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  • Writer's pictureChanel Rion


NOO-mi-nus -- (adj.) A soul stirring, supernatural experience of awe and terror, fear and fascination, inspiration and overwhelming emotion. A sense or feeling of the holy.

“As we passed under a streetlamp I noticed, beside my own bobbing shadow, another great, leaping grotesquerie that had an uncanny suggestion of the frog world about it . . . judging from the shadow, it was soaring higher and more gaily than myself. 'Very well,' you will say, 'Why didn’t you turn around. That would be the scientific thing to do.' But let me tell you it is not done ― not on an empty road at midnight.”

~Loren Eiseley, The Star Thrower

Eiseley depicts for us an instance of the numinous as a moment transcending reason and touching the realm of the fearsome, the mysterious, and the other-worldly. A numinous experience is beyond words, beyond worldly experience, it is divine and awe-inspiring -- and perhaps more importantly, it is hard to define, describe, or depict. Theology students will have encountered the concept 'numinous' early on in their studies: the idea of the numinous was invented by the great German theologian Rudolf Otto. Otto proposed that the feeling of the "numinous" was what formed the core of the world's religions. To experience the numinous is to experience a sense of spiritual mystery. A numinous encounter could be a brief moment passing beneath a streetlamp in the dark with Loren Eiseley, or it could be a longer journey of spiritual realization that the world encompasses greater mysteries than we can ever comprehend. The numinous can be profane with fearsome grotesquerie; or it can be divine with all the inspiration and enlightenment that comes from belief in a form higher and greater than us.

~Wordeby's by Chanel Rion

🦋 ART: "The War and Us" (1917) by Edward Okuń

🦋 STYLE: Art Nouveau


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