9780385046183 / 0385046189

The Way of the Sacred: The Rites and Symbols, Beliefs and Tabus, that Men have Held in Awe and Wonder, through the Ages


Publisher:Doubleday and Company, Inc.



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About the book:

Over the centuries men have believed that a startling variety of objects and places, people and experiences, are possessed of a strange and overwhelming power. These rites and symbols, beliefs and tabus, which have seemed supernatural and invested with mystery, here come to be considered sacred. Here, Francis Huxley explores some of these sacred mysteries through which men have tried to explain the inexplicable, and control the uncontrollable.

Through the sacred man tries to achieve communion with the divine, and also with his own physical nature. He sets apart, physically or ritually, things that overwhelm him. In particular, Huxley explores the symbolism of the sacred, because it is really in symbolic terms that the sacred can be approached. But because of man's susceptibility to them, symbols can wield their own power: the enactment of a sacred rite can bring about a supernatural experience, an actual experience of the sacred. These shared human experiences - as in rites of reproduction, puberty, the seasons, the stages of life and death - become a primary basis for man's relationship with other men. Huxley shows how through celebrations of the sacred men have discovered their origin and understood the meaning of their lives.

This lavishly illustrated book, with over 250 illustrations in black and white and 32 pages in full color, shows some of the objects that men have singled out in their search for the sacred. And, some of the ways men have represented, in art, the world that is apart, sacred, and divine.

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