Rites and Symbols of Initiation

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9780882143583: Rites and Symbols of Initiation
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Organizing data from cultures the world over, Mircea Eliade, one of the preeminent interpreters of world religion in the twentieth century, lays out the basic patterns of initiation: group puberty rites, entrance into secret cults, shamanic instruction, individual visions, and heroic rites of passage. The vast information assembled here transcends usual scholarship. Eliade always affirms the greater experience in all initiation the indissoluble tie between humans and the cosmos of gods, spirits, animals, ancestors, and nature. As Michael Meade writes in his foreword, Eliade fervently worked at keeping the doors of perception open to the world of sacred symbols and creative ritual. Through his insistence that we are each the necessary inheritors of a vast sacred heritage, he has acted as a spiritual elder and distant mentor to me and many students of myth and ritual. Like an archeologist of symbols, he has unearthed, preserved, and found new meanings in the rites of our ancestors.

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Organizing data from cultures the world over, Eliade lays out the basic patterns of initiation: group puberty rites, entrance into secret cults, shamanic instruction, individual visions, and heroic rites of passage. The vast information, assembled so beautifully, transcends usual scholarship. Eliade always affirms the greater experience in all initiations - the indissoluble tie between humans and the cosmos of Gods, spirits, animals ancestors, and nature. The absence of initiation in our culture has left modern men and women often isolated from each other, from the invisible powers beyond, and from the myths that sustain daily life. The primal soul desire for symbolic rituals pushes youth into substitutes for initiatory experience: gangs, suicide, car crashes, teenage pregnancy, street drugs. These "symptoms" show the unquenchable urge for existential transformation and the need for elders, mentors, and rituals. This book is about crossing - from confusion to knowledge, from innocence to experienced elder.

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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

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9780882140612: Rites and Symbols of Initiation: The Mysteries of Birth and Rebirth

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ISBN 10:  0882140612 ISBN 13:  9780882140612
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