All rights reserved, The Sacred and the Profane. Explore your full potential with the practical courses of the Hermetic Academy! We can imagine that when the Anglo-Saxon peasants first entered the new stone built churches of their new Norman overlords, they felt some sense of awe and maybe even of the wholly other. The abyss that divides the two modalities of experience sacred and profane will be apparent when we come to describe sacred space and the ritual building of the human habitation, or the varieties of the religious experience of time, or the relations of religious man to nature and the world of tools, or the consecration of human life itself, the sacrality with which man’s vital functions can be charged. Sacred space is founded on the idea of the cosmos emerging from the primordial chaos via the power of the gods. Sacred space then for mankind is “ritually reactualizing the paradigmatic act of Creation. From the historico-cultural point of view, such a juxtaposition of religious data pertaining to peoples so far removed in time and space is not without some danger. The polarity sacred- profane is often expressed as an opposition between real and unreal or pseudoreal. Nonetheless, when looking to the past one […] The aim of the following pages is to illustrate and define this opposition between sacred and profane. It does not devolve upon us to show by what historical processes and as the result of what changes in spiritual attitudes and behavior modem man has desacralized his world and assumed a profane existence. But the important thing for our purpose is to bring out the specific characteristics of the religious experience, rather than to show its numerous variations and the differences caused by history. (2016, Nov 22). Religious man’s need to be in an “organized world” (p44) facilitates this notion of the cosmos being created and the establishing of sacred spaces to worship gods. Temples, altars, churches and similar structures are built to serve as sacred areas, particularly as a means to communicate with gods and to be in their presence. To overawe was, after all, the Normans' intention. Are You on a Short Deadline? In terms of this distinction, it is my thesis that there are two key notions in Mircea Eliade's methodology: the dialectic of the sacred and the profane' and the central position of symbolism or symbolic struc-tures. Religious experience then would fall into the personal realm of man himself and how he perceives the world around him. It was not the God of the philosophers of Erasmus, for example; it was not an idea, an abstract notion, a mere moral allegory. Other religions relate this with the idea that the deceased ascend to the sky, considering some rituals consist of cutting holes in the roof of a dwelling to allow souls to pass on through. Nature provides a chief component in primitive religious man’s view of the cosmos and his gods. It is somewhat as if, in order to obtain a better grasp of the poetic phenomenon, we should have recourse to a mass of heterogeneous examples, and, side by side with Homer and Dante, quote Hindu, Chinese, and Mexican poems; that is, should take into consideration not only poetics possessing a historical common denominator but also creations that are dependent upon other esthetics. How about receiving a customized one? But in the following pages we adopt a different perspective. Passing over the rational and speculative side of religion, he concentrated chiefly on its irrational aspect. The fact that that this particular sacred had been made and consecrated by a band's mythic founder, who had then vanished up it into the sky, cannot have made it seem wholly other either. But what about the kind of person who actually attended such a church regularly in its heyday, the medieval peasant, Eliade's religious man in the flesh. Clearly, in the Middle Ages alleged relics of the True Cross must have been sacred as wholly other. It is like nothing human or cosmic; confronted with it, man senses his profound nothingness, feels that he is only a creature, or, in the words in which Abraham addressed the Lord, is “but dust and ashes” (Genesis, 18, 27). Men and women’s societies combine religious elements with physiological experiences such as puberty and birth. The extraordinary interest aroused all over the world by Rudolf Otto’s Das Heilige, published in 1917, still persists. Are you with me? Repeating them again allows man to be closer to his gods and man’s nostalgia for the “time of origin. It was a terrible power, manifested in the divine wrath. For me, the inside of my parish church was certainly special, sacred in fact, but it felt quite the opposite of the wholly other, for it was very much a place of pleasant and familiar associations. We propose to present the phenomenon of the sacred in all its complexity, and not only in so far as it is irrational. Sacred space, time, and experience basically all compliment each other in that they follow the same structure of the cosmogonic myth. The numinous presents itself as something wholly other”, something basically and totally different. Let's step our way through all the various sorts of manifestations of the sacred Eliade discusses in the course of his book, hierophanies as he calls them, and see how the fundamental contradiction is always there. From the most elementary hierophany-e.g., manifestation of the sacred in some ordinary object, a stone or a tree to the supreme hierophany there is no solution of continuity. December 2006: I gather from my current reading that Eliade still exerts an influence. Sacred time emphasizes the “origin of time”, the moment the cosmos were created and the desire to celebrate and continue the rebirth of the New Year. It is true that language naively expresses the tremendurn, or the majestas, or the mysterium fascinans by terms borrowed from the world of nature or from man’s secular mental life. Chapter 1 – Sacred Space and making the World Sacred, Chapter 3 – The Sacredness of Nature and Cosmic Religion, Chapter 4 – Human Existence and Sanctified Life. . (p173) The anticipation and experience surrounding death also brings about unique beliefs that relate back to the cosmogonic myth of creation. We need only compare their existential situations with that of a man of the modem societies, living in a desacralized cosmos, and we shall immediately be aware of all that him from them. Instead of studying the ideas of God and religion, Otto undertook to analyze the modalities of the religious, experience. This page comments on the sacred in Mircea Eliade's The Sacred & The Profane (1957). His influence on the study of religion from a myriad of different perspectives—historical, philosophical, anthropological, and otherwise—has been extensive, and The Sacred and the Profane, an introduction of sorts to Eliade’s most important theses, is considered a classic, if rather flawed, text. It is difficult to believe that a similar tendency was not at work in the past in any sacred precinct to which ordinary local believers were encouraged to participate in rituals on a regular basis. Along with this, the desire to be at a specific part of the world sees humans choosing to be closer to their gods from the area which they believe the world was created, the center. 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. Burials within the soil bring about the “religious experience of autochthony” (p140) along with rebirth and ensuring a continuation of the cycle of life. A sacred stone remains a stone; apparently, nothing distinguishes it from all other stones. But for those to whom a stone reveals itself as sacred, its immediate reality is transmuted into a supernatural reality. The idea of having sacred space, time, and experiences gives a heightened sense of meaning, purpose, and connection to a religion.
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