"Everyone needs a god who looks like them," says the character August Boatwright to Lily Owens in Secret Life of Bees. Sue Monk Kidd's coming-of-age novel set in 1960s South Carolina covers the same ground as Dan Brown's blockbuster mystery The DaVinci Code — the murder and cover-up of the murder of God the Mother.
Secret Life of Bees, which might as well be called "the secret life of women," stayed on The New York Times bestseller list for years. A visit to a local bookstore reveals further evidence that she's back: books galore on the Sacred Feminine, Mary Magdalene, the Shekinah, the Black Madonna, the Goddess in every woman (and man).
Why now? As the DaVinci movie trailer would have it, "the biggest-cover-up in history is about to be revealed." You might say, as August's name suggests, the boats needs righting. It's listing so far to the masculine right that the feminine, traditionally the scorned left "sinistra," is re-emerging.
In her 1998 essay "Reclaiming Gaia, Reclaiming Life," leadership guru Margaret Wheatley wondered who will lead us into the new century.
"We now walk into a new millennium from a culture that has let go the hand of the creation goddess," Wheatley writes.
"Who, then will lead us through our terrible chaos? Who will bring us to life by the law of love?"
Answer: The wasteland of myth — and current reality — can be restored only by the recovery of the Holy Grail. The elusive cup, hints DaVinci in cryptic images, is hidden in plain sight.
The "lost cup" is the abandoned Feminine. In DaVinci's "Last Supper" she is Mary Magdalene, sitting prominently at Christ's right hand. We, son-father struck for centuries and unable to see her, have convinced ourselves that "she" is a "he." We're so thoroughly without a lens for seeing the feminine as holy that we convert all divine images into men; even the obvious mother-father-child trinity is distorted into "two men and a bird."
My own discovery of the radical absence of the sacred feminine emerged following the death of my mother. I set out to recover the lost — because unheard and undervalued — stories of ordinary women.
Listening to these stories, I realized that the profound alienation women experience from ourselves, from our mothers (who, the culture says, aren't in heaven) and from our own bodies has a deep taproot in the erasure of female images of the divine. Men's alienation from what culture labels "feminine" cuts them off from wholeness as well.
What's behind the DaVinci phenom? I'd like to believe it's Grandmother-Mother-Sister-Daughter emerging from the depths, being hoisted into the boat by eager hands, setting up permanent headquarters, joining the captain at the helm, organizing some potlucks and playgroups, a lot of community clean-ups and getting this world boat in shape before it's too late! ©