Epiphanic and Near-Epiphanic Encounters
There are near-epiphanic events within human experience that may not register as epiphanies but may have features that echo those of epiphanies, such as intense aesthetic experience before nature’s grandeur and beauty. Cultural, mythic, and religious phenomena—beliefs, practices, and stories—may resonate with the possibility of epiphanies and thus be redolent with the aura of epiphany without themselves being epiphanic. All these may be near-epiphanic things in different ways. Participation in religious festivals and rituals may be near epiphanic and even epiphanic for some believers. In this chapter, near-epiphanic encounters are considered in contrast with epiphanic encounters, which they may approach and even merge with in some cases. We also consider deification as it was practiced in the cultures of ancient Rome and Japan and its implications for epiphanic experience, as well as the role of Satan in Western traditions and the relationship between near-epiphanic experiences of Satan or the devil and epiphanic experience of the divine.