Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Association of the Week: The Mirror

Author: Paulo Coelho

The meaning of the mirror goes beyond its practical function and is supposed to reveal, according to ancient beliefs, the magical link between the model and its image. That’s why mirrors were believed to capture the soul of a man that would look into them and – from this belief – people would cover mirrors when someone would die, so that the soul would not become a prisoner of its image. That’s also the reason why demons and supernatural beings don’t have a reflection.

Mirrors in the Western Traditions can represent contradictory things: in the one hand, they are the attribute of vanity, and represent the narcissistic solitude of the vain. On the other hand, they can also represent the knowledge of oneself, the truth of oneself.

In certain mystical tradition, like the Sufi tradition, the world is seen as the reflection of God. Hence the story that once God created the peacock he made the animal look at a mirror. Seeing the truth, the peacock, in awe, started to sweat and its pearls of sweat created the world.

Now you take the floor: what do you associate with The Mirror?

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