Divine potency emanating from a deity, person, or thing and sometimes the divine part of a deified person.
Numen ("presence", plural numina) is a Latin term for the power of either a deity or a spirit that is present in places and objects, in the Roman religion. The many names for Italic gods may obscure this sense of a numinous presence in all the seemingly mundane actions of the natural world. The word was also used in the imperial cult of ancient Rome, to refer to the guardian-spirit, 'godhead' or divine power of a living emperor—in other words, a means of worshiping a living emperor without literally calling him a god. The word numen is also used by sociologists to refer to the idea of magical power residing in an object, particularly 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. Etymologically the Latin word numen originally and literally meant "nodding". It has the sense of inherent vitality and presiding, and was also associated with the terms for "command" or "divine majesty". The importance of nodding, in relation to commands and divine majesty, stems from the belief that Jupiter, the king and ruler of the gods of Olympus in Roman mythology, when he made a final and unquestionable decision, nodded his head, thereby enacting his ruling.
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