I always seem to have a favourite word. Maybe that’s one of the hallmarks of being a writer. It’s probably tiresome for other people when I cram it into conversations. By now, I’m sure you are quite desperate to know what the damn word is this time. Ok. It’s ‘liminal’. From the Latin ‘limen’ meaning ‘threshold’, it refers to that stage in life when one is hovering…departing from what is in the past: not quite at home here in the present: not quite arrived there, in the future…it’s an uncomfortable, fluid state to be in, but highly creative and full of potential.
It’s where we all are as a human community as we struggle with varying degrees of success to cope with the covid 19 pandemic which has ravaged the world in the last year. We are also at a critical point in the whole astrological year: the period between the New Moon in Pisces and the New Moon in Aries is a time of dissolution of the whole cycle of the preceding year, to allow new energy to begin to arise, this year from 12th April onwards with the New Moon at 22 degrees of Aries.
How about this contemporary usage, definition from Wikipedia: ‘…More recently, usage of the term has broadened to describe political and cultural change… During liminal periods of all kinds, social hierarchies may be reversed or temporarily dissolved, continuity of tradition may become uncertain, and future outcomes once taken for granted may be thrown into doubt…’ I don’t know about you, but this to me sounds just like where we are collectively on planet Earth at present. Let’s hope in the long run – which we baby-boomers likely won’t live to see – we end up with something better than the mess we have now.
‘As above, so below’ : no contemporary astrologers have come up with a pithier definition of the essence of our art than did fabled Ancient Egyptian sage Hermes Trismegistus in the equally fabled Emerald Tablet. Hermes was envisaged as apparently hovering between the divine and human worlds. Down here in that all-too-human world, thinking about Hermes in relation to the world ‘liminal’ is providing me with some inspiration; much needed in my case, as I hope some new plans are at last beginning to bear fruit in the early years of a new Jupiter cycle.
Jupiter cycles have always been a big deal for me, since third house Jupiter at 19 degrees 07 Scorpio squares all six of my Leo 11th and 12th house planets. I wrote about the dubious but transformative delights of this astro-lineup in my very first column for Dell Horoscope magazine, now sadly no longer with us..
This idea of hovering between the divine and human worlds might be of some comfort and inspiration also to those of you readers who are ending one cycle at present, without being able to see how the energy of the next one is going to form. Standing in this liminal place, one cannot bully, cajole or entreat the new order to reveal itself. There is divine time, and there is human time.
This may sound pretty mystical, but my feeling – from both personal and professional experience– is that the deeper wisdom of our soul knows the direction in which we need to proceed in order to become all we can be, and how long it may take to get there. The astrological cycles can put us in touch with that spark of divinity within each of us,offering profound insights into what a waning cycle has been about, and what the newly-forming one might bring. They also teach us that‘… there is… a time to every purpose under the heaven…’ (i).
Our egos, located in human, ordinary time, can often rail against this when we don’t like what we see of the shape of things to come, or how long a particular transitional period is going to take. Try consulting your ephemeris, as I did at the end of 1998, to realise that I was about to have a series of sixth house Neptune oppositions to twelfth house planets lasting from 1999 until 2012, as well as the ending/beginning of five major cycles. It was some immersion, I can tell you. Did my ego rail against it? You bet. I had to quit my career in 2002, and did not begin to surface, via writing on the Web at first, until 2008, not returning to consulting and teaching until 2012.
But guess what? I now look back on that period, when I felt liminal approximately twenty-four hours a day for years, as the most soul-enriching of my entire life. One of the many lessons I took from that period was to pay close attention especially to the feelings of restlessness, dissatisfaction and uncertainty which herald the end of, for example, the 29-30 year cycle of Saturn which we all share. Many of us recall – or are experiencing now! – the turbulence and pain of the end of our twenties, from which most of us emerged or will emerge by around the age of thirty-three with a much clearer idea of who we are, and most importantly, who we are not.
Those difficult feelings and experiences occurring in the twelfth house phase of any major cycle are part of the dissolution of the old order of that part of our lives. An ending must take place– so that new energy may arise, taking us forward to the next stage of our unfolding.
Astrology’s great gift is to show us that we are not random butterflies pinned to the board of Fate. We each have our small, meaningful strand to weave into life’s vast tapestry. In the end, it was consent to my tough and frightening period of liminality, patient waiting, the love and support I was fortunate to have, and trust in the wisdom of the Unseen that got me through. So, my liminal fellow travellers, take heart. The old order may be waning, but something fresh and new is surely arising…
(i) Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 King James Version (KJV)
“The astro-view from Scotland” was the bi-monthly column I wrote for Dell Horoscope Magazine from January/February 2017 until the last issue of Dell in March/April 2020. This is a slightly edited version of my ninth column which first appeared in the May/June 2018 issue.
1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2021
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House
12 thoughts on “Waiting – for the Aries New Moon…”
‘Liminal’ definitely resonates for me right now. Finished with one part of life, watching, waiting for clues about what comes next. Your post brought to mind this verse from Rumi (Coleman/Barks translation):
“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don’t go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don’t go back to sleep!”
Thanks for offering us some inspiration in return, Denise! I am very fond of Rumi…
Anne, thank you for this thoughtful piece. I would consult an ephemeris, except I have no way to see it with the learned eye you have. That said, I feel I’ve been in limo all space for some time. Although I feel the newness of Spring, opening me in ways I haven’t noticed before, I may be here for a while yet. What you’ve offered in this post feels like a nice warm blanket in what can feel chilly at times.
Thanks, Carrie, it’s great to receive such an affirming reply!
It’s my sense that those of us born with a strong 12th House emphasis – as we were – really feel the dissolution processes of cycles coming to an end, and the slow re-forming of energies as they rise anew in the energetic movement towards that cycle’s first crescent point. Considering this is the case with the ending of the 200 year period of the Jupiter/Saturn cycles through Earth, and the very early stages of the emerging 200 year Air era, plus the emerging stages of the new Saturn/Pluto cycle AND the new 20 year Jupiter/Saturn cycle in Aquarius, it’s hardly surprising that we are somewhat liminal! I know I certainly am, and have been for some time. However, new birth is slowly taking shape…in its due time…
I first learned the word “liminal” at a Sandplay conference describing the sandtray as a potential lininal space in which creativity and contact with the Self can occur. Thank you for reminding me of that word as I can use it now to understand my P.MO PI which just entered the 12th. I was feeling sorry for myself (classic), but now I will use it as a time to prepare for the eventual emergence of the P.MO into Aries and then in 2023 when P. MO crosses my ASC!
Great feedback, Carla, thanks!And yes, there is nothing to beat astrological symbols for teaching us how to set our sails to go with the prevailing winds of our lives, instead of trying to sail against them…
Yes Anne exactly. My Jupiter is in 12th Capricorn and l have certainly experienced this liminal state over some years. I feel cleansed of much but it still goes on. Now l have hope again that l may live a bit longer after all. So once again thanks for your latest piece on my Facebook page. Glad you too are perhaps beginning to see through our present problems. Xxx
Many thanks for this thoughtful reply, Doreen – glad my thoughts have contributed a bit of optimistic perspective to your view of things… Easter greetings!
Thanks for sharing your new word, liminal. I used it in a Senryu.
You’re welcome, Leslie – I think I may have seen it in one of your postings…
‘liminal’ is a word I’ve known for a long time, actually, but it’s the first time I’ve been able to drape a post around its shoulders!
What a marvellously reflective piece Anne, it’s made me feel a whole lot better about feeling rather liminal myself. Thank you 🙏🏻💜♐️
I can see from the responses to this post – including yours – that ‘liminal’ is the word of the moment! Thanks for dropping by, Carole, yours liminally, Anne X