Liminal Spaces

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Liminal means threshold in Latin. 

Pic by A. Davey
In Celtic lore these spaces are "thin spaces," where the veil between the worlds is so gossamer thin that one world seeps into another. 

Liminal spaces are disorientating spaces.  In rituals around the world it is the middling space where you have moved on from what was before ~ orientation and normality and everydayness ~ into a space of disorientation.  Everything's flipped.  Alice is down the rabbithole and nothing is the same size anymore. 

In rituals, the disorientation is for a purpose.  Out the other side of the initiation, the participant comes changed from their experience.  They are back in the topside world once more, but everything has changed.  Or, at least, they have, and therefore the world looks different and they walk in it differently.  They have gone from orientation to disorientation to reorientation.  Order out of chaos.

Some of us find ourselves in these spaces on a physical level and on an ongoing basis ~ through chronic illness or trauma or both.  These are difficult spaces to hold.  You can easily lose track of any kind of meaning attached to your suffering or of any transformation coming from your experience.
But now the earth's climate is changing, and along with it monumental seismic cultural seizures happening around the world.  Now, we all find ourselves in this strange space, where it feels like everything is disorientated, everything shaking, everything falling apart.

This liminal space is where we are now.  It is anything but comfortable.

But amazing things come from this space.  It is the space of possibility.  It is the space where creative acts come out of necessity.  Amazing energy flows from out of this space.

And while it feels like everything is up for grabs and we seesaw between abject despair and furious hope, we need to remember that we are in the middle of the process.

The reorientation is still to come and none of us know what it will look like.  It may even, just possibly, be better than we could have hoped for.

This is the logo for the space that I am hoping to birth into being.  It is probably quite appropriate that I am swinging myself between abject despair and furious hope about its formation.

I do not even know if it is a viable space.  What I do know is that it is an idea that will not leave me alone.

I envision a space that involves relaxation and stimulation, where no matter how halt or infirm or on the edges you feel, that you feel welcome.  A space that explores ways of feeling more at home in discomfort, and creative ways to envision the future.  A space that has a swing inside.  For adults.

I am planning a newsletter to send out to anyone who wants to be kept in the loop on what's happening (which may be a little or may be a lot - I am trying to start this up with $1.71 in my bank account and 14 years of chronic fatigue syndrome under my belt :).

If you'd like to receive the newsletter, drop me a line at


  1. Of course put me on the list!

    You never know, Sue. So many things can come true that we never expect. I never expected to earn a college degree (and in truth, I haven't, YET) but look, I'm so close now I can taste it.

    All I can do is hope for you, to pull on the universe with whatever influence I have!

    I love how the logo turned out!

    1. So true that many things come true that we never expect. It's just a vulnerable position to put yourself in - you know, all of those, "Who do I think I am to do something like this?" types of questions. When in reality, there's thousands and thousands of undone things that everyday people could do that would make the world a tiny bit better in some way, at least for one other person. So yeah, I guess I'll just see what I can do and wow, if it takes off that'll be pretty amazing!

      Yes, I'm so proud of you for doing your degree. You are so close. And I'm sure you felt like I do as well. There are many feelings and emotions and thoughts that can stop us in our tracks from doing things that we should be doing, right?

      Thanks for your feedback on the logo in its incarnations. Muchly appreciated.

  2. Liminal. I've always loved the threshold.
    It holds so much symbology.
    To me, it's a safe place.
    Terrifying and exciting.
    Myself, "the fool", takes the step into the dark unknown.

    And, you know I love your logo :)

    Follow your dreams, and believe.
    Nothing worth having was ever won easily.

    Sign me up.

    1. Thanks also for your feedback with the logo, Vicki. Also muchly appreciated :)

      See, you are so brave. You find thresholds safe places - I mean, what kind of soul adventurer you be :)

      If you were interested in getting involved in this if it was to happen, then that would be cool. I don't know what way that would be. I guess you'd be the one who'd know that :)

  3. I went to some missional church workshops back in the day that talked quite alot about liminal space.

  4. I couldnt think of what that "movement" was called and then I remembered this morning, it was called the "emerging Church" back in the early 2000's when they were moving away from institutional structures and "heirarchical church models" to the "flat leadership concept" and meetings in buildings to a more liminal model in undefined spaces; eg meeting in pubs, cafes and creating community gardens as modes of community building. it was pretty radical edgy stuff to me in those days lol. I listened to hours long lectures and workshops on the merits and possibilities and importance of liminality for community building. So sounds like your probably onto something there:)

    1. Ahh, yes, the emerging church. Goodness me, all of that stuff seems an awful long L-O-N-G time ago, doesn't it :)

      Any thoughts and feedback you want to give to this thing, I'd be most interested to hear them, UM. I know the Dandenong Ranges aren't just down the road from you or anything but if there was any element of contributing to this that was interesting for you, then let me know.

  5. "between abject despair and furious hope" - all out empathy from me. I think this is where I live. I just wrote my Masters theology thesis on solitude and it's liminality from beginning to end. It's where creation lives - between chaos and order. I feel like real true liminality is so fleeing and mystical, and mostly what we do is flip slightly between this and that, like trying to put two same ends of a magnet together. Have you read anything by John O'Donohue?

    1. Between chaos and order - yes!

      John O'Donohue is wonderful. I don't think I've read anything more than Anam Cara, but that was just so wonderful and rich and dense that I think I'm still digesting it years later. But what a good suggestion - I think I might venture off for another piece. He had such a lovely way of expressing this area, didn't he.


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