This is a book I have had on my reading list for maybe 20 years – The Sacred and the Profane – the Nature of Religion (with another subtitle: the Groundbreaking Work by One of the Greatest Authorities on Myth, Symbol, and Ritual) by Mircea Eliade.
I first encountered it during the early days of my Goddess infatuation, when I was reading anything and everything about ancient times.? But this was professedly about religion, written by a man, talking about man and mankind.? I was eager for spirituality and about the wholeness of woman in the long ago.? So I passed it by.
When I picked it up in the deep of this winter, I knew I might well argue with some of Eliade’s conclusions, and indeed, I did.? But the feeling he gives, the intuitive understanding he has, with scholarship piled on top, is holy and whole.
Here is a taste of his writing:? “Let us think, by comparison, of agricultural work in a desacralized society.? Here, it has become a profane act, justified by the economic profit it brings.? The ground is tilled to be exploited; the end pursued is profit and food.? Emptied of religious symbolism, agricultural work becomes at once opaque and exhausting; it reveals no meaning, it makes possible no opening toward the universal, toward the world of spirit.”
Does not that explain perfectly why we have factory farms, turkeys tortured and stomped, hens caged in square inches of space?? And that’s just in one week’s news.? Also in the news this week – lots of celebration and rejoicing because the industrial farmers are going to allow pregnant sows room to stand up and walk around.
Substitute spiritual for religious – a less codified thinking, for me – and his writing is of that ancient world of the Goddess, before cities were walled and when, wherever people gathered, there was art – and joy.? His work, deeply rooted in his learning and his thought, gives their proper due to the saturated and sacred understandings of all those ancestors of ours on this planet.? Praise and Blessings.