Thursday, 5 May 2011

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

I've been reading a chapter from James Bugental's interesting book, "The Search for Existential Identity".  In it he suggests that when we perform for others, it is in the hope that seeing our reflection through their eyes will validate our sense of identity.  However, he argues that this just makes us a "thing", and that true identity is found in "being".  We must be able to feel our feelings and be authentically ourselves in the presence of another - thus experiencing ourselves and having a witness to this self.

All this made me think of Major Arcana 12 - The Mirror - from the Wildwood Tarot.  Here, too, there is the idea of healing and being initiated into deeper wisdom by taking a long, hard look in the Dark Woman of Knowledge's mirror, to see our soul.  Then, the advice is to surrender ourselves to the waters of emotion, and sojourn a while on the island at the centre of our being.

All this existential and visual stimulation produced the following:

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who's the fairest of them all?"
Beauty is not what I see:
Eyes look back, my soul, just me.
Who am I?  A friend, a mother,
A daughter, student, worker, lover?
When I look into the glass
Can I see life or just a farce?
My question really, am I someone?
What is living, has it begun?
Can I experience my being?
Singing, dancing, writing, seeing?
How does it feel to be crying?
Can I live with the fact of dying?
The Wildwood Mirror offers healing:
There's no substitute for feeling!
Come sadness, anger, pain and fear,
Emotions tell us that we're here.

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