The Grail Code 
Sacred Feminine sighted in suburban Pittsburgh

I ventured across the rivers into the wilds of the North Hills last night. It’s another world over there. I live in a happy urban neighborhood in southern Pittsburgh where streetcars roll down the main street. But if I cross the Monongahela and the Allegheny and go uphill for a bit, I find myself in neighborhoods where—believe it or not—they don’t have streetcars at all, and where everyone seems to have a driveway. And they have a free glossy monthly magazine called The Point North where you can read the most astonishing things.

For example, you can read about a hormonal therapy so advanced it’s endorsed by Suzanne Somers herself. And I thought everyone had got over the Da Vinci Code movie by now, but here’s someone who’s devoting a whole page to hoping the movie wins an Oscar.

I won’t comment on the merits of the case: I haven’t seen the movie, although for my own selfish reasons I was very happy about it. But I will comment on this article by K. J. Bryant, because it touches on one of my favorite subjects: the sacred feminine.

What our author loves most about the movie, it seems, is that it celebrates the Sacred Feminine, which was wiped out by militant Christianity in the time of Constantine.

She looks back to a time when people worshiped the Goddess, and women were given the respect they deserved.

“But it wasn’t a time when women ruled,” she tells us. “It was a time of partnership when the sexes were in balance with each other and the Earth.”

When was this time of perfect harmony? Where do we see it in history? Is it in Gilgamesh? Is it among the ancient Egyptians, whose one female pharaoh had to wear a false beard to look the part? Is it in Homer? In Aristophanes? In Aristotle?

Oh, but wait—here’s the answer:

“About 7,000 years ago, ancient marauders from the north moved in and transformed goddesses into wives or consorts of their male gods. Patriarchy’s blade was mighty. Women became property. And our Earth has been out of balance ever since.”

Now I see; now I understand everything. This golden age, this prelapsarian Eden, ended 7,000 years ago, before there was any written literature.

So how do we know so much about life back then? How do we know that the sexes were balanced in perfect harmony with the earth?

Well, basically, we just make it up.

Here our author shows herself a lot smarter than Dan Brown. Mr. Brown puts his Golden Age of the Sacred Feminine in the era just before the Christians muscled in, which as we know happened in the reign of Constantine. The trouble with that is that we know far too much about pagan Greece and Rome, and in particular about how they treated girls and women. I’ve said it before: the “feminine” might have been sacred to the pagans, but females were garbage.

But 7,000 years ago takes us back into prehistoric times. It’s an obvious tautology, but apparently it has to be said anyway: prehistoric times were before history. We don’t and can’t know what was going on then.

Archaeology can show us small female figures, many apparently pregnant, but what were they? Were they images of a great mother goddess at the center of a sophisticated religious society based on peace and harmony? Or were they magical talismans meant to ensure an heir for the reigning patriarch? We don’t know, because we can’t know.

But was human nature entirely different back then? Were people’s lives really based on “balance” with the earth rather than on lust, avarice, and violence? What would we find if we could suddenly discover a real history of those prehistoric times?

As a matter of fact, we can already refer to one example of a prehistoric people who have suddenly entered history.

For a century, scholarly orthodoxy said that the ancient Maya were peaceful astronomers whose most pressing concern was to calculate the exact position of Venus. We could read their calendrical and astronomical calculations, but the rest of their writings were a mystery. We assumed, however, that what was hidden from us was just more astronomy and chronology.

Now we can read the Maya inscriptions, and it turns out that most of their monuments, just like Old World monuments, were put up by kings who wanted to brag about how successfully they had slaughtered their enemies. The concern with the position of Venus, by the way, was purely practical: in Maya superstition, the position of Venus dictated the most propitious time for going out to kill somebody.

Maya history, in short, turns out to be just like everybody else’s history: an endless succession of wars, with bloody battles and an occasional wholesale massacre of civilians.

So why did we believe that the Maya were peaceful astronomers rather than ordinary sinners like the rest of us? Mostly because we really, really wanted to believe it. In hindsight, the evidence of Maya violence was pretty obvious, even without the inscriptions. But we ignored it, because we desperately wanted to believe that paradise on earth was possible. We hope against hope that our world of sin and death is just an aberration—that we could somehow just undo the mistakes we’ve made and find ourselves back in Eden.

None of this means that I wouldn’t like to believe in that golden age where nobody exploited anyone. But the Fall was universal; sin is the human condition, not a peculiar Western eccentricity.

Is it just hopeless, then? Is it inevitable that women should be exploited and treated as property? Or is there a way out? Can we find the real Sacred Feminine and bring it back before we end up, like the Greeks and Romans, in a world where women are garbage?

I’ll have more to say about this shortly, but this entry is already bloated beyond measure. That’s what happens when I venture into the suburbs.

7 Responses to “Sacred Feminine sighted in suburban Pittsburgh”

  1. Bill M Says:

    I appreciated the thoughts in this article, and thought I would take this opportunity to drop in a give a “thank you” for the blog. I’ve enjoyed reading the various histories and summaries presented here. The whole Arthur/Merlin/Grail mythology is a fascinating one, and it taps into some of the great themes that perplex and entertain us. Keep up the good work.

  2. The Grail Code» Blog Archive » Conversations with Mary Magdalene Says:

    [...] Well, so far it’s pretty ho-hum stuff. I’ve already had plenty to say about the Sacred Feminine, and why I’m wholeheartedly in favor of it. [...]

  3. The Grail Code» Blog Archive » One year Says:

    [...] Gilgamesh [...]

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