Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Post for October 15

Hello All,

As the syllabus notes, you need to read pages 2-48 of Mircea Eliade's The Myth of the Eternal Return for Friday.

This text is a bit more challenging than Ariadne's Clue; Eliade constantly refers to figures from world mythology. Don't get caught up in trying to research each of those places and names. We'll discuss some of them together in class.

Instead, focus on the the core concepts.

In pages 2-48, Eliade defines, describes, and gives examples of key archetypes:

1. the Center
2. the Road to the Center
3. Sacred vs. Profane time and space

For this blog, find one quote that deals with one of these three concepts, and explain what you think Eliade is trying to express with that quote. Be sure to give the page number with the quote.


  1. Trisha Morrissey

    “Finally, because of its [Kaaba’s] situation at the center of the cosmos, the temple or the sacred city is always the meeting point of the three cosmic regions: heaven, earth, and hell.” (Page 15)

    Eliade is drawing attention to the importance of the center. He states that a temple or sacred city is at the center. These places are respected because of their significance. When something is considered the “center,” immediate attention is given to that object, person, place or idea. Being the center means being the model or example. For example, when people have something they focus on, it is usually something important. Many have a central focus in their lives such as faith, family, a job, or anything else for that matter. However, their focus is on that one central idea. Eliade is highlighting that the center is something very important and crucial to civilizations across the world.

  2. Jessica Delgadillo
    My quote deals with the archetype of the road to the center: "The road is arduous, fraught with perils, because it is, in fact, a rite of passage from the profane to the sacred,from the ephemeral and illusory to reality and eternity, from death to life, from man to divinity"(18). Eliade is expressing that since the archetype of the center is sacred, then the road must be difficult because not just anyone can crossover to the sacred zone if they are not adequately prepared. The road seems to be shaping the person to be able to enter the "center" fully prepared. He gives examples of how everyone must cross from life to death or reality to eternity, which portrays how the road from each to the other is difficult.

  3. Lindsey Garibay
    “There are even instances in which cosmological traditions explain the symbolism of the Center in terms which might well have been borrowed from embryology” (p.16).
    I believe that the author talks about the center being linked to embryology because everything that starts in one point must end in the same point. For example, the bible says that man was created from earth and when we die eventually we form part of the earth once again. I believe that Mircea Eliade uses this quote to try to introduce a section of the book in which he talks about the world being born as an embryo. It might be a little hard to understand but if one really thinks about it the earth as an embryo makes sense because everything on earth has a center. In the center of a women’s body is the womb, here an embryo is developed. Based on these examples I believe the author was trying to explain how important it is to have a center to things because this means that there is an equality and this means things are balanced.

  4. Danielle Williams:

    "Just as profane space is abolished by the symbolism of the Center, which projects any temple, palace, or building into the same central point of mythical space, so any meaningful act preformed by archaic man, any real act, i.e. any repetition of an archetypal gesture, suspends duration, abolishes profane time, and participates in mythical time." (pg. 36) Eliade speaks here of man being transported to the mythical time in which sacred figures performed in sacred rituals when he performs such acts as marriage, sexual union, fighting in a war, hunting, and fishing. Humans will become the mythical gods, goddesses, warriors, hunters, fishers etc that are the archetypal figures of the act they are performing. Man lives in meaningless, profane time, (profane meaning non-sacred, disregarding anything mythical or sacred), until he performs these sacred acts and then he is transported to the mythical time in which the mythical figure performed the archetypal act. Eliade gives one example of "monarchs consider[ing] themselves imitators of the primordial hero: Darius saw himself as a new Thraetona, the mythical Iranian hero who was said to have slain a three-headed monster; for him--and through him--history was regenerated, for it was in fact the revivification, the reactualization, of a primordial heroic myth" (Eliade 37). Another example is of ancient pagans. They would, during rituals, become the god/goddess upon which they would summon, thus becoming the voice and the representative of that god/goddess; they would become the archetype they were trying to demonstrate in their rituals. They cease to exist in profane time and are transported to the mythical time and space in which gods and goddesses performed the same rituals.

  5. JoRGe SoLiS

    "Every temple or palace and, by extension, every sacred city or royal residence is a Sacred Mountain, thus becoming a Center" (P.12)

    I think that Eliade is trying to express the idea of a Center as the maint point. The center signifies the main point or the center of attention. In other words, he is trying to say that the temple, place, sacred city, and royal residence are the most important things to focus on. The center is the thing that is most important and should stand out.

  6. Diana Camacho
    "Adam was created at the center of the earth, at the same spot where the cross of Christ was to be set up". (p16-17).

    I believe Eliade is trying to put emphasis as the center being the most important thing. He almost expresses the center as the main idea and everything else revolving around the idea(center)

  7. Mel Ynostroza
    "Adam was created at the center of the earth, at the same spot where the Cross of Christ was later set up." This represents the center of the christian religions, and a reason on why the city of jerusalem is important: "Adam being buried in the very spot where he was born."

  8. Erma Morales

    "For Christians, Golgotha was situated at the center of the world, since it was the summit of the cosmic mountain and at thes same time the place where Adam had been created and buried". I believe this passage represents that certain places on Earth are very sacred to certain people. Such as in this passage Golgotha which is the biblical name for the place where Jesus was crucified is a very important and legendary place for most Christians. This place can bring people from different worlds together to the center, which can also mean unification.

  9. Brian Dolph

    "Attaining the center is equivilant to a consecration, an initiation; yesterday's profane and illusory exsistence gives place to a new, to a life that is real, enduring, and effective" (Eliade 18)

    In the quote above, Eliade is trying to impress upon people that once one has reached the "center", one is no longer what they were before. The path which they took to reach the said "center" has changed them for the better, and they are newly equipped with ideas and abilities with which they previously did not have at their disposal. In essence, the trials of the "road to the center" which they went through strengthened them so that they could recognized who they were and could draw strength from that knowledge so that they could not only face challenges with ease but so that they could recognized what things truly are.

  10. Nadee Ramirez
    “As the first step, the “reality” of the site is secured through consecration of the ground, i.e., through its transformation into a center; then the validity of the act of construction is confirmed by repetition of the divine sacrifice” (pg 20). Eliade is intending to compare construction rites to the cosmogonic gestures. He mentions that they are similar through imitation. A sacrifice would be the foundation of the world, in fact it says the world itself was given existence in this way. What i got from it was that the believe is that the earth started at the center and with the sacrifece it slowly stared to reproduce more earth.

  11. The center- "The sacred Mountain- where heaven and earth meet - is situated at the center of the world" (pg 12).
    this quote supports the second which basically states that every palace or temple is just as sacred as the mountain. i think the main idea states the meeting point of heaven and earth is to be the center, and irregardless of which place, it is the idea of the two meeting.