Periodically I check out the website of Angeles Arrien. www.angelesarrien.com.
Here is her July reflection on gates and thresholds.
July 2007 Reflection
Symbols of Transition: Thresholds and Gates
Perseverance is a great element of success.
If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate,
you are sure to wake up something or somebody.
––Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Throughout history, images of thresholds and gates have served as symbolic passageways into new worlds. Imprinted on the human psyche, they herald the possibility of a new life, a new experience, or a new identity. They offer an opportunity for communion between different worlds: the sacred and profane, the internal and external, the subjective and objective, the visible and invisible, waking and dreaming.
Symbolically, there is a marked distinction between a threshold and a gate. A threshold suggests the place or moment where transformational work, learning, or integration occurs. The gate suggests protecting and testing that must occur before we are allowed entry and permitted to do work at the threshold. Gates are often considered places of initiation or entryways into holy places, sacred grounds, or spiritually significant transitions. Deep archetypal feelings may surface when we are “at the gate.” Instinctively we recognize that we are required to let go of what is familiar, and prepare to enter and open ourselves to the unknown. Our passage through the gate is irreversible. We cannot go back. After we open the gate and stand upon the threshold, we must do the work of transformation.
To thresh literally means to pound cereal grain to remove the husks and separate out the seeds. Figuratively, the threshing floor is where we tread, turn, twist, or flail as we do inner work. It is the place of the soul’s own threshing, where what is no longer necessary or aligned with our essential nature is released and discarded. We repeatedly come to the threshing floor to deliver ourselves to our final and holy excursion, in which we approach the opening to a hidden existence and discover a second grace.
--excerpt from The Second Half of Life: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom,
Winner of the 2007 Nautilus Book Award for Best Book on Aging