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Eliade, Mircea - The Flood



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Patterns in Comparative Religion – Mircea Eliade

Almost all the traditions of deluges are bound up with the idea of humanity returning to the water whence it had come, and the establishment of a new era and a new humanity.  They display a conception of the universe and its history as something 'cyclic'; one era is abolished by disaster and a new one opens, ruled by 'new men'.

This conception of cycles is also shown by the convergence of the lunar myths with themes of floods and deluges; for the moon is by far the most important symbol of rhythmic development, of death and resurrection.  Just as the phases of the moon govern initiation ceremonies – in which the neophyte 'dies' to waken to a new life – so too they are intimately connected with the floods that annihilate the old humanity and set the stage for the appearance of the new..........

Water is in existence before every creation, and periodically water absorbs it all again to dissolve it in itself, purify it, enrich it with new possibilities and regenerate it.  Men disappear periodically in a deluge or flood because of their sins (in most of the myths of the Pacific area the catastrophe was caused by some ritual misdemeanour).  They never perish utterly, but reappear in a new form, return to the same destined path, and await the repetition of the same catastrophe which will again dissolve them in water

The source of the experience

Eliade, Mircea

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps