Concerning Souls and the Commerce Thereof
“For every birth of flesh ensouled, and of the fruit of seed, and every handiwork, though it decay, shall of necessity renew itself, both by the renovation of the Gods and by the turning-round of Nature’s rhythmic wheel.“
~ The Sacred Sermon, Corpus Hermeticum
While the Earthers of Sanctuary, as well as beings all across reality, have myriad notions about what exactly a soul is, most of them miss the mark completely.
A soul enters into existence from the unmanifested absolute — called the Ain-Soph — which, though seemingly outside of reality proper, is still an aspect of the thoughts of the All.
From the unknowable beyond, this raw, unformed stuff of matter, energy, and potential sentience, eventually coalesces into a soul, which falls into existence for the first time to incarnate within a physical form, live a life, then die. Upon dying, the soul becomes an unconscious, disembodied entity that drifts through the realms of reality until an organic conception occurs somewhere, providing a host wherein it can incarnate again. This pattern repeats for each soul a varying and unknowable number of times until it dies one last time and returns to unravel into the perfect grace of the realm beyond realms from whence it came all those lifetimes ago.
Between incarnations, a disembodied soul is completely unconscious and unaware, and imperceptible to all living creatures save magical beings and sorcerers, who can – with great force of will – perceive it as a tiny sphere of emerald-green light .
At the instant of incarnation, which is the transfer of the disembodied soul into an organic host at the moment of conception, the soul becomes sentient, takes on a distinct identity, and loses all awareness (except on rare occasions) of its previous and future incarnations. But there is another phenomenon that occurs at the moment of incarnation – and this is where our interest lies. For this other phenomenon has profound ramifications – primarily because it provides a medium by which a being with sufficient knowledge and training, and adequate physical and mental discipline, can integrate their neuro-electrical field with the sub-atomic fields of probability – but also because it constitutes the source of the commodity that drives the highly secretive soul-trade amongst the elite of the multiverse.
For during the moment of incarnation, a burst of a nigh-imperceptible material known as aetheric plasma is released. This extremely precious variation on the typical aether that surrounds the bodies of all living things, is only ever present at the exact instant a soul transfers into a new biological form. The natural purpose of the release of this aetheric plasma, is that it, locally and completely, nullifies probability in order to facilitate the instantaneous transfer of the soul across any distance in spacetime to the location of the new biological form it will occupy.
Effectively, for just the briefest of instances, the unconscious, un-incarnated soul has the power to entirely disregard all natural laws in order to traverse any distance across spacetime by totally erasing reality itself in its immediate vicinity.
Interestingly, this aetheric plasma transfer event also occurs on the other end of what is essentially a highly localized probability void in spacetime at the location of the biological conception. But that is a matter more suited to a discussion on the precise form of magic practiced by the Atlantean midwives.
Suffice it to say, the momentary bubble of absolute nil-probability or nil-reality generated at the instant of incarnation is the only known medium through which a sorcerer can integrate the deepest part of their own neuroelectric being (consciousness) with the constant flux of probability vortices that connect observer with observed in the consciousness-reality / perceiving-generating mobius loop of being. Only by this process can a consciousness-probability singularity manifest in which intention becomes momentarily indistinguishable from manifestation. These are the fundamental mechanics that drive all sorcery in the multiverse: the means by which, for just a moment, in a localized region of spacetime, thought and reality become interchangeable equivalencies.
In simplest terms, disembodied souls, which is to say, souls that are between lifetimes, are what make it possible to cast magical spells. They are the energy source of sorcery: the popular term used to describe the ability to willfully manipulate probability to transform conscious intent into manifested reality. For this reason, souls quickly became a highly coveted resource in the earliest days of the multiverse; and eventually – and perhaps inevitably – harvesting souls at the moment of death before they bleed off any of their precious aetheric plasma, and holding them in stasis (a highly specialized vocation know as reaping), has evolved into the foundation of a secret and incredibly lucrative economy amongst the very elite throughout all of reality.
In time, in response to demand for the bottled souls required to fuel the casting of spells, the soul-trading houses emerged to manage and deploy the reapers. And on the planes in proximity to Sanctuary (for it is essential – within the context of the finite intellectual capacity of most beings – to limit a study of the economics of multi-planar soul trade to a regional examination), the Valkyrie of Asgardian Helheim, the Keres of Olympian Hades, the Anubi of Heliopolian Necropolis… the Yamaduta, the Memitim, the Banshee and the Dullahan… became just a few of the known agents of the soul trade that came to know the favour of the gods and the fear of men.
Over countless millennia, within a theatre of constantly shifting territorial boundaries, and under the watchful eye of the Celestial Necropolis, which oversaw and regulated trade in accordance with the Binary Proclamation – and under the enforcement of the terrifying Knights of the Order of Oblivion, who enforced their edicts – the worth of the soul trade grew.
And so, as so often happen in matters of commerce, a tale of relentless conquest and consolidation unfolded, and in time, the numbers of trading houses diminished even as the power of those that remained increased.
And amongst the houses that were built yet higher on the foundations of those that had fallen, friendships became tenuous and trust became the only commodity perhaps even scarcer than the soul-derived aetheric plasma so coveted for the power it bestowed.
Concerning the Practice of Sorcery
By synchronizing the body’s natural aetheric field, vibratory frequencies, and bio-neuro-electrical field patterns in specific ways through refined vocalizations, postures, gestures and visual and auditory stimuli, a sorcerer can deploy the aetheric plasma transfer that occurs when a captive soul is released to incarnate to achieve very specific effects. For this reason, to a great degree, a sorcerer’s power depends not only upon the number of souls – and therefore the amount of potential aetheric plasma – they possess, but also upon the endemic amount of natural aether their body generates. Their knowledge of the triggering patterns of cues, thoughts and actions that will spell out the reorientation of reality they desire is also a factor.
Of course, because some beings naturally generate more aetheric resources than others, their capacity to wield more powerful spells – this is to say spells with greater range, longevity, substance and so on – is greater than a being with a weaker natural aetheric field. An Olympian, for example, has a much more robust aetheric field than does say a mortal sorcerer, and so is capable of deploying the same quantity of aetheric plasma from a released soul to much greater magical effect.
The capacity for carrying bottled souls, which nest quietly and undetectably in the sorcerer’s natural aetheric field, is likewise contingent on the amount of aether the sorcerer’s body generates naturally. Beings possessing greater aetheric resources are capable of transporting more bottled souls and hence – more potential aetheric plasma.
It becomes obvious here that possessing the required souls is only part of the equation when it comes to determining the extent of the magical power of a given sorcerer. A strong naturally occurring aetheric field is also essential to the effective practice of sorcery. For this reason, it is imperative that a sorcerer strives to strengthen the production, free flow and replenishment capacity of their natural aetheric resources through mental and physical fitness.
Mental fitness is typically achieved by way of meditation to develop enhanced capacity for the mystical awareness necessary to penetrate the inner probability vortices and transfer delta quanta (which is simultaneously both and neither thought and reality) across the moebius bridge spanning inner and outer realms (conception and perception). This phenomenon is characterized not only by absence of sense of self and perception of oneness with reality, but also by both a surge in natural aetheric production and enhanced, unhindered flow of aether throughout the body and senses. For this reason, sorcerers are, to varying degrees, disciples of holism. They comprehend the arbitrariness of being in a way that transcends the average mind’s crippling tendency to perceive its reality in fictional and arbitrary categories, boundaries and delineations.
Physical fitness is also desirable in that it strengthens the bio-neuro-electrical output of the physical form, which is also beneficial to the generation of aether.
It should also be noted that, physical objects known as talismans, which possess a modicum of trapped aetheric plasma from an incarnating soul, can absorb natural occurring aether from their surroundings. While the nil-reality effect of aetheric plasma trapped in a talisman is weaker, magical items can be imprinted with one or two spells that can be used repeatedly – so long as they can absorb sufficient natural aether – without the typical time, energy and knowledge typically required to cast a spell.
These magical items, which can be items of any kind but are typically articles of clothing, swords, armour, rings, amulets, musical instruments, wands and staffs, are often very old, incredibly powerful, and highly sought after by mortal sorcerers.
The term talisman as used here to refer to magical items containing imprinted spells should not to be confused with the Martian talismans, which are ancient items that were constructed in the realization engines by alchemical means.
Concerning Waveform Signature and the Planes of Existence
Variation in the vibratory characteristics of the subatomic strata of a given realm (known collectively as its waveform) is the reason beings on one plane of existence do not perceive beings or environments on another plane even though they may occupy the same region of spacetime.
Through acts of sorcery or by technological means it is possible for beings to alter their waveform and attune it to the definitive waveform of another plane of existence. By doing this they can achieve an array of results such as sending and receiving thoughts between planes; seeing, hearing and feeling things on other planes; and transferring the entirety of their physical being from one plane to another.
It is important to note that extra-planar travel, or transfer in any degree of phase variation from one plane to another, is made possible by way of conscious or technological alteration of the waveform of the physical body, and that this should not be confused with the practice of extra-planar projection.
Extra-planar projection is the phenomenon by which a being sends a duplicate of the envelope that is mind containing a body constructed from a portion of its aetheric energy to one of the proximal planes (most commonly the astral or dream realms). While the waveform of the projected aetheric body is attuned to the waveform of the destination realm, the physical body proper and the majority of that body’s aetheric energy remain (in an unconscious or meditative state) on the plane the being has projected its consciousness from.
As a rule, extra-planar travel is not possible within the realm of Sanctuary because it requires access of the consciousness to the null-point where probability can be manipulated. This being said, there is one exception. The Martian gatestreams, which were products of the lost Martian alchemy, do function within the sphere of Sanctuary.
Planar projection on the other hand is a common occurrence on Sanctuary. All humans project their consciousnesses to the dream realm during the sleeping state and many humans are capable of projecting to the astral plane when in a meditative state.
Concerning Aetheric and Biological Life
In general terms, there are two types of sentient beings in reality. Biological beings, characterized by the incarnation of a soul in a regular energy-matter matrix, and aetheric beings that are manifested from the focused thoughts and aetheric energy generated by a Demiurge.
All biological beings perpetually generate a field of aetheric energy (also called mana, qi, ki, or chi, prana, pneuma, lung, ruah, vital energy…). Aetheric energy, which is more commonly referred to simply as aether, is unique in that it exists outside the standard perceptual range of most beings. Indeed, it constitutes much of the unaccounted for mass and gravitational force — called dark matter — in the scientific construct of the universe as understood by the indigenous beings of Sanctuary. It is also unique from other forms of energy and matter in that it: is responsive to, and can be formed and moulded by, thoughts; can manifest sub-atomically as either particles or waves; and can manifest as all other forms of energy and matter under direction of a consciousness.
The first beings to evolve in the early multiverse were extremely powerful, immortal, aetheric entities. Called the demiurges (the Olympian titans, the Norse giants, the tree-minds of Fey amongst many other classifications), these primordial beings learned over millennia how to deploy the copious and dense concentrations of aether generated by their bodies to create beings that would function as both servants and companions. In time these aetheric creations of the Demiurges known as Aetherics or Immortals, began to proliferate sexually just as biological mortal entities would.
Unlike mortals however, aetheric creatures to not attract souls at the moment of conception and so are not ensouled as biological entities are.
There are of course also hybrid entities known as Archons/Aeons who are either aetheric forms who have somehow acquired a soul.
Because all biological entities generate aetheric fields, powerful mortal beings capable of manipulating probability and possessing the requisite bottled souls required, can also conjure aetheric beings either using their own aetheric field or aether they have taken from another biological or aetheric entity.
Concerning Gygax Emanation and Extra-Planar Manifestation of RPG Entities
Theorized by Earth sorcerer Andy Crowley following his defeat of the demiurge, Bolth the Behemoth, the phenomenon known as Gygax Emanation (named for Earther, Gary Gygax, creator of the role playing game Dungeons & Dragons) theorizes that creatures and entities detailed in Earther role playing games manifest on other planes of existence as a direct result of being conceived of in the minds of players of these games. The phenomenon, if true, is noteworthy because it contradicts the common knowledge that access by consciousness to probability fields within the peculiar region of spacetime known as Sanctuary is impossible.
Crowley’s theory postulates that the intense, lucid mental activity that occurs in the minds of role-playing game players enters the probability vortices and, because probability manipulation by consciousness is not possible within the event horizon of Sanctuary Rim, results in delta quanta being shunted outward across the moebius bridge onto other planes of existence as manifested entities.
The theory further proposes that mental conception related to these games results in extra-planar manifestation while other human conceptions (such as religious, literary and pop culture figures) do not due to the presence of the unique electromagnetic, gravitational, and aetheric field properties generated by the specific geometry of the dice used in these types of games.
Credence is lent to this argument by the fact that the geometric properties of these dice – three-dimensional, regular, convex polyhedrons with congruent regular polygonal faces and the same number of faces meeting at each vertex – are identical to those presented by the Earth philosopher, Pythagoras, and popularized by the philosopher, Plato, as the Platonic solids: the fundamental geometric structures of three-dimensional spacetime.
There is also speculation that the resultant field mechanics from the interaction of the specific electromagnetic and aetheric fields generated by the intensity of a player’s fixation on the future outcome of the dice roll and the flux-prob field vacuum resulting from the roll itself is a contributing factor.
Should the Gygax Emanation theory hold true it would support the hypothesis that, although the ability of consciousness to manipulate delta quanta within the probability vortices inside Sanctuary Rim remains impossible, sufficiently vivid visualizations that occur within minds of entities in the presence of material components modeling the geometry of the Platonic solids may actually manifest substantially on other planes of reality.
Concerning the Martian Exodus, The Treaty of Jotunheim and the Eden Veil
In ancient times, before intelligent beings had even walked on Sanctuary, the Cronos Debacle had destroyed Tiamat, the fifth planet of the Sol system. The resultant reorientation of gravitational fields had moved the event horizon of Sanctuary Rim outward and, robbed of even of the scant, residual fluxing probability weak force made available by proximity to the Rim and channeled to them by the 22 equatorial and 22 meridial pyramids, the enormous realization engines at the martian core, had ground to a halt – never to come on again. Eventually, Mars began to dry and wither. Water had all but disappeared from the surface, and the Pharaoh, having become enamoured with the peculiar science practiced by the Earther’s, had surmised it was leaving the atmosphere as well. Without magic, he hypothesized, it was only a matter of time before Mars would be uninhabitable anyway. Ever the consulate negotiator and merchant, he played this knowledge to Mars’s advantage.
As compensation for Mars’s incredible sacrifice, the Pentarchy expanded the relocated Martian Empire’s role as steward of Sanctuary beyond asylum from the Eden Edict to include exclusive rights to secretly acquire and export limited quantities of two of the most precious commodities in the multiverse: Sanctuarian denim, the nil-probability properties of which made it a remarkably resilient armour against sorcery, and Sanctuarian alcohol, which had a unique and powerful affect on consciousness had never been replicated beyond the Rim.
Many viewed Mars’s new compensation by the Pentarchy as excessive and unfair, resulting eventually in the treaty of Jotunheim, which forbid Mars from trading the most precious resource of all — sorcery-fuelling souls: the currency of the cosmos. Exclusion from the soul trade and abandonment of the Martian soul trading houses, resulted in the virtual extinction of martian magic and sorcery in the span of mere decades. Now, the closest thing to Martian sorcery are the dwindling remnants of the ancient Martian alchemical talismans created by the imagineers in the long since silent realization engines: the sun-guns, the dreamships and the gatestreams,
And so, having relocated all signs of Martian civilization beyond Sanctuary Rim, the Pentarchy enacted the second part of its plan.
Five Heliopolitan beholders in a perpetual state of meditation, situated in Five pyramids distributed in a pentagramatic arrangement about the asteroid remnants of planet Tiamat maintained a powerful illusory sphere about the event horizon of Sanctuary Rim. This glamour, which serves to prevent any outward looking Earthers from seeing the truth of their place in the multiverse, in time, came to be known as the Eden Veil.