Ever since Reading Caroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass I’ve had a fascination with mirrors and what might be on “the other side.” This, and other things (preparations for a project I plan to engage in later this summer) led me to decide I should experiment with making a scrying mirror. You can find all manner of instructions for making one through a simple internet search, most of which tell you to take the glass out of a picture frame, paint the back of it black, and put the glass back into the frame. Voila! A scrying mirror.

I read a number of these articles and took note of the various tips on materials and methods, but I also had a slightly different objective in mind, due to having read this article several years ago about some black mirrors found in a storage room of AMORC headquarters in San Jose. I found the description of the mirrors intriguing: nearly black, but actually a very dark violet or indigo. I also noted that chemical analysis showed the mirrors’ coating contained traces of silver.

So, when I went out to buy acrylic paint for making my mirror, I not only bought black paint, I also got violet and metallic silver. Mixing them was tricky, but I finally came up with a shimmering purple-y dark gray that looked about right. Painting the three coats was easy enough (one vertical, one horizontal, one diagonal). It didn’t take that long, besides the usual slower pace of work that comes from working during the appropriate planetary hours.

I began using the mirror last week with not-so-dramatic results. I figure that’s par for the course. I don’t expect to learn something like this overnight. What I’m doing is setting up a working space with the LBRP, and then opening up one of the quarters. At first my idea was to simply scry the element of that direction (starting with North/earth). I quickly came to the conclusion that seemed a vague objective, so I switched to calling the cherub of that element to appear in the glass. I’ve searched forever to find names for the four cherubs, and the closest I’ve ever come has been Adam, Aryeh, Nesher and Shor. But that strikes me as sort of lame, since those are just the Hebrew words for man, lion, eagle, and bull. Hmmm. If anyone can help me with better names, I’d appreciate it. At the moment I’m just tracing the astrological symbol on the mirror and calling on, for instance, “The Bull Headed One”. The reason I’m going for cherubs is that I figure they are fairly humble creatures on the totem-pole of spiritual hierarchy, and I believe in starting small.

I haven’t really seen much of anything in the mirror. What does happen is that I occasionally get these “blank outs” during which I lose all consciousness of my external senses and I am completely involved in a multi-sensory internal experience for a few seconds. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to recall any of these once I snap out of it. For now, I’ll assume it’s like dream memory, or memory of those flashes that come in meditation: it takes practice to develop a bridge between that type of experience and the conscious memory.

Lack of success made me figure it might not be a bad idea to hedge my bets. I read up on Bardon’s take on magic mirrors, and was surprised to find that, unlike the “optical” magic mirrors one can so easily find all over the internet (and advertised for sale in occult supply stores), Bardon’s mirrors aren’t necessarily even mirrors in the conventional sense. For Bardon, a “mirror” is a surface treated with, soaked in, or coated with what he calls a “fluid condenser”. Fluid condensers are substances that act as good conductors and holders of cosmic energies of various sorts (what I would generally categorize as “psychic” energies).

So, I followed his recipe for making a “Simple Fluid Condenser”, using chamomile tea as the base. I followed the recipe as closely as possible, but I don’t have a piece of gold for making the “gold tincture”. It’s on my shopping list now: one small gold coin for heating and dropping into water to make tincture of gold. Shit, this magic stuff is getting expensive fast! But I didn’t skimp on the other vital ingredients. I’d forgotten what a challenge it is to poke your own finger to get a few drops of blood.

Making the fluid condenser was a learning experience (translation: I know what I’ll do differently the next time). I knew I didn’t have the optimal ingredients or tools, but I also knew I only had one day of waxing moon left, and I didn’t want to wait two more weeks. All of our pots and pans are stainless steel. I know that’s not good for making such sensitive formulas. Oh well, it’s on the shopping list: enamel-lined pot for making magic potions. Did I mention this magic shit is getting expensive?

One surprise was from something I did spontaneously. After boiling down a pot full of chamomile tea to about 1/8 of the original volume, it was a nasty brown cloudy substance, and scum was rising to the top. I tried skimming it (think clarified butter) but that wasn’t working. Out of frustration I dropped a quartz crystal into the pot, and instantly all the nasty stuff crystallized and precipitated to the bottom. Awesome! Lesson learned. I’ll be experimenting with that in the future. The instructions are to mix 50ml of the base tea with 50ml of alcohol. You can’t buy grain alcohol in Hungary. I looked in the liquor cabinet and the best I could do was white rum. Hey, I bet there’s white rum in some voodoo potions! I used cotton wool to filter it, and I filtered it twice: once to filter the tea, once after adding the other ingredients and giving it a vigorous shaking.

In the picture (click on it for enlargement) you can see the mirror, the bottle of fluid condenser and a piece of felt soaked with fluid condenser, spread on a rack of chop sticks to dry. The smell of the condenser is sickeningly sweet and very musky. I consulted with Very Aries (who’s a crafty sort of person) before I soaked the felt, and we agreed that wool felt has probably already been shrunk by the felting process, so I went ahead and cut a piece to fit to the back of the mirror frame. Wrong! It shrunk big-time. I had to pull and stretch for about fifteen minutes, once it had dried, and even then had to abandon the idea of gluing it to the back of the frame, and stapled it instead. I’m not thrilled with the idea of all that steel on the back, but I really had no choice. I know what I’ll do differently the next time.

It’s totally lost to digital photography, but the mirror isn’t black. It’s a shimmery dark purple.

So now I have my mirror, backed with fluid-condenser-treated purple felt. Tomorrow I’ll use my newly sooped-up tool.

Cue Grace Slick singing “Go Ask Alice!”