The Numinous Sensation of Shuddering Fear and Joy

“In these times it will be well for us to remember that the essential component of religion is mystery and mystical experience… The numinous sensation of shuddering fear and joy, the sympathetic understanding of all creation, the dark night of the soul, the supernatural sense of peace and illumination, the peculiar beneficent effects of rites, the whole range of experience, in fact, which makes up religious mysticism, is what we have to deal with when we speak of religion” (Joseph Needham, 1931).

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