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Numina ("presence", singular numen) is a Latin term for deity and conveys the sense of immanence, of the sacred spirit that informs places and objects in Roman religion. The multiplication of names for Italic gods may obscure this sense of numinous presence in all the mundane actions of the natural world.

The word numen is also used by sociologists to refer to the idea of magical power residing in an object, particular when writing about ideas in the western tradition. When used in this sense, numen is nearly synonymous with mana." However, some authors reserve use of mana for ideas about magic from Polynesia and southeast Asia.

Note that etymologically the Latin word numen originally and literally meant "nodding," but was also associated with meanings of "command" or "divine majesty."

References: "The Idea of the Holy" by Rudolf Otto.

[edit] Similar cultural concepts

The concept of a life-energy inherent in all living beings seems to be a fairly universal archetype, and appears in numerous ancient religions and systems of metaphysics (in addition to having been borrowed by George Lucas's science-fiction films).

Analogies to numina in other societies include:

Also related are the philosophical concepts of:

[edit] Popular Culture

  • In the novel Contact by Carl Sagan, the term 'numinous' comes up in a discussion between Ellen Arroway and Ken der Heer regarding the differences between science and religion.
  • In the original World of Darkness game system, 'numina' were minor psychic or magical abilities held by otherwise ordinary humans, as well as various supernatural powers used by other beings that didn't fall into a specific category.

[edit] External link

es:Numen eu:Numen pl:Numen fr:Numen pt:Numina


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