By Mircea Eliade

"No one has performed a lot as Mr. Eliade to notify literature scholars within the West approximately 'primitive' and Oriental religions... every person who cares concerning the human experience will locate new details and new angles of vision."—Martin E. Marty, manhattan occasions publication evaluation

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Extra resources for A History of Religious Ideas: From the Stone Age to the Eleusinian Mysteries

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To give only one example, a cosmogonic myth brings on the stage the primordial Waters and the Creator, the latter either as anthropomorphic or in the form of an aquatic animal, descending to the bottom of the ocean to bring back the material necessary for the creation of the world. 42 Similarly, myths, legends, and rites related to ascent to the sky and "magical flight" (wings, feathers of birds of preyeagle, falcon) are universally documented, on all the continents, from Australia and South America to the Arctic.

However, the existence of a certain type of shamanism during the Paleolithic period seems to be certain. On the one hand, shamanism still dominates the religious ideology of hunters and pastoralists in our day. On the other hand, the ecstatic experience as such, as an original phenomenon, is a constitutive element of the human condition; it is impossible to imagine a period in which man did not have dreams and waking reveries and did not enter into "trance"-a loss of consciousness that was interpreted as the soul's traveling into the beyond.

Ein archaologischer Beitrag zur Urgeschichte des Schamanismus," pp. , 279 ff. In this connection we may cite the fact that bone drumsticks have been found on the island of Oleny in the Barents Sea, in a site dated ca. ; cf. Eliade, Shamanism, p. 503. 27. Andreas Lommel, Shamanism: The Beginnings of Art, pp. 129 ff. 28. Eliade, Shamanism, pp. 62 ff. 20 6. THE PALEANTHROPIANS The presence of woman The discovery of feminine representations in the last Ice Age has raised problems that are still being discussed.

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