What is Numinous?

A friend posed this question to me  when I told her I was studying Freud and Jung all weekend.

She asked me “hey, who was it that first discussed “numinosity”.

“hhhhmm.” i replied, followed it with my three favorite words “i don’t know”…and off i went to google.  Here’s what I found on what’s now an intriguing journey…...numinosity:

“In ancient, and more recent, times Earth was thought of and identified as a spiritual entity. Everything was believed to have come from this entity, which was worshiped as the Divine, or the Divine principle. This principle was within everything that it had created or bore, which included the universe, earth, and all things within. Early people felt no isolation from the cosmos as many feel today; no, they felt emotionally tied to the cosmos and everything within. Their existence as well as the existence of the universe, earth, and everything within was considered sacred because it all had come from the Divine.”

Read the full version here. It’s interesting.

And this from Wikipedia…also interesting:

Numinous (pronounced /ˈnjuːmɨnəs/) is a term coined by German theologian Rudolf Otto to describe that which is wholly other. The numinous is the mysterium tremendum et fascinans that leads in different cases to belief in deities, the supernatural, the sacred, the holy, and the transcendent.

Numinous was an important concept in the writings of Carl Jung and C. S. Lewis.

It may be viewed as “the intense feeling of unknowingly knowing that there is something which cannot be seen.” This “knowing” can “befall” or overcome a person at any time and in any place — in a cathedral; next to a silent stream; on a lonely road; early in the morning or in the face of a beautiful sunset. Similarly unpleasant or frightening scenes or experiences can lead to a sense of an unseen presence of ghosts, evil spirits or a general sense of the presence of evil. Visions or hallucinations of god, gods, the devil or devils can also happen. The idea is not necessarily a religious one: noted atheist Christopher Hitchens has discussed the importance of separating the numinous from the supernatural.[2]

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2 thoughts on “What is Numinous?

  1. How did I live for xx years and not know this?
    When I delve into spiritual matters quite frequently?
    I’d heard the word, but never really thought about it. Fascinating journey, and I thank you so much for posting it!

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