Experiencing the Numinous

Image: From The Red Book (partial image)
Jung, Collected Works 7, Page 6
Jung, Collected Works , 14, p. 778

C. G. Jungian Society of Vermont
Jung and Numinosum
Sue Mehrtens

Numen is a Latin word, deriving from the verb nuere, meaning “to nod.” Its original meaning was “a nod.” You might well wonder how it comes to have anything to do with the Divine, the Self and Jung’s concerns. It came to mean “divine will or divine power of the gods” from the Greek and Roman practice of going to a temple to consult the will of the gods, at times when a person confronted a serious decision. In the temple the supplicant would stand before a statue of the god, state his problem, ask the god for guidance and then watch the statue. If it seemed to nod, the person knew the god approved the tack he planned to take. Over time numen came to be synonymous with “deity,” “Godhead,” divinity or “divine majesty.

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