To discover the positive traits of the personality with the soul’s mirror practice.
With the last soul practice of Step I, we repeat precisely the work done in the previous three exercises, but this time considering the positive aspects of our nature. So let’s start by listing the character traits that appear most noble and selfless to us, assigning them later to the Elements, and finally dividing them into three parts according to their importance, as already explained. Also, in this case, the above considerations apply: the maximum time to complete the activity must not exceed five / six weeks, and the threshold is once again around one hundred. In this way, we will get the so-called soul mirrors, one black for the negative aspects and one white for the positive qualities. We are free to insert new terms in the course of development or correct the elements attributions and the order of importance of the different items. As Bardon points out, identifying aspects and qualities is essential to achieving the future magical balance; if any doubt or impediment arises while proceeding on the Steps, a consultation of the mirrors can clarify which Element we need to improve to restore the balance of the soul.
Bardon is even more concise than before in listing the positive qualities of the example, but this is not necessarily negative. It is much better to analyse how we act, think and feel and then evaluate the task rather than label it to understand where to apply it to our characteristics. In this way, the process is more personal, intimate, sincere, distinguishing the character traits in depth and precision. For orientation purposes, however, it is helpful to have an indication: this is the list provided by Bardon:
- Fire: activity, enthusiasm, firmness, courage, audacity.
- Air: diligence, joy, promptness, kindness, passion, optimism.
- Water: modesty, temperance, enthusiasm, compassion, tranquillity, tenderness, forgiveness.
- Earth: respect, perseverance, conscientiousness, accuracy, sobriety, punctuality, responsibility.
We should have a final word on the difference between negative and positive mirrors working. After the often arduous effort of self-investigation into the recesses of the soul, one might think that a glance at the qualities of our being is an easy and pleasant experience. However, for many, it can be more challenging. It is not easy to explain why; we could attribute it to modesty or education. A deeper reason lies in fear of discovering that what we would call our qualities are, in fact, masks that hide fundamental self-centeredness, the animal instinct hidden by convention, feigned indulgence and so on; ultimately, the deceiving behind appearances. That is a plausible explanation because we must think that the real good arises spontaneously and does not need labels and acknowledgements. The reason for engaging in the search for positive characters lies precisely in the need to reveal the latest lies, the most difficult to admit because they constitute the self-defence mechanism of our ego. After this intense cleaning work, positive personality traits will surely come to light.