Day 319: Using Your Magic Mirror

What exactly happens during a scrying session?  Well, what basically happens is that the seer uses the mirror as a meditative focus to relax his or her mind and enter a sort of trance-like meditative state that we call accessing the astral plane.  Once there, the seer is likely to see images on the focal point, in this case the mirror.  Other seers sense the image (or other sensations) in their minds.

To use the mirror, go to a darkened room and light a candle.  Set the candle behind the mirror.  Place the mirror so that you can sit and comfortably gaze into its reflective surface.  After everything is set in place, hold your hands to the mirror’s surface and whisper three times the mirror’s secret, subtle name.  This activates the energies you have set into the mirror.

As you gaze into the mirror, allow your mind to become a blank page.  Let your critical thinking take a well-deserved break for the next twenty minutes or so.  If you notice thoughts coming up, simply notice them.  Don’t try to stop your thoughts, just observe them.

With the aid of this psychic tool, your vision will eventually break through to the astral plane.  You will know that you are there because you will begin to see random imagery.  For today’s practice, do not concern yourself with the meaning of the imagery.  Simply jot down what it is you see in the mirror.  When you are finished, cover the mirror with your silk and extinguish the candle.

Scrying is hard!  It’s not something I’ve ever really practiced at, so there is that, but I also think I’m as psychic as a 2×4…so there is that, too.  Interestingly, I did discover that putting the mirror in a self-standing frame meant that I could prop the mirror and a candle up on a little table near my bed and get my self all nice and cozy while being able to comfortably stare into the glass.  It definitely seemed less straining than constantly looking down into a bowl of water (and then potentially spilling that water all over your lap as you lapsed into trance).

I didn’t really get a clear image from this session, but after about 10 minutes or so, I got the impression of a face flickering in and out, except that it was a stark white face with an empty (or black) eyes and mouth.  After a few minutes of seeing this face, I realized it strongly reminded me of the comedy and tragedy masks.  Very weird indeed.

Comedy and Drama

Comedy and Tragedy

Day 318: Charging Your Magic Mirror

What You’ll Need:

  • Your circle-casting tools
  • A 5-6 inch purple taper candle
  • A piece of red, black, or purple silk, large enough to cover the entire mirror

Cast your circle as usual.  Using Theban script, scribe with a pin (or your white-handled knife) the mirror’s spiritual name on the purple candle.  Go to the east of your circle and place the magic mirror in front of you so that you can see its dark reflective surface.  Hold your hands palms facing outward (toward the east) just above the mirror.  Close your eyes and imagine that you gather the spiritual energy of the element of air in your hands.  Imagine a bright yellow mist that forms in the palms of your hands.  Once you see this clearly, bring your palms together, forming the yellow mist into a single ball of energy.  Now thrust the ball of energy toward the mirror’s surface.  Imagine the yellow energy entering and infusing the mirror with the spiritual energies of air.

Now take the mirror to the south of the circle, set it before you, and repeat the process with the element of fire.  Hold your hands palms facing outward (toward the south) just above the mirror.  Close your eyes and imagine that you gather the spiritual energy of the element of fire in your hands.  Imagine a bright red mist that forms in the palms of your hands.  Once you see this clearly, bring your palms together, forming the red mist into a single ball of energy.  Direct the ball of energy toward the mirror’s surface and image it entering and infusing the mirror with the spiritual energies of fire.

Repeat this process in the west, forming a blue ball of energy that you will thrust into the mirror.  Finally, repeat this process in the north, forming a green ball of energy that you set into the mirror.

Now return the mirror to the altar in the center of your circle.  Hold your hands on the mirror’s surface and intone its secret name.  As you do this, bring your cupped hands to your mouth.  Continue to intone the word in your cupped hands.  Feel the vibration of sound.  Close your eyes and imagine that as you intone the secret name, a white ball of energy forms inside of your cupped hands.  When you see the energy clearly, stop intoning the name and propel the white ball of energy into the mirror’s dark surface.

Light the purple candle with the inscribed secret name.  Turn the inscription so that it faces the mirror’s black reflective surface.  Allow the candle to burn out completely.  While the candle burns, close your circle.

In magical lore, silk has a retentive property to it, so when the candle has burned out, cover the mirror’s surface completely with a length of red, black, or purple silk.  From now on, whenever you finish magical work with your mirror, cover it with this silk cloth.

All blessed, named, and charged!

All blessed, named, and charged!

Voila!  All done to specifications.  I did learn, though, that I need to do some remedial work in sensing and physically manipulating energy.  I think my energy balls were awfully weak!

Day 317: Learning the Mirror’s Sacred Name

Today, Roderick asks us to find our mirror’s sacred name, and then to set it again in the windowsill to collect the moonlight.

I suspect that this exercise might be here mostly to give us a technique on discovering a sacred name.  In all my reading, I have yet to see something about a person ‘finding the sacred name’ of one of their divination tools (though I know plenty of pagans who do give their tools pet names!)

It is true, however, that magical lore is full of stories that describe how knowing a ‘real’ or ‘sacred’ name of a person or object will give you a power over that person or object.  Therefore, it is not a bad idea to develop a technique that gives you something that you, at least, believe is someone or something’s secret name.  At the very least, you will harm nothing, and–at most–you will strengthen your spellwork.

To begin, place the mirror in front of you.  Hold out your hands and touch the mirror’s surface.  Close your eyes and begin to take several deep, slow breaths.  Imagine that you travel down your arms, out through your hands, and project your spiritual body into the magic mirror.  Sense yourself becoming united with the object.  Expand your spirit so that you fill every crevice and nook of the mirror.  When you are ready, a word, a sound, or a vibration will begin to form in your throat.  Allow whatever this sound may be to emerge unedited.

Once you have connected with the sound, say it aloud.  Open your eyes and write it down.  This is the spiritual name of your magic mirror.  You might try this exercise with people, animals, plants, and other objects today.  How does it feel once you utter the spiritual name of things?  What is your spiritual name?

Maureen it is!

Maureen it is!

I thought I would feel a little silly performing this activity, but I didn’t.  It was rather enlightening to meditate and find “me”, then to force “me” into the mirror.  It was a little difficult at first, and it was hard to pull back and get centered in my body again.  It also took a really long time for that sound to start forming…and do you know what eventually came out?

MAUREEN!

How bizarre is that?  I was not anticipating anything like that.  Maybe a few sounds or perhaps some name I’d had an affinity for…but Maureen?  It’s not a name I’ve thought about or come across in years!  What a hoot.  Maureen, I suppose, it is.

Funnily, I did get the sense that Maureen isn’t necessarily the name of this speculum in particular, but–rather–the name of the line of energy that allows scrying in any particular speculum for me.  I guess I’ll think of “her” as my own particular woman behind the looking glass.

Day 316: Blessing the Mirror

Set up for the working.  Incidentally, with "spell" pictures like this, I pose them beforehand.  I kinda think it's bad juju to photograph a spell-in-process.

Set up for the working. Incidentally, with spell pictures like this, I pose them beforehand. I kinda think it’s bad juju to photograph a spell-in-process.

What You’ll Need:

  • Circle-casting tools
  • Magic mirror
  • A 5-6 inch purple taper candle
  • Dried white sage, frankincense, or dragon’s blood resin

Cast a circle as you have learned to do.  Sprinkle the mirror with your salt and water mixture, saying:

I consecrate thee, O creature of the Art, with the elements of water and of earth.

Carry the mirror to the west and then to the north of your circle.  At each quarter show the mirror to the elementals, saying:

(Undines/Gnomes), here me now; reflect the truth of thy knowing!

Return to the altar.  Sprinkle the hot coals in your brazier with your chosen incense (sage, frankincense, or dragon’s blood) and allow it to smolder.  Cense the entire mirror with this magical smoke, saying:

I consecrate thee, O creature of the Art, with the element of air and of fire.

Carry the mirror to the eastern and then to the southern quarters and show it to the elementals, saying:

(Sylphs/Salamanders), hear me now; reflect the truth of thy knowing!

Bring the mirror to the center of the circle and set it flat on the altar, with the dark mirror side facing up.  Using your white-handled knife (or a pin, if you do not have a white-handled knife), inscribe the word “vision” onto the purple candle, using Theban script.  Light the candle and place it in a holder.  Set the holder on top of the mirror’s surface.

Close your circle, but allow the candle to burn completely out.  Once the candle has extinguished, set the mirror again on your windowsill so that the moon can reflect its light upon the mirror’s surface throughout the night.

I performed this exactly as written above (which I altered from Roderick’s original slight in that I combined air and fire like water and earth, as is my practice), with the exception of using regular Roman script rather than Theban.   Gazing at the mirror now, I don’t feel like it’s one giant blank as I did before.  In fact, I do think the elemental forces are working just behind its surface.

Dying Scarves for Divination Protection

Looking ahead into the 366, I saw that Roderick wanted us to acquire a colored silk scarf to wrap the scrying mirror we’ll make when it’s not in use in order to give it a little psychic insulation.

In the past, I’ve not really bothered to find the various colored scarves Roderick’s asked for to wrap my tools in because I’m really trying to watch my money and acquiring a rainbow of silks can certainly get expensive in a hurry.  However, my housemate S.A. recently acquired several white, 100% silk scarves that she planned to artistically dye with her pysanky dyes.  Since I, too, have a collection of UGS pysanky dyes (and probably should re-make them before another pysanky batch), I decided to try my hand at the process as well.

As it happens, this turned out to be a lot easier than other dye projects I’ve done in the past!  There were no vats of boiling dye all over the kitchen.  In fact, I didn’t boil a single pot.  Instead, I used a technique pretty similar to what the video above.  I soaked the scarf in a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water, then wrung the scarf out.  After that, I folded or twisted the scarf into a pattern I thought would be attractive and used an eyedropper to drop my desired colors where I wanted them.  After that, I put the scarf in an 8×8 Pyrex baking dish, covered the dish with a sacrificial kitchen towel (it did start smoking at one point), and put the whole thing in my microwave for 4 minutes.  After that, I just rinsed the scarf in cold water until the water ran pretty clear, then I hand washed the scarf in a little laundry detergent and hot water, and rinsed it again until the water once again ran clear.  Afterwards, I hung the scarves up to dry, and then ironed them when they were just slightly damp.  Beautiful!

Two of the scarves I made in this first attempt.

Two of the scarves I made in this first attempt.

Though black, white, and purple are typically the colors one uses to protect divination materials, I decided to use black, blue, and yellow for the scarf I’ll use to protect my tarot cards.  I chose to dye it in a circular motif because I wanted to nod toward the idea of the nazar boncukları, which often incorporate these three colors.  To get the circular effect, I basically just did a standard tie die set up.  I folded the scarf into quarters to find the middle, then I pinched that middle and twisted the scarf into a loose rope.  Then I secured it in various places with rubber bands and used an eye dropper and black dye to die the concentric rings and solid middle.  I then microwaved the scarf for four minutes, rinsed it in cold water until the water ran pretty clear, removed the bands, and dunked the scarf again in the vinegar water.  Next, I folded the scarf into quarters again and set it on a sheet of waxed paper and dripped lines radiating out of the center point with blue dye, which was then followed by another microwave round.  Finally, I opened the entire scarf onto waxed paper and dripped a little yellow dye into each remaining white section, taking care to keep away from the blue lines but to overlap the black ones, and finished with a final microwave round and a LOT of rinsing (I thought the yellow would never stop coming out!)

The red, purple, and black scarf  I intend to use to wrap my scrying mirror as Roderick suggests, and dying it was a lot more free form.  I just folded the scarf in half, folded it in half again lengthwise, and then repeated that process until I had a 4 inch wide strip.  (In retrospect, I should have accordian-folded it.)  I then dripped “stripes” of black, red, and purple dye down the scarf and microwaved that, then rinsed it out.  When I unfolded the scarf, I saw that the more central parts missed a bit of the dye, so I soaked it again in the vinegar water and touched up the large white areas with a little more purple dye, then microwaved, rinsed, washed, and rinsed again.

Given that my UGS pysanky dyes are pretty darn water soluble, I’m amazed that the dyes even stayed on the fabric at all, let alone turned out as vibrant as they are on the final product.  Better yet, the dyes aren’t rubbing off at all now that the scarves are ironed and dried.  I tested their colorfastness m by steam ironing them on a piece of white muslin and rubbing the muslin with some damp corners.  No bleeding!  I think that if S.A. finds more of these white scarves, I’ll whip up something in the elemental colors for each of my magical tools!

Day 315: The Magic Mirror

Today we shift our focus away from the tarot deck and to a new form of divination:  scrying.  Scrying refers to the practice of gazing into a crystal or another shiny object or surface to obtain a clairvoyant vision.  The object used in scrying is often referred to as a speculum, and exactly what that speculum is varies widely.  There is, of course, the famous crystal ball, though it seems that very few pagans use these as they are awfully expensive (and larger ones are wickedly heavy!).  Solid glass balls that look like crystal balls are less expensive, but not too many pagans are drawn to them.  Those who opt for a glass speculum might actually choose hollow balls with a shiny, reflective surface, such as the 19th-century Witch Balls pictured below.  In her book, An ABC of Witchcraft, Doreen Valiente suggests that this type of mirrored globe might also be called a watch ball, and notes that their specific attraction is like scrying:  “if you watched them long enough the mirrored scene in them would fade out and change into a visionary picture”.  In her entry on scrying, Valiente also notes that “Witches in sea-coast towns particularly liked” the “beautiful dark green or blue glass” globes fishermen used as net floats for their speculums, and that many other witches–such as “the famous Irish witch, Biddy Early”–used blue glass bottles filled with water for their speculums.

Antique French witch balls from the late 19th century.

Antique French witch balls from the late 19th century.

Another very popular scrying tool is some form of a black reflective surface, which can be easily achieved  by filling a black ceramic bowl with water.  In some of the very earliest classes I attended in Hartwood Grove, we practiced scrying with a wide black bowl that D. filled with water, then added a silver coin to.  She then darkened the water with charcoal.  I’m more of a fan of this speculum than I am of any other, but today Roderick would like us to construct a “magic mirror”, which is simply a piece of glass whose backside is painted black.

The magic mirror I've just created today.  Not to Valiente's specifications, but it'll do just fine.

The magic mirror I’ve just created today. Not to Valiente’s specifications, but it’ll do just fine.

Doreen Valiente has some pretty specific requirements for such a speculum.  The mirror, she writes, should be made with “a round, concave piece of glass” and “some good black enamel”.  This mirror “should be made in the increase of the moon, and given three coats of black upon the back of it; that is, upon the convex or upward-curving side.  Let each coat dry thoroughly before applying the next.  Then the mirror needs to be framed according to the worker’s own ingenuity.”  Valiente does, however, note that her mirror is set into a box with a lid that can be closed, which she appreciates “because no speculum should be exposed to bright light, especially direct sunlight, as this can completely upset its sensitivity.”  (She does however, note that moonlight is positive and charges the speculum with power.)  Whatever speculum is created by the witch, Valiente says that witches should consecrate it on the full moon and keep it in a special case or wrapped in black silk when it is not in use.

If following Valiente’s guidelines is appealing to you, one of the more easy ways to find a concave piece of glass is to shop for a selection of clocks.  Very often, a clock’s face will be covered in a piece of convex glass.  You might very well be able to remove the clock innards, flip over the glass, and reframe it in the clock’s frame, too.

My $1.35 Magic Mirror in the making...

My $1.35 Magic Mirror in the making…

I, however, am not that invested in this project since I’m not big on scrying in the first place and am not really big on mirrors in the second.  So I got myself a regular old picture frame at the Dollar Store and scored some free black spray paint from a housemate.  I highly recommend the use of spray paint.  Three light coats will definitely give you great, even coverage, and each one dries in just a few minutes.  I think I spent maybe 10 minutes on this whole project.  Simply pop the glass out of the frame, make sure the surface you are going to paint is clean and dry, then lay it onto a surface you don’t mind getting overspray on.  Shake up a can of black spray paint and give it a light coat of paint, taking care to use even strokes and not lingering on any one area too long.  Let it dry and repeat twice more.

I sprinkled mugwort onto the back of my mirror.  Mugwort, as you can see, is a clumper!

I sprinkled mugwort onto the back of my mirror. Mugwort, as you can see, is a clumper!

If you are going to follow Roderick’s recommendation of adding psychic condenser herbs (mugwort, star anise, poppyseed, yarrow, cinquefoil, hemp) to the mirror, make the third coat of paint a little heavier and immediately sprinkle your chosen mixture onto the wet paint.  When the paint has dried, shake as much of the extra herb from the mirror (do not pick or wipe it as you may mar the gazing finish), and replace the glass back into the frame with the unpainted side facing out of the viewing opening.  Reattach the frame back and you’re all set!

Roderick recommends setting our unconsecrated mirrors in a windowsill tonight so that it can absorb and reflect the moonlight.

Follow-up to Day 314’s Reading

Yesterday in my sample Celtic Cross spread, I asked “What are the influences surrounding my love life” and I got a really dismal response that basically said people think I’m horrible and I’m only reaping what I have sown and that I’ll forever be alone if I keep on this path.

So I did the obvious thing:  I asked how I can change these influences.  This was the reading I got in response:

100_6383Before I discuss any cards, I think it’s important to note that the entire horizontal bar of the Circle/Cross is all sevens.  Seven is associated with the Chariot and a dispassionate search for truth, and a prominence of sevens in a reading suggests a period of learning, and inner growth.  It’s a reminder, then, to focus on spiritual growth rather than materialistic ambitions:  something very key to this particular question.

The heart of the matter in changing the influences on my love life is the reversed Ten of Pentacles, which means family problems and financial loss:  two things that are inextricably tied together in my life.  It can also mean worries about an elder–and I worry a lot about my mother and how she’ll live post divorce (she has almost no income and no retirement plans:  family consensus is that she will live with me once I am settled).  I’ve got to work through all of this in order to have any real change.

The challenge within this healing is the Seven of Pentacles, which indicates that I’ll feel like this will be a huge waste of time–but that this feeling is an illusion.  There’s a plateau here, but effort will eventually pay off in big ways.

The root cause for wanting to change is–SO EERILY APPROPRIATE–the Lovers.  This is a card that is the best of relationships:  so healthily balanced.  The pair support and complete each other perfectly.  This is what I ultimately want from this path to change.

My recent past card is the reversed Seven of Swords, which means developing an appreciation.  Most negatively it can mean laziness and chickening out–which are both definitely aspects of my present and past.  I’m too lazy to pursue relationships, and when opportunity presents, I chicken out.  It also means acknowledging a wrong and apologizing.  I think this means a self-apology in my case:  appreciating the fact that my past strategies were poor and that I embrace a new path of learning.

A conscious goal and possible outcome of this path is the Three of Cups, which is a card of joy.  It’s the “eat, drink, and be merry” card.  It can mean uniting with others and satisfaction of initial completion.  It can mean hospitality and the freedom from want  It can also mean conception, pregnancy, and marriage.  Above all, it means healing and renewed health.  Yes, yes, and yes!  All of these would definitely be the consciously sought for outcomes.

The immediate future influences are the Seven of Wands which indicates a struggle to stay on top–to be “king of the hill”.  It indicates that I’ll struggle not to slip back into my old ways, but that I’ll find the inner strength to persevere.  Don’t give up the struggle!

All the cards in the Staff are reversed, which makes me groan.  At first glance, all I see are no-no-no!  But, of course, reversals are more subtle than this.

How I see myself undergoing this change is reversed Temperance, which is basically rampant immoderation and overdoing it.  I don’t think this necessarily indicates that I will be feckless and fickle and ruled by my lusts…just that it will feel that way since I’ve been repressing them for so long.

The positive angle of that interpretation is reinforced by my environmental card: the reversed Eight of Swords.  This means that others will see the removal of obstructions and breaking free–empowerment.  I’ll be able to confront my anxieties, and all around me will see the emergence of a new self.  (Halleluiah!)

My hopes and fears card is the reversed Four of Pentacles, which I like to think of as the miser card.  This is a bit of a tricky one as traditionally the upright is associated with healthy conservatism.  The Robin Wood deck, though, emphasizes the miserly aspects in the upright card–just look at how desperately unhappy his face is!  Reversed then, I think that this means the greed so prominent in my first reading is now the fears of my attempt to change those influences, but that my hope is to change them to a healthy conservatism and to bring a balance to what is, actually, a health sense of self-preservation indicated by the reversal.

The ultimate outcome of the reading is reversed Justice, which is dismaying.  I don’t see this as a full negation of Justice but rather an indication that the restoration of a balance in my love life is probably going to be a longer time in coming than what I would like it to be (which connects back to the inner core)…but that balance is in the works if I can see it all through.