Isle of Avalon

Islands are often seen as magical. In Celtic folklore, islands are the location of several versions of the otherworld. They are the abodes of gods and goddesses and are haunted by powerful magic. Why is that? I believe it’s because islands are liminal places.

Liminal refers to something that is in-between two different states. Dawn, for example, lies in the space between day and night. A door or gate lies in the space between inside and outside.

An island is somewhere between land and sea (or another large body of water). Yes, it’s land, but it’s surrounded on all sides by water, in a way that’s pretty easy to grasp, unlike a continent, which is so big you don’t necessarily feel close to water unless you’re at the very edge of it. On an island, especially a small island, you’re extremely aware of water even though you’re standing on dry ground. An island has a long shoreline, which is a kind of edge or boundary, a thing that defines where one state or thing becomes another.

That’s the essence of the liminal experience. Land and sea, dry and wet. Edges. Boundaries.


All liminal spaces and times are magical. That’s why midnight is the witching hour–because it’s liminal. It’s between today and tomorrow. That in-between-ness is magical, full of potent energy for change, and it’s a place where spirits dwell.

So there you have it: the magic of islands.