Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Return of the Feminine

Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code is essentially an expression of man’s longing for a different world.  The plot revolves round the quest for the Holy Grail which in the end turns out to be nothing.  “The End of Days” when the Grail was supposed to be revealed turns out to be nothing more than “a legend of paranoid minds,” according to a character in the novel.  It is the mystery of life and our capacity for wonderment that is the real Holy Grail, the character explains.

The novel is primarily a thriller.  But the author is a highly knowledgeable person who makes ample and effective use of his knowledge about the Catholic Church and its institutions.  The Church has reasons to be irate with Dan Brown because the novel undermines one of the most fundamental doctrines of Catholicism: that Jesus was a bachelor.  Mary Magdalene is Jesus’ wife in the novel’s exploration and their lineage continues to this day. 

Ancient Greek goddess
Emperor Constantine’s enthusiasm to impose a monotheistic religion on his people rewrote the entire history of Catholicism, according to the novel.  Many of the arguments in the novel will be corroborated by history.  But the novel is also eager to point out that religious faith, ultimately, is a human fabrication that has little to do with historical or any other truths and facts.  Religious faith is a blind acceptance of what we imagine to be true.

One of the many fabrications that entered religion in its evolutionary process was the dethronement of the sacred feminine.  Female gods were done away with by all monotheistic religions.  Dan Brown suggests that the female god should return.  There are two places in the novel where he writes that “The quest for the Holy Grail is the quest to kneel before the bones of Mary Magdalene.  A journey to pray at the feet of the outcast one.”  And Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute as she was portrayed later.  She was the closest person to Jesus and Da Vinci’s Last Supper has her sitting next to Jesus (being chided by Peter as understood by Brown).

Venus, ancient Roman goddess
The novel suggests that the astrological Age of Pisces is giving way to the Aquarian Age.  The Age of Pisces (fish) began with Jesus approximately.  Many Christian symbols use fish.  Jesus himself referred to his disciples as “fishers of men.”  The Piscean Age of monotheism and spirituality is now gliding into the next one creating a new world order where people will be more free and rational.

Will that free and rational new world order will bring back the feminine to its rightful place?  This is one of the basic hopes raised by Brown’s novel.  Whether the hope will be fulfilled, only time will tell.  Women are certainly in a much better position today compared to the past.  But the novel’s hope is not about such superficial changes.  It is about a paradigm shift.  It is about a world order which amalgamates the rational with the spiritual, the left with the right (hemispheres of the brain rather than the ideological left and right), yin with yang.

Goddess Durga
From Wikipedia
PS. I reread The Da Vinci Code because I felt some kind of a new world order is on the rise.  But I'm not fascinated by astrological ages.  And I'm suspicious of certain changes.  Anyway, in my country the female gods still reign.


  1. Coincidentally I also happened to read The Vinci Code quite recently. And I am in complete agreement with your analysis of the narrative and the message embedded therein. A paradigm shift in the world order bestowing genuinely equal status on the womenfolk is still a Utopian dream.

    1. Even if we bring back the sacred feminine, will the paradigm shift take place? We in India retained our female gods but the position of women continued to remain pathetic. In fact, rapes and molestation cases increased in the last few years.

      Another thing that amused me was how our goddesses are portrayed as very aggressive in contrast to the western ones who seem seductive. Does that imply something about our perspective on women?

  2. Even the ground reality in today's India tells a different story, the ancient seers of India gave due prominence to the female forms of the divinity.

    1. Today too India has retained the goddesses. But the ground reality does not match. Quite sad.


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