Breaking a mirror can make even the most logical thinker wonder if seven years of bad luck lie ahead. Where did the broken mirror superstition originate and how has it endured for so long? This centuries-old myth dates back to ancient Roman times and continues to be passed down through societies and generations.
Learn more about this enduring superstition and how to take charge of your own luck by disposing of broken glass properly.
Does the Broken Mirror Superstition Really Bring Bad Luck?
The ancient Romans certainly believed that it did, at least for 7 years. But the broken mirror superstition is more a reflection of bygone beliefs than present-day logic. We’ll detail how the symbolism of mirrors gave birth to this lasting myth but, first, here’s what the superstition states.
Seven Years Bad Luck?
Simply put, the broken mirror superstition states that if you break a mirror you will experience seven years bad luck. According to the myth, breaking mirror by accident or on purpose still results in the same period of misfortune. After seven years elapse, the curse of bad luck will be over and the possibility of good luck restored.
Broken Mirrors in History
Mirrors and the images they reflect have long been thought to have mysterious significance. The ancient Greeks were the first to believe that one’s reflection in the water was an image of his or her soul. The subsequent Roman civilization continued this belief and was the first to create mirrors from polished metal surfaces and, eventually, glass. Given the labor involved in this task, mirrors were far from commonplace, further enhancing their mystical powers.
The Romans not only believed that a mirror reflected one’s soul, but that the gods used these images to see one’s inner identity. A broken mirror would be such a violation of this portal to the soul that a punishment from the gods was warranted. Consequently, it was thought that seven years of bad luck would ensue. Why the seven-year time period? The ancient Romans also believed that the body and soul renewed itself every seven years. Once this seven-year period elapsed, the cycle of bad luck would be over and a new seven-year cycle would commence.
The Myth: How to Discard of Broken Mirrors
As mirrors became more commonplace, so did instances of breakage. As a result, ways to avoid seven years of bad luck became part of the superstition’s lore.
These are some mythical methods to dispose of a broken mirror, warding off bad luck:
- Grind the glass into powder: Grinding the broken glass into a fine powder destroys your reflection in the shards. If there’s no reflection, the curse of bad luck was thought to be thwarted.
- Throw the broken shards in a southern flowing stream: Doing so would wash away the bad luck in seven hours instead of seven years..
- Blacken the glass with fire: Darkening the shards with a candle or over a fireplace or hearth also destroyed any reflection. It was thought that this reduced the seven year sentence to just one year of bad luck.
- Touch the glass to a tombstone: Brushing the shard of broken glass along a tombstone was thought to immediately lift the curse, as long as it wasn’t thrown away.
- Bury the glass: To keep evil spirits from discovering them, it was recommended that the shards be buried underground. It was also advised to do so at night so you wouldn’t be visible in their reflection.
How to Safely Discard of Broken Mirrors
While the broken mirror superstition may be fascinating, proper disposal of broken glass is about avoiding injury, not bad luck.
Here’s how to discard broken mirror glass safely:
- Protect yourself and others: Put on a thick pair of rubber gloves and make sure you’re wearing shoes. Remove any pets and small children from the room until the cleanup is complete.
- Pick up large pieces of glass: Carefully pick up the pieces and place them in a cardboard box. Look under tables, shelves and appliances and cover a wide range, as pieces easily scatter.
- Vacuum: Carefully vacuum the entire room. Avoid using a broom, as small shards can become trapped in the bristles and fall out with subsequent use.
- Wipe the area: Use a damp paper towel to wipe down the entire area and pick up any lingering remnants.
- Dispose of the shards: Put the paper towel in the box with the broken shards and place the whole box in a heavy duty garbage bag. Tie the bag securely closed and place it in your garbage can or bin.
Have a broken mirror you’d like to get replaced? The team at Glass West can get it done with no threat to your luck! Contact us via phone or online for more information.