This is a two-part post with two different ideas, but the two ideas are connected, I promise!
Most people would probably agree that words have power of some kind. However, does that mean the spoken word or the written word? The words we say are fleeting, ephemeral, instantaneous things that we can’t touch or see. Sure, they can hurt us or lift us up, but we can’t see the spoken word, though we can feel the effects they have, much like how we feel the wind. But the written word . . . I think the written word is a kind of magic all of its own.
Think about it. Take a pen and a piece of paper and write something. It can be as simple as your name. Write slowly, each mark deliberate. As you write, see how the ink flows from the pen onto the paper. Watch how that ink makes these strange lines, guided by your hand, that when you are finished will have meaning. Concentrate on how the pen feels, how the ink flows, how the paper feels against your skin. It’s enticing. There’s a reason why many writers, when they get into a groove, can write for hours. Writing can be meditative and wonderful.
The written word is far more permanent than the spoken word (obviously). We can go back and read words written a month ago, a year ago, a decade, a century, even something written millenia ago. It’s amazing when you think about it. Those people thousands of years ago were doing something we still do today. Yet in this age of computers and typing and texting and frenetic pacing, we don’t tend to write as much. Does anyone remember when people wrote letters? Imagine if, instead of an email, we all still wrote letters. Then compare that letter to a text message. It’s kind of mind-blowing.
Words have a magic all their own, and I think it’s sad that many people have lost their appreciation for the written word. It’s all about emails and text messages and Tweets and such. Gods, I’m starting to sound like an old lady complaining about “those darn young whippersnappers and their fool computers!”
To change the subject to something different yet related, the magic of words can be expressed in a Book of Mirrors. What is a Book of Mirrors, you ask? It’s not a Book of Shadows. Most people know what a Book of Shadows is, which is an optional book many Pagans, especially those of the Wiccan paths, will keep to record their spells, rituals, etc. and the effects of said magicks. But a Book of Mirrors is not a place for spells, necessarily. The “Mirrors” part of the name is significant. A Book of Mirrors is a journal, again optional, for those of the Pagan and usually Wiccan paths to use as a place of record and reflection.
Hence the name “Book of Mirrors.” This sort of book is a journal, but one especially geared toward one’s metaphysical studies. You don’t necessarily need to be in a coven or specific tradition to have a Book of Mirrors, though if you are of a specific tradition, that tradition might have more specific guidelines. What goes into this book is a record of your magickal studies. It’s meant to be a place of how you have progressed and changed, something you can use to go back and reflect on past mistakes or how far you’ve come. Like a more mundane journal or diary that many people keep, it’s useful to have so you can go back and read it to see how stupid you were back then (that was my reaction, anyway, when I went back and read one of my mundane journals).
Sadly, there isn’t much information about this sort of book on the Internet. Pretty much everything in this post is an amalgamation of what I found on Google plus my own thoughts. A Google search turns up some information, but I don’t think much of it is very useful other than for providing a definition of what a Book of Mirrors is and is not. You can use anything for a Book of Mirrors: small journal, large journal, spiral-bound, hardcover, fancy, simple, leather, hand-bound, even just plain old notebook paper and a three-ring binder.
What I do not recommend is an electronic Book of Mirrors. It won’t give you the same effect that a handwritten one will. You’re meant to “unplug,” in a way, from the computer and phone and reflect on the happenings in your spiritual life. Separate yourself from the distractions that a computer provides and really think about where you have been, where you are now, and where you’re going. This is part of the power of words: words are, at their most basic, a form of connection, of communication. In using a Book of Mirrors, you are communicating and connecting with yourself. This may not sound important, or it may sound like a “what is she talking about, connecting with myself? Aren’t I already connected? I’m here, aren’t I?” kind of statement. But think about it: can you remember what you were doing in your spiritual journey last week? Maybe, but how about last month? Last year? Can you say that you know yourself well enough to articulate it right now, without thinking about it first? A Book of Mirrors, over time, is supposed to help with those sorts of questions.
A Book of Mirrors is optional, however. Although I highly recommend keeping one, there are some people who are able to find this sort of connection over time in other ways that doesn’t involve journaling. And that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong in not using a Book of Mirrors, though I think it’s probably a good idea to use one when at the start of any spiritual endeavor. That way, when you’re all old and wise, you can go back and see how cute and probably naive you were when you started and appreciate how much you’ve changed and learned (I hope!).