My mind’s been swimming around the concept of a “mirror” today, with all its various connotations and associations, and I’ve been loving it--All the Way! The symbolism woven into its substance, function, and archetype is reflectively revealing through its concentrated contemplation….
First of all, as far as I can tell, it seems to be a predominantly, if not wholly, Feminine symbol. I just don’t see or recall anything Masculine about its essence. The following “stream” of consciousness that “flows” can “coagulate” a primordial picture for the “soup” of its related formulations:
Mirror, (Looking) Glass, Silver, Water, Fluid, Reflection, Image, Symmetry, Attraction, Beauty, Vanity, Passive, Venus, Moon, Magic…
The spectrum of themes that “rain/reign” upon the same overarching “umbrella” of what a “mirror” instinctually evokes is repetitively Feminine. The metaphoric levels to each of those words also splinter off into extending branches of expansively overlapping correlation. By far, astrological references, complete with their archetypal connections, have been the largest “pool” I’ve found to “pull” from…
If we go ahead and assume that some level of Feminine connotation to the concept of “mirror” exists, the two most decisively Feminine planets of astrology would be the Moon and Venus, and BOTH will draw themselves close to the symbolism of a “mirror.”
The Moon, as a Feminine symbol, connects to Silver, as contrasted to the connection of gold to the Masculine Sun. The silver color of a mirror is then a noted crossover. The Moon’s synchronized influence concerning the female menstrual cycle is another Feminine observation. It is also connected to Water, in that it has influence over the tides, and the surface to a body of Water is Reflective in the same way a “mirror” is, and the Image demonstrates Symmetry with what it portrays. The Internal/Yin/Feminine Moon-related act of Reflection can also been seen as an process that is essentially Passive, since it’s simply an observational acknowledgement that witnesses what flows forth after the incubation from the sustained, open allowance and reception regarding the matter being reflected upon…The Greek Moon goddess Artemis is also female, and presides over children and maidens. The watery Feminine connection is also accentuated by the fact that the Moon rules the sign Cancer, which we’ll look at further in a second, as it “washes” up several of the same connections...
Venus, as a Feminine symbol, connects directly to Beauty, Attraction, and Vanity. One makes use a (Looking) Glass “mirror” to focus on and enhance their appearance, which is seen by the Reflection. What we see in the “mirror” is also Fluid and changing in response to what’s presented in front of it. The Passive, Feminine dimension to Venus can also be contrasted to the Active, Masculine dimension of Mars, as two fundamental opposites that inherently Attract. Taken another step, it is also the Beauty of Venus that is innately Passive in its ability to “seduce” and magnetically Attract whatever expresses a harmonic Symmetry with its particular Image. The Greek goddess Aphrodite is the mythological equivalent to Venus, and she presides over the realm of Beauty and Attraction, with a focus on love in relationships. (She also was born from the Water of the sea…) Venus also ties into the traditionally Feminine, Earth astrological sign of Taurus, as well as the traditionally (yet arguably least) Masculine Air sign of Libra. We’ll examine both of these signs in more related depth as well, but it’s interesting to go ahead and note that Libra still regardlessly resides over Love relationships with someOne else, who embodies the concept of reflecting OneSelf by Way of the “mirror” of some Other. Libra also will equate with Beauty, Vanity, and Symmetry directly, with a tendency towards being Passive in a general sense. (Of course, as stated, it’s actually considered to be a Masculine sign, owing to the element of Air, but we’ll look at all its angles in a bit.)
The idea of the “mirror” being a symbol of Magic comes from various fairy tales, myths, and fantastical stories. Snow White, with the Evil Queen (both females) always asking “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” is probably one of the most famous examples. Other magical stories can be recalled where someone is able to step into or out of a mirror, used as a magical portal to another dimension. Sometimes, the “other” dimension is different, but also has elements of being a Reflection with some sort of Symmetry to the place which it’s connected. In the folktale of Baba Yaba ( who is an old, female witch), a Silver lake of Water appeared when the (female) girl dropped her Magic “mirror” behind her. The legend of King Arthur also makes reference to the Magic of the (female) Lady of the Lake, another Water connection. The multiple, symbolic overlaps are “pretty” obvious ;) I also just cannot call to mind an archetypal story that connects a “mirror” to a Masculine character/experience. Perhaps there’s one, but I don’t know of it…
I’d like to “dive” deeper now into the extending connection specific with relation to zodiac signs. The Moon is traditionally associated with Cancer, and Venus has dual rulership over Taurus and Libra, so we’ll start with those three as we look closer into the “mirror”
Cancer is a Water sign. It also has the connotation of relating to that which is within and subjective, as opposed to the more externally objective nature of its opposite, Capricorn. This “inner” quality gives Cancer the quality of being introspectively reflective, which is somewhat the case for all Water signs. Cancer is also traditionally associated with women in general, and the Mother more specifically. It’s often compared to an incubative womb that nurtures and holds what it passively receives, then reflectively expressing what is assimilated through such digestion. Cancer is arguably one of the MOST Feminine signs of the zodiac. The archetype of the magical witch/crone is also associated with this sign. Cancer can also be further seen to participate in the concept of Image by how it is associated with memory and the past, which is “held” onto as a series of images, and the feelings connected, from events that have occurred, eventually tabulating up to whatever present configuration may be “looking back”
Taurus is an Earth sign, and while the element is not directly equated with a “mirror” (beyond the implication of a physical, object of form-based matter), it is still considered to be Feminine. (Earth and Water are Yin/Passive/Feminine, while Air and Fire are Yang/Active/Masculine.) Venus, as ruler of Taurus, accentuates the Attraction towards enjoyable sensuality and beautiful things, according to whatever value is established. Here we have the idea of jewelry and adornments uses to enhance one’s Beauty, as well as perfume, makeup and all products used before consulting oneself in a “mirror” to gauge effectiveness, with the intention of increasing one’s powers of Attraction. Similarly, the idea of amassing a large amount of value (and/or valuables) for oneself can also be seen as a means of Attraction to draw some Other to oneself. As a “mirror” also simply reflects what “stuff” is in front of it, Taurus would stand for all the such physical matter that could be, and an assessment of its worth based on the sensual pleasure and enjoyability that can be derived from it; hence, it’s power of Attraction.
Libra is an Air sign, which means it would be traditionally Masculine. However, when it is compared to ALL the other Masculine signs (those of Air and Fire), it clearly seems to be the most Passive (and thereby Feminine) of them. We’ll put them side by side to examine more in a minute, but even without such consideration, Libra is inherently bound to the notion of Beauty, aesthetic Symmetry, and relationships of harmonious Attraction, where one learns by the Reflection of interacting with some Other. Libra can also superficially correlate to the quality of Vanity, spending too much time focused (in the “mirror”) on the perfect appearance of Beauty. Another trait that’s usually agreed upon is that the Libra energy is likely to concede to the Other to whatever extent be necessary to maintain harmony, keeping a balance of Symmetry upheld between the two that are acting through Reflection of one another. (Curiously, while Venus is equated with the Greek female goddess Aphrodite, it’s worth noting that the Hindu deity for Venus IS actually male!)
Now, to break away from a specific contemplation on the concept of a “mirror,” while still following the trail that pours from its meditative waterfall , let’s return to comparing Libra to the other Masculine signs. First of all, in general, ALL the Masculine signs are rather expressly Masculine, with the most predominant difference in Libra. Here’s a quick rundown, followed by more in depth considerations:
Sagittarius-Masculine, but dual in nature
Gemini=Masculine, but dual in nature
Aquarius-Masculine, but radically experimental in presentation
Libra-essentially Masculine, but rather Feminine by expression….
Now in more depth…
Aries-ruled by Mars, it is a super Active energy in all ways, being the epitome of Masculine. The symbol of a blazing projectile further illustrates
Leo-ruled by the Sun, it is the traditionally Masculine counterpart to the traditionally Feminine sign/planet of Cancer/Moon. The symbol of a raging fire further illustrates
Sagittarius-ruled by Jupiter, it is an energy that wanders and explores, actively reaching out beyond limits. The symbol of a fire spreading further illustrates (As a mutable sign though, it would be the most capable of indulging a “mixed” flow in efforts of inclusivity; all mutable signs will partakes of dual symbolism along most lines of consideration.)
Gemini-ruled by Mercury, this energy is known for always being Active and “on the go.” It’s not one to stay still at all. (Again, as a mutable sign, Gemini may indulge “both ways” at various times, but it never stays at rest for much longer than a change of direction necessitates.) The symbol of the mind racing around like a vehicle, or a mouth constantly talking, further illustrates.
Aquarius-ruled by Uranus and Saturn, this energy is known for being radically volatile in its demonstration when it is Active. Sudden, big, surprising, changes are associated with its quality. It holds together (via Saturn) a large network of interconnected components, which will sometimes spontaneously elevate to some higher level (via Uranus), all while pouring forth of itself in Active service. It’s not an archetype that is typically at rest though, even when its service works to “steady” an energy instead of stimulate it. The symbol of a swirling tornado of energy, or an electric flash of lightning, further illustrates
Libra-ruled by Venus, this energy is known for seeking balance, which equates with a sense of harmonious stillness. It is the concept of a high and low front of air being in perfect equilibrium with one another. It applies the force needed to equally match whatever force is weighing from the Other side. Therefore, while it does seem Active in that it acts to counterbalance a force, its action is with an intent towards achieving some Passive homeostasis from whatever two opposites are coming together in interaction as One. The symbol of the scales, as well as ears listening for input, further illustrates.
Digging a bit deeper though, while it will likely be clear that Libra can be seen cast as the most Feminine of the Masculine signs in many respects, the Active, Masculine connotation is still ultimately correct. A clue one can excavate for that conclusion pertains to the fact that the esoteric ruler of the sign, which is Uranus, is a highly Active and volatile energy. As such, it suggests that in order for a continual balance and harmony to be maintained, the occasional disruption of novelty must be innovatively inserted to keep things in motion. Esoterically, Libra also does represent the “still point” when the life of the Personality and the life of the Soul are in perfect balance, but it is at such point that a reorientation AWAY from the Personality and TO the Soul can occur, and this drastic shift is symbolically embodied in the concept of Uranus and its Active nature. Therefore, there is no true stillness, as change is always happening, although HARMONY can be maintained while any dual energies are continuously reconciled by way of whatever discrepancies exists to inform the Other through Reflection at any given time.
From this view, while considering some of the rather “gender fluid” nature of some signs, might there be any traditionally Feminine signs that exhibit particularly Masculine traits? Here’s the quick and long of it:
Virgo-quite Feminine, but dual in nature
Capricorn-Feminine by element, Masculine in some ways, but Feminine again at a deeper level…
Scorpio-traditionally Feminine, but Masculine in some ways
Pisces-Feminine, but very dual and fluid in expression in ways beyond and transcending any polar label…
Let’s check them out closer…
Taurus-ruled by Venus, this energy is the epitome of Form, and Matter (and Mother Earth) has a standing connotation with the Feminine esoterically.
Virgo-ruled by Mercury and represented by the virgin maiden. While essentially Feminine, it’s churn is quite Active, reflecting its dual nature as a mutable sign as well. (With the moon as the esoteric ruler, the notion of this energy as a spiritual incubator for the Christ Consciousness is also present.)
Capricorn-ruled by Saturn, it is often considered to represent the Father and external authority. In this way, it has a Masculine level to it that’s balanced with its more Feminine, Cancer opposite. However, at a deeper level of esoteric significance, Saturn connects the Sephiroth of Binah on the Qabalah’s Tree of Life diagram. (Saturn is also a symbolic proxy of Karma, which has a culturally Feminine connotation.) Binah is essentially the Feminine/Yonic symbol from the primary Trinity, representing all Space/Time and the primordial “womb” of Form. (Just to note, this is opposite Chokmah, represented via Uranus in some systems, as the Masculine/Phallic primary Force. Both Binah and Chokmah could essentially be seen as the respective “Holy Spirit” and “Son” of a Holy Trinity, joined together at the “crown” of Keter, beyond all dual gender as the pinnacle of Oneness, represented by Neptune, standing in for the “Father” of the triplicity…)
Cancer-ruled by the Moon, this energy is totally Feminine, as it complements the Masculine Sun energy of Leo. It’s been duly covered already…
Scorpio-ruled by Mars and Pluto, this energy is Feminine by element, but is certainly the most Masculine of the Water signs. Scorpio is known for being the only Water sign that will engage in confrontation; the other two tend to defend, evade, and disengage. Mars is a very Masculine energy, and the Image of boiling (Active) Water can be considered here. However, Scorpio is fundamentally connected to the hidden, secret, invisible, unknown dimensions of life. This concept of the Mystery of life suggests an affinity for the archetype of the High Priestess--that Feminine intuition and obscured veil of occult subjectivity that is in contrast the bright lights of a more Masculine radiance. In short, the dark waters of Scorpio, while actively engaged, are engaging in a most esoterically Feminine dimension of existence. (On the side, even though the Masculine Hades comes to mind, Pluto is rather genderless in its ultimate role akin to the evolutionary working of Fate/Karma, which churns along via Necessity, all having a Feminine association archetypally throughout the realms of myth.)
Pisces-ruled by Jupiter and Neptune, this energy is quite Feminine in general. It is extremely Passive and allowing by its nature. It partakes of all the same watery dimensions accentuated by Cancer (and Scorpio), drawing upon the Feminine notion of intuition, psychic phenomena, sleep, dreams, mysticism, meditation, etc., all of which again suggest a Passive orientation of reception. However, as a mutable, dual sign, it wouldn’t exactly limit itself to one side of the equation only, and its fluid nature, while certainly more obviously Feminine, may outpicture various imaginings of itself in other applications as such flow is found fitting…
Anyways, after all that, maybe it would be fun to rate the 12 signs along a 4 point scale of polarity….
At least, that’s how I’m “getting” it from my current vantage point :P~ Some additional consideration for the “gender” of each signs’ quality can also be found in one of my first articles, “‘A Sorta Fairytale’: Reviving the Kingdom,” which can be found at: http://www.archetypeintuitive.com/article/sorta-fairytale-reviving-kingdom
Well, as this has all “bubbled” forth from the “spring” of my reflection on a “mirror”, I might as well cycle back to restate the original premise that the archetype of a “mirror” is seemingly a Feminine symbol overall. For what it’s worth, it’s been fun to “flow” down the “river” of thoughts this consideration has “floated” along… ;)