Liminal deity

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A liminal deity is a god or goddess in mythology who presides over thresholds, gates, or doorways; "a crosser of boundaries".[1]


The word "liminal", first attested to in English in 1884, comes from the Latin word "limen", meaning "threshold".[2] "Liminality" is a term given currency in twentieth century anthropology by Victor Turner of the University of Chicago.

List of liminal deities[edit]

  • Greek mythology
    • Hecate, goddess of magic, witchcraft, the night, moon, ghosts, crossroads and necromancy
    • Hermes, god of messengers, omens, roads, travellers, border crossings, trade, protection of the home, thievery, cunning wiles, and animal husbandry; messenger of the gods and guide of the dead[3]
    Roman mythology
    • Cardea, goddess of health, thresholds and door hinges and handles
    • Forculus, Lima, and Limentinus, minor deities of thresholds or doorways; see indigitamenta
    • Janus, dual-faced god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings and endings, for whom January is named
    • Mercury, messenger of the gods and guide of the dead; equivalent to the Greek god Hermes
    • Portunus, god of keys, doors and livestock
    • Terminus, god who protected boundary markers
    • Trivia, goddess of witchcraft, the three-way crossroads, and the harvest moon; equivalent to the Greek goddess Hecate
    Baltic mythology
    • Užsparinė, Lithuanian goddess of land borders
    Chinese mythology
    • Chen Huang Shen, the God of Walls and Moats
    • Men Shen, the Gods of Doors
    • Chen Wenlong, God of City Walls in Fuzhou
    • Fan Zeng, God of City Walls in Hezhou and He county
    • Guan Ying, God of City Walls in Longxing, Gan, Yuan, Jiang, Ji, Jianchang, Linjiang, Nanchang and Nankang
    • Huang Xie, God of City Walls in Suzhou
    • Huo Guang, Yu Bo and Chen Huacheng, Gods of City Walls in Shanghai
    • Ji Shun, God of City Walls in Zhengzhou, Zhenjiang, Qingyuan, Ningguo, Taiping, Xiangyang, Xingyuan, Fuzhou, Nanan and Huating
    • Jian Yi, God of City Walls in Tanghongzhou
    • Jiao Ming, God of City Walls in Ezhou
    • Liu Zhongyuan, God of City Walls in Liuzhou
    • Pang Yu, God of City Walls in Xiaoxing
    • Qu Tan, God of City Walls in Taizhou
    • Shen Sheng, God of City Walls in Wuzhou
    • Su Jian, God of City Walls in Yongzhou
    • Te Xuan, God of City Walls in Jinan
    • Wen Tianxiang, God of City Walls in Huangzhou
    • Xiao He, God of City Walls in Gu
    • Yang Jianshan, God of City Walls in Beijing
    • Yao Yichung, God of City Walls in Xingguojun
    • Ying Bu, God of City Walls in Zhenzhou and Liuhe
    • Ying Zhixu, God of City Walls in Yunzhou
    • Zhou Ke, God of City Walls in Jiangyin
    • Zhu Yigui, God of City Walls in Xiaonanmen
    Korean mythology
    • Jangseung, a totem pole traditionally placed at the edges of villages to mark for village boundaries and frighten away demons; also worshipped as tutelary deities
    • Munshin, Korean deity of the door. He was considered one of the most powerful of the house gods (Gashin), especially in Jeju Island.
    • Ganesha, a messenger of the gods and goddesses who must be propitiated before any of the other deities[4]
    • Pushan, solar deity and psychopomp responsible for marriages, journeys, roads, the feeding of cattle, and overseeing the journey of the dead to the afterlife
    African religion
    • Legba, phallic crossroad spirit and trickster in West African Vodun, he is the bringer of magic, master diviner and speaker of every language who facilitates communication between man and the gods. Legba is also the remover of obstacles and the guardian of the home and crossroads.
    Afro-American religion

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "THE GREEK PANTHEON: HERMES". English Mythology Class Notes. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  2. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Online Etymology Dictionary". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  3. ^ Palmer, Richard E. "The Liminality of Hermes and the Meaning of Hermeneutics". The Liminality of Hermes and the Meaning of Hermeneutics. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  4. ^ Jenkins, Stephen. "GANESHA". Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2011.