by: Alan Butler
Publisher: John Hunt Publishing Ltd.
Cover: Nautilus Design (UK) Ltd
reviewed by: Lynard Barnes, July 25, 2005
Summary: With some annoyances, this is a good read with some qualifiers.
Let’s get this one gripe out front before reviewing this, yet another wisp of fog from Dan Brown’s DA VINCI CODE. The author of THE GODDESS, THE GRAIL & THE LODGE, Alan Butler, is a trained engineer and an astrologer. He is also, apparently, a very good researcher into the arcane history of religion and its symbols. (You can visit his website at http://www.thegoldenthread.com). So, the question is why does he misuse, abuse and confuse the word “race”? In this book he refers to the “Jewish race”. He also wraps the term “race” around a number of other ethnic or cultural groups. It is very annoying. While modern research into human biology (DNA, genetic ancestry, haplogroups, etc.) has not yet percolated into the mainstream of society, the use of the term “race” is circumspect even among authors who are not scientists. Alan Butler uses the term inconsistently so it is difficult to figure out what he means when he uses it. Okay. It may be semantics. But even an apple as an orange is consistently an apple as an orange. End gripe.
Alan Butler does an extraordinary job of presenting the supposition that much in Western thought and culture dangles from a veil hiding the foundations of an earlier human knowledge of the world as it really is. That supposition itself however is all conjecture, but it flows with effortless logic. What is not conjecture are the facts. Butler marshals plenty of facts to backup his premise that Western religions are centered around Goddess worship. Indeed, his most convincing and interesting volley of facts are centered around the transformation of the Catholic Church created by Emperor Constantine’s Council of Nicea. The elevation of Mary, the mother of Jesus, to an almost Goddess-like status within a religion that is distinctly masculine has been a persistent motif of Catholic Church history since the council adjourned. Butler not only reiterates Dan Brown’s assessment of the Council of Nicea (through his characters in the DA VINCI CODE), he provides the rational for the council’s agenda.
To be sure there are flaws in Butler’s unfolding of a conspiracy based Western religious history. The most glaring is one he himself mentions toward the end of the book. He pays homage to Umberto Eco’s novel, FOUCAULT’S PENDULUM. Butler recognizes that the continuum he refers to as the Golden Thread could be “a figment of human imagination and that the only true conspiracy is the conspiracy itself.” He dismisses the implications however by citing his personal experience and his own secret knowledge. Still, there is nothing in THE GRAIL & THE LODGE to convince a reader that there is some super-focused group of individuals, inheritors of an ancient knowledge, actively influencing social and political events. If anything, THE GRAIL & THE LODGE demonstrates just the opposite.
The beauty of Butler’s handling of the Council of Nicea for example is that he brings out the swirl of competing doctrines and ideas around at the time. The Council attempted to cement in place one idea, excluding what we would call the Goddess side of religious doctrine. Yet, here we are almost two thousand years later, with the idea in some circles of a Mary, mother of Jesus, “Queen of Heaven”. Another example of an absence of “grand conspirators” is what Butler regards as the foundation of modern day capitalism. One of thebuds from which capitalism sprung, according to Butler, was the Cistercian Order, a monastic Order founded in Burgundy around the time of the First Crusade in 1098. It was founded as part of a strategic effort to counter the “strangle-hold of feudalism and an ever more repressive Christian Church” upon ancient religious beliefs. The product of the Cistercian Order was wool. The Knights Templar would follow, becoming the “bankers” of a feudal Europe. For Butler, there is an overseer of all this agitation and challenge to Church authority. It is what he calls the “Troyes Fraternity”, But if you remove the conspiracy, remove the “grand overseer” and the Golden Thread, the facts remain.
Like most of these historical interpretations, THE GODDESS, THE GRAIL & THE LODGE is filled with tidbits of information which are obscure and titillating. Butler covers the rose (Rosa Canina-the dog rose), Venus, the Christian rosary, the Egyptian Ank, the pentacle and Gothic architecture with its “ogive” structure. All are tied together. And then there is Megalithic geometry and latitudinal and longitudinal salt lines which are starting points for much in the book and subject of another book by Butler.
The last five chapters of THE GODDESS, THE GRAIL & THE LODGE discusses various aspects of the Freemasons. So much has been written about Freemasonry that it is unavoidable to conclude that Butler merely skims the subject. However, what he does say is revealing. At one point he states that most members of the Freemasons are probably unaware that they are members of a religious organization and one which carries on the tradition of Goddess worship. He makes a very compelling argument. He also reiterates the lessons learned in high school that most of the Founding Fathers of America were Freemasons. The full realization of that fact is brought home in a series of quotes he supplies from Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison. The preamble to these quotes is a curious paragraph in which Butler discusses the location and planning of the nation’s capital in Washington, D. C.:
“That the capital city of the most powerful nation in the world was built on Christian precepts is dismissed as an absurdity when one learns the views of the men who were in charge of the fledgling country was Washington was planned.”
Again, Butler backs the statement up with some rather powerful reasoning. If the goal of the Freemasons is to pay homage to the “Great Geometrician of the Universe” and preserve the “Peoples of the Book”, it is a given that they would construct a non-sectarian nation-state in which those ideals could be realized.
THE GODDESS, THE GRAIL & THE LODGE is a must read for any following the froth generated by Dan Brown’s THE DA VINCI CODE. For those who are not hooked into the debate, THE GODDESS, THE GRAIL & THE LODGE is simply good reading, although there are a couple of annoyances-the “race” trap being one.