Mirrors are both simple and complicated tools of magic. Through ages, they have been used for scrying, searching for the truth, finding your personal unknown – and as portals. They have been also used in protection spells to reflect evil energy back to its sender. In occult, there is also the concept of black mirror, and different ways to create one yourself. Even though most of the mirror magic is pretty harmless, you can also dive a bit too deep, so to say. Then again – it’s magic. Things are supposed to get creepy and even dangerous every now and then. So be careful, but not too careful. Sometimes looking at your demons, eye to eye, or facing their presence by feeling them, is the best thing that can happen.
A mirror reveals our reality
A mirror is a handy yet cruel tool. It is simple and easy to acquire. Yet, it tends to reveal our true nature. It has been said that it is harder to lie if you are looking at yourself from a mirror at the same time.
The interesting thing is that when watching ourselves from a mirror, what we see is a mirrored image. We don’t actually see ourselves the way others do.
And, what we see is what we choose to see. What we focus on. Our mirror image is a reflection of our reality. And what we see in the mirror is not a common reality, but how we interpret the reflection.
What do you see when you look into a mirror? Are you seeing yourself as a whole, or are you obsessed with small imperfections? You may choose to see a person with a big nose and acne or a person with elegant brows, a beautiful smile, and eyes that reveal the magical wisdom inside. “No, I can’t if these things are a fact!” Well. It is also a fact that I have a brown birthmark on my cheek, my nose is very asymmetric and tilts to the other direction, and I have a bleeding iris mole in my eye. But when you look at me, are those the things that you see? No. Me neither, anymore. Why? “Magic, bitches.”
Whether it was about our subjective, individual reality or unknown realms of the Universe, mirror magic is an excellent way to do shadow work, improve your self-awareness, face your demons, or perform scrying.
“Strange-face-in-the-mirror illusion” - What can you expect from mirror magic?
In the article Strange-face-in-the-mirror illusion (Department of Psychology, University of Urbino, via Saffi 15, 61029 Urbino, Italy; Received 15 May 2009, in revised form 11 May 2010) by Giovanni B Caputo describes a study in which about fifty naive individuals were given a task to gaze their reflection at the mirror for 10 minutes. After the session, the participant was asked to write what he or she saw in the mirror.
The participants experienced a bit different results, but there were also some similarities. The participants saw things such as:
(a) huge deformations of one’s own face (66%)
(b) a parent’s face with traits changed (18%), of whom 8% were still alive and 10% were deceased;
(c) an unknown person (28%)
(d) an archetypal face, such as that of an old woman, a child, or a portrait of an ancestor (28%)
(e) an animal face such as that of a cat, pig, or lion (18%)
(f ) fantastical and monstrous beings (48%).
Caputo also describes the surroundings in his study:
“These observations were made in a quiet room dimly lit by a 25 W incandescent light. The lamp was placed on the floor behind the observer so that it was not visible either directly or in the mirror. A relatively large mirror (0.5 m60.5 m) was placed about 0.4 m in front of the observer. Luminance of the reflected face image within the mirror was about 0.2 cd mÿ2 and this level allowed detailed perception of fine face traits but attenuated colour perception. The illusion occurred even at higher levels of illumination of observer’s face (from 0.2 to 1.6 cd mÿ2 ).”
To summarise it, what you can expect from mirror gazing is to see something else than your own normal reflection.
But what about types of magic where you aren’t looking? Could you use mirror magic without actually looking into the mirror? Yes. It isn’t only about using your vision, but about reflecting energies and opening portals. And sometimes it isn’t even you who is supposed to look into the mirror.
Mirrors in protection magic
Mirrors can be used for protection and binding spells. They send evil deeds and negative energies back to their senders. Think about it like light: when a light hits a mirror, the mirror reflects the light back. The principles of protective mirror magic are similar: the mirror acts as a shield that reflects the energy back.
Catoptromancy - Scrying with mirrors
Catoptromancy (Greek: κάτοπτρον, katoptron, “mirror,” and μαντεία, manteia, “divination”) is a form of mirror magic. It’s technically scrying done with mirrors. Scrying is a relative of clairvoyance, augury, or divination and it refers to the practice of looking at an object to receive a message or vision. In scrying, the intention is to “see deeper”, to get visions or messages, or to gain inspiration, guidance, and revelation. The object could be for example a crystal ball.
Catoptromancy is scrying, in which the chosen medium is a mirror. Sometimes you may also hear people speaking about captromancy or enoptromancy, and they mean the same thing.
Pausanias, an ancient Greek traveler
“Before the Temple of Ceres at Patras, there was a fountain, separated from the temple by a wall, and there was an oracle, very truthful, not for all events, but for the sick only. The sick person let down a mirror, suspended by a thread till its base touched the surface of the water, having first prayed to the goddess and offered incense. Then; looking into the mirror, he saw the presage of death or recovery, according as the face appeared fresh and healthy, or of a ghastly aspect.”
If we look at the movies or read fairytales, it would be easy to think that the main way to use catoptromancy is to look into the mirror, ask a question and wait for the answer. Sure, this can be done, and the answer could be seen in the mirror, or the message could be received in some other way. But this most likely will prove inefficient, especially if you are an inexperienced practitioner.
Another thing that is common is the thought that the mirror itself is a magical object. I think so too, but from Chrysalid’s point of view, it is our mind that harnesses that tool. An idiot can take a mirror and ask a question. But the outcome – if you get any response – is up to you and how far you are willing to go.
What I would recommend is to treat mirror magic just as seriously as any strong magic. You should prepare as you would prepare to a ritual. I would perform fasting, or even seek altered states of mind. A glass of wine could be just enough. Or, you may need more.
In any case, you are to prepare for your catoptromancy. This is how it is more likely that you can actually get answers instead just keep watching Netflix while waiting for your pocket mirror to tell if your selfie is hotter than your friend’s.
You can, of course, do more impulsive mirror magic. But be sure that things are under control. Sometimes the mirror captures us, instead of us using the mirror.
Two mirrors facing each other
Two mirrors placed facing each other are considered risky. Especially if you are in a place that has a lot of spiritual activity (if you believe in such; you can think of spirits, demons, bad vibes, mental illness, or whichever suits your world view in this case).
You could think that one mirror creates one portal, and two mirrors create two portals. But no. When two mirrors are mirroring each other, the image formed in them bounces endlessly:
Mirror 1 mirrors Mirror 2 – which mirrors Mirror 1 mirroring Mirror 2 mirroring mirror 1, mirroring Mirror 2, and so on. Quite a mindfuck.
Those who believe in spirits and entities believe that this creates several unwanted portals, multiplying their power and opening more portals while doing that. Anything stepping out of those portals could enter the middle space between the mirrors.
Not all Chrysalids believe in spirits, so I am going to offer you perhaps a more down-to-earth example of what facing mirrors may cause. First I will explain a bit about the backgrounds: Personally, I perceive the effect of two facing mirrors being most of all about different realities, happening inside our minds. And, according to our subjective realities, what happens inside our minds is real for us.
Have you ever dissociated? Felt detached from reality and yourself? Have you looked at yourself from the mirror when this happens? If yes, you also probably know that looking at yourself while dissociating can cause your state of mind to change into anything: for me, it is often either hypnotic and trance-like or scary as fuck, as I feel like someone else is watching me and I am not seeing myself. Another way to get to this state would be being under certain substances. You know? When you are looking at yourself from the mirror, and it seems that the mirror is far, far away, and you are looking at a weird pixie (with pupils size of a plate…) staring back at you. Oookay, maybe most of you haven’t experienced the latter. Aaanyway!
Even if you haven’t experienced these, you probably have seen movies where the characters freak out because of their mirror images.
Now. Take this effect – dissociation, effects of drugs, or any altered mind-state – and now think that you are looking at yourself from a mirror that is facing another mirror. Seeing that scary image multiplied. The consequences for your mental health can be unpredictable. It’s easy to get lost in this kind of reality portal.
In 70’s it became a thing to decorate places with facing mirrors because they made spaces look bigger. However, nowadays the general house decoration guides tend to warn not to do this, because of the circling, bouncing image.
Black mirror is a tool that is used for example in scrying, Goetian rituals for evocation, and searching for your personal “unknown”. Some consider it to have a bit of controversial nature, but I think it’s still pretty common magic.
A black mirror often is a plate of glass that is painted glossy-black from the other side. It can also be made from black glass completely. The main point is to look into the dark reflection. Not just a couple of minutes. But a session with black mirror gazing could take for example 20 minutes. What most of the people can expect to start seeing is how their face starts to morph.
An ideal black mirror has enough size so that if you hold it and place it arm’s length away, you can still see your face clearly. Smaller than this may not reveal enough, and larger than this pulls your focus on a wider area. But, it depends on your skills and purpose. Same than with size, goes with the shape: A round black mirror holds some traditional worth, but I wouldn’t worry about the shape too much.
You can also make a black mirror by pouring waste oil or ink on a silver tray. If you don’t have a glass plate/disc or a silver tray, you could use a black bowl that you fill with water. In nature, you could use the surface of a lake during nighttime. And, if you are very Parthenos-spirited, you could look at the glossy surface of a TV.
More than focusing on how a black mirror created, I encourage you to think about its metaphoric meaning. Especially for you, as a Chrysalid, the concept of black mirror means the inverse reality. A black mirror is the connection point, where existing and non-existing becomes infinite.
A simple way to use the black mirror is to stare at it, opening your mind, and allowing it to show you its truths.
If you have ever watched the TV series Black Mirror, perhaps the title of the show now opens to you. The series shows us disturbing events and horrible versions of realities. And, when the show ends and you turn your TV off… you see your own black mirror.
Mirrors in Dark Arts
The connection between mirrors, your identity, reality, your self, and your self-image are strongly tied together. This is why mirror magic in dark arts can be used to confuse those topics. Some hexing shenanigans can be done for example by leaving two small mirrors in someone’s house, facing each others. Or, you can curse a mirror and then leave it or gift it to a person who you want to confuse.
But remember. Mirror magic is often very abstract – just like our minds. It is not the same as breaking someone’s leg. A broken leg is something concrete that a doctor can fix. But the mind…? Not so easy.
Like with all the dark arts, be very sure that you want to perform it.
Mirrors are a brilliant tool for many kinds of magic. Even if you are more Parthenos-oriented, they offer an interesting tool to explore the depths of your mind. Whether it’s an inborn hallucination or an entity that you see in the mirror, at least most of the people get very concrete results. That is what makes mirrors a great tool for a Chrysalid – they bring you closer to reality shaping.
And mirrors are everywhere! So go and practice. Go, and fuck yourself up just a tiny bit. (And say hi to Actias from me.)