Confluence Journal Call For Submissions: Winter 2017 – Liminal Spaces & Altered States
2017 has been a year rife with shifting landscapes of every kind both globally and internally. Our own community has seen its share of challenges. Some us have faced illness, some have been touched by death. Others faced (and face still) the fatigue that comes from living in a state of hypervigilance, permanently on guard for those who would seek to do them harm.
We so clearly live in what Charles Eisenstein, among others, call ‘a time of global initiation.’ The gendered tropes of Mother Earth and Father Time are collapsing into a singular and unifying cry to take up our role as stewards and accomplices with the land, water, air, and each other.
Being in the potential chrysalis of that call can be both exhilarating and terrifying. To be poised at a threshold while facing the realities of the world is a necessarily heart-rending process. Yet that process is the very embodiment of our work, forging a crucible for the grief and rage so they, and in turn, we, might transmute.
The myriad ways we deal with and intentionally enact those liminal spaces are as diverse as their outcomes, from our individual journeys or our collective rites and rituals to the ways our many cultures and civilizations adapt and evolve. One of the most prevalent components of that evolution embedded across cultures has been the heightened or ‘altered states that come from sacred interactions with plants and some animals often called ‘plant medicine’ or just medicine.
At a minimum, human beings have used forms of plant medicine for the last 10,000 years. They’ve been an instrumental part of forming identity and the initiatory experiences of indigenous communities throughout the world. Recent research has even opened up a dialogue about the extent to which those practices aided in the rapid expansion of our capacity for imagination and complex abstraction. Yet there are a great many pieces to the ways these practices have sustained or changed over time that are worth considering.
Just as important is the proliferation of chemical substances not associated with the sacred, their effects in general and on young people and communities at high risk for addiction and abuse in particular. The renewed interest in rites of passage and transformative experiences and the resulting trend of appropriation and erasure have only increased the complexity of this inquiry. So it felt right in this moment to take a look at a topic we’ve not yet broached in concerted ways.
This dual theme has many dimensions to explore ranging from the inherently embodied aspects of transitions and migrations to the more subtle mental and emotional shifts of spiritual and initiatory journeys. We invite your experiences be them sacred, profane or otherwise with liminal spaces and altered states in our own lives as well as in exploring the implications for contemporary (and traditional) rites of passage as a starting place to see what might be gleaned.
The deadline to submit is December 10th, 2017. We will value your work for its strength of character and for its contribution to the Issue’s exploration of the theme. Please view the theme as you wish—creatively or destructively, literally or figuratively—and feel free to wander off wherever it may take you.
Confluence Journal Editorial Team