Liminal Space

One of my favorite things to do in the liminal space between winter solstice and the first few weeks of a brand new year is reflecting on the year that has passed and visioning the year that is to come.

Liminal refers to that transition place between the past (what was) and entering a new space (what’s next) – a time of waiting, and not yet knowing.

This liminal space holds the promise of transformation, if we allow it to do its magic.

One of the ways of entering this mystery is through creating a collage of images. I save images from junk mail, catalogs, or brochures throughout the year.

collection of images

collection of images

Our unconscious already knows what’s waiting in the wings…

As I create my collage trusting that I will find the right images and that they will arrange themselves in just the right way into a synergistic whole, something exciting and mysterious emerges. I always know when it is complete. I may not always know the deeper meaning of everything in the collage, but it usually reveals itself as the year progresses.

This is the collage I created at the beginning of 2017:

2017 collage

I can see my anxiety reflected over political issues introducing a year of more political engagement than I have probably had through my entire life. There are images that remind me of my spiritual practices that help keep everything in perspective and balance; a tenderness for youth and innocence – yes, we are accountable and responsible for the condition of the planet we are leaving behind for our descendants; the need for nourishment, health, and self-nurture to balance out the starkness of the struggle for good; the need for both connection and solitude.

And it was an intense year, with lots of opposing forces, both on the inside and the outside, both within relationships and on a national and worldwide scale.

I will create another collage for 2018, again honoring and invoking that liminal space described so well by R. Rohr:

“…where we are betwixt and between the familiar and the completely unknown. There alone is our old world left behind, while we are not yet sure of the new existence. That’s a good space where genuine newness can begin. Get there often and stay as long as you can by whatever means possible… This is the sacred space where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed. If we don’t encounter liminal space in our lives, we start idealizing normalcy. The threshold is God’s waiting room. Here we are taught openness and patience as we come to expect an appointment with the divine Doctor.” (Richard Rohr, Author and Theologian).

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: 2017 Favorites

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35 Responses to Liminal Space

  1. annika says:

    Thank you for teaching me a new word. I look forward to seeing your 2019 collage!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I also enjoy creating collages from images collected from magazines.I’m a visual person and the images bring to life what I’m not always able to articulate. Best wishes for your 2018 collage.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Anarette says:

    What a great idea! Happy wanderings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tish Farrell says:

    All the very best to you, Annette. This collage creation looks to be a very nourishing pursuit. Reflection with intention. You’ve reminded me that time devoted in this way is a MUST.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes! For much of 2016-17 I’ve worked on a fiber art series: Liminal States and Thresholds For Change. I love that quote! Thanks for sharing it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tina Schell says:

    Must admit the word is new to me too. Beautifully done!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jkaybay says:

    I’ve never heard this phrase before (liminal space) but I immediately could feel how true it is. These times where we pause can be so important for introspection and reevaluation. Too bad that many adults waste it!
    Love the quote too. Great post!


  8. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    Merry, merry, happy , happy with magic to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Annette wishing you a Happy New Year 2018 filled with Joy and Creativity.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a beautiful post and a beautiful blog. I look forward to following.

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. Sageleaf says:

    I love that: “liminal” space. I hadn’t heard of that particular word before, but I feel like this is a powerful time of year in which I am thinking about my intentions for 2018…and creating a Tree of Life on which to hang them.
    But your collage reminds me of a vision board – with all the beautiful images – in which we can envision a better future for ourselves and the planet. But my thoughts are where yours were in terms of what was 2017: worried about politics, the environment, social justice, the future of the country I live in…and still trying to maintain that balance. Beautiful post and message!


    • You are right, Cynthia, it does feel like a vision board, even though the unconscious still got to dip its toes in there 🙂 My more linear, left-brain process starts after I play with the visual images – I set goals in the general areas of life that are important to me. Thank you so much for your comment. Happy New Year to you and yours.


  13. New word for me as well and possibly one of the more signifcant. Thanks!


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  15. shoreacres says:

    Liminal states are compelling, unnerving, and often seem to be filled with an anticipation that has no object. Between the breakdown of the old and the rising of the new, life can seem as fragmented as the bits of a nascent collage — it takes time for the patterns to emerge. I just smiled when I saw you writing about this. I’ve been toying with liminality myself, for a January post. We’ll see.

    Do you know that the poet John Ashbery does collage, too? There’s a brief article here that has some links to other work. I have trouble with Ashbery’s poetry, but there’s no question it’s “interesting.” Besides, who wouldn’t want to be making collages and poetry at age 89?


    • This time of year, that concept (whatever we name it) seems to be of interest to us. One of my German friends introduced the concept of Rauhnacht, which can be translated as raw night or rough night. There are 12 of these days & nights between Christmas and the New Year and I believe that it refers to that space of going inward, connecting with our intuitive part, and our Higher Self. It is the perfect time for doing this, especially in the Northern Hemisphere when it is so cold outside and the light of day is so very preciouus. Thank you for the J. Ashberry reference, I will check it out. Looking forward to your own post on liminality!


  16. ailsapm says:

    I love this, Annette, I am fascinated with the liminal, but was unfamiliar with that excerpt from Rohr, it’s marvelous. I love the mindfulness of your practice of creating a collage for the New Year, I may try it myself next year. Wishing you an amazing 2018. ❤


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