Living in Liminal Space


“The word liminal comes from the Latin word ‘limen’, meaning threshold –

any point or place of entering or beginning.

A liminal space is the time between the ‘what was’ and the ‘next.’

It is a place of transition, a season of waiting, and not knowing.”

- InALiminalSpace.org -

Samhain (pronounced SOW-in), is an ancient Celtic celebration of the end of harvest season that falls halfway between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice. It begins at dusk on October 31st and ends on the night of November 2nd—a liminal space and time when the veil of “things as they’ve always been” thins and reveals more than usual to our human eyes, heart and mind. It is an opportunity to experience life on a deeper, enlivening level even as we walk in fading light toward the coming darkness of winter— a time to honor our ancestors, the spirits of place, animals and nature, our families and friends we hold dear.

These three days are also a more accessible time to honor ourselves, a specific time understood through millenia as space to practice self-reflection that can fuel a revitalizing release of those thoughts, beliefs, and habits that no longer serve us.

In the midst of another frightening spike in COVID cases, the U.S. presidential election that defies all adjectives, and heat, fire, and storms that have stunned us all this year, I invite you to take the fast-approaching liminal time of Samhain to acknowledge and honor the cycles and history of your own life. Pray. Cry. Create an altar. Howl at the full Blue Moon on Halloween. Laugh. Dance in the dark. Open up to surprise.

Let go.

Let go.

Let go so there is space for something different than “things as they’ve always been.”

I was moved by Jean Erickson’s colored pencil drawing because of her portrayal of liminal space—the fallow field, the low-lying fog and cloudy sky, the almost bare branches with the lone bird perched among the last few leaves.

Or are they the first new leaves?

"It is on a threshold, at the edge,

where we are most able to alter our understanding

of the world and of our own lives in it."

- Gregory Orr -

NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE