Images and Symbols: Studies in Religious Symbolism
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Mircea Eliade--one of the most renowned expositors of the psychology of religion, mythology, and magic--shows that myth and symbol constitute a mode of thought that not only came before that of discursive and logical reasoning, but is still an essential function of human consciousness. He describes and analyzes some of the most powerful and ubiquitous symbols that have ruled the mythological thinking of East and West in many times and at many levels of cultural development.
comprise, it is true, all those allusions to the "concrete" that Freud has brought to light, but the reality that they are trying to signify cannot be reduced to such "concrete" references. The "origin" of the Images, also, is a problem that is beside the point; it is as though one were to dis pute the truth of mathematics on the pretext that the "historical discovery" of geometry emerged from the great works under taken by the ancient Egyptians for the canalisation of the Delta.
Carelli in the preface to his edition of the Sekoddesatiikii oJ Nadapiida (Niiropii), bciug a commentary of the Sekoddcsa Section oj the Kiilacal..'Ta Tantra, 1941, pp. 16 f£ Gackwad Oncntal Series, Vol. XC, Barod..t, 23 See the texts collected by P. C. Bagchi, "Some technical terms of the T:tn tras" in The Calcutta Oriental Journal, I, 2, November 1934, pp. 75-88, esp. Pl'· ff.; and Shashibhusan Dasgupta, Obsmre Religious Cults, Calcutta, 1946, pp. 274 ff. ll.z 88 Images and S
Anthropos Vlll, 1 9 1 3 , pp. 6o7-629, pp. 6u-613. I111ages and Symbols 108 Cristobal the "Fisher of Souls", seated upon a rock, fishes for souls. 41 In the Solomon Islands it is the parents who fish for the soul of the deceased in order to put it into a box with a bodily relic (a skull, a jaw-bone, a tooth, etc.).42 The sorcerers of the Hervey Islands possess magical traps, in which they catch the souls of those they want to destroy. 43 One meets with the same customs in other cultural
problem, cf. also Eliade, Le Chamanisme w • • . , Paris, 1951. W. King, History of Sumer and Akkad, London, 1910, pp. 128 ff. G. Furlani, La religione babilonese-assira, I, Bologna, 1928, p. 159; E. Dhorme, Les L. Religious tie Babylonie et d'Assyrie, Collection "Mana" II, Paris, 1945, pp. 28, 49 ; E. Douglas van Buren, "Symbols of the Gods in Mesopotamian Art" At1aleaa Orientalia 23, pp. n-rz. in The " God who Binds " 109 also armed with snares and cords : prayers are addressed to
forth the sacred by means of the cosmic rhythms. The revelation con veyed by the Faith did not dispel the "primary" meanings of the Images ; it simply added a new value to them. For the believer, it is true, this new meaning eclipsed all others : it alo11e valorised the Image, transfiguring it into Revelation. It was the Resurrection of the Christ that mattered, and not the "signs" that one could read in Nature : in the majority of cases, one did not Wld.cr stand the "signs" until after having