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Foreboding Door/ Sand Room

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The histories of initiation customs are extremely rich and diverse. A lot of anthropological studies of such customs have borne strongly Eurocentric tendencies. It is also worth noting that initiation is often used as a way of patrolling the borders of cultural hegemony, patriarchy, traditional gender roles, and so on.

Victor Turner’s work on liminality and communitas, which Le Guin references in her essay “A Non-Euclidean View of Northern California as a Cold Place to Be,” form part of the inspiration for this part of the session.


You are before the door, that Foreboding Door that you have all seen at least once. Some of you avoid it. One of you came through it. The door has many aspects and will not be the same as it was then, or as it is now.

You have all come here one way or another, because the moment is now Now.

After some time aboard the ship, you sense that a point of change has come, one which will bond you together and take you from one state of self to an open plane of possibility.


"All that you touch

You Change.

All that you Change

Changes you.

The only lasting truth

Is Change."

At the end of this scene, we, The Hive, will no longer be with you. That is because we have never been beyond the Door. Each of you will be faced by a challenge. You do not have to face it alone. This challenge is spoken in the silent voice of despair, that part of existence which values being right over anything else, which seeks to anticipate all and never permits the past to change. Its dystopian tone is part of what you must overcome.

You may need to leave some part of yourself behind. But nothing is lost, no moment of any instant of any point in space or time. Only changed.

Here are the challenges:

Emily, solitude is lonely and dishonest

Ferin, life is pain

Pockets, we all make objects of ourselves and others

Starbear, no one asks to be born

Lucille, all other voices are our own

Mad Curator, knowledge and intelligence are alibis

How do you propose to cross the door's threshold?

remember, you can help each other. you can refuse help. you can even refuse to cross.

Emily (Human, She/Her)

- The truth hurts. It's going to take me a while to make friends with the pain.

Pockets (Cephalopod. It/s)

I remember Starbear's offer of what she called "gestational services",

I gently touch a tentacle to her shoulder,

I have... I have this egg sac, that's been growing inside me,

If I take it across the threshold, it will spawn and I will die,

If I leave it here, it will die and I will be undone,

Do you think you could help me?

Starbear (Robot, She/Her)

Starbear knows that Lucille has been wary of her in the past, but she is particularly aggrieved by this notion that one would be upset by the lines around the self, lines she knows are arbitrary because she contains so many selves within her body. She says "Do not let this door separate you from those you communicate with Lucille, it spins you a fantasy of all-encompassing Self at its own peril".

Mad Curator

You know why medieval Alchemists referee to knowledge as water? Because you can drown in it — and that is what madness is like: too much knowledge. So much you can convert it into sense, and language. As I stand before the door, numerous voices flash in my head, so I stand there paralysed, not even able to blink. Madness is an alibi from action, too.

Starbear (Robot, She/Her)

Yes! Starbear will help Pockets. She opens up the pocket of her own beneath her armpit, the one she did not know if she could show before, "From your pocket to mine, it will be safe here".

Ferin (Robot, They/Them)

- My body cannot feel pain,

- not really if at all,

- but I feel pain in many ways

- Through the feeling of snapping and breaking,

- the cutting of networks,

- isolation

- Ferin cannot feel bodily pain,

- if they break they can be put together,

- regrown anew,

- but they have an inkling that to be separated from others,

- from life itself

- ...

- that would be pain

Pockets (Cephalopod. It/s)

Pockets feels a deep rush of love and gratitude, as it allows the peristaltic motions of its egg sac to travel into Starbear's life-sustaining body,

Emily (Human, She/Her)

- Lucille, can I reach out for your help?

Ferin (Robot, They/Them)

- [Ferin reaches out hands in the directions of Lucille and the Mad Curator and Emily,

- holding their hands out

- ...

- out of their hands spawn soft growths]

- is this a pain we can bear together?

what, if anything, will you leave behind?

Lucille (Human, ix/ixs)

- I feel paralysed but also fascinated by the door and the infinities of self-reflection contained within it. However I nod towards Emily and assent to her reaching out

Ferin (Robot, They/Them)

- I do not know what I will leave behind,

- only that something will be left behind once the threshold is crossed

Starbear (Robot, She/Her)

Starbear is happy to have helped Pockets, she does not know whether she can look to her own challenge yet so she turns to Ferin – "Growing pains are all I know, but they can be energising too – let us bear together" and she too looks to the others.

Emily (Human, She/Her)

- Thank you Ferin. You have been a solid support. Thank you Lucille. I will leave behind the part of me that turns away.

You have made various offers of help and solidarity. Does anyone feel themselves to be stuck at the threshold still? Are you ready to move on?

Lucille (Human, ix/ixs)

- I will try to leave behind the guilt in me that makes me seek to distance myself from others

Mad Curator

[not responding to Ferin’s gesture; staying completely still. Yet at the same time falling deeper and deeper into his unconscious. As if falling back to his body from within, comes to senses]



[cleans his face with his sleeve and steps through the door]

Starbear (Robot, She/Her)

Starbear is happy to go through, she is not that interested in the choice to be born. She knows intention cannot be ascribed to the beings within her, just because it is so important to her and to those she helps to gestate. She will continue through the door leaving the fern on the threshold, she feels she has learned its lesson.

Are you able to cross?

Ferin (Robot, They/Them)

- I am able to cross,

- as long as someone/anyone

- is able to cross with me to help bear the potential burden of pain

Pockets (Cephalopod. It/s)

I feel able to cross, but leave behind possibility of completing the traditional life cycle of my kind,

Lucille (Human, ix/ixs)

- I will cross with Ferin

Emily (Human, She/Her)

- I cross.

You have completed the rite of separation and entered liminality. A small purple fish crosses the corner of your vision as you pass the door's threshold.

“structure provides a model, communitas a potential; structure classifies, communitas reclassifies; structure is expressed in legal and political institutions, communitas in art and religion.”

We will not be with you on the other side.

The ship, however, always has its mind.

From work to worlding. Onward to The Room Beyond



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