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The Mirror

A mirror is according to folklore, a doorway or portal through which spirits, including Ghosts and Demons, can gain access to the physical world. Mirrors are problems in some cases of Demonic infestations and hauntings. Since ancient times, any shiny surface has been regarded as a spirit doorway and can be used deliberately to summon spirits into the world. They also are used for seeing visions of the future. Much of the folklore about mirrors is negative. Mirror is a tool for Divination and Magic. Mirrors train the inner eye to perceive the unseen. Throughout history, mirror gazing, has been used to look into the future, aid in healing, answer questions, solve problems, find lost objects and people, and identify or find thieves and criminals. The power of mirrors or any reflective surface to reveal what is hidden has been known since ancient times. Gazing upon shiny surfaces is one of the oldest forms of Scrying, a method of divination practiced by the early Egyptians, Arabs, the Magi of Persia, Greeks, and Romans. Magic mirrors are mentioned by numerous ancient authors, among them Apuleius, Saint Augustine, Pausanias, and Spartianus. According to Pausanias, divination for healing was best done with a mirror with a string attached to it. The string was dangled into water, and the diviner then was able to ascertain whether or not a sick person would be healed.

In ancient Greece, the witches of Thessaly reputedly wrote their oracles in human Blood upon mirrors. Pythagoras was said to have a magic mirror that he held up to the Moon to see the future in it. Romans who were skilled in mirror reading were called specularii. Much later, Catherine de Medicis reputedly had a magic mirror that enabled her to see the future for herself and for France. Pére Cotton, the confessor to King Henri IV of France, had a magic mirror that revealed to him the plots against the king.

In folklore, mirrors have a dark power they are a soul stealer. A widespread folk belief calls for turning over the mirrors in a house when someone dies. If a dead person sees himself in a mirror, his soul will become lost or have no rest, or he will become a vampire. The power of mirrors to suck out souls is illustrated in the Greek myth of Narcissus, who sees his reflection in water and then pines and dies.

In Christian lore, mirrors enable demons to make themselves known. This may have been part of the church’s propaganda to discourage use of pagan folk magic. St. Patrick declared that Christians who said they could see Demons in mirrors would be expelled from the church until they repented.

In Russian folklore, mirrors are linked to the devil because they have the power to draw souls out of bodies. In other lore, seeing a corpse reflected in a mirror puts the living at risk for having one’s soul carried off by the ghost of the dead. Seeing one’s own reflection in a mirror in a room where someone has died means one’s own impending death.

Folklore also prescribes that mirrors should be removed from a sick room because the soul is more vulnerable in times of illness. It is considered unlucky for the sick to see their reflections, which puts them at risk of dying. Breaking a mirror is bad luck; since it holds the soul, a broken mirror will damage the soul.

In Vodoun, a magical mirror is called a minore. A minore is made of highly polished metal and is consecrated for the purpose of seeing visions. Only a priest or priestess can use a minore.

Mirrors are believed to reflect the soul and must be guarded against lest the soul be lost. Fears carry over into superstitious customs, such as covering the mirrors in a house after death to prevent the souls of the living from being carried off by the ghost of the newly departed; and removing mirrors from a sickroom because the soul is morevulnerable in times of illness. According to another superstition, if one looks into a mirror at night, one will see the Devil. The Aztecs used mirror like surfaces to keep witches away. A bowl of water with a knife in it was placed in the entrances of homes. A witch looking into it would see her soul pierced by the knife, and flee. According to another belief, witches have no souls, and therefore, like vampires, have no reflections in mirrors.

Medieval and renaissance magicians often used mirrors, bowls of water, polished stones and crystals for divination, to see the past, present and future. Village Wizards frequently employed mirrors to detect thieves. Whatever the purpose, the magicians would stare into the polished surface until they hypnotized themselves into light trances and saw visions that answered the questions that were put to them. John Dee, England’s royal court magician in the 16th century, employed both a crystal egg and a mirror made of polished black obsidian, reportedly taken from Mexico by Cortés. Cagliostro used mirrors, as did the famous 16th-century occultist Agrippa. European royalty believed in and used magic mirrors. Catherine de’ medici, a devout believer in the occult arts, had a mirror that revealed to her the future of France. Henri IV also relied on a magic mirror to discover political plots against him.

The medieval magician Albertus Magnus recorded a formula for making a magic mirror: Buy a looking glass and inscribe upon it “S. Solam S. Tattler S. Echogordner Gematur.” Bury it at a crossroads during an uneven hour. On the third day, go to the spot at the same hour and dig it up but do not be the first person to gaze into the mirror. In fact, said magnus, it is best to let a dog or a cat take the first look.

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