|“Liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”) is a psychological, neurological, or metaphysical subjective, conscious state of being on the “threshold” of or between two different existential planes” (Wikipedia)
A ‘liminal’ state is when structures dissolve and the stream of events undergoes a creative process of change, resulting in the spontaneous emergence of fundamentally new forms and modes of being.
Thus a ‘liminal’ state is the state of being in the midst of a radical, whole system, evolutionary, quantum leap.
It is not a smooth transition but a radical discontinuity. For example, if one cuts open a caterpillar’s cocoon one doesn’t find a half-caterpillar-half butterfly, what one finds is a complex biological soup that is in a liminal state.
Paradigm shifts also require such transformative leaps, where the old ways of thinking and being are deconstructed all the way down to the the fundamental assumptions from which they have grown. When these are dissolved by the clear light of awareness the new paradigm will emerge and flourish.
This process is known to alchemists as VITRIOL, the “Universal Solvent”. It is from this acronym that the word vitriolic arose, to describe the action of sulphuric acid and its capacity to dissolve things into their basic constituents.
VITRIOL stands for “Visitas interiora terrae rectificando invenese Occultum Lapidum.”
Literally it translates as “Visit the interior of earth and by rectification you will discover the Hidden Stone (the Philosopher’s Stone).”
What it means is that in any context, delve into the foundations of it, dissolve it into its fundamental constituents and underlying causes then seek to correct the situation at that deep level, then you will gain profound insight and mastery of that context. This is particularly applied in the alchemical context of self-awareness, self-knowledge, self-transformation and self-mastery.
Self-Realisation, profound insight and effortless mastery are easily attainable, but only on the “other side” of a liminal state. If one simply builds upon the old foundation in new ways one only creates variations of the same old theme. To discover that which is truly new one must dissolve the old and let things go into a liminal state.
– John Ringland, 2010-07-16