Liminal Spaces

Liminal Spaces August 20, 2023

It seems few people in my circle of daily life and work are familiar with this phrase. “Liminal” as a word is not used in everyday conversations but in the last few months liminality as a verb has felt like my constant companion. This is a phrase that elevates the process of making decisions into the sacred practice that is Living.

I feel a new cycle of life begin every August which is mostly because I began my original year in this month, and so my life sort of takes a moment to reset and begin a path of a new year. Being a Leo I feel my strongest, clearest, and most active in the summer. In years past, I had the outlook of “I can accomplish all my goals at once!” sort of intensity throughout summer. Gratefully, I’ve learned to temper my peaks and valleys of energy for a more balanced year-long level of consistent activity. But let’s take a look at why August 2023 is so freaking Intense!

  • August 1st began with a Super full moon. This automatically begins a period of waning or releasing.
  •  On August 8 (8/8), the Sun, Sirius (the brightest star in the sky), Orion, and Earth completely align with each other. The Lion’s Gate Portal refers to a period of days before and after—from July 28 until August 12—when the power of Sirius is believed to be activated by the Sun. This moment is believed to open the flow of energy between the spiritual and physical planes, making it a powerful day for personal growth, transformation and spiritual awakenings.
  • August 12-13 the Perseids Meteor shower to light us toward a new path.
  • August 16th new moon. Do that shadow work and get ready to manifest! Wait, the crap is hitting the fan because… the effects of that shadow work is waxing/building up toward the full moon.
  • August 23 through September 19th is Mercury Retrograde. Take note that Venus, Saturn, Neptune and Pluto are all in Retrograde currently. We are still in a shadow work phase and whether you want to or not, you will have to deal with yourself!
  • August 31 is a Super and a Blue full moon. After all that bullshit, you will have a massive, glorious moon to manifest your desires and time to release, heal and cleanse from all that nasty shadow work as we wane towards the dark moon. I am not an astrologist. But I know my body and it’s waters are deeply connected to the Moon and the throng of planets and stars that rule the infinity above our heads.

All of these planets are moving in transition from one position to another creating movement in our spirits. As I move through my day, I notice the thresholds I usually ignore. Each room has its own energetics. Each person brings a shift of energy. The way the light can shift the tonality of the room. These are all so subtle that one must really reach for objectivity and an inner silence to be able to know.

I was struck by the liminality of physical space by the fact that a new space in my life contained a room that was formerly a stairwell. The builder had planked over the stairs and left the top of the banister sticking up above the floor and even leaving the angled handrail in place, disappearing between the floorboards in the middle of the room! A bedroom, in this unique space, contains a glass wall which gives a view of a 5-story, unused elevator shaft with light pouring in from the sunroof above the void.  The entry to this unique living area is a hard concrete and brick industrial wall with a giant steel door resting imposingly as if guarding a fortress.

I was forced to deal with the crossroad of transition when my husband and I decided to sell our massive, Greek revival historical home in the country and move to a tiny apartment in the city. We have been merciless with ourselves by getting rid of 90% of our personal belongings. There is a sense of freedom that is expected to follow but a lot of loss in the process. Its been like experiencing a simulation of what would happen after our deaths should our children have had to deal with our home and all our belongings. Knowing what happens when an estate is being administered, we handled our own property just as we would have our final estate. The kids took what they wanted, and the rest was sold outright. We only kept the essentials and our books that we are using. Both of us, being bibliomaniacs, have limited ourselves to a couple of bookcases and we are only allowed to retain the number of books that will fit. Luckily, I have a lot of shelf space left to fill!

Our home is mostly empty, our footsteps echo now as we walk by all the empty rooms that are extraneous to our needs. We have the time to appreciate and process the liminality of this time between leaving our beloved, comfortable home and moving into a new life. In the midst of our huge transition of location. I stepped into a new role as a temporary leader of a spiritual group. One, which I wasn’t fully comfortable with or ready for. But that’s what thresholds are, that moment where you hold your breath just before you step forward into the unknown.

My friend mentioned to me in conversation this weekend that a spiritual path isn’t meant to be comfortable, and we have to continue to push ourselves to make the hard decisions that create growth. Three months ago I would have stated that liminality was a moment in time. But it seems to be a constant factor. I am currently considering that one is likely never fully prepared and if I were to find myself in a state of being settled, I would think it to be stagnation.

How does death and dying fit into that aspect? Yes, I must go there! I’m watching my mother’s progression currently. Her health is continuing to decline, and we have recently discussed allowing Hospice to come in. One of the lessons I have garnered in these last months is that some work that needs to be done is not a “doing” but a state of “allowing.” I am constantly explaining to people that pre-planning is cheaper than dealing with a crisis. This advice suits many aspects of living but not all. I have recently come to realize that you can do all you can to be prepared and to plan but its very likely that you will still have things happen that you are not prepared for and would have never even imagined. Therefore, it is completely impossible to plan in advance for everything.

Some events just need to be witnessed and allowed to evolve. I am not saying to stand idle when action is needed, but to be aware that we each have our own spiritual path. Hard, ugly, frightening, and uncomfortable experiences are often the most liminal and cast ripples of change and new awareness throughout all who are in the vicinity forever changing the landscape and moving other thresholds into view.

To attempt to give form to this ridiculously, wispy thread of discussion, let me explain how I have been able to witness a sibling who felt incapable of helping care for her father in his last weeks find herself much more active and inspired to hold space and care for her mother as death comes closer. She’s not forcing herself or even acting from guilt but is realizing that things can be allowed to happen, and in that surrender, there is strength, peace and wisdom. She realizes she doesn’t have the answers and isn’t expected too. But that she can just be present and be an active listener. In the liminal space of dying, the person dying is doing the work. They are the stone in the pond that creates ripples, and we are not here to cast larger stones; but to stand within the waves and let them move over us, allowing the crash or caress to occur naturally. To know we are likely to be knocked off our feet makes us more patient with the shockwaves of emotion. Feel it move over you, through you, and know eventually all things shift into something else and then into something else, and something else…..

Browse Our Archives