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ANAHITA  November 1999

ANAHITA November 1999

Subject:

Re: Mirrors and reflections

From:

Max Dashu <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 19 Nov 1999 10:02:36 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (55 lines)

A couple thoughts: in the Eurasian steppes, goddesses or priestesses are
depicted holding mirrors in the early centuries BCE/CE. There's a plaque
which I recall as being from a Scythian kurgan at Novocherkassk showing a
woman standing before a seated mature woman/goddess who is holding up a
mirror before her.

Ancient Bactrian ceramic goddesses wearing tall headdresses hold mirrors in
their hands. Further east, dakinis/yoginis in Tibetan Buddhism are said to
use mirrors in initiating seekers. (The Aro gTer site on the internet
contains references to this.)

The Chinese and later the Japanese had ceremonial bronze mirrors, polished
on one side and bearing Taoist or Shinto images and symbols on the back.
Mirrors, along with bells, drums, and swords, were important in Japanese
temple worship. The great  goddess Amerterasu Omikami is quoted somewhere
(the Kojiki maybe) as saying,"My child, when you look on this mirror, let
it be as if you looked on me. Let it be with you on your bed and in your
hall, and let it be unto you a sacred mirror."

There are also a number of Etruscan bronze mirrors incised with images of
Turan (like Aphrodite) and other deities which may well have had religious
significance, and much earlier, Egyptian ones bearing the image of Het-heru
(Hathor) on the upper handle.

There's also the "smoking mirror" theme in Aztec religion, obsidian mirrors
connected with Huitzilipochtli. Finally northwest Argentina archaeology has
numerous circular flat bronzes which _may_ be mirrors; I haven't been able
to determine if the non-image-bearing side is polished or not. Lots of
double-headed serpents, masks, quadrapartite images, shamanistic themes.

>any reference to mirrors or the use of reflection in religous ritual.  I am
>looking primarily at ancient rituals, but the folklore and superstitions that
>still exist are very important to this research project as well.

Max Dashu
Suppressed Histories Archives
<[log in to unmask]>

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