_The Sacred and the Profane_ by Mircea Eliade is a work that examines (or attempts to examine) the ontological meaning of religion and religious experience. It is an excellent, if highly abstract work that tries to explain what it means to actually be. Religious experience is that of knowledge of the sacred and the meanings attached to it. The sacred distinguishes itself from the profane by what Eliade terms a "hierophany" or manifestation of the sacred. The sacred indicates a break in profane existence, both in space and time. Space becomes sacred when it has a meaning above and beyond itself, and time becomes sacred when it hearkens back to man's primordial beginnings, rooted in myth. It symbolizes death and rebirth. _The Sacred and the Profane_ covers foundation ceremonies, ritual sacrifices, the "axis mundi", New Year's celebrations, the polarity between sun and moon, masculine and feminine, rites of initiation (such as baptism and its parallels in other religions), and modern man's fall into an almost completely profane world. Eliade, who was affiliated with a pro-fascist revolutionary group (whose slogan was "long live death!") in his native Romania, is hoping toward some type of spiritual revival. Religious man, contrary to modernist doctrines, actually looks for the deeper value in mere existential being, rooted in something above and beyond himself, the true nature of Reality. In the conclusion of _The Sacred and the Profane_ Eliade ponders why religion has fallen away in the West today. Religious man looked toward a hypothetical Golden Age, Garden of Eden, Elysian Fields, Paradise, etc, as something which had existed in the mythical past and to which fallen humanity would someday return. This consciousness has been lost from modern man, and Eliade considers this question to be beyond the realm of pure history, and perhaps a thing to be investigated by "even theologians."