Join Cathleen in Spotting the Numinous

Numinosity among the ruins of Bombay Beach, California, 2017.

Et lux in tenebris lucet et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt

‘And there is a light in the darkness, and the darkness could not comprehend it.’

Cathleen Falsani is a veteran, inveterate, and award-winning journalist specializing in the intersection of religion/faith/beliefs/spirituality and culture for more than two decades. Her work has taken her all over the world, always with her cameras and notebooks in tow, searching for enduring, transformational stories of the extraordinary in the ordinary (and the transcendent in the temporal) to share with the world. The author of several nonfiction books, she is an expert in her field and disciplines—contemporary religion and culture, grassroots spiritual trends, and public theology—bringing the eye of a trained observer to explorations of external adventure and internal geography. (See Cathleen’s full bio HERE.)

Cathleen is an accomplished columnist and memoirist in short and long form. She is able both to be calmly dispassionate and wildly vulnerable, depending on what is required to serve best the narrative in her storytelling. She aspires to be brave and honest with her audience, daring and kind with herself.

A spiritual flâneuse who, to borrow a phrase from a friend, “makes the way by walking,” literally and figuratively, Cathleen is a lifelong seeker pilgrim-oriented from birth. She began her journey as a child steeped in the Roman Catholicism of her Irish and Italian ancestors, spent much of her teens and young adulthood inside big tent of American evangelical Christianity, before midlife drew her farther into the mystic, if you will, where she resists trying to trap or tame the wildly ineffable.

Cathleen believes labels are useful for cans of beans and toxic waste, but not so much for humans. Recently, in Wild and Precious, an audio documentary about the late poet Mary Oliver, to which she leant her voice and ideas, the narrator introduced her this way: “Cathleen Falsani, a fan of Great horned owls and Jesus.”

Yes. That.

A lifelong shutterbug, Cathleen studied photography as an undergraduate student, happily spending hours in the darkroom developing and printing black-and-white prints of her photographs in the days before digital cameras were ubiquitous and nearly everyone carried a palm-sized dark-room around in their pocket. She loved then (and still does) the play of light and dark, trying to capture what she sees with her mind’s eye, experimenting with angles, getting the contrast just right, and occasionally glimpsing numinosity in nature, faces, the quotidian and the details.

Along with storytelling, deliberately looking for the play of light and shadow (and often capturing it on film or in pixels) is part and parcel of Cathleen’s spiritual practice and fuels the ongoing evolution of her faith.

We live in the numinous world.

May you know it when you see it.

Unless otherwise explicitly noted in the caption,


What you’ll find here are stories (made with words and with light and occasionally with sound) about the exploration of, adventures in, and awe for This Numinous World.

Cathleen’s intention is to share new work with you regularly, but what “regularly” means may ebb and flow as the future unfolds. If the plague years have taught us anything, it’s that the best-laid plans are laughable when the world is on fire.

If you are able to support Cathleen’s work with a paid subscription, you can do so HERE.

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Cathleen thanks you for your kind interest, which she will do her best to earn and to keep in the days to come.

Be as brave and mighty, as daring and kind as you can.

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Observations from a life of looking by the author and journalist Cathleen Falsani


I write things and tell stories, help others write things and tell stories. Longtime journalist and author, specializing in the intersection of faith/spirituality/religion and culture. Literary and creative consultant. Irish citizen. ✍️ for