A mirror is something that we are used to in today’s modern world. It is the last thing we look at before leaving the house, and one of the first things we look at in the morning.
We are so used to seeing our own reflection that it has become more of a necessity than a privilege to have one.
Having been invented in the sixteenth century, mirrors were created for those who lived a life of luxury – they could afford them and would want to use a mirror.
Those who were not in this class of society did not have a mirror, and just like those before them, they would use materials like brass, metal, and water to see their own reflection.
They are a unique item, allowing you to see yourself staring back at you, but reflected the wrong way round to how everyone else sees you.
We shall take a look at what mirrors symbolize and how they have been used in the likes of culture.
Mirrors Used In Culture
There are many pieces of literature and pop culture that use mirrors as part of the storytelling.
These usually cover areas such as courage or discovery. Here are some of those (can you remember any?):
Originally by the Brothers Grimm (not Disney), the mirror has a couple of meanings and they are evil. The Queen uses the mirror to find out knowledge, usually who the most beautiful lady is.
And then, secondly, the mirror depicts self-obsession and general vanity.
The Queen is focused on her own self-worth through how she looks, and when another person is said to be the most beautiful, it makes her angry.
‘Mirror’ Song By Justin Timberlake
In this song, the mirror is used as a way to be the reflection of a soul. In the video, he looks at a lover and sees himself reflected within her soul.
‘Mirror’ Poem By Sylvia Plath
The poem is about how a girl goes from a young to an old woman as she sees her reflection change over the course of the words. This poem shows a mirror as a god that tells the truth without softening anything.
‘Mirrors 2’ Movie By Matt Venne
This film plays on the fact that a mirror has been said to trap souls and that it can be a crossover between different worlds.
‘Mirror’ By Bruno Mars And Lil’ Wayne
This one is about the subconscious and the conscious. The singer has a conversation with their own reflection within the mirror.
A mirror reflects images by using light, a little like how the lens of a camera works.
For this very reason, a mirror has a connection with the symbolism of light. Here are the main areas of the symbolization of a mirror and what they mean:
When you look in the mirror, you are looking at yourself. It is about highlighting areas of yourself that you are unable to see with your eyes without looking at your reflection. It brings knowledge to you about yourself.
A little like knowledge, again it is about seeing one’s self through the reflection of a mirror.
It shows you the truth of who you are, and will not lie about how you look to make you feel better about the situation.
If you have acne, have put weight on, or are wearing a new outfit, it will not tell you what you want to hear. It can also motivate you to do and look better.
This one is also related to knowledge, it shows how a mirror can present to you a new way of seeing yourself, ultimately giving you wisdom about yourself.
Relating to the Greek myth of Narcissus, the boy who ended up falling in love with his own reflection. He kept staring at it reflected from a pool, until one day he turned into a flower.
We have all heard about mirrors being the source of all vanity. It is said to help feed those with a very unhealthy amount of their own self-esteem.
There have been many folklores, both modern and ancient, that tell of mirrors holding lots of magic, as well as being able to hold a soul from being at peace.
This is one of the reasons mirrors have been covered during funerals.
In something like literature or art, mirrors have been used as a symbol of deception.
They have shown how someone can fall in love with their own reflection, however, the image is not a true representation of themself.
Mirrors are said to trigger a type of self-awareness, sort of introducing us to a persona. Instead of looking at your consciousness, you are able to look at your subconsciousness.
Examining the soul
Because the ancient world believed that if you looked at your reflection it meant you were looking at your soul, movies that have vampires in it are made to avoid looking at their reflection as they do not have a soul.
Though as we know, if you have ever seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer, they do not have a reflection!
Some believe mirrors are the route to another realm, and just like in magic, the Chinese, Egyptians, and other cultures cover the mirrors during funerals to allow a soul to pass to heaven safely.
Mirrors have had a long history and represent good and bad, from being a positive way to look at ourselves, to being a place where souls can become trapped.
One thing we can all relate to, however, is that it does show us the true reflection of ourselves as we look at it and see our own face looking back at us.
In today’s world, we embrace the mirror and it has become a feature of the home, as well as something we look into without thinking about the symbolisms it holds in other cultures or from the past.
One thing is for sure though, the next time you look at it, know that the person staring back at you is awesome!