Mirrors


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Columbine
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 I was wondering if anyone knew of any spirits creatures or legends concerning mirrors. I've read the few where cockatrices and dragons/wyrms were distracted with mirrors, and the legend of Bloody Mary (quite interesting, by the way), but I was interested if there was any sort of fairy or such like that actually lived in mirrors or travelled using them, summoned with them.

Any information would be great.

thanks!

Daniel Parkinson's picture
Daniel Parkinson
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Hi Columbine

Hi Columbine

Couldn’t find much, Frasers' Golden Bough has a bit about superstitions mainly pertaining to the belief that the reflection (in mirrors and water) was the reflection of the soul. Zulus (according to Fraser) would not look in a dark pool as they believed a beast lived there that would steal their reflection and cause their death, and there were other beliefs throughout the world that water spirits could steal a soul reflected in water - not a mirror obviously but similar. Mirrors were turned around after a death to stop the spirit disappearing with the souls of the living reflected there, again all from Fraser. Might be worth looking at occult practices with mirrors as they were used for scrying i.e. John Dee. Couldn’t find any creatures in folklore though.

Mauro
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A quick thing...

... before going to bed. I remember two superstitions regarding mirrors.
The first one should be from some part of India if I remember correctly and says that when a person dies all the mirrors in the household should be covered less the soul of the recently departed became trapped in them and starts causing troubles.
The second one is much more akin to your request. Should a person put two mirrors facing each other at midnight on Friday, some kind of devil will appear in the mirror and break free. If I remember correctly this is some kind of mischevious imp and not a proper demon like Abaddon/The Beast from the Doctor Who series.

In Distortion We Trust

__________________

"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"

-Kalevala, Rune XIII-


Columbine
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Thanks guys, that's great

Thanks guys, that's great :)

I'll keep looking, see if I can't find anything regarding practices as Dan suggested. 

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Is it worth trying to find

Is it worth trying to find the inspiration behind modern fictional stories such as Snow White (with the mirror of the wicked witch) and even the television series Tenth Kingdom, where magic mirrors were used to travel between our world and a fantasy one.

Columbine
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 Mmm, good question. My

 Mmm, good question. My search mostly stemmed from a line in a novel about european folk stories about not looking into mirror's after dark, but I couldn't find anything to that extent by googling so I asked here. Not too surprised by the lack of results to be honest as the source was translated from Japanese, and I've seen some marvelously odd renditions of stories in similar books.

I forgot about talking mirrors though, so I'll try that line and see where that takes me.

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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What about the tradition

What about the tradition that vampires do not cast a reflection.  Does this have connections to the tradition that mirrors/water show a reflection of the soul and hence the fact that Vampires don't have souls.

Seannachaidh (not verified)
The gateway to the land of

The gateway to the land of fairy is to be found in in-between places, like the boundary between water and air in the mists, or a cave under a tree or behind a waterfall, or even between platform 9 and 10 in the Harry Potter books.

When the surface of a scottish loch becomes still, it too becomes a gateway; to the fairy kingdom of The-Land-Under-The-Wave.  Because of the peat making the waters very black, when it is still, the water becomes a perfect mirror.  A place to cross the boundary between reality and reflection.

Or maybe its just so lovely you feel as if you've crossed to fairyland.

Still as the great waters that lie in the West,
So is my spirit still
I lay, with folded hands upon my breast
My will within thy will.

Columbine
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That's a particularly

That's a particularly interesting take on the idea, thanks for that Seannachaidh! That's wonderful!

Where's the verse from?

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Andy Paciorek
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mist gates and smoking mirrors

@ndy
I vaguely recall reading that Lilith and her succubic/incubic offspring the Lilim would sometimes enter and leave the bedrooms of people via mirrors. Cannot recall offhand where I read it, so will have to see if I can try and dig it out.

Also in MesoAmerican mythology the god Tezcatlipoca was known as the Smoking Mirror, his left foot being a polished black obsidian mirror with which he could see into and manipulate the lives and future of people.

__________________

@~


Seannachaidh (not verified)
The Immortal Hour by Rachel Annand Taylor
Columbine wrote:

That's a particularly interesting take on the idea, thanks for that Seannachaidh! That's wonderful!

Where's the verse from?


The lines are from The Immortal Hour by Rachel Annand Taylor, a Scottish metaphysical poet. If I am taking a tour through the West of Scotland and one of the great lochs goes still enough to become a mirror gateway to The-Land-Under-The-Wave, I will often recite that poem. Sometimes I will tell them of this belief as well, and recite a story of that type of legend in a classical style.
The custom you are really after is water-scrying. It involves being in a dark place and looking into your reflection in water with only a single source of light to illuminate matters. Your focus shrinks to a single point, then explodes outwards in images of the past or future, or of the present but far away, ie: distance viewing.
You could use a dark room with a dark bowl for the water, or a silver one, with a candle as the single point of illumination.
You could use a dark cave with a pool in it, with a candle or a single beam of the sun coming in.
You could use a pool in a dark forest illuminated by the moon. Sacred pools like those dedicated to the moon goddess or spirit of clear waters were especially efficious here.
When the Church was "sanctifying" everything, such customs were given an aura of fear, and persecution went with their practice. In other words, only a witch would do such a thing, and the poious would avoid anything even remotely resembling it in case they inadvertantly transgressed.



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