Themes in Mircea Eliade's "The Sacred and the Profane"

1419 Words Oct 17th, 2008 6 Pages
Mircea Eliade’s The Sacred and the Profane analyzes a wide variety of components that are found within various world religions. Eliade uses the history of religion to support his ideas as the the book itself is a brief introduction to religion as a whole, particulary the religions of primitive societies. Nonetheless, when looking to the past one can see that mankind’s desire to associate itself with the sacred has been occuring for thousands of years. From temples to passages of intiation, religious man is a unique microcosm that follows and repeats the structure of the religious macrocosm, the creation of the cosmos. One can conclude that Eliade views religion as the “paradigmatic solution for every existential crisis.” (p210) and …show more content…
The participation in these events and overall repetition enforces the religious content and provides an optimistic vision of existence and eventual transcendence for the participant. It provides a break from a temporal and profane duration of time and into a sacred time of importance and meaning for a religion and its followers. Religious experience then would fall into the personal realm of man himself and how he perceives the world around him. Nature provides a chief component in primitive religious man’s view of the cosmos and his gods. The sky houses the gods, remote although it may be, natural phenomenon such as thunder and rain gave primitive and early religious man the reasoning to place his gods above him in the intangible heavens as such natural occurrences were due in part to the supernatural beings dwelling in the skies. Alongside the sky, the observation of the transition of the moon and sun (night and day) signify death and rebirth. Water too plays a symbolic part in human experience and although it has a powerful capability to destroy life, it also reiterates the cosmogonic cycle, especially with the practice of baptism where water renews life. (p132) Earth itself is also linked to the human experience of child birth with females. The idea of a “Terra Mater” or mother earth (p138) symbolizes the idea of the earth reproducing its vegetation-based life in comparison to the experience of mother giving birth of her children.
Physiological acts such as the
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