A place for individuals grounded in depth theory and academics to share non-rational experiences of the Divine or the imaginal realm. (Dreams and dreamwork should be shared in The Twilight Zone.)
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  • Dorene, Thank you for offering this place. There is an experience I'd like to share... risk, risk, risk! Here's to taking up the challenge. I live in a place (a canyon backing up to the Natl forest north of Santa Barbara) whose manitous refuse to be contained. On my first day there, I was sitting in an atrium when Hummingbird collided with a window. Upon searching, I found it laying still on the earth, its wings bent at an awkward angle. Never before doing such a thing, I folded its wings close to its body for warmth, gently stroked its feathers, all the while speaking softly to it. Hummingbird rose as well as it could and crawled onto my hand, nestling into my palm. My friend raced to get her camera and took the shot below. After a moment, Hummingbird raised its head and looked me straight in the eye. I could not move - could not utter a sound. In that tiny black eye opened up in me a chasm of grief and love I still cannot adequately express. That tiny black eye was as large and forever as eternity, and I felt a truth behind some very powerful intuitions which I now know can never be denied. My heart pounded in my chest, my hands were shaking, the tears could not be stopped. Hummingbird gingerly stood up, fluttered its wings and flew away. My friend just stared at me, unable to speak a word. In this canyon, there have been more extraordinary experiences than one person should be given, and I know I've been blessed. Hummingbird, however, was more than extraordinary; Hummingbird was sublime. Such a tiny, tiny thing... as love.

  • Lynlee: Thanks for your persistance. I'm really happy about this group and hope it will be a wonderful and safe container where we can all come into better relationship with the numinous. Looking forward to your comments...
  • It worked! I will respond more later.
  • I tried to respond to your story about the snake and share an experience of my own, but it would not let me comment... This is a test comment. :) Blessings, Ari
  • When I read of your experience, I found myself releasing a big sigh--that is, I actually felt the quality of the loving arms and my own energy shift. Thank you so much for your generosity in granting me a healing out of your numinous experience.
  • I thought I had sent this last night but...
    I was lying in a hospital bed awaiting my cancer diagnosis. I was told it could be anything from "Get your affairs in order." to "We can handle this." I remember the room going totally black in the mid-afternoon. I could see literally nothing. I even remember thinking that this was the utter darkness of existential angst about which the philosophers write. But it was not this, for I felt no fear at all and wondered what the feeling was. I immediately was answered with an image. The darkness was the darkness caused when you close your eyes while leaning into the hugging arms of one you love. I knew that no matter what the diagnosis, I was going to be fine.
  • Thanks, Bonnie, I am a little surprised that no one wants to share. AND I understand that speaking too soon about a numinous experience can fix it, or strip it of its numinosity. I don't have many mountaintop experiences, but those I have had were a long time ago, so I'm happy to share them. I also think that I have a particular destiny to stay on the frontier of my own experience and put into words things that are hard to articulate--all as a way to encourage others.

    Perhaps one day you'll be comfortable sharing some of the details of the experience you mention--I suspect that it would edify all of us.
  • Dorene: I so appreciate your proactiveness to start this group and your willingness to openly share your experiences. I know sometimes it is hard to talk about things that are very sacred or have a tremendous impact on us. For myself, I had a very powerful numinous experience a few years ago that I still haven't shared with many people because I just can't find the words to articulate it. Additionally, it was numinous and amazing--but also devastating on some level because it introduced an intense conflict in my life and my way of being and I had absolutely no container or community to help me manage the fallout. It's been a wild ride and I'm finally managing to put it into some context.

    The interesting part for me is that it has motivated me as part of my eventual career path to make myself available to others who have a similar experience and to help them hold the experience and contain it and make sense of it.

    Thank you for starting this group, and I hope you stay with it. People may be hesitant at first, but I think its greatly needed and very powerful.
  • Well, I would love to hear of other people's numinous experiences--I know you've had them! However, to keep the energy moving, I'll share another of my own from 1972. I recalled this experience when, as a class assignment, we were asked to choose and write about a symbol, including associations and amplifications. I chose Snake to write about, and this experience became a small part of the paper:

    I was 19 years old, it was 4 o’clock on a Friday afternoon, and the radio DJ said it was 106 degrees when my roommate Margaret and I began the hour drive up the mountain. Summer classes at Fresno State were over for the week, and we wanted to plant our feet in the icy-cold Kings River. We were in Margaret’s green Datsun 2-door, with no air conditioning; but all the windows were open, and our hair swirled in the hot wind. We felt more and more relaxed as we ascended the mountain highway, the temperature dropping slowly with every mile. When we arrived at the turn-off for the river the sun was still high, but it was a balmy 85 degrees. No one was in the gravel parking area, and the only sounds were of the fast-moving river. We sat at the water’s edge and talked about our classes, upcoming finals, and boys.

    Without warning, a beat-up Chevy truck careened down the access road and skidded to a halt next to the Datsun. Seven or eight field hands piled noisily out of the truck and sprawled all around Margaret and me on the riverbank. They were sweaty from hard work and drunk from too much beer. The men brought with them a large, thick snake, about 4 feet long and as big around as a drinking glass. They laughed as they tormented the snake by tossing him overhead to one another, or pretending to let him go only to step on him and grab him back up as he struggled to escape. I tried to maintain a pleasant but cool demeanor with the men, as if we were all just here to enjoy the river. But inwardly I knew that Margaret and I were in serious trouble. The men’s actions were becoming more exaggerated and suggestive, and their raucous laughter had taken on a menacing tone. As they continued jabbing the snake in our faces, I noticed that Margaret had withdrawn in an odd way, hugging her knees and gently rocking back and forth, eyes staring vacantly ahead.

    What happened next was completely unplanned by me: I slowly straightened my back and very deliberately took the snake from the leader’s hands; I draped it carefully around my shoulders, holding it firmly behind the head with one hand and at the tail with the other. A hush fell over the gathering, and I found myself looking calmly from face to face, the snake adorning me like a robe, meeting each man’s eyes for a few seconds. As if breaking a spell, the leader grabbed the snake from me and in one swift movement wrung its neck and threw it, dead, on the ground. “Come on, let’s go!” he barked. As quickly as they had come upon us, the men piled into the truck and fishtailed up the access road to the pavement and out of sight.

    I literally dragged Margaret to the car, put her into the passenger’s seat, started the car, locked the doors, and headed down the mountain, popping the clutch all the way, as I had never driven a standard transmission.

    I think this was a supernatural experience. I still remember it with crystal clarity. It was as if snake came to me (and through me) with quiet authority in 1972. I didn’t go looking for trouble, and I did not fold before confrontation. Using my split tongue, I discerned the truth of the situation and, perhaps, even the body temperatures of all those present. Though a relatively normal youth only minutes before the men arrived, my most primitive wisdom became immediately and acutely engaged and all my senses came silently alive. I would bet that I also slowed my breathing that day to conserve my energy for all potential outcomes.
  • Some years ago on a trip to Anchorage I drove my rental car four hours west to the rural fishing village of Seward, where the next morning I would enjoy a nature cruise. After checking into my motel for the night, I retraced my route to a small road sign and dirt road I'd passed that led to a local glacier. It was eight o’clock at night, but the summer sun was still high. After bumping along several wooded miles of dirt and gravel, the car made a last lurch into an enormous open expanse of ice, as far as my eyes could see. Directly in front of me, dirty ice sloped gradually upward to pure white plateaus, and then higher to dark fissures and caves of intense blue in the distance. My feelings of stunned silence and the stark visual of that moment still live in me 15 years later. For 30 minutes I walked slowly up the glacier, stopping often to examine rocks and plants, or to negotiate some treacherous obstacle in my path. My hiking boots provided little advantage on the glacial ice, worn slick over a million years. Still far from the blue caves above, I stopped to survey the vastness that surrounded me. Ever since I had exited the car I'd experienced a distinct feeling of being watched, yet, I could see for miles, and there was no one on the ice but me. As I continued to reflect on this sensation, I had a vision of two enormous beings that inhabited the glacier. Immediately, I realized that the air was thick with their vast presence. I know that they had a male countenance, although I can't say why I know that. These beings were alert and watchful of my trespass on their turf. They were not menacing, but there was also no curiosity or sentimentality about them. In that moment I realized how very dangerous it was for me to be there. Nature in this austere place at the edge of civilization was unforgiving of foolish acts—if I lost my footing I would die on the ice, a routine act in the cycle of life and death that played out daily. For me, this was an astonishing encounter with Other.
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