I just read your post about Spirited Away and was wondering if you could tell us about the train station? About it representing a liminal space? I'm fascinated by this!
Oh, thank you for reading my rambling!
A liminal space is essentially the place between one thing and another. It’s a crossing point/threshold. Liminality isn’t limited to just actual spaces though (like rest stops, and doorways.) It’s used to signify a persons journey from one stage to the next. For example, a teenager is by some accounts, liminal. They’re the threshold from childhood, into adulthood. The crossing point.
In terms of the train station (more specifically, the tunnel) in spirited away. It’s literally the crossing point where the human world ends, and the spirit realm begins (and vice versa). From the spirits perspective they see the red/green station and clock tower (just as Chihiro does), from a human perspective you see the brown brick walls.
At night, the train station is separated from the bathhouse town by a HUGE river. But in the day time, it’s nothing but a tiny stone river bed that can be easily crossed. Water has always been considered a threshold in mythology. Something that separates and cleanses. In this instance, all land areas in Spirited Away are parted by bodies of water.
It’s pretty cool when you view the world building perspective of this. Chihiro’s story is FULL of gates. The fact she’s moving home. The train station tunnel that leads her to spirit realm, the river that cuts her off, her entry to the bathhouse, her contract, the fact the train is one-way only.
This whole story pushes Chihiro onward without a way to run backwards. Everything must push her forward into her journey, that allows her to mature.
In this sense, we get Chihiro’s coming-of-age journey. Her movement from a child to an ‘adult’. A more mature, steady mindset. Chihiro learns to not look backwards.
Which is why I think the train station is so important. It opens her journey, and it closes her journey. It’s through that physical threshold, that the path she needed to transition through her own transformation was made possible.
So it’s something of a parallel. The physical gate between two realms, and the encompassing one of growth. Both points existed in liminality.
I think I did more rambling here, than research. But these were my thoughts on it! Thank you for listening.
Liminality is the boundary in between two other constructs. The word liminal comes from the Latin word limen meaning threshold. These boundaries are also sometimes known as in-betweens. Liminality will be created whenever two contradictory, opposing, or opposite constructs combine, or interact. Liminality will always be in a space between masculine, and feminine energies, and it can also be seen to be the space where yin, and yang meet. This connection to the physical, and the spiritual worlds can be achieved whenever you exist within an in-between place, time, or state. By combining together a liminal space, liminal time, and liminal state you’ll be able to greatly exist within the in-between allowing you to walk between both worlds easily. Some forms of liminality are more powerful than others depending upon what they are in between, and will allow the veil to exist thinner in those points of existence. Handling or controlling energy from a liminal point in existence will be much easier, and much more effective, because the veil will not be holding you back, and you will be able to interact and access energy is that you usually are not able to. This can greatly improve your magick, and your spiritual connection. Liminal space:
Liminal space will be in any space that acts as an in-between of to other places. In these liminal spaces the veil is thinner, and will allow you to interact with the higher planes of existence is while being here in the physical. These liminal spaces can be created when casting a circle, or creating holy space. From inside of one of these spaces you will exist between the physical, and the spiritual allowing you to bring down your manifestation from higher planes. liminal spaces exist all over the place, and are quite easy to find, or spot if you know what you are looking for. All you need to do is spot a threshold between two places such as the land and sea, so that you can exist in between it. Other places that contain liminal spaces would be doorways, underneath bridges, Crossroads, Cemeteries, hallways, waiting rooms, parking lots, and forest boundaries, along with many others. Liminal time:
liminal time will be any time that is in between two other times. When it is this time the veil will also be thinner, and the energy of the higher planes of existences will be able to be felt, and interacted with. Midnight would be the liminal time between days, while dawn, and dusk would be the liminal time between the day, and night cycle. noon has also been seen sometimes to be a liminal time between the first half of the day, and the second half. The end of october, and the beginning of may act as the liminal times between the hot season, and the cold season, and are incredibly powerful liminal times. There are many more liminal times such as equinoxes, solstices, sabbaths, and the moving of the stars along with many others. Liminal states:
Liminal states will be any state that is between your normal state, and the absence of your state. These liminal states are achievable whenever you enter an altered state of consciousness. You enter the state alot especially when you go to sleep, or wake up, and are in the in-between of doing so. These liminal states exist between your normal Consciousness and unconsciousness putting you in a state in which you will be able to connect better with the higher spiritual frequencies of existence. A practitioner who enters a liminal state will be able to interact with things from beyond their perception, and transcend into the spiritual planes of existence. Their being will be empowered, and they will be able to exercise their power upon the universe.
the image is at the very edge of being recognizable, at that liminal point where the information it contains could be read any number of ways and the mind must struggle to create a whole, or pictorial Gestalt, out of the diffuse, ill-defined contours of the forms and the apparent coding of the color. In sum, viewers must mentally reconstitute a likeness that is in effect disintegrating before their eyes…. Compared with what eyewitnesses can recall even with the passage of time and what video and photography have captured and preserved, Richter’s version—or, better said, vision—of 9/11/01 is an eroded representation of a monument blown to smithereens, the ghost of a ghost.
— Robert Storr, from September: A History Painting By Gerhard Richter, Tate Publishing, 2011