Monday, May 08, 2006
THE DA VINCI CODE: REVIVING RELIGIOUS SEX
Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code is on solid historical ground when it claims that the Judeo-Christian tradition suppressed goddess worship and sexual mysticism. When St. Paul embarked on his missionary journeys in the first century, many of the West’s pagan temples were filled with prostitutes. At one time, for example, Corinth’s temple to goddess Aphrodite employed as many as a thousand prostitutes. Prostitution was considered socially respectable and religiously purifying. Adultery, on the other hand, was punishable because it was an economic offense ? taking someone else’s property (wife).
Today, red light districts in many Western cities demonstrate that socially, economically, and politically, prostitution is, once again, an acceptable if not respectable profession. However, it still lacks the religious sanctity that Christianity had removed. For decades, religious movements such as Tantra, goddess spirituality, and the Church of Satan, have tried to provide religious sanction to sex outside marriage, as well as to transform “public women” into goddesses. In the 1970s and 80s, Indian guru, Osho Rajneesh, wrote that Jesus taught sacred sex as the path to "super-consciousness" (becoming divine). Rajneesh’s followers remained on the fringes of American consciousness but terms such as “chakras” and “tantra” became a part of the mainstream vocabulary, popularized by celebrities such as actress Shirley McLaine (Going Within) and physicist-turned-mystic, Fritjof Capra (The Tao of Physics). Brown’s novel represents the latest incarnation of sexual mysticism. Its film version has the potential to turn this movement into a significant tsunami.
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