We're Made of Mud and Magic

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Liminal is uncomfortable

Sunrise over a winery

 

I love the concept of the liminal: the in-between place and time. Pagans have often embraced the concept: “…the hearth or altar is a liminal space, as it bridges the gap between the humans and the supernatural; the threshold, doors, and windows of a house are liminal, since they bridge the gap between inside and outside; and certain times of the year and the day (dawn, dusk, and several holidays) are liminal times.”* And in some tradition’s rituals, we stand in “a place that is not a place; a time that is not a time”. I even have the concept of the liminal in the very core of my beliefs, where I slip between humanism and theism.

 

I’m in medical limbo right now, waiting on an MRI. Studies suggest that waiting is often the hardest part, even of something as life-altering as a cancer diagnosis. I’ve been consulting doctors and getting tests for most of 2017 and right now my hopes are pinned on January 4th, 2018, when I will be getting the results of the MRI. If there’s nothing on the MRI, though, my limbo may continue.

 

I’ve been working with a counselor on dealing with the medical anxiety, preparing for the MRI (I’m claustrophobic), and treating myself with self-compassion and breathing exercises. And it is all helping, but maybe I’m ready to move from tolerating and accepting this time of uncertainty to honouring it. It seems appropriate that this time of greatest liminality for my health concerns should overlap with secular culture’s liminal time between Christmas and New Year’s.

 

Everyone will experience the discomfort of not knowing throughout their lives. In my experience, it is easy to overlook that that is what’s happening in your life, but to still feel the anxiety and stress. I’m hoping to re-name my limbo as liminal time and do some ritual around the process of sitting in a place without all the answers. I want to find a way to celebrate uncertainty.** If you have any suggestions or resources, please let me know! I will add a link to my ritual here if I come up with something.

 

And I drop into another liminal space, between concept and creation, between thought and action. It is more under my control, though. So mote it be.

 

* “What does liminal mean? What are liminal gods?“, deuognatos on Pagan 101.

** This is not an attempt to replace counselling. I intend to use both.

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