Doors, gates, and portals can represent both physical and psychological access. In terms of sandplay, when doors and gates are used in a scene they may represent transition, initiation, or the ability to pass through. Psychologically, passageways may represent the possibility of transition from one aspect or issue to the next, the positive aspect of movement, or an opening for growth. Closed doors or gates may be a boundary symbol.
Doors symbolize hope, opening and entrance to new life. Also, doors represent a passage from one world to another, from one level of consciousness to another. Doors are the barriers through which initiates pass and also represent initiation. As a symbol of the sheltering aspect of the Great Mother, in some cultures, all doors and windows are unlocked and opened to facilitate childbirth. The door is the Druidic emblem of the oak-king or thunderer.
Gates represent entry to mystical and profound areas, places of divine power. Gates are the opening between one world and another and are often a protective threshold, usually guarded by symbolic animals. A series of gateways may represent various stages of enlightenment. The gate is a Hebrew symbol of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and the emblem of Ezekiel, whose prophecy spoke of the coming of Jesus through the east gate of the temple.
Passages represent change from one plane to another. Successfully navigating passages may symbolize gaining states of consciousness or transcendence. Passages signify or allow the ability to transcend time and space, day and night.
Portals are usually elaborate and are used for entry. They often symbolize the way through which the dead acquired rebirth into a new form of existence.
Thresholds represent the passage from the profane to the sacred. As a boundary symbol, thresholds symbolize the meeting of the natural and the supernatural. They often represent entering the unknown.