- For other uses of the term, see Avatar (disambiguation).
Mages experience the Avatar as a separate personality which is connected to the mage's soul, and which drives the mage toward Ascension. It will often speak to the mage, as a "voice in the head" or via dreams. Avatars generally take on a humanoid form of the opposite gender to the mage, though this is not always the case and is highly dependent on the mage's interpretation. Avatars are also in control of a mage's Seekings.
Avatars were historically guided to their mages by spirits known as psychopomps. The presence of psychopomps was direct result of the appearance of the Entelechy, and they radiated forward and backward in time from that point. During this time (which includes the Dark Ages), psychopomps chose mages and Avatars so perfectly matched that many mages were completely unaware of the presence of the Avatar, referring to it only as a sort of mystical Fount of energy. Unfortunately, this often meant the inner voice of the Avatar was rendered silent, and mages were free to pursue their own petty personal agendas. However, as time progressed away from the Entelechy, psychopomps become less common, leaving it up to Avatars to find their own mages.
During the Renaissance, Avatars were referred to as Daemons, but even then different mages interpreted them in different ways. While some mages see Avatars as extra-dimensional entities, others (notably the Celestial Chorus) see them as facets of a greater consciousness, or even of the Tapestry itself. Along these lines, the Traditions often teach that Avatars are soul-shards of the "Pure Ones", ancient mages who Ascended long ago and who now seek to aid modern mages.
Among Technocrats, the Avatar is not seen as a separate entity but rather "Enlightened Genius", a higher comprehension of the natural world which allows them to understand and use Enlightened Science. The voice of the Avatar is explained as the Technocrat's own subconscious, though most agents undergo frequent psychological evaluation to make certain they are not developing schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder.
- Main article: Essence (MTAs)
Each Avatar has an Essence. These describe the Avatar's nature, as well as the way in which the Avatar seeks Ascension. An Avatar's Essence usually, though not always, complements the mage's own desires and outlook on magic and life.
The four major Essences are:
- Dynamic - growth through change and freedom.
- Pattern - strength through order and structure.
- Primordial - improvement through purification
- Questing - striving for balance and purpose.
The Order of Hermes posits lineages of avatars. They are broken up into broad categories of "Dianoia" meaning "thought from meditation" and "Res" meaning "physical thing".
The major classes of Dianoia and Res can be broken into subclasses which each govern various Traditions.
Subclasses of dianoia:
* Mentem - Pure intellect, Order of Hermes, Akashic Brotherhood, Dreamspeakers
* Aesthetica - taste, Cult of Ecstacy
* Moralis - morality, Euthanatos, Celestial Chorus
Subclasses of res:
* Creatus - creative spirit, Verbena
* Mutatio - shaping spirit, Virtual Adepts, Sons of Ether
Lineages are not canonically referenced elsewhere and don't seem to have any analogs in other traditions.
For those who seek to make connections between Exalted and the World of Darkness, the Pure Ones are most likely the Sidereal Exalted. The Laws of Ascension Limited Edition contained an exclusive prelude, written from the perspective of a Sidereal, which hinted at this possibility.
- DA: Dark Ages: Mage
- MTSC: Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade Rulebook
- MTAs: The Book of Shadows: The Mage Players Guide, p. 165.