When I was young, my cousins liked to scare me whenever we’d come to visit. They’d spent all weekend convincing me there was a monster swimming around in the lake, ridicule me for not wanting to go boating, then push me into the water and cackle like demons while I dog-paddled for my life back to shore, my Snoopy life jacket only a yellow streak through the water.
They’d tell me our grandmother’s attic was haunted, then lock me up there. They’d chase me with worms dangling from hooks and slip things into my food.
The most terrifying thing my backwoods cousins ever did was tell me about the evil of mirrors. Oh, did you know that if you stare into a mirror too long the DEVIL will appear behind you? Yeah, me neither! Crazy how he’s got all this extra time to hang around in mirrors, but there you go. For most of my teenage years, it was just a given that you never turn the lights out in the bathroom then look in the mirror and you certainly did not linger whenever you looked at it. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I’m not the only one with distrustful feelings when it comes to the ‘ol looking glass. Everyone’s heard the one about breaking a mirror and bringing bad luck for seven years, but some cultures take it a step further and believe that breaking a mirror doesn’t just mean bad luck, but is an omen for death in the household! It’s said that souls can become trapped in mirrors and that you can even summon demons and vengeful spirits by calling them forth in mirrors… and then, I guess, be trapped in a bathroom with them.
Witches, however, are a little more practical. They use mirrors for scrying, harnessing the power of the sun and moon, divination, banishing, binding, sending baneful magic back to the sender, and protection. In this post, I want to explore some new ways to incorporate mirrors into your magical practice.
Did you know mirrors were once made from silver? That is supposedly why vampires couldn’t see their reflections. But this is only one reason mirrors are associated with the detection of dangerous beings. Fogging up a mirror and reciting an incantation is said to reveal to you those who seek to harm you. In the right conditions, mirrors are able to show a person’s true soul and whether or not they are good or bad.
I don’t find these types of magic particularly useful, however, that doesn’t mean I don’t use mirrors for defensive situations. One of my favorite methods of using mirrors is for binding. I’ve written before about placing a target’s name between two mirrors and taping those mirrors together. Recently, I’ve updated this method because it bothered me only one side of the paper was facing one mirror. The other mirror was reflecting a blank piece of paper. Since intention is where true magic comes from it wasn’t that big of a deal, but I don’t like doubt. So, how to remedy this tiny flaw? Simply write the name on the mirror with a permanent marker instead of using paper. The name touches both mirrors and is reflected forever. A much stronger binding, in my opinion. You can also add a line about what you wish the target would stop doing, binding that particular action.
Another way to bind using mirrors is to place a picture of your target between two separated mirrors, usually performed in a hallway, symbolically holding the target in suspended animation. I haven’t tried this, though I think you’d have to leave it set up indefinitely, which seems like an inconvenience. Instead, I suggest getting a tube (from a toilet paper roll, for example), securing a small poppet in the middle of this tube and then slot two mirrors on each end of the tube. Paint the tube black or wrap a black cord around it, then pop it in the freezer. If you wish, you could also place a clear quartz in with the poppet to amplify the binding. If you’re wondering, yes, I do have more banishing and binding spells in my freezer than actual food. No regrets.
You can also add a mirror to your altar in the same way you’d add one to your front door as a defense against spells cast at you. The only problem with this is that I like adding mirrors to my altar to boost the magic I perform there (instead of doing something once, I’m working with my reflections and performing it three times simultaneously), and I don’t like confusing energies by having identical mirrors that are supposed to work in different ways. The solution was to create a protective sigil and paint it on the mirror, giving that defensive mirror a distinct purpose. Protection runes can also be painted on the mirror.
Charging Mirrors & Using Mirrors To Trap Energy
When I learned about charging mirrors, I was so in love with the idea that I ran to my craft store, loaded up on little mirrors, and started manically charging them by leaving them all over the yard and carrying them to different locations to “trap” the energies I found so helpful and calming. How amazing is that?!
Do thunderstorms make you feel particularly powerful? Leave a mirror out and let the thunderstorm charge it, use the mirror on bright and sunny days, then recharge it when it rains again. Snowstorms, the beach, autumn weather… charge mirrors with this energy and keep it with you. Harness these energies for spells, meditation or even enhancing dreams. Add a sigil to the mirror to give these “trapped” energies specific purposes. For example, if you’re charging the mirror with moonlight and you want to use this for cleansing, make a cleansing sigil and draw it on the mirror. Then you can place what you want cleansed directly on the mirror and leave it — like stones and talismans.
If you’d like to use this moonlight for spells that are best performed under specific moon phases, draw the moon phase on the charged mirror and use it as a substitute. This is great when you don’t want to wait a month for a specific moon, or you need to do a spell fast, maybe when the sun is out.
Mirrors In Spells
I’ve recently been reading up on clear quartz and like clear quartz, mirrors can act as an amplifier in spells because it multiplies your actions. I mentioned above about leaving mirrors on the altar for this purpose, but mirrors can be set up for any spell to significantly boost the power of individual elements! Strategically placing mirrors around whatever aspect you want amplified (candles, stones, yourself) will have the most impact and I recommend using multiples of three when deciding how many mirrors to use.
People have major reservations about breaking mirrors and this superstition goes back a long way. Symbolically, breaking a mirror can represent breaking some aspect of yourself or “breaking through” to an enlightenment. You’ll see this a lot in movies because it’s very dramatic and cinematically gets a point across quickly. For spells involving moving past old obstacles, breaking bad habits or cycles of behavior, you can look into the mirror and tell yourself what you want to change, what habits are coming to an end, then put the mirror into a cloth bag and break it (safely). These pieces can then be discarded or used in a larger self-altering ritual.
Mirrors are sometimes seen as windows into other dimensions or a way to look in on others without their knowledge. This made mirrors tools of divination. It was believed that your reflection was your soul and therefore when used for scrying or divination, you could theoretically ask your soul-self questions or ask to see something happening elsewhere. Black scrying mirrors are actually less reflective so you don’t see yourself as clearly. The reason for this being that your own reflection was considered a distraction from whatever you’re actually hoping to find in the mirror’s surface. I see the point, to be honest. If I stared into a mirror, I would never be able to focus on anything but flaws and I’d end up getting the tweezers and eyeliner before I’d get any answers. So, to save money on expensive black mirrors while completely limiting distractions when using mirrors for astral travel, divination, scrying, you can close your eyes and simply touch the mirror or rub it with your thumb to conduct its power — particularly useful if the mirror is charged first!
Water was the first reflective surface we used to see ourselves and lots of superstitions and lore cropped up about what this reflection truly meant. If the water rippled while you were looking into it, well, that was bad news because whatever happened to your mirror self would obviously happen to you (not sure why ripples were bad for you… they sound kind of fun). You could become transfixed by your reflection like Narcissus, or unwillingly invite cruel spirits through. Water, though, is a very gentle mirror and conducts energy well. Remember what I said about trapping? You can use the water’s smooth surface in the same way, and then have a more tangible ingredient for spells. Witches have used water for divination just as they have used mirrors and if you’re more comfortable using water, then it’s a perfect alternative. It’s also easier to use for divination, in my opinion.
Today using mirrors isn’t as common as it used to be, so experiment to find the best way to incorporate mirrors into your craft and revive this ancient and effective practice!
Ever wondered if you’re really prepared to handle the dangers of the craft?
Or maybe you’ve recently come face to face with these dangers and you’re determined to be better prepared next time.
Either way, you need to learn magical defense. This set of skills is absolutely paramount for new witches, witches looking to take their work to the next level, and even witches who are just looking for a little more peace and quiet in their spiritual lives. The craft doesn’t have to be dangerous, stressful, or traumatic!
In Defensive Magic For Beginners, I’ve created a step by step learning path that will give you the boost you need to start defending yourself confidently today.