Many / One

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Myths, Dreams and Mysteries, The Encounter Between Contemporary Faiths and Archaic Realities
Mircea Eliade

1 "Deciphering the meanings of myths and symbols is repaid by a considerable enrichment of consciousness."

2 "In truth, the Supreme Being never entirely disappears from what we might call the religious subconscious of humanity."

3 "There is no mythic motive or scenario of initiation which is not also presented, in one way or another, in dreams and in the working of the imagination. In the oneiric universe we find again and again the symbols, the images, the figures and the events of which the mythologies are constituted."

4 "Very likely, the ecstatic experience in its innumerable aspects is co-existent with the human condition, in the sense that it is an integral feature of what is called man's becoming aware of his specific situation in the Cosmos."

5 "The myth defines itself by its own mode of being. It can only be grasped, as a myth, in so far as it reveals something as having been fully manifested, and this manifestation is at the same time creative and exemplary, since it is the foundation of a structure of reality as well as of a kind of human behavior."

6 "History [is] a direct and irreversible manifestation of God in the world."

7 "Life springs from an over-fullness, from a wholeness. To men of the traditional cultures, one must hasten to add, all life was a hierophany, a manifestation of the sacred. Creation – at every cosmic level – presupposed the intervention of a holy power."

8 "Every primordial image is the bearer of a message of direct relevance to the condition of humanity, for the image unveils aspects of ultimate reality that are otherwise inaccessible."

9 "Depth psychologies have recognised the dimension of the imaginary as one of vital value, as of primordial importance to the human being as a whole. Imaginary experience is constitutive of man, no less certainly than everyday experience and practical activities."

10 "The symbolism of the 'Centre', which plays a considerable part in every religion, is integral with the symbolism of Heaven: it is at the 'Centre of the World' that the break through the plane may take place, making it possible to enter into Heaven."

11 "Immortality should not be conceived as a survival post mortem [after death], but rather as a situation one is constantly creating for oneself, for which one is preparing, in which one is even participating from now onward and from this present world."

12 "The history of religions – from the most elementary to the most developed – is constituted by a number of important hierophanies, manifestations of sacred realities. Beginning from the most elementary hierophany – for example, the manifestation of the sacred in any object whatever, say a stone or a tree – and ending in the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ, there is no real break in the continuity."

13 "One of the chief characteristics of the myth…is the creation of exemplary models for a whole society."

14 "A great many traditions trace the creation of the World to a central point from which it is supposed to have spread out in the four cardinal directions."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite