A Mirror or Toli is the most common item of shaman’s equipment. It is a multipurpose tool. It is a small thing, which may be kept and stored in a wallet or a satchel (most of shamans have a shoulder knapsack with small tools and herbs).
The Mirrors or Toli are round. They are mad of red copper, silver, iron or greenstone. Normally, a loop is soldered on the back side to put a rope or strip through, in order to carry the mirror on the neck. The back side of Toli may be either even or decorated with images of animals.
The users especially appreciate the mirrors manufactured in China, containing the inscriptions denoting “four goodnesses”. As far as I am concerned, no new mirrors are manufactured. Therefore all the shaman mirrors are antique items. Normally, they are passed from one shaman to another. In Mongolia and Siberia the excavatory archaeology unveils shaman mirrors several thousand years old. I had a chance to see and even hold a shaman mirror made by Huns almost two thousand years ago! According to Siberian mythology, when the spirits were raising the first two shamans in their dreams, getting awake they saw a tree grown up in front of their house. That was a World Tree having mirrors instead of leaves on them.
Metal treatment has been known for a while. According to the legend, the blacksmiths descending from the upper world educated the shamans-blacksmiths for their trade. The latters’ roots may be traced up to our days (in fact, there is a blacksmith in our Terte clan, my relative Dorzho Frolov, since the shaman dynasties have been giving births both to shamans and blacksmiths). It is an important aspect of our talk regarding shaman mirrors, many of them having been forged by the shamans-blacksmiths for the needs of the ritual, thus having magical power from the very beginning.
Shamans normally try to collect as many shaman mirrors as possible due to the great protective and changing power thereof. The mirrors are fixed to shaman’s clothes: At least one mirror is fixed to the chest and one to the back. The shaman wears another mirror on a rope or strip over or under clothes, never taking the same off. It is explained by the mirror’s ability to permanently absorb and accumulate energy of any frequency. By wearing a mirror on one’s chest a person is able to streamline the energy to the satgal (human goal). Thus, energy constantly feeds a shaman, making the same ready to start working at any time. Moreover, a shaman always has toil at hand – being ready to cure people. Furthermore, a mirror is used as a sort of an identification mark for the shaman’s craft, being always visible for everyone.
The mirrors not only absorb energy, they reflect it. Taking on a mirror shamans do so in order to enable a mirror to reflect sufficient amount of energy to prevent any hazard when a shaman meets any aggressive people, hazardous spirits or any adverse energy sources. Therefore, I would advice you to have a mirror with you during trips. The mirrors are switched to the goal, being able to absorb and streamline incredible amount of energy. Those people who took shaman mirrors in their hands often felt pricking or itchiness. In the course of Shaman’s work a shaman may streamline the energy with a mirror to the area of the patient’s body which has been physically or spiritually injured, or direct the energy beams with a mirror to suppress an evil spirit.
The absorbing and reflecting functions of the mirror serve as a tool for expulsion of alien invasion and for rescuing a soul. Expulsion of an undesired spirit implies absorption thereof via a mirror, Then, it is expulsed into the ground by putting a mirror on the ground with the front side oriented down. It is rather convenient, since a shaman does not have to communicate directly with a spirit, thus being exposed to a risk of absorbing the spirit into one’s spiritual body. In the course of travel seeking a lost soul the mirror can retain a found soul inside. Then, a shaman touches the affected person’s chest with a mirror for a soul to enter into satgal and settle in the body again. In the course of healing a cup of water, vodka or milk is put on the mirror, immediately transforming the contents thereof into arsha-an. Upon completion of the healing the shaman may put two or three mirrors along the laying body axis of the patient, leaving the latter in the same position for 5 to 10 minutes. The mirrors will adjust and reinforce the energetic current in the patient’s spiritual body. After the healing completion the mirrors are cleaned, washing the same with alcohol, nine times smoking with juniperic smoke or exposing to sunlight.
The mirrors are also used for clairvoyance, like a glass ball in the European tradition of magic. Although these items are called mirrors, these are not mirrors in the usual meaning of this word due to obscurity thereof, reflecting the image unclearly. Such obscurity facilitates imagination and a shaman may use such mirrors to tell fortunes. In the Inner Mongolia there is a method of fortune-telling according to which an egg is put on the mirror, and the shaman watches the way the egg rolls to. Along with that the shaman may often see alien invasions and illnesses embedding into a human, watching at the patient’s reflection in the mirror.
The mirrors are also used for shaman voodoo. There is a plot known under the name toli erguulekhe, the mirror twisting. Its sense becomes clear once a person recalls that a mirror is directly related to goal, where twisting resembles vortexual nature thereof. The shaman takes a mirror worn on the neck, twists it around the rope up to the end, then releasing it. Until the mirror rotates the shaman declares one’s intention. This method is so effective that the declared spell removal is truly difficult. Unfortunately, it is often used for the purpose of black magic, which I will not speak about!
As we can see toli combines designation of many shaman appliances, being of material essence for the shaman’s craft. Hopefully, some of you, after becoming shamans have some skills in treating metals. It is very important to revive the art of making mirrors, the alter being very effective and able to produce a lot of good thing to people all around the world.
— Saragel “Zov Shamana”