Although Francis Cassidy initially envisioned a career as a social worker, a 1979 trip to a San Francisco temple dedicated to penises (called Temple Priapus) compelled him to establish a similar temple in Montreal, Canada. Now the 72-year-old retiree has done so — in his basement — as a way to establish (and honor) a connection between sexuality and spirituality.
In a interview with VICE, Cassidy revealed that his strict Catholic upbringing in Quebec made him unsure of how to connect with other same-sex loving men who felt a spiritual devotion to their sexuality. When he visited the San Francisco temple, he saw that in addition to loving the male phallus, the temple was also doing good social work to benefit homeless gay youth.
He wanted to continue that tradition and so he established his own temple in 1979.
The penis temple, named Temple Priapus, now resides in his home as a place where men (and, occasionally, women) can honor the penis. In addition to non-denominational religious ceremonies that incorporate rituals from western and eastern faiths, the basement temple also houses an extensive collection of phallocentric art and decorations, from ancient pre-Columbian sculptures and penis-shaped candles to modern pornographic drawings and paintings.
Temple Priapus was featured in a film called The Dickumentary (NSFW clip below):
It’s a small temple, with only about 20 regular members and only five or six of them attending the temple’s monthly gathering.
Cassidy says that he interviews interested people to ensure that their interests are spiritual rather than merely sexual. “If you’re here only for sex,” he says, “you’re in the wrong place.” There are prayers praising penises and all their powers, an offering basket for financial donations and at the end of services, congregants are invited to ejaculate. He also forbids any disrespect, fighting, drug use and condomless intercourse.
The namesake of Temple Priapus is Priapus himself, a Greek fertility god who is the son of Aphrodite, goddess of love, and Dionysus, god of wine. Priapus was so hated by the other Gods that Hera “cursed with a permanent erection” before the Gods kicked him off of Mount Olympus.
Would you want to visit Temple Priapus? Or make your own penis temple? Let us know in the comments.