Spirit is one of the ten Arcana of Mage: The Awakening. It is the ruling Subtle Arcanum of the Primal Wild, paired with Life. Spirit magic can affect all aspects of the Shadow Realm; with it, a mage may perceive twilight spirits, command them to do her bidding, cross the Gauntlet between worlds and, like the Death Arcanum, affect the human soul. The Arcanum of Spirit governs interaction between the material and spiritual realms of the Fallen World. It deals with communion with spirits, manipulation of Essence, and control over the Shadow Realm. A mage skilled in the use of this Arcanum can see across the Gauntlet, summon spirits into objects, creatures, or directly into the material realm, enter the Shadow Realm, and even create his own spirit court. This Arcanum is primarily used by the Thyrsus, and they draw their title of Shamans from its power.
Spirit magic cannot affect ghosts, and Death cannot affect spirits; they are different classes of being, despite both being made of ephemera. Indeed, spirits cannot usually be affected by any spell that does not make use of this Arcanum. Though both Spirit and Death may be used to affect souls, Spirit is limited to protecting or restoring them; Death grants greater control, though there are some effects it cannot duplicate.
Exorcism, the Shadow Realm, soul retrieval, spirits, the Gauntlet.
Nature and PowerEdit
The Arcanum of Spirit is the Subtle Arcanum of the Supernal Realm of the Primal Wild, a realm from which the energies of Arcanum of Life also flow. The Primal Wild is a place where even the very land seems to be alive. The realm is lashed by the elements, storms slamming at each other across the sky as though the weapons of warring gods. This assumption, overly poetic though it is, is true. The Primal Wild is alive with mighty spirits, dwelling inside every phenomenon to be found there. Indeed, the Realm itself is alive, a rank 10 spirit in its own right, and everything within that place is as a cell in the body of a terrestrial organism. With the separation of the Supernal and Shadow Realms from the material world, the Fallen World is by no means as awash in spirits as it once was. But they aren’t gone.
Unlike most of the Subtle Arcana, the Arcanum of Spirit’s primary realm of influence remains within the Fallen World, not separated from the material sphere by the Abyss. This is the Shadow Realm. Though it is technically a part of the Realms Invisible, the Shadow Realm is somewhat closer to the material world than the Supernal Realms. There is still a harsh barrier, the Gauntlet, but this barricade is weaker than that of the Abyss, and its strength fluctuates. In places, called verges, the Gauntlet doesn’t even exist, and even in the places where the Gauntlet is strongest, a determined enough traveller from either side can penetrate it, with the proper tools.
For mages, the Arcanum of Spirit provides those tools. It can be used to cross the Gauntlet, or to call something from the other side. Sufficiently powerful mages can even materialise such beings in their true forms on the other side of the barrier, without needing to bind them into an object or creature. A mage can alter the strength of the Gauntlet, bond familiars with a mortal master, tear at the Corpus of spirits or make shields against their powers, or awaken the spirits slumbering in objects. They can create paths through the Gauntlet, allowing travellers to pass to and from Twilight, and they can regulate access to these roads. They can reattach stolen souls to their original owners or store them inside objects. THeir powers can heal the bodies of spirits, weave Essence out of Mana and store it in containers or gift it to an allied spirit, alter the nature of spirits or create new ones, even give themself a rank in the courts of the spirits. As the power of a mage using the Arcanum of Spirit grows, they become less and less of this world, connected to one of a very few of the Realms Invisible that can still be reached and touched by mankind.
Levels of MasteryEdit
With the power of the first level of mastery, an Initiate of Spirit gains the power to see, hear, and converse with spirits in their own language. They can determine the strength of the surrounding area’s Gauntlet using the Mage Sight, detect the presence of spirit creatures possessing corporeal beings, and can rouse the spirits of material objects slightly, not actually awakening them but making their use of them a little easier.
The second level of mastery allows an Apprentice of Spirit to grant their perceptions of the Gauntlet upon others, and can glimpse across the Gauntlet into the Shadow Realm proper. They may summon lesser spirits (a specific spirit or simply lesser spirits in general) to attend to them. This compulsion may be voluntary or forceful, but they cannot make the summoned spirits manifest or command them yet. The mage may create soul jars, vessels in which to store disembodied souls. They can reach into the Gauntlet and Twilight, allowing them to physically interact with spirits and spirit objects, and allowing to be affected in turn. Their powers may be used to alter the strength of the local Gauntlet, so long as they are near a Hallow, and they can create a shield to protect themself from the attacks of physical or ephemeral entities.
A Disciple of Spirit, with the third level of mastery, can forge pacts with willing spirits, creating a familiar for themself. They may directly interact with the Corpus of spirits, rending it with arcane power or fixing wounds within its substance. They may perform exorcisms, driving possessing spirits out of their hosts, and may directly command them with magic, forcing them to submit to their will. Their ability to call spirits to themselves extends, allowing them to summon spirits of all levels of power to their side, though they still cannot make them directly manifest in the material world. They may create a shield to ward off the Numina employed by spirits, as well as the gifts used by werewolves. They can create pathways through the Gauntlet, allowing free passage between the Shadow Realm and material world (though spirits that enter the world by this path come into it in the state of Twilight). The spirits of inanimate objects can be roused to action, giving it intelligence, a limited measure of power that grows over time, and the ability to affect beings in Twilight. The mage can reattach severed souls to their original owners, and can reach out directly into the Shadow Realm, allowing them to interact with the spiritual world (and also allowing the spirits there to interact with them).
An Adept of Spirit, using the fourth level of mastery, can create a Medicine Bag, a mundane object which can be used to store spiritual Essence. They may channel this Essence from the bag or from a spirit or locus and gift it to another spirit or place it within another container. Their power to bind familiars increases, allowing them to grant a familiar to someone other than themself. They may create fetishes, trapping spirits within objects in order to utilise their powers, or bind them as guardians to people, objects, or places. They gain the ability to control access to their spirit roads, barring those whom they will from travelling these paths. They may bind spirits in the material world, trapping them in Twilight unless they have the power to materialise, or cause such spirits to possess a living creature, willfully or otherwise.
At the fifth level of mastery, a Master of Spirit’s power to affect the strength of the local Gauntlet becomes great enough to allow them to increase or decrease its power without needing a nearby Hallow. They may temporarily alter the powers, influences, and fundamental nature of a spirit, or even create one from scratch. They may bring the material forms of spirits out of Twilight and into the material world, even if they cannot normally materialise there, and may create a safe haven within the Shadow Realm. They may also create for themself a spirit court in which they are the most powerful noble, giving themself a spirit rank in the process. Spirits of lesser power will seek to attach themselves to this court, and the Master may quickly gain much influence within the Shadow Realm.
Archmaster and Above (●●●●●●+)Edit
Archmages are rare but not unheard of. They don’t follow the same rules as the other ranks. Archmasters become Avatars of the Arcanum they studied, living embodiments of the Watchtower their power comes from. They become conduits for power and are no longer barred from their power by the Abyss and so aren’t subject to Paradox. They take on the physical characteristics of their Arcanum. Archmages can cast all the spells from Initiate to Master, without using any Mana, and in any preferred duration. They effectively gain the powers of a God, including limited immortality (e.g. they stop getting older, and become immune to all diseases), but they’re still human beings and as such can be killed just like anybody else should they become careless. They still suffer penalties of their Inferior Arcanum.
Archmages of Spirit can force spirits to only feed from a specific type of spirit or Essence. They can alter the local Gauntlet to adapt, depending on the spirit testing it. Seekers can create, alter, or outright remove a given spirit's ban or numina, and often have voices that take on an unnatural, albeit strangely compelling echo. This compulsion does not affect humans, ghosts, or vampires, they can only hear the echo when/if the Archmage wishes. However, the voice does affect spirits and to some extent, shapechangers, like the Uratha (with werewolves are part spirit, part animal). All spirits of the Archmage’s rank or lower must obey this voice, and it can potentially calm the Uratha, even when under the effects of Death Rage.
When a Mage becomes an Archmage of Spirit, they automatically gain spirit rank of 7 and above. They can peer across the Gauntlet, regardless of strength, like most people look outside a window. They can cross and recross the Gauntlet, again regardless of strength, like most people do the street. They can physically walk into twilight, allowing them to literally pass through walls. They can create loci anywhere, or control the strength of the Gauntlet in a certain area so that nothing can get through it. Archmages of Spirit can create chantries rooted in the Shadow, or create a permanent Shadow within a Chantry. They can invent new numen, and may have as many familiars as they want.
In Conjunction With Other ArcanaEdit
A Master of Spirit and Disciple of Death can summon shadows and infuse them with a guiding spirit, creating a blot of raging darkness that serves as a thrall to the caster. This shadow creature can be contained within a corpse, or simply employed in its unbound form, as the mage pleases.
An Adept of both Spirit and Prime can convert his Mana into Essence, and gift this Essence to a spirit as a trade object or store it within a vessel for later retrieval. This spell is often used to entice familiars or to create a fetish.