(The Lost Symbol came out in 2009, but I found some issues to be pertinent today in this book review I wrote that year)
The previous 2 books that I’ve read by Dan Brown; “Angels & Demons” and “Da Vinci Code” were quite riveting and fast reads, but “The Lost Symbol” rivaled them. In addition, Brown chose to write chapter after chapter as a type of sound-bite; a quickly changing scene to keep the attention of the reader. That was very clever and it worked! The trade-off was character and scene development. Even though we all know Langdon from the other books, people do grow and evolve.
Yet he portrayed Langdon very 2 dimensional and much the same. I got the sense he was really tired of this character and it showed in the writing. This was by no means a visionary work, but it was revealing and fun to read. Inquiring minds want to know! When you open the book, read the fiction disclaimer and then read the FACT page.
There was an advantage of the setting being on home turf; Washington D.C. As Americans, the revelation of the inner workings of our government is personal. Indeed, many of our family members are Masons. Many of our towns have “Masonic meeting halls”. In my hometown, there was a “Masonic Temple”. As a child I was taken by my Mother and Grandmother to many a community concert. But chapter 82, page 304 was especially personal for me.
At the opening of the chapter was the 10,647 rank organ that my cousin, Wayne Dirksen played and built as Music Director for The Washington National Cathedral in real life. His father founded the Freeport Organ Co. and taught him. Wayne was the music presenter for the Cathedral. Then as the characters proceeded into the Cathedral kitchen to reveal a very telling clue about “the pyramid”, I thought, “I wonder how many church suppers my relatives had in this hall and never imagined it would be the setting for revealing part of the secret about The Masons in a best-selling book?” When you read the section, you may hear the church women forever making jokes about cooking something in the big pots that might rival a secret Masonic Pyramid-hold the carrot! I don’t want to be a spoiler, so you’ll have to read the book to see what I’m talking about. The point is, the Washington National Cathedral is a Masonic stronghold-including the altar of the church, and my family has roots there.
What strikes me after having read these three books is in “Angels and Demons”, Brown deals with the secrets of The Illuminati and the Catholic Church. In “DaVinci Code” the antagonist power structure is The Catholic Church and finally, in “The Lost Symbol”-he deals with the secrets of The Masons, but they are protagonists and Protestant. What do all of these institutions have in common? They are male dominated with exclusive male membership. Albeit, DaVinci Code “suggested” the existence of the sacred feminine, but what conclusive power did she have? There was no real proof of her role.
For all the puzzle jumbling, blood, violence, and torture, there has never been a bigger scandal since the time of Christ than the absolute power vacuum of women in institutions of spiritual power. There has never been such an insulting, blatant, patronizing lack of comment on the real mystery behind the reason for male dominance in these institutions. In fact, the reason Dan Brown even HAS a story to write about, even HAS all these mounds of puzzles and symbols to decipher and secrets to root out is because the female has not been portrayed in the real light she holds in the evolution of spiritual power on this planet!
These books lean heavily on the “sacrifice model” to tell the story. That is because they leave the female out. The Bible completely leaves the female out as an equal to the male. And the Apostle Paul and Thomas Aquinas have a heyday denigrating her. That being said, the reason the Catholics can continue to hold power in the world is because their focus remains on the person of Christ and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, as well as revering Mary. Yet they are the holdout for ordaining women.
For all the Universal ecumenism propounded by the Masons and some Protestants, what do they have to say about Christ? Do they think that he was “just another Master” walking the planet or do they really believe, as suggested in the book, that we could each be like him with that level of healing power and love in our hearts? Not if they keep playing their sacrifice rituals over and over as shown in the book!
Love is yielding, not sacrifice. It is the love that causes one to yield in order to teach a lesson, to further the cause, rather than resist; not sacrifice. The concept of sacrifice is violent and male. His death was not a sacrifice. The sacrificial focus of all the Pagan religions is over. Give Jesus some credit. Most of the time, he did not yield. Take one look at scripture and you’ll see how he laid into the Pharisees and Sadducees when they were wrong; but not at the end. He yielded and it was heinous. It was the most scandalous torture of an innocent man, not just on this planet, but in the Universe. Will this planet ever live it down?
Maybe that’s why so many humans like to believe the cross is so beautiful and venerate it. It’s a type of denial to try to cleanse it of what it REALLY was; abysmal. It seems to me that by venerating it you also approve of the enacting of sacrifice.
Am I questioning Jesus decision to yield; no-of course not. I do question the efficacy and intent of Christ to interpret it as a sacrifice. He went knowingly and on purpose. If it was a sacrifice, he was a martyr. If he yielded, he was a Rabbi and a lover of humans, come to regain power over our planet and vanquish Lucifer. He did accomplish that no matter how much Christians want to keep talking about him. It’s finished!
I am grateful for every single speck of who he was, what he did, and what he said. But I feel, as a follower, that his teaching should no longer be denigrated by organized religion with its pagan symbols and interpretations, much less sensationalized in books such as Dan Brown’s. Power goes to the one who yields in love. That is what Christ did. Neither the Catholics, nor the Masons, nor the Protestants get it. The hubris of the Masonic thinking has indeed crept into the Protestant church. There is a huge misunderstanding here about what Christ actually taught. And to boot, it’s not being taught by the Catholic or Protestant Church either.
Michelangelo portrays the mystery of this yielding in the astounding “Pieta”. I’ve stared at that statue quite awhile to receive its deeper meaning. I’ve thought about all I’ve read in Dan Brown’s books about religion, symbolism, the sacred feminine, antagonist/protagonist, and the real meaning of Christ’s death.
The message I received was the need for “balance”. There needed to be balance brought to this planet between the male and the female. As Christ’s body lay dead in the lap of Mary in the Michelangelos Sculpture, “Pieta”, I see him yielding to the sacred feminine, to Mother Spirit, to his Mother Mary in the hopes that with the release of his soul, she would come forth and help him bring balance to this troubled sphere. Was that his core message? So once again, the two shall become one. He yielded his body to her, knowing that SHE was the author of his life, from which all life comes, in conjunction with The Father. It is the great mystery yet to be unraveled, the great secret yet to be told on Planet Earth, the story that Dan Brown hasn’t told that underpins all spiritual institutions, all symbols, and all religions. Maybe I’ll have to write a book then.
This is a truly beautiful song by Michael McDonald. There is peace to be found from addiction and suffering in the Christ energy.
Have a peaceful and healing Sunday!
You know the saying,
“It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.”-Alfred Lord Tennyson
I have a new sense about it. If I love, anyone, for any length of time for any reason, my heart may break open but that is never a loss. I don’t feel that I’ve lost anything by loving but have gained. My soul is awakened by connection, care, and bonding.
What I lose is what I did not need; belief that I control that which I cannot; others and their feelings in addition to my feelings. I lose the belief that I can control their movement, coming and going. I lose ego, loneliness, radical independence, no connection, cynicism, even resentment for humans just because we can be weak!
All there is in the end is love. People say that all the time but I really feel I come from love and will eventually return to love. And love is what binds me together with all life forms.
So maybe my perception is that I’ve lost a lot in my life. That has indeed been my perception. But if I’ve loved and learned in the midst of that I haven’t lost anything at all; I’ve gained the gift of my soul being broken open.
As a writer and an artist, that’s all I’ve ever wanted. Now I have the rest of my life to tell stories and express how tragically beautiful that brokeness can be and how it’s the only path to wholeness.
No one gets to skate past being broken. It’s pretty much what happens to everyone on this planet. We’re equal in that.
Susan Bauser, Artist