Are you afraid to look into a mirror in the dark?
Does it disturb you to look into your own eyes in the mirror? Does it frighten you to look into or even pass by a mirror at all; no matter if it's day or night?
If you answered "Yes.", to any, or all, of these questions, you are not alone. There is much folklore surrounding the mirror, and therefore, it is worth looking at the origins of 'The Fear Of The Mirror'.
Funerals and Wakes
In many Celtic traditions, and others as well, such as in Judaism, when someone passes away, the person's body and casket are brought to the home, and loved ones join there together to celebrate that person's life. There is a lot of talking, feasting, and customs such as singing that take place, with the loved one who passed away in the same room. The one thing you will notice, however, is that all of the mirrors in the house are either covered up, or have been temporarily removed. Why? It is believed by some that the soul or spirit of the person who has died, will become trapped inside mirrors. This belief stems from older beliefs that many cultures share about anything reflective, especially water, being a portal between this plane (our world here on earth), and the spirit world. It is believed that spirits and other entities can sometimes make the transition from their world into ours by passing through a mirror, a body of water, and certain objects (things that are reflective in particular), because they are believed to be a 'thinner veil' (or division), and under certain circumstances, an 'open door'. As family and friends want their loved one who has passed, to move on to the next place, they cover or remove the mirrors while the body is in the home so that there is no chance of the person's soul becoming trapped within, or remaining within at will, with the ability to pass through the mirror and back into our world.
Mirrors and The Dark
What is it about looking at or passing by a mirror in the dark the scares some people so much? Well, again, when we look back at much of the Celtic folklore, we come back to the 'veil' between this world and the spirit world. It is believed by many that the 'veil' is not only thinner with a mirror or other reflective area present, but that it is even easier to pass through the 'veil' at night (particularly in relation to cycles of the Moon such as a Full Moon and a New Moon).
The Eyes Are the Mirror to the Soul...Are they?
Have you ever looked deeply into your own eyes in a mirror? Intensely? If so, did it scare you, or make you feel uncomfortable? If yes, why do you think that is?
Many of us have heard the old saying "The eyes are the mirror to the soul." or "The eyes are the windows to the soul." This folklore holds that everything you need or want to know about someone can be seen by looking into their eyes (their true intentions, whether they are lying or telling the truth; who, they really are). This would explain, depending upon your beliefs, why you may find it unsettling to look into your own eyes intensely in a mirror. According to the folklore, you are gazing into your own soul and this includes not just who you are now, in this life, but in all past lives. For those who believe in past lives and reincarnation, this makes sense as you may have lived many lives; some in which you lived a pleasant life, some in which you lived a horrific life, some in which you behaved well and as a good person, and some in which you may have done terrible, heinous things. This is not to say that you are a 'bad' person now because of past incarnations, this is to say that to catch even a glimpse of all of your soul's journeys can be overwhelming. For even a split second, you may see or feel or remember something that is not meant to be consciously remembered in this life (past lives are known to be remembered subconsciously, however, for those who believe this to be true, imagine how overwhelming it would be to remember your past 5 lives, perhaps one in which you did something that you would find (to who you have grown to be now), traumatic, repulsive, and shocking.
Capturing the Soul
Ancient tribes from all around the world, even today, will not look into a mirror, nor will they allow their photograph to be taken. Of course this does hold true for all, but there are those that believe that their soul will be taken from them if they do. So where did they get this idea? Well, imagine seeing your image appear for the first time ever on film, or seeing yourself for the first time ever in a mirror (and seeing a mirror for the first time). It is not that hard to imagine that this would be frightening to cultures who do not use such things. Seeing your reflection in water or a crystal or stone may be acceptable as it is occurring in nature, whereas cameras and mirrors are made my people and may be considered, therefore, an unnatural way of 'seeing' yourself, and perhaps dangerous, certainly strange, and even evil. In the Occult Sciences we know water as the universal conduit (one of the most commonly used things to truly 'see'; such as prophets such as Nostradamus were known to use to observe visions of future events, along with other reflective items like his scrying mirror, painted with reflective black paint), however, water is natural and is a part of our world, so while it certainly is reflective, it is understandable why many tribes are not fearful of it. Water is also considered healing, positive, and cleansing by many cultures around the world, and many people may use it in their customary rituals (for blessings and protection particularly).
Mirror Mirror On The Wall...Sup?
Even in cartoons we are reminded that mirrors have a very mysterious history directly connected to the Occult; particularly the practice of Majick. Another point to note is that, in some religions, it is considered prideful or vain to even use a mirror, and thus goes against the doctrines and practices of its followers.
Mirrors have been used for centuries to scry (to attempt to see visions of the past, present, or future), to contact the spirit world by gazing at the reflective surface (sometimes bowls of water are used instead, or reflective crystals and stones; and we cannot leave out the crystal ball), or as part of rituals where a practitioner of Majick attempts to summon a spirit or other being, using the mirror to see it, so as not to look directly at it (this is believed to protect the practitioner, as well as to allow the practitioner to see the form or true form of the spirit or being, which may not be visible to them unless a mirror or other reflective method is used).
Many of you have heard of people who have claimed to experience hauntings, saying that they would see someone or something behind them when they looked up into a mirror or passed by a mirror, yet when they turned around to get a look, they were unable to see anything outside of the mirror. Mirrors are known by some to work almost like a form of 'spirit vision' (like one would wear night vision goggles to see in the dark - without the goggles, you cannot see). Then there are the exceptions such as Mediums and Intuitives and others, who (for whatever reason; but that's a whole other article), are able to see spirits whether there is a mirror around or not (to hear, feel, sense, and even communicate with them).
We also come back to folklore surrounding mirrors being portals (doorways), not only from our world to the spirit world, but to other planes (dimensions), as well. Those who practice Majick may wish to use a mirror to allow something to pass through into our plane, or to send something back that has come into our plane. The connection between the mirror and 'spiritual' doorways is very strong (this even crosses over into Quantum Physics, where it is also believed that there are multiple planes existing simultaneously and that it is possible to pass through one plane to another, and to another, and so on). Think of Einstein and his explanations about worm holes or black holes, but instead of outer space, think of the mirror as the black hole of inner space. In fact, Quantum Physics and the Occult Sciences are very much connected and hold many of the same beliefs.
Strange Facts About Mirrors
1. Today, people still believe that breaking a mirror will bring you 7 years of bad luck? This comes from Ancient Roman culture where it was believed that your soul required 7 years between each incarnation to be ready for the next life. It was also believed that you gaze upon your soul when you look into a mirror, and if you break the mirror, you break you soul into pieces.
2. Some people believe if a mirror falls from where it hangs upon a wall, it's an omen that someone is going to die.
3. If a mirror hanging on the wall suddenly breaks or cracks for no apparent reason, this is taken by many to mean there is spiritual activity around.
If you'd like to read more about strange beliefs about mirrors, here is an interesting article I found by CMHypno in HubPages:
There are many more mysterious and creepy things about mirrors if you are interested and I have included a fantastic video link with this article for you. You may also be interested in things such as 'Why does it often feel like you are being watched when you are standing in front of a window when it's dark outside?'; whether you're doing the dishes or sitting and typing an article at your desk. When we think of all of these things (and windows are much more reflective for us at night, of course), it all comes down to seeing either ourselves or something we may not understand in mirrors. Some of us may 'see' more than we bargained for; or not...you decide.
Links For Further Reading: