Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.
If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.
Things look at you doubly
and you must look back
and let them happen.
If you do not go through
it is possible
to live worthily
to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely
but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?
The door itself makes no promises.
It is only a door.
Having guided rites of passage and vision quests for 20 plus years, ushering the trembling and ‘hungry for something more’ initiates through the rip of severance towards their solo threshold time in wild nature, I can tell you, liminal space can be challenging. It is a magical homeland of the ‘Other ‘ (things that look at you doubly) that can be terrifying, overflowing with wonder, or a deep drenching in a remembering that only your intricate lacy labyrinthine soul marrow now is aware of.
We are floundering in the gap….as if we’ve let go of the swinging bar of the trapeze and haven’t yet seen the next thing that we can grab onto…that can hold us, give us ground, ignite a vision…
Some call these times… times of so much emotion and confusion . . . the abyss. We, collectively, have slid down that slippery slope and are caught now in the fearful mire of the shadowy bottoms of our time. Many are resisting, some are wishing for a return of something like yesteryear, some are lit up with purpose and revolution, and some are held in the tight grip of self absorption or unfelt emotion. And luckily, some of us are gliding on an outer orbit, able to glimpse a bigger picture…but not many of us can sustain that even though it steadies our lens and offers a focus that calms us in the moment.
Let us consider this time as a global rite of passage.
The timeless, rhythmic, mysterious way of the cosmos that we recognize as birth, death and rebirth asks us to surrender now…to give over to this familiar way that our soul remembers and longs for. Can we give over…let go, let die, re-align with our original instructions, re-calibrate with our soul design? Can we trust even this? In this apocalyptic time of climate degradation, unthinkable injustice, mass extinction, the pandemic, intensifying oppression, loss and hostility towards our black lives and indigenous people, rampant disease and hunger and war, we are indeed in a time of dying and we can no longer ignore it. It flashes on every headline and newscast and we can no longer turn a blind eye. Nor should we. What if it all is asking us in our narcissistic ways to die to all that has been? To wake up inside of our mortality and see the searing truth…’let the raw edge of our grief for our ignorance awaken our innate genius.’
The thing about this chaos is that it is a delicious archetypal energy to our souls and if we open our hands and our hearts new brilliance will erupt…eventually. The Phoenix will rise out of the ashes and these charnel grounds of our privilege and the endless suffering will bear fruit if we open our eyes to the unending cycles of renewal in the world.
For me, having spent this year traversing a life threatening diagnosis, I am aflame with a body/heart that understands cellularly what changes when we allow our death song to be sung. An arc of sustenance comes forward when we look Death in the eyes without sheltering our somatic response, and it invites us into a place of great courage and invites a lean towards risk taking.
As Adrienne Rich reminds us in the poem, “either you will go through this door or you will not go through.” We all stand before this threshold now, some at the doorway of physical death and others of us tremble in the chasm of the knowledge that the time is nigh to die before we die. These times hold the possibility for a transformational rite of passage…the structures are collapsing, the wounded repressed are returning, and the leaders are demonstrating a pathological sickness that has too many held stiff in the trance of a binary fixation that raises our hackles and brings the sword into the warring hand.
“But the door itself holds no promises”…it is the amount of courage that we dare muster in these liminal times…how wide our perspective is and the ability to trust the drumming of the ancient taut skins that invite a rebirth. “You must look back and let them happen”…those things that dredge up all your old wounds, fears, fixations, and patterns of homogeny. Will you allow your own dismemberment?
Only in the depths of that kind of letting go, can we feel the change that comes with re-membering and by singing a new naming song for the young ones whose genius is particularly suited for this time of loss and collapse.
A liminal daze can harken our addictive and escapist tendencies. We must turn towards Nature…our own true nature and the wildest nature you can find. It is there, only in the wildest landscape that you can discover a mirror clearer than your analytical mind can imagine.
Snap out of the fog of rationalism, step through the door, and drink the mystery of the numinous.
Here the soul soars and feathered wings risk rebirth.