Altars Outside

The priests spoke with all right sense. There should indeed be a pure temple, an empty temple out of which all transgressors are cast out: for without any to people it, the great temple would preserve its sanctity inviolate forever. Thus the people worshipped outside instead, at an altar kept ever burning with the fat of sheep. And indeed their practice was of great antiquity, for it came from the Greeks, who had no altars inside their temples. So I saw an altar, ringed with golden phalluses most cunningly wrought, and supported by six bullocks sleek and strong, also shining in gold. The staircase was most lustrously covered in divine names, and those only could mount it who had left inglorious partners for more fitting mates, and left brethren and sisters, and father and mother, and wife and children, for the sake of this surpassing glory. And I saw, clad in the most wonderfully sought-after raiment, the Glorious Ones with goats’ horns erect upon their crowns, ascending to the acclaim of all present, who bowed to the ground to taste the truffle-water that emanated from the altar.

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