Psychomanteums and Magick Mirrors

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Photo by h.koppdelaney - http://flic.kr/p/61MVsD

Photo by h.koppdelaney – http://flic.kr/p/61MVsD

“Mirror, Mirror, on the wall,
Who’s the fairest of them all?”
Snow White’s wicked stepmother

If you stand in a bathroom at night with a lit candle in your hand, look in the mirror and say “Bloody Mary” three times, you’ll see the ghost of a murdered woman behind you in the mirror.
urban legend

Mirrors and reflective surfaces have been used in magick for a long time. Staring at a reflective surface, whether a pool of liquid, the surface of a polished stone, or into a glass object has been a way to induce a prophetic state and encourage visions for as long as people have been practicing magick.

In ancient Greece and Rome, reflective surfaces such as pools or basins of liquid were placed in darkened rooms where those with questions could go to consult with the spirits of dead ancestors, planetary forces, or even Goddesses and Gods. Eventually pools of liquid were replaced with mirrors. These special mirrors were sometimes called psychomanteums, a term that has been revived in recent times in New Age groups along with the practice of mirror-gazing as a way of contacting spirits of the dead. Modern practitioners such as Dr. Raymond Moody and Dr. Irene Blinston have focused on using the psychomanteum for therapeutic grieving. Scrying and mirror-gazing, though, has been practiced pretty much uninterrupted for a long time.

Some find that gazing at a reflective surface triggers an altered state of consciousness where images can be perceived. Others, most notably Carroll “Poke” Runyon in his book “The Book of Solomon’s Magick,” describe the experience as one where the viewer’s own reflection appears to change into the face of someone else entirely, which then communicates as an independent being with the viewer. Regardless which method happens for you it is a rather remarkable experience when it occurs.

One way to make a special mirror to be used for magick is to purchase or make a nice picture-frame the size you want to use for the mirror. The only thing that is required is that the frame must have glass in it to provide a reflective surface. Then instead of a picture put a sheet of black paper or a piece of black cloth (velvet works well) in the frame. Some people choose to paint the back of the glass black instead of using black paper or cloth.

Once the mirror is created, keep it covered except for when you want to use it for magick. You can charge it by uncovering it and bathing it in the light of the moon. The light of a full moon is best of all, of course. You can also charge your mirror by gently washing the surface with a specially prepared potion. Franz Bardon’s “fluid condensers” are one popular substance used to charge magick mirrors. Sometimes these potions are gently painted on the back of the mirror, or are soaked into a piece of cotton or blotting paper which it then attached to the back of the mirror. There are lots of creative ways to use charged substances to impart their power to a mirror.

To use the mirror, put it in a place where you can sit or stand comfortably and see your own face reflected. It’s best to do this at night in a room that is as dark as you can make it. There should be a very small amount of light present; I find a single candle (a small votive in a glass container) works best.

Some people find that holding the lit candle in their hands while they stand or sit before the mirror works well. I’ve tried that way and didn’t have much luck. Instead I put the candle behind me, on the floor, and have had some amazing results! If one way doesn’t work for you be sure to try the other.

My most recent experience (which was so successful it was startling) happened using the regular old bathroom mirror late one night, with a single votive candle lit and placed on the floor behind me. With just the one candle in the room, behind me, it was very dark but there was just enough light so that I could see my own face in the mirror. I stood there, breathing deeply, and waited. As I gazed at the mirror it only took a few minutes, maybe five or ten at the most, before I discovered I wasn’t looking at my own face anymore but the face of an older man, a man in his prime, with a full dark beard! I’m clean-shaven with light reddish-blond hair, and this face was also a bit broader than my own so the change was quite significant.

I asked the man a favour and he nodded. I was so surprised by the vividness of it all that I didn’t think to ask any real questions. I didn’t try to drag out the experience at all but thanked him for coming, and then bowed my head, turned and blew out the candle, and turned on the bathroom light.

Some other recommendations I’ve read about using the magick mirror say that it works best if you go into the experience with a specific question in mind, or the name of a specific departed person, entity, or deity you wish to contact. Apparently it helps to start by calling out to the person you wish to speak with, and if someone else appears ask if they can get the right person for you. And once you’ve got someone to speak with, be polite in asking your questions, and listen carefully to the answers.

Before experimenting with a magick mirror it’s a good idea to do some basic protection tricks like taking a moment to ground and centre, perhaps putting on some protective jewelry or anointing yourself with a protective oil. Burning protective incense won’t hurt either. And if you feel uncomfortable with what is happening, draw a pentagram in the air with your finger or with an athame or wand, visualize it as a flaming star, and command the spirits to do no harm. If you feel there are less than helpful spirits present then draw multiple flaming pentagrams and command them to leave. You could even do a full-fledged circle casting before doing mirror work if you feel it is appropriate. I would recommend that the mirror be placed outside of your protective magick circle for maximum safety.

As you become more proficient with mirror work, you might find it helpful to devise a regular evoking rhyme to start it off, to get you quickly in the appropriate mood. Here’s one that I use:
“Mirror, mirror, clear and true,
Show me what I ask of you.”

Mirror work can be quite moving and significant. It’s more than just a fairy-tale plot device. It’s a real and very effective magickal tool. If you use it with determination it can provide a helpful channel for advice and personal healing.

Recommended Resources

Psychomanteum entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychomanteum

Dr. Irene Blinston’s website, http://www.blinston.com/Psychomanteum/index.html

Dr. Raymond Moody’s website, http://www.lifeafterlife.com/

Scott, Tim “Who Was Franz Bardon?” article found on the web at a number of sites, including http://angelmessages.paradisenow.net/bardon_s_books.html#Franz_Bardon’s_Biography This article includes a recipe for one of Bardon’s “fluid condensers” used to charge magick mirrors.

Sherwood, Simon J. “A Comparison Of The Features Of Psychomanteum And Hypnagogic/Hypnopompic Experiences,” in The Journal of Parapsychology, September 2000 issue.

Runyon, Carroll “Poke” “The Book of Solomon’s Magick,” Church of the Hermetic Science Inc., 1996. ISBN 096548811X. This book presents some very useful instructions regarding scrying with mirrors.

Zolar, “Zolar’s Encyclopedia of Ancient and Forbidden Knowledge,” Arco Publishing Inc. New York: 1970. ISBN 0-668-05894-3. The chapter “Using the Magic Mirror” is especially helpful.

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  • Very helpful article on using a black mirror. Thanks! I like the single candle technique, as well–makes it almost too dark to see, but not quite.

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