his, The Idea of the Holy, Rudolf Otto coins the
word "numinous" define the mystical experience
(p.6-7). Numinous comes from a Latin word numen. Although
he gives no further explanation on the choice of this
word, he does comment extensively upon the numinous experience.
" [The experience
is] inexpressible, ineffabile...." (p.5)
"...it grips or stirs
the human mind..The feeling of it may at times come
sweeping like a gentle tide, pervading the mind with
a tranquil mood of deepest worship. It may pass over
into a more set and lasting attitude of the soul, continuing,
as it were, thrillingly vibrant and resonant, until
at last it dies away and the soul resumes its "profane,"
non-religious mood of everyday experience. It may burst
in sudden eruption up from the depths of the soul with
spasms and convulsions, or lead to the strongest excitments,
to intoxicated frenzy, to transport, and to ecstasy.
It has its wild and demonic forms and can sink to an
almost grisly horror and shuddering." (p.12-13)
The numinous experience
tends to have these attributes:
The element of "awe"fullness
The element of overpoweringness
The element of energy or
The element of the "Wholly
The element of fascination
Source: Otto, Rudolf. The
Idea of the Holy, (London: Oxford University Press,
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