Spirituality Studies 9-1 Spring 2023 49 Barbora Čaputová beginning of time, it also takes place at that same primordial mythical moment; in other words, every sacrifice repeats the initial sacrifice and coincides with it… there is an implicit abolition of profane time, of duration, of ‘history’; and he who reproduces the exemplary gesture thus finds himself transported into the mythical epoch in which its revelation took place.” (Eliade 1959, 35). Illud tempus is a category defined by the absolute absence of time. Eliade also expresses this “time” as ab origine, ab initio, in principio or primordium, by which he names the beginning of things in general. However, various myths express its timeless essence and talk about events (a certain rupture, cataclysm, decline or mistake) that caused the end of the state of timelessness, and because of which time began to flow and history was created. As time begins to pass, the quality-of-life changes negatively, and so there is a need to stop or eliminate it – the need of the return. By imitating timelessness, a different quality of time is created, the socalled sacred time. “By its very nature sacred time is reversible in the sense that, properly speaking, it is a primordial mythical time made present.” (Eliade 1959, 68). Every religious holiday or liturgical time consists of the re-actualization of an event that happened in illo tempore. Sacred time can be retrieved again and again; is infinitely repeatable. “From one point of view it could be said that it does not ‘pass’, that it does not constitute an irreversible duration. It is an ontological, Parmenidean time; it always remains equal to itself, it neither changes nor is exhausted.” (Eliade 1959, 69). It is a period in historical time that, however, imitates the beginning and ensures an imaginative return to timelessness. The absence of time becomes the very source of the sacred. The realm of religious ideas is the domain of timelessness and permanence; it is defined by non-duration. The profane world, which is characterized by the passage of time, confronts man with progressive decline, definitive disintegration, and death – non-existence. Authentic existence is therefore characterized by eternal being, and its source lies precisely in the timelessness that mythology speaks of. This non-duration also characterizes the state of total eternal present that is characteristic of mystics (Eliade 1961, 33). Eliade conceptualized the essence of spiritual images and ideas through the relative nature of time. In the collective memory of humanity, he recorded the idea of a paradise state of beginning establishing timeless patterns in which the cores of all religions are anchored. He also noticed that a person’s natural need is to constantly present this timeless state, and thereby deny the passage of time and its consequences. The central idea in his conception becomes the idea of return, which is strongly anchored in the consciousness of archaic man. “Time is understood as a desecrating agent that, in its totality, constantly distances humanity from the source of authentic action and authentic thought – from the timeless pattern that stands at the beginning of everything, beyond the ‘event horizon.’ It is the events that constantly distance him from that source and weaken the supposed original bond. One of the ways to eliminate this bleak state is to return to the source through the concept of cyclic time. According to him, this possibility was realized by many civilizations.” (Kováč 2008, 25). Archaic man created an entire ritual system that helps him to re-actualize illud tempus and thereby devalue profane time. Events that do not have an archetypal pattern, and therefore create a specific profane time, are located outside this ritual scene; they no longer exist for man, they are deprived of their influence. If we pay no attention to time, it does not exist; “furthermore, where it becomes perceptible… time can be annulled” (Eliade 1959, 85–86). Illud tempus is also a state of consciousness in this case. The fact that a person lives in a specific historical period does not determine him, because he consciously overlooks what is “especially characteristic and decisive in the consciousness of the time” (Eliade 1959, 86). The common feature of the archaic man and the mystic is then the conscious state of “continual present”, which continually re-actualizes his being in non-time, freeing him from the terror of time, while creating a state of authentic being. In order to return to the time in illo tempore, it is also necessary to cross a certain border. So the relationship between being in non-time and profane linear temporal being is reciprocal and can be overcome with a certain effort. In other words, the path to it also leads through a certain “horizon of events”. Archaic people ensured this transition with their own individual and collective rituals, e.g., in India through yoga as a complex practice, or in philosophy by realizing and understanding the laws of time. For a modern human, the essence of passage can be depicted by a certain personal initiation that embodies an individual path to the meaning of one’s own life, because even if a spiritual person avoids profane time and in his own way tries to devalue it, returning to timelessness, to the time in illo tempore, does not mean escaping from reality. On the contrary, it is a return to true, original, and authentic being.