A couple weeks ago in our Transitions and Ritual group I gave a handout that included the words “liminal space.”  It has become a common way of referring to the in between time, when something is clearly ending but the new thing has not year appeared.  An astute participant asked where the phrase comes from.  None of us knew. 

This week’s Daily Meditations from Richard Rohr include a reflection on liminal space, but doesn’t address its origins.

Fortunately, this is easy to research.  The online Merriam-Webster entry gives its Latin root, limin,limen, meaning threshold.  Like you’re leaving one room and about to enter another.  At the threshold.  Liminal space.

As Rohr mentions, liminal space is sacred space.  And the role of healthy religion, rather than upholding a rigid stability, guides us into and through liminal space, which is always a place of transformation.

I think it’s one of the reasons I love the autumn season so much.  It is a regularly scheduled appointment with liminal space.  Internal shifts are made visible through the falling of leaves, the slow creation of compost out of which new life will grow.  And we can feel it in our bones.

Liminal space isn’t especially comfortable.  A threshold isn’t exactly a place to stretch out and relax.  But it is part of the necessary path toward growth, and, yes, toward death.  And resurrection. 

For now, I’m just trying to enjoy the air, and the leaves, and whatever liminality is showing up this time around the sun.