The shaman’s mirror is a tool used by shamanic practitioners for divination, journeying, healing work and energetic protection. Today, the shamanic mirror is a mostly forgotten tool primarily found within the geographic areas of Mongolia, Siberia, and Tibet.
In Tungus-Manchurian languages shamanic mirrors are called 'panaptu' meaning ‘soul holder,’ in Mongolia they are called 'toli', and in Tibet 'melong.' In the Buryat culture, it was believed that shaman’s mirrors were thrown to earth by smiths in the sky. The origin of polished metal mirrors predates the Liao period (Liao Dynasty 遼 - 907-1125 CE) in China.
A common shamanic concept, and a universally told story, is that of the healer traversing the axis mundi to bring back knowledge from other worlds of non-ordinary reality. Anyone or anything found on the axis between heaven and earth is seen as a repository of potential knowledge, and a special status accrues to the found object. Derivations of this idea are found in the Rod of Asclepius, an archetypal emblem of the medical profession, and in the caduceus. While the origin for the mirror’s usage in shamanism is unknown, perhaps, in a process of reflective abstraction, the shaman adopted (or stole) the mirror during a journey to the axis mundi so that she could have a conscious agent of Spirit providing protection and spiritual action. Other sources indicate that the shaman’s mirror is more than a simple ritual object; for Mongolian shamans, it was held as even more sacred than the shaman’s drum.