Religion is a theme in many of Golding’s novels, including The Inheritors and The Spire.
The Neanderthal group worship Oa, a matriarchal goddess. Mal explains the origins of their world: ‘There was the great Oa. She brought forth the earth from her belly. She gave suck. The earth brought forth woman and the woman brought forth the first man out of her belly’.
Despite there not being any archaeological evidence that Neanderthal people followed any religion, Golding explains this by having the Neanderthals worship Oa in the form of ice women, which of course wouldn’t leave any archaeological trace. When Mal becomes ill, Fa is sent to the ice cave to ask Oa (in the form of the ice women) for help. Men are forbidden from entering the ice cave but Lok follows her and is frightened. Fa says: ‘it is too much Oa for a man’.
The child, Liku, carries around the ‘little Oa’, a root shaped like a woman with an enlarged stomach.
Dean Jocelin, believes in, and is indeed part of, traditional Judeo-Christian religion. He is certain that he has been chosen by God because of his meteoric rise in the church and therefore, has every right to build this seemingly impossible spire. Despite Roger Mason’s insistence that the cathedral will not support the spire, Jocelin dismisses him by saying: ‘It’s God’s will in this business’. Such is his belief, he is delighted when he discovers the Bishop is sending him a Holy Nail for the spire.