Justine Huxley shares about a new book. She describes witnessing a time of global liminality and explores how we can be sustained by trusting in the vaster cycles of life.
“From rites of passage, to the cyclical seasons of nature, to unexpected chaos events, the liminal time and space that arises between the structure of what was known and the wholly unknown future is ambiguous, uncertain, disrupting and deconstructive. As such, the shadowy interval between here and there is both dangerous and strangely full of unseen potential. The future of individuals and groups is often determined by what transpires during that in-between space, as old worlds pass away and new ones emerge.”
(Revd. Timothy L. Carson)
Liminal times are the spaces betwixt and between, when one cycle ends and another begins. They are times of dissolution and reconstitution. We know liminal space between every in-breath and out-breath. We feel it in a deeply personal way, when a life chapter draws to a close. And we see liminal space on a much bigger scale at the end of an era or a civilisation. The first happens thousands of times a day, the second a handful of moments in our lifetime, the third perhaps once in thousands of years.
As we come to the end of the anthropocene era, we are witnessing a global dissolution. The values of consumerism distort our dying culture, bringing us face to face with catastrophic climate breakdown, as it unfolds in different forms around the world. Though we often hesitate to name it, we sense that human extinction is one way this could end.
It can be hard to face this reality. But there is a deeper wisdom within us, that knows life has cycles of expansion and contraction, light and dark, order and chaos. If we change our time-frame – look through a different lens – we can tune into a much bigger story, far beyond our own individual incarnation.
Maybe one day, after several generations have wandered in, or been lost to, the bleak wastelands of collapse, humanity will emerge from the ashes anew. No longer homo sapiens, but perhaps even a new, subtly different iteration of our species – with a new cosmology, a new way to live, not as dominators, but as co-creators with this ancient, wise, living, breathing being, who we call Earth.
But for now, we face many decades of escalating chaos.
So, how can we live in a liminal space of such vast proportions and terrifying possibilities? How can we trust – when we may never live to see the new cycle come to fruition? How might our vision and our sense of meaning change? And how can we plant the stories of rebirth, like seeds under the soil, so they can sustain us as we make this transition through liminal time?
These are the questions I try to answer in: “Seven practices for Living in a Liminal Age,” a chapter in a new book, The Liminal Loop.
The Liminal Loop: Astounding Stories of Discovery and Hope edited by Timothy L. Carson (The Lutterworth Press) is a collection of eighteen international voices exploring liminal reality through many perspectives, disciplines and contexts. It also includes chapters by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee and poetry from Carrie Newcomer. Find it here
Image: solar eclipse by Brian Goff, with thanks.