an excerpt from The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
( Spoiler Alert. )
Sophie, one of the heroes of the novel, had witnessed *something* years before... something she had never had really understood (and something that Dan Brown doesn't tell us about until late in the book).
Basically, she had witnessed her grandfather in what appeared to be some kind of group sex encounter.
As this excerpt states, however, there seemed to have been more to it than merely a rowdy group romp in the hay...
"...although what she saw probably looked like a sex ritual, Hieros Gamos (the name for ancient religious ritual Sophie saw her grandfather participating in) had nothing to do with eroticism. It was a spiritual act.
Historically, intercourse was the act through which male and female experienced God. The ancients believed that the male was spiritually incomplete until he had carnal knowledge of the sacred feminine. Physical union with the female remained the sole means through which man could become spiritually complete and ultimately achieve gnosis - knowledge of the divine. Since the days of Isis, sex rites had been considered man's only bridge from earth to heaven. "By communing with woman," Langdon said, "man could achieve a climactic instant when his mind went totally blank and he could see God."
Sophie looked skeptical. "Orgasm as prayer?"
Langdon gave a noncommittal shrug, although Sophie was essentially correct. Physiologically speaking, the male climax was accompanied by a split second entirely devoid of thought. A brief mental vacuum. A moment of clarity during which God could be glimpsed. Meditation gurus achieved similar states of thoughtlessness without sex and often described Nirvana as a never-ending spiritual orgasm.
"Sophie," Langdon said quietly, "it's important to remember that the ancients' view of sex was entirely opposite from ours today . . . Intercourse was the revered union of the two halves of the human spirit - male and female - through which the male could find spiritual wholeness and communion with God . . ."
Early Jews believed that the Holy of Holies in Solomon's Temple housed not only God but also His powerful female equal, Shekinah . . . The Jewish tetragrammaton YHWH - the sacred name of God - in fact derived from Jehovah, an androgynous physical union between the masculine Jah and the pre-Hebraic name for Even, Havah.
"For the early Church," Langdon explained in a soft voice, "mankind's use of sex to commune directly with God posed a serious threat to the Catholic power base. It left the Church out of the loop, undermining their self-proclaimed status as the sole conduit to God. For obvious reasons, they worked hard to demonize sex and recast it as a disgusting and sinful act. Other major religions did the same . . ."
"The next time you find yourself with a woman, look in your heart and see if you cannot approach sex as a mystical, spiritual act. Challenge yourself to find that spark of divinity that man can only achieve through union with the sacred feminine."
So, is this real?
Well, there is a great deal of talk nowadays - due in no small part to The Da Vinci Code itself - about women, sexuality, and spirituality.
First of all, in regards to sex being "the sole means through which man could become spiritually complete and ultimately achieve gnosis - knowledge of the divine" - we have some thoughts on the matter here.
Secondly, in regards to how this impacts traditional organized religion: Is it true that modern Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism reflect a masculine bias? Is it true that these world religions were founded and sustained primarily by men - and so, had a predominantly masculine psychology built into it from the start?
(Note: Of some 3,000 characters named in the Bible, fewer than 10 percent are women.)
If men and women are often different when it comes to sports, shoes, movies, decorating, clothes, and much else, wouldn't they are also very different when it comes to spiritual practice?
...and if this is true, then what is real "feminine spirituality"?
This is a question we, your lovable LiveReal Agents, continue to pursue.