’s phallic art goes far beyond eroticism. To experience it is to have ones own creative and healing energies released. Gaze upon it, feel it, hold it, and you cannot deny it’s attraction, it’s appeal, it’s power. Such is the nature of his work.
Ziegler, using a variety of hard and soft woods, allows each piece to speak to him as he is creating it. Applying his skills, he encourages the wood’s natural features--such as its grain--full expression; and thus the unique energy and beauty of each piece of wood is released. Each then is finished with a natural oil finish to further enhance and preserve its beauty.
In the Judeo-Christian tradition we are taught that the serpent, or snake, represents evil. The Biblical story of creation depicts Satan, the devil, as taking on the form of a snake and tempting Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Thus most of us fear, or at least dislike snakes.
The Genesis version of creation, however, is a condensed and slightly altered account of much earlier writings of the Sumerians (early Babylonians) that predate the Bible by thousands of years. The Sumerians viewed the serpent as a friend and benefactor of mankind.
According to Sumerian writings, human-beings were created (today we would say genetically engineered) by a race of technically advanced space travelers who came to planet earth and called themselves gods. Homo-sapiens were created as slaves to carry on menial work. Although instilled with spirit, making them rational and smarter than animals in order to be able to carry on their work, the information regarding their true origin and divine nature was withheld from them. In Genesis this information is symbolized by the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. It was feared that if mankind gained knowledge of himself and came to the realization that he was a slave, he would rebel. Man was thus created by the “gods”, given a beautiful garden in which to live, but forbidden to eat the fruit of certain trees, that is, to seek certain knowledge of himself.
One of the members of the creator race, Enki, began to take a liking to these human-beings and began to feel sorry for them. Wanting see them free, he encouraged them to seek knowledge of themselves--to seek enlightenment. When they did as he suggested, however, and ate of the fruit, they were removed from the garden and stripped of their privileges. Their helpful friend was punished and given the name Prince of Darkness, and depicted as a serpent and the enemy of mankind.
The Genesis version of the story of creation carries on the tradition of the creator race’s depiction of the snake as evil, and today we are still influenced by that interpretation. The good-heartedness of mankind’s friend, who encouraged seeking enlightenment, was recognized and appreciated by the Sumerians, however, and is not totally forgotten today. Many modern cultures as well as our American Medical Society, still use the serpent as a symbol enlightenment and healing.
Since the earliest of times, the phallus has been celebrated as the symbol of fertility and vitality. It is only in our modern western culture, where our religions have vastly strayed from nature, that the phallus is much maligned. Yet, there are cultures even today that host ceremonies (Hounen Matsuri) dedicated to the erect male penis.
The penis or phallus, is the male organ of penetration, and it is the very act of penetration itself that lies behind every act of creation, every discovery and every accomplishment. In nature, the roots of a plant penetrate the ground and the leaves penetrate the air. In our everyday world, a shovel digging into ground to lay a foundation, a plow turning over the farmer’s soil, a nail being hammered into a board, the brush of an artist dipping into paint, an antenna probing the airwaves and a rocket hurling into space, are all acts of penetration. It is no wonder then that the phallus, the organ of penetration that begins human life and is so universally emulated, is so highly regarded that it is often used as the symbol of life itself.
The Serpent and the Phallus
Combining the serpent with the phallus into a single application such as a walking stick, ceremonial staff or ritual wand takes advantage of all the power of healing and enlightenment available to us. It thus becomes a healing instrument--to be looked at, touched, held or passed from hand to hand--such as in a meditation circle. The power felt is as endless as our ability and our willingness to heal ourselves. Its symbolism is universal and its beauty appreciated everywhere.
One final note: As a result of our negative sexual attitude based on centuries of sexual repression, most people's first and often very visible reaction to seeing the healing stick for the first time is one of being startled or embarrassed. This is an indication that healing is certainly needed in this area If your first reaction to seeing the phallus was one of surprise or embarrassment--in any way, let the healing begin at that point. Simply allow your issues to surface and be healed as you gaze upon the stick seeing nothing but its beauty.