LIMINAL NATION was launched in 2008 out of the embers of the now-defunct Temple forum at www.barbelith.com. Created in 1998, Barbelith began life as an annotations website for Grant Morrison's long-running comic The Invisibles, but quickly took on its own identity as a vibrant countercultural nexus point where ideas from areas as wide-ranging as contemporary occultism, political activism, new technology and identity theory overlapped and cross-fertilised.
Over the years, the Barbelith Temple forum developed a unique culture that valued quality and substantive writing on magic, was unafraid to challenge the unexamined dogmas and platitudes of occultism, and aimed higher than the flaky ideas, incessant flamewars and magical grandstanding that still characterises much online discussion of magic. When Barbelith went into decline, several regular Temple contributors began developing Liminal Nation.
The idea behind LN was to create a space where the most valuable and worthwhile elements of the Barbelith Temple could take root in new soil and further develop. LN is, however, very much its own board. Unlike its predecessor, it has a robust moderation system and requires its prospective contributors to complete a short application in order to maintain quality content and minimise the presence of disruptive or abusive participants.
In 2011, LN relaunched with a new look, updated software and an expanded remit for discussion. While the occult and esoteric remains a central theme of the board, LN resists the ghettoisation of magic and welcomes insightful debate on other subjects and contributions from practitioners and non-practitioners alike.
Liminal Nation is closer in spirit to an online magazine or collective blog than a traditional free-for-all message board, in that its founding members have an editorial policy regarding the material published on the board and the level of critical engagement expected from contributors. The core of LN's ethos could be summarised in three points:
LN welcomes both practitioners and non-practitioners, theists and atheists, of all races, genders, sexualities, cultures, spiritualities and magical traditions. It is envisioned as a space where a constructive and mutually beneficial dialogue may take place between interested parties from radically different backgrounds and understandings.
Contributors to LN are expected to generate high quality content and engage with other contributors respectfully and as peers. Heated and passionate debate is the lifeblood of any discussion forum, but any material which significantly transgresses the editorial policy of the board outlined above may lead to moderator action. Potentially contentious statements should always be supported to the best of your ability, and the alternative perspectives and conflicting arguments of other members should be satisfactorily addressed wherever possible. You are accountable for what you write on the board, and offering only flimsy or flippant responses when called on a statement is generally frowned upon, especially in the more content-heavy discussions.
LN is a space for well-thought-out writing and debate. It resists the soundbite culture promoted by more ephemeral social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and expects its contributors to make an effort and think about what they write before they make it live. The purpose of being an LN contributor is to generate quality content on the board and add to its expanding archive of material. An LN debate should be a lively and informative resource for readers as well as contributors.
Liminal Nation exists primarily as a space for intelligent debate on magic. It seeks to encourage a higher standard of debate in an area that often lacks rigour and as a result is frequently derided by observers as mumbo jumbo. LN posits that the varied practices and ideas collectively labeled "occultism" contain much of value, and that an understanding and implementation of these perspectives and methods may be vital for navigating the turbulent landscape of the 21st century. The core aim of the board is to advance and promote the discourse of contemporary occultism with specific emphasis on its real world application in today's changing world.
LN welcomes debate on subjects other than magic, especially on issues relating to the environment, permaculture, new technologies, politics, activism, global events, cultural studies and similar. LN believes that magic does not exist in a bubble, but is a part of our living experience; therefore it follows that constructive debate on magic should thrive in tandem with debate on areas that impact all of us.
LN exists as a community of contributors, and alongside the more weighty debates, it also welcomes lighter conversational and community-building discussion among contributors about various media such as film, television, music, books, comics and so on.
LN is committed to providing a supportive environment where both newcomers to occultism and the more experienced can get solid peer-to-peer advice from other practitioners from a variety of backgrounds. The forum is comprised of a diversity of voices and perspectives, and you may encounter conflicting and contradictory opinion from its contributors, but the ethic of the board is to help you keep your practice sane, healthy, responsible and geared towards improving your life and making you happier and healthier as a result of your investigation into magic.