The Kagami, a large, round mirror typically set in a beautifully carved stand, symbolises various deep aspects of Shinto beliefs, from the daily renewal of life to the embodiment of the soul of Amaterasu, the sun goddess.
My fascination with the Kagami deepened during a recent journey to Japan, where I had the unique opportunity to acquire two distinct mirrors, each with its own story and essence. The first, a treasure from the past, was found at an antique market at the Tomioka-hachimangu Shrine. This mirror, steeped in history, seemed to whisper tales of ancient rituals and long-held traditions. The second mirror, a contemporary reflection of spiritual craftsmanship, was purchased from the Power of Stone, a spiritual shop nestled in the heart of Kitchijoji.
These mirrors, one carrying the weight of history and the other the vibrancy of modern spiritual practice, now serve as physical and symbolic portals to the rich tapestry of Shinto spirituality and its potential integration into modern Witchcraft. Join me as I explore the multifaceted meanings of the Kagami and how these sacred objects can enhance our own spiritual journey.
The use of the Kagami, or mirror, in Shinto tradition provides a rich tapestry of symbolism and spiritual significance, which can be thoughtfully adapted and incorporated into modern Witchcraft rituals. Here are some ways the Kagami might be used in Witchcraft, drawing inspiration from its Shinto context:
Symbol of Divine Reflection: In modern Witchcraft, the Kagami could be used as a potent symbol for reflecting the divine within oneself, akin to the Shinto belief of the mirror reflecting the soul of Amaterasu. This could be integrated into rituals that focus on self-discovery, divine connection, or seeking inner wisdom.
Tool for Meditation and Visualization: The Kagami can be used as a focal point for meditation and visualization practices. Practitioners might gaze into the mirror to aid in visualizing the rise of personal power or the awakening of their spiritual self, mirroring the image of the rising sun.
Purification and Cleansing: Drawing from the Shinto concept of removing impurities to reveal one’s divine nature, the Kagami could be incorporated into rituals of purification. This could involve using the mirror in a symbolic act of cleansing one’s spiritual reflection, thereby removing negative energies or influences.
Gateway to the Divine: In ritual context, the Kagami can be seen as a portal or gateway to the divine realms. It could be used in ceremonies that involve communication with deities, spirits, or ancestors, serving as a conduit for messages and visions.
Reflection of Intentions and Goals: In spellwork or intention-setting rituals, the Kagami could be employed to reflect one’s goals or desired outcomes, reinforcing the power of visualization and manifestation.
Integration in Seasonal Rituals: Given the mirror’s association with the sun and its cycles in Shinto, it could be meaningfully integrated into seasonal rituals within Witchcraft, particularly those celebrating solar events like solstices and equinoxes.
Empowerment of Magical Tools: The Kagami could be used in the consecration of magical tools or spaces, reflecting the essence of the practitioner’s will and purpose, thereby charging the items with specific intentions.
Exploring Shadow Self: In shadow work, a practice in some Witchcraft traditions that involves confronting and integrating one's shadow aspects, the mirror can serve as a literal and metaphorical reflection of one's deeper, often unacknowledged, parts.
Incorporating the Kagami into modern Witchcraft should be done with respect and understanding of its origins and cultural significance. It offers a unique and powerful way to enrich one’s practice, blending ancient symbolism with contemporary magical work.
The Hermetic Mirror
If you have read Franz Bardon's classic work "Initiation into Hermetics", you will be familiar with his practice of reflection in an exercise described as constructing the 'black' and 'white' mirrors. This is a practiced not dissimilar to Shinto's use of the Kagami Mirror for meditation.
Bardon's concept of the 'black' and 'white' mirrors offers a deep metaphorical framework that can be creatively adapted into modern Witchcraft rituals and meditations. These mirrors, representing the positive (white) and negative (black) traits of the individual, can be aligned with the rich symbolism of the Kagami from the Shinto tradition. Here's how these ideas might be interwoven:
Self-Reflection and Balance: In Witchcraft, the practice of using both 'black' and 'white' mirrors can be a powerful tool for self-reflection and achieving balance. The 'white mirror' can reflect positive traits and strengths, aligning with the Shinto view of the Kagami, reflecting the divine nature and the sun's renewal. Conversely, the 'black mirror' can represent aspects of the shadow self, akin to the impurities and obstacles that cloud one's true nature in Shinto.
Dual Meditation Practice: Incorporate both mirrors in a meditation ritual where practitioners first use the 'white mirror' to focus on their positive attributes and divine connection and then the 'black mirror' to confront and integrate their shadow aspects. The use in the Shinto practice is to purify oneself to reveal intrinsic divinity, stripping away impurities to reach truth and sincerity.
Rituals for Personal Growth: Use the concept of these mirrors in rituals aimed at personal growth and transformation. Practitioners can meditate on the qualities reflected in each mirror, seeking to enhance the positive traits and work through the negative ones, mirroring the Shinto belief in continuous renewal and self-purification.
Spellwork for Self-Improvement: Spells could be crafted using the imagery of the 'black' and 'white' mirrors for specific self-improvement goals. For instance, a spell using the 'white mirror' might focus on amplifying personal strengths or talents, while one using the 'black mirror' could be aimed at overcoming personal challenges or fears.
Integration in Shadow Work: In line with modern Witchcraft practices, the 'black mirror' in particular can be a powerful tool for shadow work. It can help practitioners face their less desirable traits, much like the Shinto concept of acknowledging and cleansing impurities, to better understand and integrate these aspects of the self.
Divination Practices: Both mirrors can be used in divination, with the 'white mirror' providing insight into higher self or spiritual guides, and the 'black mirror' revealing hidden truths or warnings.
Balancing Rituals: Conduct rituals that specifically focus on balancing the aspects revealed by both mirrors, akin to maintaining harmony between the spiritual and mundane, or the divine and the shadow aspects in Shinto and Witchcraft traditions.
Seasonal Reflections: Use these mirrors in seasonal rituals to reflect on personal growth and challenges faced over the cycle of a year, drawing a parallel with the sun’s cycle and its symbolism in the Kagami.
By integrating Bardon's metaphors with the profound symbolism of the Kagami, modern Witchcraft can offer a nuanced approach to personal development, self-reflection, and spiritual growth, honouring both the light and shadow aspects of the self.