Stairwells & Doorways As Usable Liminal Spaces

Oh boy, I have to share this – I was just watching EA’s new vid (here) and he says he got the script for the Universal Circle, and a whole lot of other powerful stuff, channeled whilst sitting on a stairwell.

Now, I don’t know the full story behind that, but quite a few years ago I did a shamanic-style workshop, and the teacher introduced the idea that staircases and doorways are both liminal spaces, “in-between” areas that (doctrine of correspondences style) allow us access to liminal states of mind, and maybe even states of being, halfway between the spiritual realms and our own everyday reality, and he then showed us a method of divination that uses these liminal spaces, and requires no tools whatsoever.

Hauntings & Traditions

I already knew that there are a large number of reported hauntings that involve staircases, hallways between rooms, and ghostly figures and shapes viewed through doorways, and I’d read that in some eastern cultures it’s considered inauspicious to shout or hold a conversation whilst passing through doorways, and to hand things through a doorway, although I don’t know whether that’s a current thing (I read it in a book about Indian culture and good manners, and no longer own that book).

There are also superstitions in the UK about not passing someone on the stairs, and although that’s largely ignored in public spaces, the older members of my own family, most of whom were very superstitious and fey, warned me about this quite regularly as a child.

And there was an over-riding superstition that I still kind of observe, that you never go partially up or down a flight of stairs and then turn round on a stair (because you changed your mind or forgot something) – you always complete the flight, then turn and go back once you’re off the stairs. More of the implication that within any home, these spaces carry a magickal charge.

Even Andy McNab, a British author who was in the SAS and writes fictional books that are noted for including quite a lot of “tradecraft” from real special forces training, mentions in at least one of this books that when people have just come through a door, their thinking kind of changes, because they’re still tuned into the environment of the room they’ve just left, overlaid with whatever purpose has caused them to leave the room, and are not attuned fully to the new space that they’re entering: assuming this is true most of the time, that means that all doorways hold the repeated energetic imprint of hundreds or thousands of moments where people are in this split, transitional kind of mental state.

Divination Method

Anyway, in this method I learned, which the guy described as having Celtic origins, you stand in a doorway or on a flight of steps, and turn round three times with your eyes closed – obviously, be VERY careful how you do this when you’re on stairs – and then open your eyes, and the very first thing your eyes alight on when you open them will be a symbol of what your answer is.

You do it three times, in three different liminal spaces, and that gives you the full answer, with the symbols in the world standing in almost like the symbolism of a tarot deck three-card reading.

You can work up any amount of correspondences (did you view anything resembling a cup or a sword, or a Runic symbol, or anything from your personal symbol set?) or, just as powerfully, simply go with your gut feeling on what that first-seen image means.

Like a lot of workshops and residential trainings, having learned this we then paired up, and the astonishing thing is that, even though I was at that time firmly into my “white light” stage, my partner in the exercise forsaw that I’d be commanding and communing spiritually with “darkness,” which she saw from the dark nighttime sky over a carved oak console table, that looked very like an altar.

The next two readings she did contained similar symbolism, and at the time that reading made no sense at all to me, but it turned out to be incredibly accurate.

I don’t remember what my reading was for her and sadly I can’t find my notes now, but she said that it represented an accurate option as an answer for the question she asked.

The stairway thing is a bit risky, but almost everyone has access to doorways, so this might be one to try and see how you find it?

And the general possibility of using these liminal spaces when divining, scrying, or attempting to make contact in some way might be worth exploring as well.


Incredible post! Will deffinetly be tryjng this.

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Great post. Currently I live with my wife and 2 year old child in a tiny open plan cottage in Dublin’s inner city. The only interior door is that for the bathroom, and this is located right next to the back door. About the only place I can do any work is right there, on a small collapsible chair, as wife and child sleep a few paces away. Very limited, but needs must.

Anyway, part of my practice has involved eyes-open trance work facing the closed bathroom door - and what I’ve found quite interesting is the growing sensation that a particular section of the door (though also sometimes the whole door) opens onto “somewhere” other than our small bathroom. Somewhere rather wonderful. I’ve decided I’d like to incorporate this into my workings by affixing a sigil to the section where this most often occurs, and see if this facilitates communication. But I’ll also give your technique a bit of a whirl, and see where it takes me…


I might move into a two story apartment at the end of the month if my aplication gets approved. so ill bookmark this topic and see where it leads me

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I just performed the exercise. First thing I viewed was the coffee pot, then the keyboard in my basement. Meaning to me, wake the fuck up and get finished. I have chills running up and down my back.


As a liminal space, sure, but I don’t think that’s an inherent property of doors and stairs. I don’t see them being any more special by default than any other location.

Using doorways as a reminder to do a reality check is fairly common method to achieve lucidity. There’s nothing special about the doors themselves, reality checks come from Ikea and need to be assembled. When you begin, they are just regular doors. It’s the repetition of repeating that reality check over and over again that builds a magical system for you, which redefines what it means to you.

I’d be very careful to only “consecrate” specific doors and stair wells, ones which I find novel and have characteristics suitable for my work.

If you’re using all doorways and all stair wells for this kind of thing, it’s going to create logic problems in your programming. Those weird unexpected backfires, random manifestations. That programming that makes these places special to you could become active when you don’t want them to be special.

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In many traditions there’s a belief that fire is a gateway, whether it’s the home hearth/cooking fire, or a ritual fire for cremation or offerings, and there’s also the concept of waterways as being gateways between the worlds. This has similar folklore roots.

In those cases, as with this, the “specialness” comes from their innate form and function, and not from special consecration nor from the mundane materials involved, and it’s not a matter of programming, although some doorways/stairwells may work better than others for any number of reasons.

As I mentioned, doorways and stairs are already implicated in many reports as being more prone to random manifestations that other areas, as a result of being what they are, so this is just harnessing that already-existing power. Standard banishing, binding or cleansing should take care of any extra energy if you feel like it becomes a problem as a result of using them this way.

So in following this logic, if you consecrate a doorway into a room that you specifically use for ritual work, would the potency of the ritual be stronger, due to a piece of total immersion?

I don’t know, I haven’t tried that. I might, though.

I use the doorway into our bedroom/Temple sometimes because it’s otherwise always kept closed, and I think this works best with doorways that are closed most of the time (as they used to be more in the past, the days before central heating etc.) and not ones that are habitually open.

But I didn’t actually consecrate it as a portal, I was just using it “because it’s there” - similar concept to using an existing chasm in the earth for sacrifices.

It’s more of a “try it and see” approach, than something measurable on a scale - I’ve had good results with it, especially using a pendulum on a flight of stairs, or in the doorway mentioned above. I haven’t done a rigorous double-blind study but both spaces feel different to sitting on our bed or at my desk or whatever, the innate energy in both feels different.

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Makes sense.
I find the concept of locations acting as gateways to be quite interesting. No doubt such rituals as you have could be empowered by timing, such as sunrise/sunset, or the equinoxes (transition between seasons).
It reminds me of Donald Tyson’s ritual in.Grimoire of the Necronomicon wherein Nyarlathotep is summoned to take the magician to the the throne of Azathoth. He specifies that the ritual ought to be performed at places of transition, such as doorways and hallways. He explains this significance in that it represents the Gateway you open, who is Yog-Sothoth.

Ok, I see what you mean. In the case of a reality check, you are appending something new, in this case you’re using what’s already there. Still, I would argue we don’t use those innate properties of objects directly, we use the programming resulting from our exposure to the innate properties of objects.

Just because something has an innate property does not mean that property expresses it’s self the same for everyone. There is no possible way someone who’s spent their entire lives in a land locked city is going to be able to use a river for anything better than me, who practically grew up in the water.

If one were to decide to start treating all doorways as possible gateways to spirit(not saying you are), that changes the context in which you experience doorways, which will slowly make that particular aspect stronger.

Doorways have always been proven as portals. This concept is in almost every culture ever existed. Its quite awesome to see the similarities in crafts that have never met before

I have seen liminal points or places like them contain,an innate power usually the result of spiritual presence. However cusps point is correct on an equally profound level also derived from experience. A totem that is highly meaningful to me, carries the essence of that in all its physical manifestations, always. Ive taught myself to sense the presence of that spirit in its animal , others of course usually dont… I respond to most candles in a magical way, as Ive associated it so many times. Etc.

LadyEva, thank you so much. I was beginning to feel like I am going nuts because I’ve felt that a few times in my life, and in my youth a spirit (gave no name) asked me to sit atop the stairs to receive some sort of instruction.

I complied but then I thought “this crafty fucker is going to kick me in the back and send me down, ain’t he/she?”. But again, what was I, 12?

I remember being warned by someone (a wiccan of all people! PAH!) when I was 14 that if you hang a mirror on the wall, exactly opposite the door to that room, that it creates a portal into the ‘other realm’.

So, I’m pretty sure you can guess what I did. I bought a brand new mirror, quite large and placed it in my bedroom directly opposite the door. I also had my bed in line with the door at the time, so when I slept my head was under the mirror and my feet pointed towards the door.

Shit went down, it was epic. Hauntings, shadows, whispers in my ear, etc. Nothing THAT malevolent, really, just kinda entertaining. Mind you I did accidently summon Bael, by staring at his picture for too long in my copy of the goetia when I was laying in bed one night, which was an eye opener lol Plus whenever I’d do a ritual there, simple as they were back then, it seemed to be amplified greatly. Sigil’s opening faster and without much effort, etc.

I think I’ll have to do this again soon. I miss invisible hands touching me in the night :frowning: hahaha

PS. I think I also drew an inverted pentagram on the mirror, not with a pen or anything, just the natural grease that collects on human fingers. So you could just about see it if you looked closely.

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This is cool - a psychologist writes on the “doorway effect”:

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You just reminded me of something important that I know about, but due toncaught up in exploring I have pushed certain things to the side.

Matrix - all Domains are composed of certain information. One within a specific type of Domain will then assume a certain role to either establish ones self as validating said domain or going against it. This will determine how one would access information as well as relate to said “denizens of the matrix.”

But Ive experience this frequently as Im an Empath I have a tendency to feel not just people out but environments and their inanimate objects as well. Because of this prior to leaving the house I will stop and go over a Physical Checklist…just like an Airline pilot does before taking off in an Airliner…then I will mentally mark of the Keys on checklist and hold them up physically in front of me to confirm that I do in fact have them Thrice. I know this sounds silly, but if you’ve ever locked yourself out or left an importamt item or both, only to find you have to break into your own place then that is unnerving.

I dont have those problems so much anymore, but I still do keep mental note before changing environments and doing quick checkups. Mostly my problem came from always being too much in a hurry trying to do too many things at once while focusing on my desires.

I have been vaguely practicong against this, but as far as information goes I noticed Walking around always does get me thinking more than just sitting, but then being in certain areas makes me think of certain things. I have sort of grown to Hate this, so I carry around with me voice recorder for dictation, a notepad and utilize Electronic Note Taking software.

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I have walked up steps many times and realized I’d forgotten something and I did feel a strong need to go all the way up the steps first before going back down, however I never did. I would literally stop dead in my tracks with people running into me saying geez, will you watch what you’re doing there are people walking behind you, you almost made me fall backward!

And I would just turn around and go back down despite almost making the people behind me fall down (not my fault, they should’ve been watching my back when going up the steps and not just my feet) but anyway, I have felt like I needed to complete the climb before going back down but then my logical brain kicks in and says, why go all the way up the those steps just to turn around and go back down? That’s extra work for nothing. So I have never given into those urges to complete the climb or the descent if I forgot something because my brain is set on auto pilot for finding the path with the least amount of exercise involved.