Facing the mirror is an intermediate exercise in self knowledge. There are many variants of this exercise in pagan literature, although it is often downplayed. Before anyone can truly be effective in working magic (getting reliable results) they need to know themself and the subconcious motivations that they have. If you know who you are, why you do things, and what traits you have, you can more effectively work around your limitations and biases.
Turn off the TV, turn off the telephone ringer, shut and lock the door. Be sure that you will have at least an hour to yourself. Make sure you are dressed confortably. Don't do this exercise if you are frazzled, upset, or otherwise preoccupied. Also, don't expect "instant, dramatic results." Self knowledge is a complex area, and not "easy". It may take you several sessions to feel comfortable with exploring your own depths. That's fine. You don't need to push yourself.
You will need a few thing for this exercise: a pencil and paper (a steno pad works best), a candle or oil lamp, your usual personal ritual gear (if you like), a comfortable seat, and a mirror.
Light your candle/lamp, and the cast your circle or otherwise establish meditative ritual space. The focus of this exercise is to know your self, not to make judgements on yourself. Clear your mind of all of the "external" demands. It's only YOU in the circle, and you are going to meet yourself, warts and all.
Looking into the mirror, say (to yourself or aloud):
Mirror made of glass, mirror to my soul,
Show me what I ask, take me to my goal.
Show me who I am, let me see it all,
Both the good and bad, the triumphs and the falls.
Feel free to substitute words that feel more comfortable to you. The point is to put yourself into the mindstate to see your inner self. Do this for several minutes, until you are in an introspective state.
Take up your pad and pen/cil. Make two columns. Start listing traits, emotions, and other tendencies, arbitarily categorizing them as things you like or not. Don't worry about how you categorize them, or if there are repeats or variations. Cover the following areas:
Don't worry about making the list complete, there will be other opportunities. Just write down the things that come to mind. Glance into the mirror often, reminding it to show you yourself. Do this for about a half hour or so.
When you are done noting down traits, come out of the meditative state
and return the mirror to its former mundane state with something like
Mirror, you have done all that I have asked.
Window to my soul, be now only glass.
Turn up the lights if you wish, but don't "undo" your working environment yet.
Often when we are in a meditative state, our subconcious gives us insights into our own self that are hidden from our everyday self. What you have on your notepad is some of those insights. Read it over, and realize that what is on there is you as your subconcious sees yourself. Some of the items on the list may be uncomfortable, or undesirable, but at present thay are part of yourself.
You have your notes, now you need to accept them, and what they tell you about you. Not like them, not hate them, just accept them as part of yourself, part of what makes you whole and human. This may take time, but that's okay.
Go ahead and take down your working environment now, even if you can't immediately accept everything about yourself. Think about it occasionally over the next few days, but don't worry at it. It'll come.
Sometimes you'll find things about yourself that you really
don't like, and want to change them. You can, but only after you:
The mirror exercise is a valuable thing to do periodically, as it helps us to keep track of who we are and what we are becoming as we travel through life. Birthdays, anniversaries, and/or holidays are easy "reminder" times.
Copyright 1999 - 2002.
This work by Ravan Asteris is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.