Most cultures worldwide have at least a handful of superstitions about mirrors and use these objects in strange rituals and traditions as a divination medium.
The history of mirrors as an object of divination is particularly fascinating. It continues to be used in various magical rituals, protection spells, and as a communication medium with spirits.
From where you should put mirrors in your house to why breaking a mirror is bad luck, here are some of the most interesting and fascinating mirror superstitions.
Whether you are superstitious or not, you may have heard of many customs, myths, and superstitions about mirrors.
And since the United States is a country where cultures from all over the world coexist, you are likely to have encountered at least some strange mirror superstitions.
Where to Place Mirrors in the House
Although many of us view mirrors as decorative objects, it is interesting that some cultures have a series of superstitions about mirrors and their place in a house.
According to an old tradition, there shouldn’t be any square or rectangular mirrors in a house.
This bizarre mirror superstition could be explained by the belief that sharp corners are believed to induce an unpleasant atmosphere and can cause quarrels in the family.
Another similar belief dictates that only beneficial mirrors have an oval or round shape.
These mirrors can amplify positive energies in a room, reduce stress and anxiety and promote self-confidence.
On the other hand, according to another superstition about mirrors, large mirrors should always be placed in the hallway facing the entrance door. By doing this, you are warded against evil spirits and bad luck.
What to Do if You Break a Mirror
One of the most common superstitions about mirrors is that breaking a mirror foreshadows seven years of bad luck or, according to some myths, even death.
This fear originated in the 1st century AD in Rome.
Ancient Romans believed that a person’s health changes every seven years. Since the mirror reflects the human appearance, breaking a mirror means affecting that person’s health for seven years.
People have devised various solutions to escape the seven years of bad luck.
Some say you should collect the glass fragments and put them in a bowl with water or bury them on a night with a full moon.
Mirrors Can Reveal One’s Soul
According to old beliefs, mirrors have the power to reflect an image of the soul. And since some fantastic creatures, such as vampires and witches, have no soul, they have no reflection when they look in the mirror.
In fact, the so-called vampire hunters of the past always carried a mirror with them. They believed this would help them identify night creatures more easily.
From this belief, more myths and superstitions about mirrors have arisen, which suggest that mirrors have the power to show a person’s true appearance.
Bloody Mary Urban Legend
One of the most famous urban legends and a common dare in the game of “Truth or Dare” is the legend of Bloody Mary, the story of a malevolent spirit closely related to several mirror superstitions.
The ritual by which the spirit can be invoked implicates saying the name “Bloody Mary” thirteen times (or just three times in other versions of the myth) in front of a mirror, in a dark room.
This ritual is connected to one ancient mirror superstition – the mirror can become a prison for lost souls.
This is also why in some cultures, when someone dies, all the mirrors in that house are covered with a piece of black cloth to prevent the deceased’s soul from remaining captive in the mirrors.
A Mirror Can Reflect the Image of Your Future Husband
In a strange Halloween tradition, it is said that if you peel an apple in a long continuous strip in front of a mirror and then throw the peel over your left shoulder with your right hand, your future husband will reveal himself in the mirror.
Mirrors in Feng Shui
According to the principles of feng shui, having a mirror pointed toward the bed is not recommended if you want a balanced and harmonious bedroom.
This is due to the belief that the body and spirit are restored during sleep. And since an old mirror superstition says that the mirror can reflect anything, it can also reflect back all the negative energies released during sleep.
In Ancient Greece, using water and a mirror for divination was common. The technique was known as “catoptromancy.”
Even today, fortune-tellers and soothsayers (called “scryers” or “those who see”) use a similar technique with crystals and mirrors to look into the past and the future.
The use of the mirror is the opposite of necromancy (the mere evocation of the dead) since the mirror can show people who do not yet exist or who perform an action they will only do later.
The first “mirror” used for divination was, perhaps, the water’s surface, in which primitive people were surprised by their trembling reflection.
Due to the analogy between water and mirrors, they are often used for magical purposes.
For example, the Bambara tribes use mirror shards in rituals invoking rain.
In Central Asia, shamans practice prophecy with the help of mirrors, pointing toward the sun or moon (which they believe to be huge mirrors reflecting everything that happens on Earth.)
Besides, shamans’ garments are often decorated with tiny mirrors to protect shamans from evil spirits during their travels.
The use of mirrors in divination can also be seen in the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration, where mirrors are used to communicate with the spirits of the deceased.
Another mirror superstition is that the gods’ will can be “read” in a mirror. Therefore, the accidental breaking of a mirror was interpreted as the gods’ attempt to prevent people from seeing their future.
Mirrors have been an object of fascination and mystery for centuries. As a result, various cultures have developed a range of superstitions related to them.
Whether they are believed to be portals to other dimensions or harbingers of bad luck, mirror superstitions can be found all around the world.
In Western cultures, breaking a mirror is said to bring seven years of bad luck.
This belief stems from ancient Roman culture, where mirrors were considered a reflection of a person’s soul.
If a mirror was broken, it was believed that the soul would be damaged, and the person would be cursed with bad luck.
In some Western countries, it is believed that seeing a black cat in a mirror is a sign of impending death.
This superstition may have originated from the belief that witches could transform themselves into black cats and that seeing a black cat in a mirror was a sign that a witch was nearby.
In some Asian cultures, mirrors are considered portals to the spirit world.
It is thought that when a person dies, their spirit becomes trapped in the mirror. Therefore, leaving a mirror in a room where someone has died is considered bad luck.
Additionally, it is believed that covering mirrors during thunderstorms will prevent spirits from entering the room through the mirror.
In China, it is believed that placing a mirror facing the bed can cause restless sleep and bad dreams.
This is because the mirror is thought to reflect the soul, and having it face the bed can cause disturbances in the person’s sleep and dream patterns. This belief is the basis for the horror movie trope of haunted mirrors.
In some African cultures, mirrors are believed to be gateways to evil spirits. It is thought that if a person looks into a mirror for too long, they may become possessed by an evil spirit.
It is believed that mirrors can also trap a person’s soul, making them vulnerable to possession.
In South American countries, mirrors are believed to be a way to ward off evil spirits. It is thought that placing a mirror facing outwards towards the door will scare away evil spirits and prevent them from entering the house.
Another superstition in South America is that mirrors can reveal a person’s true intentions.
It is believed that if a person looks into a mirror while thinking of someone, the mirror will reveal their true nature. This can be used as a way to determine if someone is trustworthy or not.
Mirrors have been an object of fascination throughout history. Mirrors have held immense symbolism and meaning from ancient times to modern-day culture.
The concept of mirrors and their reflection has been used in various forms of art, literature, and folklore to convey messages of truth, duality, self-reflection, and superstition.
History of Mirror Symbolism
The earliest known mirrors were made from polished stone, such as obsidian, and were used by the ancient people of Central and South America.
Mirrors made from polished copper and bronze were used in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. However, it was only in the 15th century that mirrors as we know them today were invented in Venice, Italy.
These early mirrors were made from metallic backing glass and were highly prized for their reflective properties.
The symbolism of mirrors can be traced back to ancient Greek and Roman mythology.
In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a handsome youth who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water and eventually died of unrequited love.
In Roman mythology, the goddess Venus was said to have a magic mirror that could reveal the true nature of a person’s soul.
In Buddhism, mirrors are often used to symbolize self-reflection and introspection.
The idea is that by looking into a mirror, one can gain insight into their own mind and become more aware of their thoughts and emotions.
Similarly, in Hinduism, mirrors are used as a symbol of the soul, and it is said that one can see their own reflection in the mirror of the soul.
Mirror Symbolism in Art and Literature
The symbolism of mirrors has been used in art and literature to convey various meanings.
In Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass,” the mirror is a portal to an alternate reality.
In Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” the mirror serves as a symbol of the character’s inner corruption.
In the visual arts, mirrors have been used to convey the duality of existence, with the reflection representing the opposite or hidden side of reality.
At Ancient Theory we only use trusted sources to document our articles. Such relevant sources include authentic documents, newspaper and magazine articles, established authors, or reputable websites.
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