One thought on “It begins

  1. It is culture that fabricates structural distinctions; it is culture too that eradicates these distinctions in liminality, but in so doing culture is forced, as it were, to use the idiom of “nature” to replace its fictions by natural facts, even if these “facts” themselves only possess what reality they have in a framework of cultural concepts. Thus it is in liminality, and also in those phases of ritual that abut on liminality, that one finds profuse symbolic reference to beasts, birds and vegetation. Animal masks, bird plumage, grass fibres, garments of leaves swathe and enshroud the human neophytes and priests. Thus, symbolically, their structural life is snuffed out by animality and nature, even as it is being regenerated by these very same forces. One dies into nature to be reborn from it. Structural custom, once broken, reveals two human traits. One is liberated intellect, whose liminal product is myth and protophilosophical speculation; the other is bodily energy, represented by animal disguises and gestures. The two may then be recombined in various ways.

    Victor Turner, Passages, Margins, and Poverty: Religious Symbols of Communitas

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