This was an exceedingly stimulating article, as I hadn’t consciously given the concept of liminality much thought before. While reading this article I could not help but constantly being reminded of the theory of Schrodinger’s cat in which a cat is theoretically placed in a box, and no one knows whether the cat is living or dead until the box is opened (and in that sense the cat is both living and dead [or neither living nor dead] until the box is opened). Spyra provides Victor Turner’s description of liminality in the context of “neophytes within the dynamics of … rites (of passage),” saying “he notes that they ‘are neither living nor dead from one aspect and both living and dead from another.’”(Spyra, 58). In connection to Orfeo and Orpheus, this further let my mind wander to the idea of Pluto/Hades, who must be both living and dead, for he resides in the underworld where death is all-pervasive and yet he has the qualities of being fully alive. I suppose that this goes for any character in an underworld setting, this both being dead and alive, neither alive nor dead, occupying opposing states.
I had been wondering what initiated the connection between the faerie and the mortal world. The grafted tree has been much discussed as a sort of ‘portal’, but considering the article’s insistence that the people who are contacted or taken are themselves usually in a liminal state as well (infancy, puberty, etc.) the tree didn’t seem adequate and so I was trying to identify the Queen’s liminal state. She wasn’t just recently married, between girlhood and womanhood, as is the case with Eurydice in the original myth, so that didn’t work. Then it occured to me that dreaming is most certainly a liminal state, and (in addition to the presence of the grafted tree) what likely made Heurodis vulnerable to contact from the faerie world.
In addition to all the thoughts reading this article induced me to have (most of which I have not written here), it has provided me with a new lens through which to view our texts (and texts I’ve read in the past), and I anticipate pulling this lens out frequently from here on out.