Arcane Thrifting

One of my liminal practices is thrifting. Thrift stores themselves are liminal zones—a central place where a stream of items with a variety of histories arrives from former homes and incarnations and then departs to different homes and new usages. I thrift for several different reasons—as a hobby, for income purposes, to find things I need and…for magical purposes.  I’ll give an example: shortly before starting this blog I found myself in a thrift with a friend and I was attracted to a large pile of black and white vintage photos. I picked them up and was looking at them with partial attention, as I was listening to my friend talk about a doll she had as a child. As I stood there, one photo dropped out of the pile I had in my hands and drifted to the floor, landing face up at my feet. underworld 2I gasped aloud. All of the sudden I couldn’t even hear what my friend was saying. I just stared at this picture on the floor. It was a visual distillation of all of the thoughts I had been turning over in my head about liminality, passageways, and the “haunted child” concept. This one thing, out of the gazillions of things in the store, had made itself known to me. It was the only thing I took home that day but it had a profound effect on me, as it prompted me to start this blog and move forward on my ideas about liminality. I never go into a thrift store with the idea that “I’m going to have a mystical experience!” It just happens. I am however, always open to the experience.  Whether it is a spiritual outcome, as in the account above, or a commerce related outcome, like the time I suddenly veered off course (“heeding the call” as long-time thrifters say) to go to a tiny resale store and found a cache of rare prints, it pays to listen to subconscious directives. This attention and openness to the magical flow that is around us, even in what first appears to be a mundane setting (a dingy thrift store, a highway underpass, a small city park), is the basis for a very powerful spiritual practice.

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