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sacred and profane space

  A distinction drawn in the study and experience of religion between places and sites that are imbued with a transcendent spiritual quality and those that are not. In the course of pilgrimage there is frequently said to be, as in the paradigmatic case of Pilgrim\'s progress, a sense of movement toward the sacred and away from the profane (Graham and Murray, 1997). In Eliade\'s original terms, sacred space is oriented around a fixed point, a centre, while profane space is homogeneous and neutral. The symbolism of the cosmic centre is projected mimetically in the construction and consecration of sacred places; \'where the sacred manifests itself in space, the real unveils itself … [and] communication with the transmundane is established\' (Eliade, 1959; also Duncan, 1990). (See also religion, geography of.) (DL)

References Duncan, J. 1990: The city as text: the politics of landscape interpretation in the Kandyan Kingdom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Eliade, M. 1959: The sacred and the profane. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World. Graham, B. and Murray, M. 1997: The spiritual and the profane: the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Ecumene 4: 389-409.



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