Recently, I’ve been resonating with the concept of “mirrors”. Cyprianism refers to mirrors as a symbol and analogy many times. And one of my favorite non-Cyprian quotes is from writer and designer, Edith Wharton: “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
Before getting into proper Cyprian references to mirrors, let’s look at Wharton. First, it is important to understand that at the time she said that, electric light bulbs were not a thing. Once the sun went down you only had a handful of options if you wanted to light a room, your way, or your work. Candles had been used for centuries and somewhere along the way some smart soul added a mirror to the chamberstick which reflected, amplified and even directed the candlelight. At the time, this was ingenious.
In Her hand,
A mirror, silver and ornate
Reflecting our precious Moon
In our lives we are on a constant search for light. Not only to add it to our own experience – becoming “enlightened” – but to actually become light for this world. To let our Beautiful Lives shine as enviable examples for those around us. According to Wharton, there are two ways of doing the latter. We can be the candle, or we can be the mirror that reflects it. Both are Beautiful. Both are powerful.
Being the mirror means that you must be near the candle. That candle could be your study, your introspection, your night work. It can be your artistic endeavors, your desire for mastery. It can be your devotion to Beauty. And it can be those you choose to surround yourself with. This last is very important because not only does a mirror reflect light, but it reflects anything that gets near it. Choose wisely whom you spend your time with. At all times are they creating what you will reflect.
My Mystery, lifted veil
Moon, my Moon mid-sky and I
Your warrior, priest and mirror
Unclad and splayed
Will speak these things
But to REALLY understand how a mirror works, you must first understand light. It’s all physics. For our purposes, the same is true. We seek light and an understanding of it. And though we will reflect that light from the beginning, we also have the unique human Poetry to make better use of ourselves as mirrors by gaining understanding of that light and of how mirrors actually work. That makes us better mirrors.
What are you reflecting?
For She has given us Her mirror
The reflection of Her mysteries
And She has whispered it all
Directly to our hearts
In the symbolism of Cyprianism, the Virtue of Beauty is the mirror. This comes down to us from time immemorial for lots of reasons. Aphrodite’s symbol was the mirror (a reference to Her birth from the watery sea – water being the first mirror). It is also the planet symbol for Venus (♀), and the gender symbol of the Feminine. Alchemically, it is Copper and forms a portion of Quicksilver (Mercury – ☿ ).
We can defend Beauty by reflecting Her in us in whatever situation we find ourselves in. We can serve Her as mirrors by becoming Beautiful ourselves, living our Beautiful Lives. And when we create a masterwork of Beauty we can then bask in it and reflect it, amplifying it and even directing it to light the way for others.
And how should we Know Her?
By discovering Her
In Her mirror