Walking the Liminal a.k.a. Being Bug Soup

(Gerard de Jode 1593 map of unknown territories)

Terrae Incognita.  The way the ancient mapmakers marked what only their imaginations could chart.  A kind of unexplained space, between places known and those desired for discovery.  A mythical, magnificent place.  A place of intense fear.

This blog, entitled Liminal Grounds, examines these spaces in-between.  The word liminality stems from the Latin word limen, meaning “threshold.”  According to anthropologist Victor Turner, the liminal realm consists of the state inside ritual where one lets go of what was and goes toward what is to be.  It’s these airborne moments of transference (and hopefully transformation) where success and failure all mix into groundlessness, spotlighting in a most uncomfortably exquisite way, who we were and who we will become.  It is a space of unknowns, entropy, and evolution simultaneously co-creating; a space I now personally find myself located. It is a space a friend recently referred to lovingly as bug soup.

In a metaphoric attempt to reassure me that these completely disorienting and painful times in our lives serve a purpose, she offered up imagery of the sublimely disgusting transformative process of caterpillar to butterfly.  It is a time when legs, eyes, and everything else disintegrates into a pile of goop before restructuring takes place.

It’s a space to remind me that real change = bug ooze.

Caterpillars_cocoon (3)(image: WC The Emperor Gum Moth in Its Cocoon by fir0002)

The geographical desire to map Here Be Dragons teaches us that space can coexist between the real and the imagined.  And so this blog explores these geographically-bound processes of honesty, of dissolution, and of surrendering to the creative chaos of the unknown by walking through places that exist within the actual change state.  From cocoon to shifting continent, the places and spaces we wander through constantly teach us that change always happens.  By allowing ourselves to look around inside these moments and embrace these spaces, we might just learn something about our own constant metamorphosis.

Being a geographer, I often think in terms of space and identities, where time and place, emotion and perception, and imagination and materiality intersect.  So let today’s inspirational place-based thought be that of the embarkation on getting real with liminality inside the actual geographic location of bug eyes and stomachs and all else squishing into a cocoon of mushy unknowns.

Let today’s liminal lesson be that sometimes you just gotta be ok with being bug soup.

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