Yom Kippur 5779 fell on October third, one month after picking up the ‘Transformation’ signal I captured at Burning Man ‘I, Robot’. The Rabbi titled her sermon “Holy Is Twilight,” for it is the realm of the in-between. There probably aren’t a lot of people that bring a pen and notebook to High Holiday services, or any services for that matter, but I never show up without mine, for just such an emergency. Rabbi’s metaphor was that twilight is a period of creation – an exciting time because it invites interpretation. But in the context of the Day of Atonement, twilight is also a last chance – one more attempt to right a wrong, to try something new, or to take a different path. Twilight can in fact make us uncomfortable, but that discomfort can lead us to change and grow, urging us to become better versions of ourselves. In my notes I drew a little butterfly, but it was really the chrysalis she was describing. That magical, mystical time when anything can happen. Neither here or there, nor one thing or the other, it’s ambiguous as much as it is dangerous because it defies definition. In my mind, the signals were firing in a whirl of theological creativity. Like the Hebrew term ‘midrash,’ the Rabbi’s twilight analogy had me contemplating the liminal interstice. There’s that infinitely small space between things, even if they’re touching, but there’s also that place which is really a state of being. A condition of transition in which we all have the ability to craft our own story, for, as the Rabbi put it, “We are all twilight people,” and the world is a blank canvas.
The 1st Law of Thermodynamics states, “Energy can be transformed from one form to another, but can be neither created nor destroyed.” That energy creates, resides in, and validates liminality, a concept which comes from the Latin word limin, meaning a doorway from one world or way of being to another. In religious rituals, it is described as the period where the individual is in some state of transition. The liminal world is betwixt and between the moment that was and the one yet to be. With one foot in the known and the other in the unknown, it’s a constant transformation we are all experiencing. From Genesis to Revelation. “Omnia mutantur, nihil interit,” (‘Everything changes, nothing perishes’) – Ovid, Metamorphoses.