the Da Vinci Code

We have decided to put a book end on the current version of this blog. In some ways this is our goodbye to AnimamRecro as you may know it. Due to the lack of personal posts in the previous year, we felt it was only appropriate to create a podcast reflecting on where we have been and where we are today.

If you’re interested in hearing the voices of AnimamRecro for the first time, here’s your chance.  Here is the first part of a 2 hour recording.

The volume on the recording is low, so be prepared to turn it up.


The Monochromatic Knight and Pavel a.k.a The Sheik

A response to: Da Vinci Code, part 4: One book, many arguments

I wasn’t suggesting that we should feel sorry for the decline of matriarchal societies or that their decline was a ‘mistake’. It’s difficult to say whether a progression on such a mass scale in history can even be labeled in such way. And I wholeheartedly agree with you, we need to focus on the present as well as to do the most to ensure a positive future. But your interpretation of McKenna is a little different then mine. He wasn’t calling for us to return to the past as such but rather to understand what the past meant and how those ideas could be very valuable to us. There are people out there who believe it is impossible for matriarchal societies to have ever existed. I do not dare to take such a leap of faith. Maybe, if people were persuaded that such societies did exist, we could be one step closer to creating a new and different society with similar values. Change does not occur smoothly in a state where change is not deemed possible. And we all know what it can be like when change occurs drastically.

I disagree with your claim that it is a mistake to link the state of old societies with human nature. Don’t societies reflect the state of their people? Doesn’t the way people perceive their nature effect their behavior? I also completely disagree that history is more bloody the further back you go. Of course you can name thousands of examples from torture to human sacrifice but you are looking at a small time scale and a relatively small number of people. Would you claim that most events were bloodier preceding the discovery of the new world and the subsequent slaughter of countless natives? How about the 50-65 million dead in World War II? The trouble is, it seems to me that you’re looking to the previous two thousand years as gauge for our world.

I propose we look even farther back, towards the emergence of modern man. We are animals yet there is no animal on this planet that engages in hostility with itself as frequently as we do. Why must we assume that as soon as we emerged from the primordial goo we began to fight with each other? Is it possible that there was a stage in our development where we simply existed with only occasional conflict with other tribes? Statistically there weren’t many of us around in earlier times; it’s hard for me to believe we slaughtered each other on sight.

Now, that is not to say that people ever lived without fear or violence completely. And as we sit comfortably by our computers, we have little to no idea of what is really happening out there. Possibly the major difference is that today we sit, wonder, and are reasonably concerned with the wellbeing of others around the world. This was probably not very common hundreds of years ago. But today we live in a bubble! Most of the world is not secure, villages are still being pillaged, and people are still being killed. This may never disappear, but I assure you that today they do not take the form of men on horses decapitating villagers. And I also think that we waste energy fighting conflicts which are the result of a worldview that we are afraid to abandon. A psychology imbued with fear serves a purpose. In a state where a vicious animal can jump out of nowhere or food is scarce, fear is an excellent evolutionary attribute. It keeps us on our toes, but to be in such a state constantly will lead to psychosis. Humankind is no longer a victim to a hostile world. On the contrary, many would agree that we have more control than ever before. It seems to me that this function of survival is losing its purpose so we’re trying to give it one.

Change will occur if we are ready or not, but if we want to initiate a proactive approach, we need to abandon our old framework. This post reminds me of something I read recently:

As Professor Arnold J. Toynbee indicates in his six-volume study of the laws of the rise and disintegration of civilizations, schism in the soul, schism in the body social, will not be resolved by any scheme of return to the good old days (archaism), or by programs guaranteed to render an ideal projected future (futurism), or even by the most realistic, hardheaded work to weld together again the deteriorating elements. Only birth can conquer death- the birth, not of the old thing again, but of something new. Within the soul, within the body social, there must be – if we are to experience long survival- a continuous “recurrence of birth” (palingenesia) to nullify unremitting reoccurrences of death. For it is by means of our own victories, if we are not regenerated, that the work if Nemesis is wrought doom breaks from the shell of our very virtue. Peace is then a snare; war is a snare change is a snare; permanence a snare. When our day is come for the victory of death, death closes in; there is nothing we can do, except be crucified- and resurrected; dismembered totally, and then reborn.

-Joseph Campbell ‘A Hero with a Thousand Faces’

Response to Knight’s article

Thank you, Knight, for giving me a definition of matriarchal societies, it is something that I should have read up on myself. I did not say that such cultures did not exist in the past 2 thousand years but I listed the most recent one. What I find interesting is that ALL these cultures vanished when they came in contact with modern societies – and not through a violent struggle. This only gives weight to my belief that matriarchal societies give way to our current mode of society, that it was not a mistake, or something to be sorry for, that they vanished. I prefer to look at it as a logical transformation and movement towards something even greater. From matriarchal to patriarchal, then something better (and as we both know there are people who consciously strive for this) – that is why I do not agree with Terence Mckenna’s idea of the archaic revival – what we need is not a revival – why go back when there is the way ahead and forward? Why live in the past (which is still a mystery to us anyway) when we can make a better future for ourselves?I am not as arrogant as other people to believe that our beliefs on how things looked like thousands of years ago are in any way accurate. That is why I do not spent my time building theories and looking for proof of the greatness of the past (however distant). We can do better now that we have had thousands of years of practice on how not to do things.

I believe that you also make a mistake by linking the argument of old societies being in perpetual state of war and unease with human nature. They are separate arguments and should be treated as such.

Human history has been very bloody, very unfair, and very painful. More so the more back you go, that is to my knowledge pretty much indisputable. I do not understand where people get the idea of a previous time in which people lived without fear and violence. I am sorry, but this is the first time in human history with slavery being abolished, complete class divides (into which you were born) being almost non-existent, racial and sex equality, murder being prosecuted, property rights,… – I could go on forever. Millions of evil evil things used to be an integral part of human history – for thousands of years. So what’s wrong about today’s society? Why is it not going in the right direction? It is true that there are great divides between parts of the world but we can work on that, can’t we? It’s better to have a safe part and a an unsafe part than if the whole world wasn’t safe. And we are pretty secure (the big picture), no doubt about that. If you believe that a terrorist attack is the worst that can hit you than you are safe in my book. In the medieval times every year you had a great chance of your village being pillaged, of being killed, of your wife being raped, of your son being killed,… What we have now is heavenly bliss in comparison.

And yes, the reason that people believe they are insecure is simply caused by the fact that they have so much to lose. Poor peasants had little to lose and less to fear as a consequence. A society built on materialism has very much to lose and much to fear. The other thing that you shouldn’t forget is that once we got rid off Christianity people are even more afraid to die than before – now there is only life, when before there was life after death too. Could this maybe have something to do with this new surge of interest in spiritualism and Eastern religions?

And yes, I prefer to believe in Rousseau’s and Hobbess’ view of the state of nature – I believe that the aeon of Isis looked as they picture the state of nature. How much evidence there is for this I do not know.

A response to Sheik’s article

To begin with one of your final comments: “People following his ideology will not arise as the intellectually superior, they will rather break a leg or two on the journey and come back home limping.”

Sheik, I do not think Dan Brown is presenting an ideology of any sort! And I disagree that the average person will not gain from reading his books. I would ask you to recall the philosophy of John Stuart Mill, specifically his ideas of censorship and knowledge. Now, I know you aren’t calling for the Da Vinci Code to be banned but following Mill’s logic you must conclude that even inaccurate knowledge will lead to the eventual disclosure of truth (if there is a free flow of information). As I mentioned before, evidence for this is the drastic increase in interest of religion, symbolism, mythology and the esoteric over the past few years. I see this as a very step in the right direction of consciousness. We need people asking questions!

To respond to the topic of the divine feminine:

Once again, a Matriarchy is not a female-dominated society. Please read the following:

A Matriarchy is a type of society, which is distinguished from all other types of societies by the absence of power structures and institutionalized hierarchies. This is why rural sociologist Christian Sigrist refers to it as an ‘adjusted anarchy’, and culture sociologist Thomas Wagner calls it an ‘egalitarian consensus democracy’.

The means of production are commonly owned and set of rules prevent the accumulation of possessions or power. Compared to socialist or communist systems they are characterized by the absence of a centralized administration and ruling authority. Decisions concerning every area of life are made by consensus including all genders and generations.

You were right, taking into account archaeology, ethnology and anthropology one will find the decline of matriarchal societies began circa 5000 B.C.E with the rise of monotheistic religions (Sumer, Old-Egypt, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism). There are many more examples of matriarchal peoples then you acknowledge, such as the Minoan Culture of Crete, the indigenous groups of the Old Europeans, North American Iroquois, the Goajiro-Arawak of Columbia and Venezuela, the Minangkabau of Sumatra, the Mayan Tojolabalians, Korean and Siberian shamanic societies, etc. Please also consider the idea that theoretically matriarchal societies predate patriarchal societies, therefore archeological evidence as well as names of such societies will be next to impossible to find.

Most historians describe prehistory as a time of perpetual war and danger. These ideas resemble those of Hobbes or Bertrand Russell in which humans are inherently bad. However, there is very little evidence to support these claims. The image of cavemen bonking women on the head is an illusion. If someone perceives this description of human nature to be true, as the vast majority of politicians do, then it is no wonder that we live in a constant state of paranoia in which fear is ever present even when the quality of life is reasonably high. The battle for resources, the hoarding and gluttony is partially the result of a worldview in which your enemy is just around the corner plotting to destroy your life. One reason why war is all too prevalent in our world is because we believe it to be inevitable. Personally, I hold a grudge against the ‘realist’ belief because it is essentially a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course, this is not to deny that war is also the result of territorial conflicts, greed, hatred of race/ethnicity, the lust for power and so on.

Some historians claim that matriarchal societies were common in the time of prehistory. Critics state that these historians paint a rosy picture of a world during which we lived in harmony with nature and where conflict was next to non-existent. Truth probably lies somewhere in the middle of the two theories but to make sweeping judgments of historians who study matriarchies as well as their work is in my opinion the result of ignorance and the desperation of clinging onto a fading paradigm. The amount of hostility that is projected towards these academics in some circles is astounding.

What conclusions could you make when considering these theories and evolutionary psychology? It occurred to me that we might have existed most often in a peaceful state in which battles were rare yet still very real. Battles are incredibly traumatic and commonly result in what we refer today as post traumatic stress disorder. To an evolving mind this may ingrain an overemphasis of the inevitability of war because to be unprepared for a fight results in a de-emphasis in evolutionary ladder and makes life not so fun in general. This would explain our self perpetuating worldview of hostility which I described.

Terrence McKenna presents the idea that our longing for paradise, the Garden of Eden in the creation myth might be a long forgotten memory of times similar to those described by historians of matriarchal societies. Of course, it is an assumption that such genetic memory capabilities are true but the idea itself is an interesting one.

I would also like to put these ideas of prehistory in perspective. It is generally accepted that Homo sapiens emerged sometime between 250,000 to 200,000 years ago and Cro-Magnons with their tools, woven clothing and huts, somewhere between the dates of 40,000 to 10,000 years ago. Taking these dates into account the rise of male-dominated patriarchal societies, is a fairly recent occurrence.

A response to Monochromatic Knight’s article

So, the battle commences once again.

I can very happily inform you, Monochromatic Knight, that I enjoy reading your stuff just as much as you seem to enjoy reading mine. As I said before, the quality of your writing has improved tremendously over the months, and your brain is just twisted and fucked-up enough to be one of the great world wonders.

Da Vinci Code

As far as I remember the Da Vinci Code claimed that Jesus existed in human form – in other words he was a great teacher, if only human. The claim was not that he may not have existed, or that he was a tool to bring forth a certain philosphy, or particular ideas. Most historians will tell you that Jesus may have lived and breathed on planet Earth, but since when are they always right? As far as I see, this particular issue will not be resolved until we invent time travel (something which I probably won’t live to see). Dan Brown’s ideas on this were relevant, if a bit one-sided.

I am afraid that you are the one who took the crooked approach to the question of the Church and the sacred feminine. Sacred feminine went on the decline quite naturally and way way before the formation of the Christian church (thousands of years actually), Islam, Buddhism, even the Hindu belief-system, which is believed to be the oldest of them all were and are all anti-female (if giving a different role to women than to men, one which may seem inferior, is seen as being anti-female). If you look closely you’ll see that ALL societies give a ‘lesser’ role to the female, Christian church is one of many, not the first one, not the strongest one either. This is not a conspiracy, this is history. I say that the Christian church followed a trend here, a trend that was inherent in the state of society at the time (a time of thousands and thousands of years). Look at the way that women have been, and are, trated in the many different cultures, religions, and parts of the world. I double dare you. So did the Church have a hand in the decline of the sacred feminine? But of course, the Church was also pragmatic – this was not a conscious effort to change the world, this was a cultural, nay world trend. A trend, that is coming to a very slow end only now.

Not to mention that the aeon of Isis was not as you picture it. Here you will need to read a little bit of history, archeology and anthropology to come to an answer (actual rather than alternative). The times of so-called equality never existed and the male-dominated era came naturally. As it is slowly fading now – also naturally. And it is fading as religion fades, no way less. It is only fair and logical to praise and worship the female, it is rather foolish to believe in false history. The only place with a female-dominated society in the modern world were certain parts of Papua New Guinea, when they came across the modern world (or rather the other way around), the males took control.

Yes, the Knights Templar existed. Yes, they dabbled in the obscure and the occult. Yes, there are numerous myths about them. But it is impossible to find the truth about any of that simply due to lack of any evidence. The Templars were somehow informed of the plan to murder them and destroyed most of the information about them, the rest was destroyed by the Church and the Inquisition. They were accused of devil worship and worse, which made them quite popular in the human subconscious (people crave what they fear and loathe – look at our news channels), which in turn gave birth to many of the myths about them. There are so many rumours about the Templars that I could sit here for a year writing them down. One of the more common ones is that they formed the Freemasons (many Templars fled to Britain) – this is another myth that most believe to be absolutely untrue. So, if an author wants some credibility, please please do not write ‘facts’ about the Templars.

To sum up, I do not think that Dan Brown is capable of giving any deeper purpose to his literature. The reason for him repeating himself on numerous occassions (in the style that he writes in, the structure, the plot, and the main actors) is simply that he does not know how to write differently, he rather follows the already proven system. That is what makes him a bad and unimaginative writer (if indeed, an ingenious one at the same time due to his success). I am afraid that Dan Brown has given birth to a false ideal, he has sent humanity on a lame crusade for a non-existent artifact. People following his ideology will not arise as the intellectually superior, they will rather break a leg or two on the journey and come back home limping.

Of course, I may be wrong. I may sound like the most arrogant writer in town (and in front of a keyboard it is easy to be one) but I do understand that everything I ever wrote in my life is my subjective view of the world, which has nothing in common with the objective. I dislike authors or writers who fail to see the same truth.

A response to: The one and only Da Vinci Code
Sheik of dual phallus’, I really enjoy reading your reviews.

Spoiler Alert!

I agree that the book is a good read and a well written thriller. Indeed, many interpretations which Dan Brown presents in his book are based on very flimsy factual foundations. I too read the book recently, and taking into account the controversy it has been kicking up I decided to double check any references the author made with the largest collection of information known to man, the Internet. Most often ‘facts’ presented in the book were unfounded but in my mind that does not render the overall themes of the fiction novel to be false. True, it is not clear whether the Louvre is constructed of 666 glass pieces or if 5,000,000 women were killed as a result of witch hunts. The latter claim simply lacks evidence and even though these murders were instigated by the church and horrendous, the number is most likely lower.

Contrary to the Sheik, I do think there were more valid thoughts to the novel besides the plausibility of Jesus being married. Regarding this topic specifically, I have begun to question whether Jesus actually existed at all. Even many atheists do not doubt that the man might have actually lived in some point in history but if he had, it would be almost impossible for us to pinpoint exactly when. I am more inclined to think that his story was the result of an accumulation of different mythologies stemming from astrotheology and possibly attributed to a single individual, maybe even several. I highly recommend reading books written by Acharya S on the topic. As for archeological evidence goes I think people forget that probably one of the most lucrative businesses one could go into during that time was the creation/fabrication of sacred items. There are fourteen churches that claim to have Jesus’ foreskin! And even if one were to overlook physical objects, the actual location of his birth is also unclear. There were two Bethlehems in Israel during the time of his supposed birth and evidence exists for both the locations to be the ‘real’ one.

Of course, to me Jesus’ or Mary Magdalene’s existence is slightly irrelevant to the greater picture. Thanks to faith those who believe in Jesus as presented by the church do not need any evidence at all. However, the practical implication of the church’s propaganda campaign is immense even if they are only smearing a fable.

Many people believe that Roman Emperor Constantine was the first Christian when in fact the first and only Christian was crucified two thousand years ago. Sorry, couldn’t resist that. Truthfully, Constantine was not the first Christian at all but a pagan! He saw the ever increasing popularity of Christianity as a threat to the Roman Empire and acted pragmatically by integrating various pagan beliefs and symbolism into the religion. This is partly the result of the Council of Nicaea. The effects of this are felt to this very day! Essentially, I would sum it up as the Church’s self declared entitlement to all religious integrity. This equates to the control of all philosophical and therefore all ‘scientific’ truths as well. Of course, the church is not solely responsible for this since they worked hand in hand with those in power i.e. emperors and kings.

In my eyes, those who seek evidence for Mary Magdalene’s existence (the Holy Grail according to the Da Vinci Code) are slightly missing the point. The Da Vinci Code may be focusing on a single individual but the overall theme is the cover up of the sacred feminine.

“As for tracing the end of matriarchal values and the end of the equality of the sexes to the birth of Christ, well, that’s even more rubbish.”

Careful! Dan Brown isn’t equating the end of matriarchal values to the birth of Christ at all! He is blaming the Church and its destructive campaign for the decline of the sacred feminine. And be careful with the term ‘matriarchal’, the call isn’t for a female dominated society but rather a balanced one. This manifests itself in the priory’s union ritual in the book as well as various similar magical/fertility rituals throughout history. Similarly, this idea is also one of the meanings behind the title of our blog. Look up Jung’s theory of the balance of the anima/animus in the personal unconscious. If his theories are valid in the individual (microcosm) how would they be relevant to the world (macrocosm)? What effect would a religion focused on male dominance, both literal and symbolic, have on the global mind if such a thing existed?

“As to blaming the Christian church for the death of the worship of the female and of nature, well, that’s rubbish”

I couldn’t disagree with you more on this one my friend. The Church had very good reasons to consciously do this and there is a significant amount of evidence to see how they went about it. If you would like me to go into the topic I could but it would truly warrant an entire post of its own. Please do not assume that I think the Church was solely responsible though. There are other historical factors that also have to be taken into account.

To properly understand a large portion of what is behind the Da Vinci Code one must know the story of a small village in southwestern France called Rennes-le-Château and the story of Bérenger Saunière and Henry Lincoln. I advise reading up on this as well as the fabrications of Pierre Plantard.

I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the Knights Templar involvement in the story of Rennes-le-Château. It’s a historical fact that the Knights Templar existed and that many of them settled in this region of France. The Templar became incredibly powerful after the crusades due to their sophisticated banking techniques (possible for other reasons as well). The castles that cover the landscape to this very day is evidence for this.

According to Henry Lincoln and Erling Haagensen the Knights Templar constructed their castles and churches in incredibly precise geometric patterns which would surprise many scientists today. Haagensen focuses on the Bornholm. Of course, “Critics point out that there is no record of medieval astronomical observatories in Europe, no record of the Templars ever being involved in scientific research of that nature, and in fact never any record of Templars even having a presence in Scandinavia, even in the long list of Templar accusations generated by the investigators of the Inquisition.”

There might not have been any astronomical observatories in Europe but the astronomical knowledge that Lincoln claims the Templars had are equivalent to those of the Egyptians and the creators of Stonehenge which predate the Templars by thousands of years. The value of these sights for purposes of astronomy is accepted by virtually all relevent members of the scientific community. It is also curious to note that besides the holy grail the Templar are also rumoured to have gained secret knowledge of astronomy and sacred geometry from the time they spent in the Middle East during the crusades. In regards to the lack of records of research being done by the Templar, it would seem unlikely that no evidence would be found at all, one must also be aware that if they had such knowledge it would be kept secret. Additionally, it is a known that a large number of documents were burned by the Templar when they were rounded up and killed by the hundreds on Friday the 13th of October 1307. I would assume that the most important ones were thrown into the fire first. During their time the Templar also had one of the largest naval fleets in Europe. It would not be out of the question that they might have landed on the island of Bornholm at some point.

I’m aware that these are excuses but if you were to ignore the Island in the Baltic altogether, it still does not explain the incredible geometric positioning of Mountains/Templar castles around the south-west region of France. Read ‘The Holy Place: Discovering the Eighth Wonder of the Ancient World’ by Henry Lincoln.

“I have spoken very briefly with the Monochromatic Knight about this novel and he said that he believed that this book carried a more deep purpose and as such warranted less attention of the negative kind.”

To sum up, besides financial gain I think the deeper purpose of this book (and possibly other books by Dan Brown which have common themes) may be to insert certain ideas into global consciousness. It is obvious that the success of his book has drastically increased interest in religion, the esoteric, symbolism, conspiracies and the questioning of authority in general. I think the positive consequences of the book’s popularity may outweigh the negative aspects of its factual foundations. It is up to the seeker to question his/her set values and find that which has been hidden from view. Remember, most often the winners write the history books.

I still find it quite funny that I actually read this book after 2 years of criticizing its ideas. I am one of those people who are too intelectually arrogant and pretentious to read a book which has gathered quite as much popularity among the common folks (for I, the Esoteric Sheik, am of a noble breed – blue blood, two cocks – that sort of thing), seemingly for all the wrong reasons. I wasn’t intrigued by the ideas that the author proposed – I already knew a fair amount of them, more than enough to be able to tell where the author was fabricating his ass off. Yes, Dan Brown did a great job in writing an entertaining piece of literature – his novel is very cunningly written and once I picked it up I couldn’t let go. It’s a good book, it’s a great thriller, the story is captivating and the plot well researched – for a novel that is. But that’s not the reason that the Da Vinci Code became so big and the reason it did infuriates me. And that is where trouble enters paradise.

Spoiler Alert!

You know, I am a sucker for the Knight Templars, for identification of the faults of Christianity, and all that esoteric ‘nonsense’, the worship of Isis above all. What pisses me off is that the author portrayed numerous pieces of information as facts, oftentimes these pieces of information were speculation at best, bullshit at worse. As far as I know the controversy around Mary Magdalene and the possibility of Jesus’s marriage are the only possibilities for truth in Dan Brown’s novel, out of the truly controversial topics. There is some archeological evidence of Jesus’s existence, logic beckons that he had a wife, him being Jewish and all. Mary Magdalene could have been very easily smeared by the church, they have done worse. As to the outrageous claims about the Holy Grail, the Templars, Da Vinci and so on – fabrications one and all. As to blaming the Christian church for the death of the worship of the female and of nature, well, that’s rubbish – that has started happening way before the birth of Christ and not only in Christian parts of the world. He also claims that 5 million women were killed by the inquisition, errrm, In Britain 300 women were killed (hanged not burned), in other places I somehow doubt the number was higher. I believe that the number will be in thousands, not fucking millions! As for tracing the end of matriarchal values and the end of the equality of the sexes to the birth of Christ, well, that’s even more rubbish.

So, once again, I have to pat Dan Brown on the back for writing a good novel. But I also have to give him a slap or two for using a Harvard professor as him main character to give credibility to his bullshit, for making a Louvre curator a grandmaster of a non-existent secret society, for making the villain English (isn’t this American cliche too proliferated already?) and so on.

I have spoken very briefly with the Monochromatic Knight about this novel and he said that he believed that this book carried a more deep purpose and as such warranted less attention of the negative kind. I will let him defend the Da Vinci Code at his own time. En Garde!

“The Da Vinci Code is a novel and therefore a work of fiction. While the book’s characters and their actions are obviously not real, the artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals depicted in this novel all exist (for example, Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings, the Gnostic Gospels, Hieros Gamos, etc.). These real elements are interpreted and debated by fictional characters. While it is my belief that some of the theories discussed by these characters may have merit, each individual reader must explore these characters’ viewpoints and come to his or her own interpretations.”-Dan Brown Author of ‘The Da Vinci Code’

From Chapter 28

“Nobody could deny the enormous good the modern Church did in today’s troubled world, and yet the Church had a deceitful and violent history. Their brutal crusade to “reeducate” the pagan and feminine-worshipping religions spanned three centuries, employing methods as inspired as they were horrific.

The Catholic Inquisition published the book that arguably could be called the most blood-soaked publication in human history. Malleus Maleficarum- or The witche’s Hammer- indoctrinate the world to “the dangers of freethinkers women” and instructed clergy how to locate, torture, and destroy them. Those deemed “witches” by the Church included all female scholars, priestesses, gypsies, mystics, nature lovers, herb gathers, and any women “suspiciously attuned to the natural world.” Midwives also were killed for their heretical practice of using medical knowledge to ease the pain of childbirth- a suffering the Church claimed, that was God’s rightful punishment for Eve’s partaking of the Apple of Knowledge, thus giving birth to the idea of Original Sin. During three hundred years of witch hunts, the Church burned at the stake an astounding five million women.

The propaganda and bloodshed had worked. Today’s world was living proof. Women, once celebrated as an essential half of spiritual enlightenment, had been banished from the temples of the world. There was no female Orthodox rabbis, Catholic priests, nor Islamic clerics. The once-hallowed act of Hieros Gamos- the natural sexual union between man and woman through which each became spiritual whole- had been recast as a shameful act. Holy men who had once required sexual union with their female counterparts to commune with God now feared their natural sexual urges as the work of the devil, collaborating with his favorite accomplice… woman.

Not even the feminine association with the left-hand side could escape the Church’s defamation. In France and Italy, the words for “left” -gauche and sinistra- came to have deeply negative overtones, while their right-hand counterparts rang of righteousness, dexterity, and correctness. To this day, radical thought was considered left wing, and anything evil was sinister.

The days of the goddess were over. The pendulum had swung. Mother Earth had become a man’s world, and the gods of destruction and war were taking their toll. The male ego had spent two millennia running unchecked by its female counterpart. The Priory of Sion believed that it was the obliteration of the sacred feminine in modern life that had caused what the Hopi Native Americans called koyanisquatsi- “life out of balance”- an unstable situation marked by testosterone-fueled wars, a plethora of misogynistic societies, and a growing disrespect for Mother Earth.”