The word ‘liminal’ comes from the Latin root, limen, which means ‘threshold’. In anthropology, liminality is the quality of ambiguity that occurs in the middle stage of rites, when people no longer hold their pre-ritual status but haven’t yet begun the transition to the being they will become when the rite is finished. During the liminal stage, people stand at the threshold between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way (Turner, 1974).
We spent a stormy afternoon at the tea tree lakes behind our house with photographer Bec Smith, who captured our little family in the liminal phase, the ambiguous space in between two worlds. According to local lore, the tea tree lakes were once a birthing lake for Indigenous women, and every time I visit here I can understand why. It has a certain peaceful quality to it. The lake quietly bends and curves away from the wild ocean, to provide a safe haven for birds and fish.
While I imagined shooting on a golden sunny, calm afternoon, the howling onshore wind and stormy grey clouds seemed a fitting backdrop for this period of transition in my family’s life, reflecting the ambiguous and dreamlike quality of our days.
We are peering over the precipice into a new world, on the edge of a new phase, our family growing by one. A mysterious little soul growing in my womb, waiting to complete our tribe. In a short period of time, our lives will be forever shifted. We will never know this feeling again, standing at the threshold between our previous sense of being and waiting for the radical rite of passage, childbirth, to enter a new stage of life. Everyday we are waiting, existing in the crossing over space – where we are leaving our old lives behind, but are not yet fully in our new lives. We are curled in our cocoon, ready to transform into a different colour, shape and size.
This is our liminal phase...
Photographer: Bec Smith www.bxcsmxth.com