New to me, the term “loci numinosi”. Wonderful.

Found in a descriptive blurb for the new open access conference-proceedings Cult Practices and Cult Spaces in Hittite Anatolia. Half the volume is on… “the significance of various [sacred] places, such as rivers, loci numinosi, roofs, [etc]”

The term seems to have been invented relatively recently by Hittite historians, to describe places where a ‘numinous’ deity might have been found, ranging from a typical temple altar or throne to ‘the catch-bag’ of a day’s hunting. Possibly in a sacred grove. The term is thus somewhat more humdrum than it first appears. Borrowing lustre from the more widely-known idea of the genius loci, which means the more ineffable (but also protective or “tutelary” as Lovecraft calls it) spirit of a natural place.

Still, the delightful new term loci numinosi is definitely one for imaginative authors to consider borrowing. One might even make a slight tweak to loci luminosi to indicate the repository of glowing Lovecraftian crystal, a high niche illuminated by giant burnished mirrors, a sacred grove of bio-luminescent fungi, or a dark place into which light can only enter at certain key moments of the astronomical cycle.