The eyes may be windows to the soul, but the Romans believed mirrors reflected the soul. From this belief, many cultures and people have believed that a soul could become trapped within a mirror. Unless you’re a vampire who has no soul, and therefore, no reflection.
Mirrors have been used for divination, for contacting the spirit world and for repelling curses, hexes and other evil forces. Mirrors are covered after a death to prevent the deceased soul from being trapped inside on its way to the afterlife.
And, of course, we’ve all heard that breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck. Did you also know that if a mirror falls and breaks without human intervention that it means a death in the family?
In literature, the use of “magic” mirrors has played with our many folkloric beliefs. In the 2000 television mini-series, The 10th Kingdom, there were traveling mirrors, a truth revealing mirror, a mirror that answers questions (but only in rhyme), a mirror that spies on people, a mirror to help you forget, a mirror to help you remember and a mirror to rule the world.
The 10th Kingdom’s traveling mirror is similar to Alice’s Looking Glass. Young Alice stepped through her mirror and entered the world on the other side. When Virginia and her father jump through the traveling mirror they entered a parallel world of fairy tale.
In The Fellowship of the Ring, Galadriel’s mirror is made of water and can show the past, present and future. And, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone the Mirror of Erised (Desire spelled backwards), will show a person nothing more or less than their heart’s greatest desires.
In my fantasy suspense series Gemma Leighton inherits a magic mirror that records all the goings on at the huge mansion that is part of her inheritance. But, this mirror can only show what it, or another mirror, in the mansion reflects. In the first book, The Demons We Cherish, the mirror can’t show Gemma who attacked her in the basement because there is no mirror in the room. At one time there was a mirror there, but it broke and was never replaced.
This mirror was created by the first mistress of the mansion, Meribelle Fontaine Bosworth in 1829. Meribelle was a magically aware person who learned how to attract and manipulate the hidden magic in our world. When Meribelle and her husband were scouting land for their new home, she discovered a spring inhabited by Sprites, magical water elementals. Meribelle had her husband build the mansion on this site making the spring the centerpiece of a large indoor atrium. It was the waters of this spring that gave the mirror the ability to record and replay everything it saw.
Now that the holidays are over and the guests have gone home, I will be dedicating my time to expanding the magical world and history of Merivale Mansion with the second book in the series and a short story prequel.
Keep checking in to learn more about Gemma, Meribelle, the Sprites, the Hobs, their cousins the Nains, Breknell the shape shifting raven and Mrs. Landy the ancient spirit guardian.