Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dan Brown's Inferno -buckle up!

Gustave DorĂ© - Dante Alighieri - Inferno: Canto VII - Hoarders and Wasters  -Wikipedia  
These guys are pushing big heavy bags of money.  Beautiful.

This morning just before 9 am EST the title and topic of the next Dan Brown book was announced. As a fiction reader I am excited.  As a witch I am excited too, because I appreciate some of the effects his fiction and his research have had on the understanding that there are many kinds of worship rituals and that they evolve.
I have not read the galleys. This is not a book review. It is a few thoughts about what happens with touchy religious topics are introduced to the mainstream.

After each of the bestseller releases of Dan's books I have noticed the same things: A fundamentalist outcry that reading such analysis of the Bible will send you to hell AND a well reasoned, effective conversation about the research in the book, and the origins of the symbols, art and ideas. And a recognition that they are not just twisted Bible scripture. That non-modern views and non-mainstream christian views of faith are not merely twisted bible words but illustrations of how many kinds of opinion and expression have been inspired by the search to understand the divine.
Stradano Inferno Map, also Wikipedia
We will hear the same outcry, and I suspect, the same reasonable conversation around this book, based on the main character's exploration of Dante's Inferno, from his Divine Comedy. I will learn more about Dante's work than I did in high school and maybe be inspired to read some of his original (translated) text. Better than that, I will be exposed to the ideas of others who have already examined Dane's writing. And I will have, I hope, an enjoyable mystery story too.

Will the specter of Lucifer (also examined in the book, I understand) be bad for witches and pagans? For some people, the same ones who won't read or maybe even touch the book, yes. People who want to judge  are gonna judge. But for the non-pagan thinking folks, I hope this will just be one more way to get the vocabulary of christian, pagan, worship and ritual words delivered to a larger audience. Dan has always represented worship and ritual as sacred to those who practice it and I expect the same kind of thing as the scaffolding for his latest fiction story.

There is one way I can think of that this book could be bad for witches and pagans, so please don't dress up as anything from the book. Just read, and be prepared with thoughtful answers for the Lucifer questions.

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