Excerpt: 'It's My Pleasure'

Ours wasn't a religious home. I was baptized at the age of two. My mother's rationale was, "Just in case. It couldn't hurt." I remember sitting in my eighth grade religion class, wondering how people could worship a God that seemed boring and petty. (I was in a nondenominational private school, so we spent equal time on the "big five" -- Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism). Yet, all religions intrigued me. I was encouraged to learn about them without predetermined expectations of what I should believe, so, in high school, I thought of myself as shopping for a religion because I felt the urge to be spiritually connected to the universe. I would try one on and see if it fit. And none of them did. Some demanded that I renounce meat. Ha! All of them had body issues. I did not, perhaps because bodies were never treated as shameful in our house, and I was allowed to watch a movie with sex in it before I was allowed to watch anything violent. A lot of them talked about my inherent and eternal flaws, which my heart rebelled against. All in all, I found them to be a little tight in the crotch. I did, however, notice the Virgin Mary prayer on the refrigerator and my mother's growing collection of Marys. Maybe I didn't need a "pants" religion; maybe I needed a skirt.

A high school English teacher of mine said that everyone has "One Book" that changes the way they see the world. She claimed that if we read anything by Ayn Rand, then that would be The One. I had already read them, but at the time, I still considered myself searching for That Book. And while I no longer subscribe to that notion, a certain book did dramatically change the way I saw the world. It was "The Templar Revelation" by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, which my mom gave me when I came home for winter break my first year of college, saying, "You have to read this." I sat on the couch of our hard-core Catholic relatives' house that holiday and read about the secret life of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. More importantly, I discovered ancient goddess worship for the first time and a new perspective on history, religion, and the world. Finally, I was finding, if not a religion, at least a spiritual outlet that worked for me -- where sex was a powerful creative way of worship; where it was not only okay to be a girl, but exalted; where being human was the same thing as being divine.

This book also prompted conversations between my mother and me, where we would ask, "Why don't people know this?" Of course, since publication of "The Da Vinci Code," millions of people have some of the information. But our conversations, with that question as the refrain, are one of the reasons we decided to write this book.

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