a: 25, b: ? - religious instant
Similar to the "Proustian moment" or Joycean epiphany? Bleakhaus 14:38, 10 May 2007 (PDT)
Encounter with the Holy, or numinous, rather; prefiguring Oedipa's terrifying/fascinating encounters with the manifestations of the Trystero System. The pattern is taken from The Idea of the Holy by Rudolf Otto. While much has been made of the Mircea Eliade connection, Otto's direct influence has been largely overlooked, although Pynchon himself drops the clue word numinous in the novel.
Excerpt [from Idea of the Holy] - page 6: "... AND THE NUMINOUS' implied in `holy'.
Numinous (IPA:/ˈnuːmənəs/ or /ˈnjuːmənəs/) is a Latin term coined by German theologian Rudolf Otto to describe that which is wholly other. The numinous is the mysterium tremendum et fascinans that leads in different cases to belief in deities, the supernatural, the sacred, the holy, and the transcendent.
The word was used by Otto in his book Das Heilige (1917; translated as The Idea of the Holy, 1923). Etymologically, it comes from the Latin word numen, which originally and literally meant "nodding", but was associated with meanings of "command" or "divine majesty". Otto formed the word numinous from numen in a manner analogous to the derivation of ominous from omen.
Numinous was an important concept in the writings of Carl Jung and C. S. Lewis. The notion of the numinous and the wholly other were central to the religious studies of Mircea Eliade. It was also used by Carl Sagan in his book Contact.
In Carlos Castaneda's 'Don Juan' books the 'nagual' seems to correspond to a concept of something wholly other, or at least to something our neural net has not yet fit into a template or cookie-cutter 'recognition' (Casteneda's so-called 'tonal').---Wikipedia