May 29, 2020
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Magic_Mirror-The magical weapon correspondence on this 29thpath of the qabalistic Tree of Life is the magic mirror.[133] To understand the reason for this attribution one have to know that in ceremonial magic, the so-called magical operations are usually performed in an artificial twilight because this represents “the glamour of astral plane” which the magician proposes to illumine with the divine light. The natural attribution of this idea is evidently the tarot trump ATU XVIII – The Moon. So the reason for the attribution of the magic mirror as magical weapon per excellence for this path is because “the magic mirror reflects astral forms”[134] and because this symbolism “evidently cognate with the still waters of Pisces.”[135] The first mirrors used by people were most likely pools of dark, still water, or water collected in a primitive vessel of some sort. The Latin word for mirror, speculum has given us the verb to speculate; and originally, speculation was scanning the sky and the related movement of the stars by means of a mirror. The Latin word for stars (sidus) has also given us the word ‘consideration’, which etymologically, means to scan the stars as a whole. Both abstract nouns which now describe highly intellectual activities are rooted in the study of the stars reflected in mirrors. The heavenly intelligence in a mirror is so often identified symbolically with the Sun and this is why the mirror is so often a solar symbol. It is also, however, a major lunar symbol in the sense that the Moon, mirror-like, reflects the light of the Sun. From all those reasons, it follows that mirrors as they are reflecting surfaces, constantly comes up as being the basis of a wealth of symbolism relating to themes like knowledge, magic and gnosis. What is reflexted in the mirror if not the truth, sincerity and what the heart and conscience hold? Mirrors are used in this role in Western folk stories of initiation and in the rituals of Chinese secret societies that goes very far back in history. The earliest manufactured mirrors were pieces of polished stone such as obsidian, a naturally occurring volcanic glass. Examples of obsidian mirrors found in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) have been dated to around 6000 BC. Polished stone mirrors from Central and South America date from around 2000 BC onwards. Mirrors of polished copper were crafted in Mesopotamia from 4000 BC, and in ancient Egypt from around 3000 BC. In China, bronze mirrors were manufactured from around 2000 BC, some of the earliest bronze and copper examples being produced by the Qijia culture. Mirrors made of other metal mixtures (alloys) such as copper and tin speculum metal may have also been produced in China and India.[136] Mirrors of speculum metal or any precious metal were hard to produce and were only owned by the wealthy.[137] Metal-coated glass mirrors are said to have been invented in Sidon (modern-day Lebanon) in the first century AD, and glass mirrors backed with gold leaf are mentioned by the Roman author Pliny in his Natural History, written in about 77 AD. The Romans also developed a technique for creating crude mirrors by coating blown glass with molten lead. In China, people began making mirrors with the use of silver-mercury amalgams as early as 500 AD.[138] Some time during the early Renaissance, European manufacturers perfected a superior method of coating glass with a tin-mercury amalgam. The exact date and location of the discovery is unknown, but in the 16th century, Venice, a city famed for its glass-making expertise, became a centre of mirror production using this new technique. The method of making mirrors out of plate glass was invented by 16th-century Venetian glassmakers on the island of Murano, who covered the back of the glass with mercury, obtaining near-perfect and undistorted reflection. For over one hundred years, Venetian mirrors installed in richly decorated frames served as luxury decorations for palaces throughout Europe, but the secret of the mercury process eventually arrived in London and Paris during the 17th century, due to industrial espionage. French workshops succeeded in large scale industrialization of the process, eventually making mirrors affordable to the masses, although mercury’s toxicity remained a problem. Glass mirrors from this period were extremely expensive luxuries.[139] The Saint-Gobain factory, founded by royal initiative in France, was an important manufacturer, and Bohemian and German glass, often rather cheaper, was also important. The invention of the silvered-glass mirror is credited to German chemist Justus von Liebig in 1835.[140] His process involved the deposition of a thin layer of metallic silver onto glass through the chemical reduction of silver nitrate. This silvering process was adapted for mass manufacturing and led to the greater availability of affordable mirrors.

Nowadays, mirrors are often produced by the vacuum deposition of aluminium (or sometimes silver) directly onto the glass substrate. The most common substrate is glass, due to its transparency, ease of fabrication, rigidity, hardness, and ability to take a smooth finish. The reflective coating is typically applied to the back surface of the glass, so that the reflecting side of the coating is protected from corrosion and accidental damage. In classical antiquity, mirrors were made of solid metal (bronze, later silver) and were too expensive for widespread use by common people; they were also prone to corrosion. Due to the low reflectivity of polished metal, these mirrors also gave a darker image than modern ones, making them unsuitable for indoor use with the artificial lighting of the time (candles or lanterns). In modern times, the mirror substrate is shaped, polished and cleaned, and is then coated. Glass mirrors are most often coated with non-toxic silver or aluminium, implemented by a series of coatings. The miror has been used in many different manners to attain a variety differents purposes all along history. It has been said that Archimedes used a large array of mirrors to burn Roman ships during an attack on Syracuse. They have been used by priests, magicians, witches and shaman for scrying and other divinatory activities. Mirrors have been used by artists to create works and hone their craft: Filippo Brunelleschi discovered linear perspective with the help of the mirror. Leonardo da Vinci called the mirror the “master of painters.” He recommended, “When you wish to see whether your whole picture accords with what you have portrayed from nature take a mirror and reflect the actual object in it. Compare what is reflected with your painting and carefully consider whether both likenesses of the subject correspond, particularly in regard to the mirror.” Many self-portraits are made possible through the use of mirrors: Without a mirror, the great self-portraits by Dürer, Frida Kahlo, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh could not have been painted. M. C. Escher used special shapes of mirrors in order to achieve a much more complete view of his surroundings than by direct observation in Hand with Reflecting Sphere (also known as Self-Portrait in Spherical Mirror). Some other contemporary artists use mirrors as the material of art: A Chinese magic mirror is an art in which the face of the bronze mirror projects the same image that was cast on its back. This is due to minute curvatures on its front.[141]There are many legends and superstitions surrounding mirrors. Mirrors are said to be a reflection of the soul, and they were often used in traditional witchcraft as tools for scrying or performing other spells. It is also said that mirrors cannot lie. They can show only the truth, so it is a bad omen to see something in a mirror which should not be there. An inscription on a Chinese mirror in ht museum in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) reads: “Like the Sun, like the Moon, like water and like gold, be clean and bright and reflect what is in your heart.”[142] Although its meaning may be different, in Japanese tradition mirrors are related to the revelation of the truth as well as purity. The same line of though is behind the use of a ‘mirror of the karma’ by Yama, the Indo-Buddhist Lord of the Kingdom of the Dead, when he sits in judgment, Magic Mirrors, instruments to reveal the word of God, may be debased by use in divination, but in different forms of shamanism, rock crystal being the material and, among African Pygmies, hey may be employed to astonishing effect. The ‘truth’ revealed by the mirror may obviously be of higher order and this conjures up the magic mirror of the Ch’in, which Nichiren compares with the Buddhist ‘Mirror of the Dharma’, which shows the causes of past actions. It is almost the same thing in Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, where a portrait serves as a magical mirror that reflects the true visage of the perpetually youthful protagonist, as well as the effect on his soul of each sinful act. The mirror may be the instrument of enlightenment. In fact the mirror is the symbol of wisdomand knowledge, a dusty mirror being the symbol of the spirit darkened by ignorance. The Tibetan Buddhist ‘Wisdom of the Great Mirror’ teaches the ultimate secret, namely that the world of shapes reflected in it is only an aspect of shunyata, the void.In the popular European fairy tale, Snow White, the evil queen asks, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall… who’s the fairest of them all?” Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass is one of the best-loved uses of mirrors in literature. The text itself utilizes a narrative that mirrors that of its predecessor, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. All those allusions to reflections of the celestial Intellect or Word of Heaven have made trhe mirror seem as if it were the symbol of the divine intellect reflecting manifestation and creating it as such as his own image. Such a condition is often viewed as an outcome of the most intense spiritual experience, as St Paul[143] and many Christian and Muslim spiritual writers bear witness. The human heart is the mirror in which reflects God is, for example, how Angelus Silesius expresses it, while for Buddhists the mirror of the heart reflects the Buddha’s nature and for the Taoist Heaven and Earth. The best known solar mirror occurs in the Japanese myth of Amaterasu, in which the mirror draws the divine light out of the cavern and reflects it upon the world. In Siberian symbolism, two great heavenly mirrors reflect the universe and, in his turn, the shaman traps this reflection in his mirror. This reflection of cosmic perfection also finds expression in the Mirror of Devi and, in a secondary state, in that of the Sarasundari who are her messengers. In Vedic tradition, the mirror is the solar mirage of manifestations, symbolizing the succession of the shapes of transitory and ever-changing beings. Although the reflection of light or reality does not change its nature, it nevertheless carries with it some illusory aspects (catching the Moon in the water) or falsify with respect to the First Cause. Hindu writers speak of ‘identity in difference.’ As the light is reflected in the water but does not penetrate it, so is Shiva. Thus ‘speculations’ is indirect, ‘lunar’ knowledge. In any case the mirror presents a negative image of reality. What is above is as what is below, says the alchemical Emerald Tablet, but with an opposite meaning. Manifestation is a negative image of the First Cause, displayed in the two inverted triangles of the start shaped hexagon. The symbol of the ray of light reflected upon the surface of the waters is the cosmogonic sign of manifestation

Under “Appendix: Variant Planes & Cosmologies” of the Dungeons & Dragons Manual Of The Planes, is The Plane of Mirrors (page 204).[144] It describes the Plane of Mirrors as a space existing behind reflective surfaces, and experienced by visitors as a long corridor. The greatest danger to visitors upon entering the plane is the instant creation of a mirror-self with the opposite alignment of the original visitor. Also there is a European legend that a newborn child should not see a mirror until its first birthday as its soul is still developing. If the child sees its reflection it is said that it will die. It is a common superstition that someone who breaks a mirror will receive seven years of bad luck. The reason for this belief is that the mirror is believed to reflect part of the soul. Therefore, breaking a mirror will break part of the soul. However, the soul is said to regenerate every seven years, thus coming back unbroken. To prevent a broken mirror from reflecting a broken soul during the seven-year interim, one of many rituals must be performed. Two alternatives include grinding the broken mirror to dust (perhaps the easiest approach) or burying the mirror. It is also said that tapping the broken mirror on a gravestone seven times will allow the soul to heal. However, if the mirror is both touched to the gravestone and buried, the bad luck will remain. The only course of action for one in this position is to dig up the mirror and grind it to dust. This dust must be sprinkled around the same gravestone on which the mirror was initially tapped. There is a Buddhist belief that negative spirits will enter houses through the door if they have triangular-shaped roofs. Hanging a small circular mirror in front of the door will prevent the bad spirits from entering. In days past, it was customary in the southern United States to cover the mirrors in a house where the wake of a deceased person was being held. It was believed that the person’s soul would become trapped in a mirror if it was left uncovered. This practice is still followed in other countries (e.g., Romania), extending to everything that could reflect the deceased person’s face (such as TVs and appliances). Another explanation given is that the devil will appear in the reflection of the dead. Mirrors falling from walls or otherwise breaking or cracking mysteriously were said to be haunted. A similar custom existed in Greece, in the belief that use of mirrors is a sign of vanity that does not become mourning.[145] According to legend, a vampire has no reflection in mirrors because it is an undead creature and has already lost its soul. Another superstition claims it is bad luck to have two mirrors facing each other. A staple of childhood slumber parties is the game Bloody Mary, which involves chanting “Bloody Mary” three times in a darkened room while staring into a mirror. There are many versions of the game, but the general idea is that “Mary” will appear in the mirror and attempt to harm or kill the person who has summoned her. Thanks to a series of popular horror movies based on a supernatural killer who haunted mirrors, the phrase “Candyman” may be substituted for Mary.


[133] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 10.
[134] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 112.
[135] Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writtings of Aleister Crowley, p. 112.
[136]Joseph Needham, Gwei-djen Lu, Science and Civilisation in China, Volume 5, page 238.
[137]Albert Allis, The Scientific American Cyclopedia of Formulas, page 89.
[138]Archaeominerology By George Rapp – Springer Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009 page 180.
[139]The Tin-Mercury Mirror: Its Manufacturing Technique and Deterioration Processes, Per Hadsund, Studies in Conservation, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Feb., 1993)
[140]Liebig, Justus (1856). “Ueber Versilberung und Vergoldung von Glas”. Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie 98 (1): 132–139.
[141]Ivan Moreno (2010). “Output irradiance of tapered lightpipes”. JOSA A 27 (9): 1985.
[142] Jean Chevalier (1969), Dictionary of Symbols, p. 657.
[143] The Bible, Corinthian 3:18.
[144]Grubb, Jeff; David Noonan and Bruce R. Cordell (2001). Manual Of The Planes. Wizards of the Coast.
[145]Other Greek mourning customs include not playing music, not entertaining guests, and using no festive decorations, e.g. on Christmas, during the customary year-long mourning period.


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