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When the Sacred Manifests Itself

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This assignment is a summary of the article “When the Sacred Manifests Itself” which is in the book “The Sacred and the Profane” which is authored by Willard Trask and Mircea Eliade.

Hierophany: Mircea Eliade in page 11, refers to the term hierophany as a representation of something which holds aspects of sacredness (holy) or a sign of the sacred (God), he further coins that this revelation is viewed from all literate level how in this case how God (sacred) is revealed to man historically, this he ordain the revelation of the scared in objects likes stones or trees. He also appoints how from this point there are numbers of hierophanies, but the most supreme hierophany he refers to as in the Christian which to this he acclaims is the embodiment of almighty God in Jesus Christ. To this the author acclaim that the sacred reveals its true self to reality of the holy not the natural reality.

Eliade intends for us to understand “sacred” and “profane” as existing in opposition. How are they opposites?

According to Eliade the sacred nature of hierophanies in objects is basically reduced to not the physical attributes of that particular object but the sacred attributes which he calls the ganz andere. For the sacred he states that for the experienced religious, that nature is able to divulge itself into sacrality state of celestial. Eliade elucidates the difference in profane sacred as the followers of this kind of existence tend to rely on natural realities and the need for power is essential to them for they have no sense of existence and their historical existence and purposes are in desacralized world which the author calls the complete profane world. The primitive race which the author calls and relates to the profane existence is those that have no moralities and their existence has no moral being and any much meaning. He elucidates the sacred and profane as two kind of modes related to the existence in the world or also two situation of existentence. The profane example are given to the primitive group from the historical culture point were the Chinese, Indians, Mesopotamians and Kwakiutl who were qualitative different due to the profane space.     

Mircea Eliade calls humankind “homo religiosus.” To this the author tries to say that the people who practiced these form of religion only believed in one religion and one God either they were sacred or profane in their believing. This is why the author calls sacred and profane two modes.

 (a.) Desacralized cosmos” this is considered by the author as the myth of the end time of the existence and the eternal return for the scared and the abomination for the profane.  (b.) “homogeneity of space” in this the author calls the homogenenerity space for the religious person to be not stable as it is filled with interruptions and different qualitatively from others, to this the profane space is considered to be without consistency and amorphous.(c.) “Primordial experience” Eliade sense of primordial experience is based on the sense of space how it is interrupted in sacred space and the nature of the non-homogeneity space which the author calls the primordial experience of both the sacred and the profane entity.

In religious practice as Eliade explains it, a “fixed point” or “central axis” is very important.  The importance of the fixed point in religious practice, this is deemed important by the author as it’s the time when the sacred pace which has direction and the profane space which was historically void before the traditional man acquired identity, when this two entities met the fixed point was deemed as the center for human so as to not live in chaos the need infinite space the hierophany revealed this practice. This is deemed as the center and the beginning of the meeting of the sacred and the profane or the establishment of eternal reality.

Eliade tells us that, “a profane existence is never found in a pure state.”  Because the profane nature is the blasphemous space, and most of the realities are of human nature and the space is considered to be without consistency and amorphous. This is so contrary to the nature of the sacred space which is pure and is very inconsistence. The profane ways cannot therefore be pure due to the irreligious nature of the existence and the ways which they follow natural realities compared to the nature of sacredness which follow pure attributes.

On pages 32 and 33 Eliade relates a fascinating story about an aboriginal tribe that accidentally breaks its “axis mundi.” The author refers to the traditional Arunta tribe, known as the Achilpa, from the mythical time, the most divine was the Numbaluka, who they coin that created their ancestors, cosmic zed territory future and established their society. Numbakula fashioned the sacred pole from the trunk of a gum tree, anointed it with blood and then disappeared into the sky after climbing it. This pole is then viewed as the axis mundi (cosmic axis), during the tribe wandering they would carry this pole as it played an important role in their lives ritually. When this pole was broken the whole community died.  

On page 68, Eliade states: “By its very nature sacred time is reversible in the sense that, properly speaking, it is a primordial mythical time made present.” In answering this question, you will want to discuss the idea of “re-actualization” as well. The author here articulate that religious man should recognize the primordial myth in the re-actualization of the present sentiments, the need for practicing the sacred events that took place in the mythical past, and also this practices and the participation itself implies the emergence of ordinary temporal reintegration and duration which was famed by the mythical time and this is actually re-actualized by the practicing of the festive or the festive itself.

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