Self portrait with two mirrors, by Eric Francis - Book of Blue, New York.

Mirrorplay is about the willingness to see, and to feel, and to explore the place where the two meet. It’s an opportunity to speak and to listen. It’s a journey, though you can think of it as one without an end. It may help to think in terms of a destination, which is yourself, and that is a journey to which you will keep coming back, exploring the space of feeling good about existence.

For me the appeal is emotional. I want to encounter myself, including my judgments of myself, and find a place where I can feel forgiveness, and then in that space, love. On the way there I encounter many different feelings; I want them all. If I see the mirror as the symbol of not having sex, I forgive myself for that and then can choose to give myself sex. If I feel in the mirror an experience of self-judgment, I can and always do choose to forgive myself for the judgment and whatever it’s attached to. If I see the picture of an aging person in the mirror, I can go directly to admitting death and forgiving myself for that inevitability, knowing that I will choose love when I get there: so I can choose it now.

Sometimes I see beauty, though getting there is a seduction. I can see my beauty in glimpses, as if from certain angles, and only if I am in a space of love. Seeing my beauty is more of an admission than an acknowledgment. From the right angle I can be aware that I am grudging with myself when it comes to admitting my beauty, and then I can make a conscious choice to let go. The mirror becomes a place where I can say anything to myself, hear anything I’ve said, admit any need, any desire, any sense of loss, and explore the edges of grief, guiding myself toward the interior. This is all deeply pleasurable and comes with a sense of relief, relaxation, or consciously exploring the tension between me and myself, the unfamiliarity, my sense of contact. I keep coming back to that, looking at my face and my eyes and bringing as much love to the encounter as I can. There is a process of submitting to myself as I do this. The active part of me is like a guide, and the rest of me simply must submit to the experience and when I remember I thank myself for doing so.

When I get into the zone, I explore the edge of orgasm. I recognize this as an expanded state of consciousness; as the threshold to a portal, and I think that being here changes my whole orientation on existence. This is a space wherein I can feel anything, and feel it as beautiful: any desire, any need, any promise of fulfillment, any loss or threat of loss. I feel equal to myself and to others, or I can reach and get there. Sometimes fear slips in, and sometimes it threatens to take over, but I have access to a deep well of eros and I can usually wash it away. I recognize fear as shadow and to see in the shadow, I bring it toward the light, or go into it consciously with my awareness serving as light. This near-orgasm space needs a name. I am aware that there is much greater potential here than I have explored. I’m aware that it’s there, that it’s available, and that what I am exploring is within me.

The Witness. Photo by Eric - Book of Blue, New York.

Whatever may be available, I guide myself back to eye contact, to forgiveness and to love. I can swim in my emotional pool and be open and loose enough to explore. Then, when the moment is right, when I feel called or when I encounter what I will call an inevitability – an image or thought form where I simply must let go, I do so, diving directly into my emotional pool and feeling the rush of the water. In the physical world I do my best to maintain eye contact, to look and to see myself, and to flood myself with love and forgiveness.

The story of the many things I might feel after orgasm is another phase of the journey, too much to go into here, but the gamut ranges from exquisite pleasure to judgment to distraction to slipping into shame like I am on the edge of something slippery and cannot stay out. My mantra here, which I learned from a surfer in Maine, is look where you want to be. I choose my emotional destination and go there. I choose love, creative expression, sharing, freedom.

Now, entering this space, from normal consciousness, is often a process, and its taken some learning; rarely do I just dive in, but I am getting to where that is possible. I start with a safe place. Then I find my way into art and writing. The writing could be in Book of Blue or it could be a personal letter. The art often involves my photos, whether they’re of models or of the mirror glass. Every photo is represents a relationship. Every photo represents contact with someone I love. Everyone I love gives me permission to love myself, or that is what the relationship is oriented on; that is another way of saying that every person I encounter is an opportunity to love myself. I would not need that concept if I didn’t hold back, if I didn’t harbor judgments, if I didn’t doubt or forget. The mirror is a space of remembering.

A simple way to say this is that I encounter inhibitions, but until I go past them I can’t really see what they’re made of. I walk in with my Ruby Slipper and my mugwort pipe. I thin the veil. I prepare my mind and feelings. Dionysus is alive, and I love and honor he-she-it. We humans sometimes need help crossing the veil. I sometimes think that I shouldn’t need help, and this gets dropped into the mix of what’s forgiven.

Another aspect of my journey is the witness. I’ve figured out that, no matter where I am or when it is, I can have a witness if I want; the Internet, which crosses time zones and makes anyone I know potentially available, is a big help.

When I am ‘alone’, which is with myself, I explore the fact of masturbation, and experiment with ideas like exclusive masturbation as my sex, and describe what I do to myself as sex. My gift of self reassurance is delightful. Oh, I can doubt. I can doubt what I’m doing as sane or even vaguely socially acceptable and I’ve delved into the space of admitting that I’m repugnant to some. I love the curiosity beneath that. I look at these mirrors and I play with having made a mess, and wanting to clean it up – a deep ero/emotional desire. This is directly connected to my sense of male karma – that long story of ‘what men do with their seed’ and by extension, their creative power.

When I’m alone, I can crave cunt in a melting way that shapes me, hot and urgent and, for the moment is nonexistent. I crave the extreme, all embracing beauty of female. I crave the scent of her cunt and ass, and in the depth of this wanting, turn the desire toward myself. To satisfy myself, or try to, I drink my semen.

Sometimes I correspond with others from here, usually a slow correspondence, sharing thoughts or photos, sharing what I’m experiencing, hearing their perspective. Sometimes I have a witness with me, in person, and we explore together. You can think of a witness as a morph between a friend and a lover, with a feeling of freedom where attachment would have been. The role of the witness is to affirm my selflove. He or she serves as a space holder, in the psychic sense, holding open the space and assisting in making the experience possible. One of my favorite places to play is any scenario involving she fucking and me masturbating.

I love when she masturbates, especially if she’s mirror gazing – consciousness, the pleasure of such full awareness, her face in the expression of seeing herself. What love, what fun.

I love to explore with men. Here is one story.

The Self Witness. Photo by Eric - Book of Blue, New York.

The witness, my witness, serves as someone who approves. I then mirror that and approve of myself. If I feel some form of misgiving or embarrassment, I may acknowledge that I am feeling that; all my sadness and misgiving if I feel I’ve hurt someone or been an ass. From there it’s an easy, or rather natural, step to love myself & to acknowledge that I want.

What I will do alone, I’m open to doing with a witness and often do. I’m aware that there is a boundary between what I might say or do alone, and what I might say or do with another person present. One of my intentions is to make that boundary into a veil that is thin as gossamer and which can be opened easily and gently. I understand that this is healing a deep division within myself.

Witnessing relationships are the closest I’ve ever come to unconditional love, which is their basic purpose: that is, to teach me to feel unconditional love for myself.

Now, about the imagery of women in mirrors that factors so intimately into this process: on the emotional level, and it’s an intuitive dimension and very sweet, the women who participate give me permission to see myself. In the photo session I hold the space for them to see themselves, and then I use their example as a way in to seeing myself. In a sense I am looking at my idealized woman – aware of herself, willing to love herself, and to do so in my presence. That creates a feedback loop and then, when I want to or need to, I can tap into that, or feed into that. The photos create a special kind of witnessing, which may be conveyed beyond the original space, and which can be available anywhere. They are kind of like a morph between tarot cards and psychic yoga postures: the mirror mudra, which is unconditional self-awareness.

I explore between experiences of being alone, of being witnessed and being the witness. In some experiences I can be there with a partner, face to face with a mirror, and we are there together. I have had some astonishingly beautiful experiences of shared masturbation exploring this way, and I have created a culture of available, liberated and diverse sexual experiences in my life. The bonds of friendship that form in these spaces feel secure and create the foundation for the rest of the relationship, without the kinds of attachment or the risks that come from fucking. These spaces build on one another, and they don’t need to be practiced with the same person or people. Whatever is right for the relationship can come out, or we can make a decision to explore.

Yet I know that ultimately, I come back to myself. That is prime zero, being alone and recognizing I am not alone, I am with myself; being with myself and recognizing that this person is not a stranger, but really my companion, my soul-twin, which is of course an illusion: it’s really just me, looking into the mirror of consciousness, admitting existence.

Return to homepage

28+ Gemini rising