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Eliade, Mircea - The Moon as the place of souls



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Mircea Eliade – Patterns in Comparative religion

 The journey to the moon after death was ...preserved in highly developed cultures (India, Greece, Iran), but something else was added.  To the Indians, it is the path of the manes and souls reposed in the moon while awaiting reincarnation, whereas the sun road or 'path of the gods' was taken by the initiated or those set free from the illusion of ignorance.

In Iranian tradition, the souls of the dead, having passed the Cinvat bridge, went towards the stars, and if they had been good they went to the moon and then the sun, and the most virtuous of all entered the garotman, the infinite light of Ahura Mazda.

The same belief was kept in Manicheeism and existed in the East as well. 

Pythagorism gave astral theology a further impulse by popularising the idea of the empyrean; the Elysian Fields, where heroes and Caesars went after death, were in the moon.  The 'Isles of the Blessed' and all the mythical geography of death, were set in the sky utilising the moon, the sun, the Milky Way. 

Here, of course, we have clearly got formulae and cults impregnated with astronomical speculation and eschatological gnosis.  But even in such late developments as that, it is not hard to identify the traditional key ideas; the moon as land of the dead, the moon as receiver and regenerator of souls.

The source of the experience

Eliade, Mircea

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps