Of Quartz Spheres and Mirrors: A Note on Perception and Perspective

I keep a small quartz sphere on my altar. I purified and consecrated it to Mercurius two or three years ago. Each time I gaze into it, my mind wanders to questions of perception and perspective. Through it, Mercurius has taught me a great deal about the glamours and illusions that I cast into the world and those that are cast by others around me. In the last month or so, Freyja has (uproariously) joined Mercurius in articulating these lessons. Her tool of choice is the mirror. I have found myself entranced by small decorative mirrors of late. I recently purchased a small hand mirror with a delicate ceramic back-panel painted with sweet songbirds. Compact cosmetic mirrors of the vintage variety have also whispered, asking me to take them home and seek Freyja in their reflections. Those that I’ve starred into echo what Mercurius has been whispering off and one in my ponderings for some time. Between the quartz and mirrors, Mercurius and Freyja, I dive deeper into an important lesson that I am still learning and living.

Perception is a cornerstone of our reality. It is our read on the environment both outside and inside of us. What we see, hear, taste, touch, smell, and intuit serve as building blocks for our sense of our world and our relationship to it. Perspective is our orientation to what we perceive. It is a cornerstone of the meaning-making process. Perspective forms and is formed by our interpretation and understanding of what we perceive. What thoughts, feelings, desires, messages, values and convictions shape your perspective? How does your perspetive in turn shape all of those things? How does your will and intent factor in? How do the gods and spirits influence your perceptions and your perspectives, and how are they (in and out of your head) influenced by your perceptions and perspectives?

We as witches, spirit-workers, magic practitioners, and so much more must engage these questions. We are in the business, at least in part, of bending, shaping, and changing reality (and let’s not forget self) after all. A few happy accidents in that process are par for the course but our intentions and will matter as well. Like any good craftsperson we build mastery by learning from outright mistakes and harvesting deeper understanding from accidents. And so we must have a handle on exactly what it is that we are bending, shaping, and changing, how we are doing it, and why. Many folks seem content their whole lives to focus on bending, shaping and changing others through healthy (e.g., assertive communication) as well as unhealthy (e.g. covert aggression in the form of manipulation) interpersonal dynamics, but the real work is in bending, shaping and changing the self. The work of becoming.

From my perspective one of the cornerstones of becoming is in seeing one’s self more clearly and in seeing others more clearly: the good the bad and the ugly. And seeing clearly often necessitates shifting perspective, i.e. changing one’s position, vantage point, orientation, and/or other facets of one’s situation in relation to the subject of study. If we see ourselves becoming but always from the same position in space and time or from the same psycho-emotional place, or through the lens of the same values, struggles, and fears then what are we really seeing of our Selves? Of Others?

The mysteries of becoming and of living more of one’s Self today than one did the day before, rely at least in part upon perception and perspective working in dynamic relationship to bring vibrant light to the seething dark places and a little dark to the obnoxiously bright places. Both are needed to reveal wholeness of self. And then, while seeing the whole self (which is always becoming, so we have to think in terms of an ongoing dynamic process of perceiving rather than one act of perception) we decide who and how and why we want to be in that moment, in that hour, on that day. We choose self everyday all day. We intend and will and express and live Self everyday all day.

Do you perceive clearly? Yourself? Others? From what perspectives? How do those perceptions and perspectives consciously and unconsciously contribute to your becoming? You have to make the unconscious conscious in order to answer that question. Too, it’s naive to think that each of us exists in a bubble entirely of our own making, so what contributions do your perceptions and perspectives make to others’ becoming? Vice versa? What values, feelings, psycho-emotional states, and the like have you built and on what specific perceptions and perspectives?

Hail Mercurius and Freyja! May they teach you to see and show self, tried and true and whole.

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