Time is one of nine Spheres of magic in Mage: The Ascension. The Seers of Chronos (now known as the Cult of Ecstasy) has occupied the Seat of Time in the Council of Nine Mystic Traditions since its founding. The Shard Realm of Time maps physically to Saturn.
Time is known as the magic that all men know. Science and magic both agree that the flow of time varies with the observer, that time itself is hardly the constant that it initially seems. Esoteric doctrines claim time is an illusion. Even those who accept Time is forward march (more or less) still discover that the eddies, currents and branching paths of time are far more manifold and mutable than most people would ever guess.
Mages studying Time magic agree that the world is full of unexpected whorls and vortices of temporal disturbance. Time contracts around some places and dilates at others, though the regimentation of scientific time means that such phenomena are not as common as they once were. In unusual circumstances, time may loop back on itself, make jumps and rifts to past or future, or diverge in multiple streams.
In order to access the Archspheres of Time, a mage has to enter a time-loop, similar to a temporal Paradox Realm, and then has to figure the entry and the return into their original timeline out by themself.
Mages with experience in Time tend to carry a strong sense of déja vu with them. Most seem distant from the moment at hand, although their timing is usually excellent. Their manners grow strange, with their speech sliding through past/present/future tenses. Masters resonate temporal energies to the point that the continuum around them is slightly warped: causing a flower to bloom or a book to gather dust.
Energies associated with Time tend to be green in color, or simply manifest as a rainbow blur.
Once a mage manipulates time in a subjective fashion, it is progressively harder to rework the manipulation. If a mage stretches out a particular few seconds, for instance, they may gain time to perform responsive actions at their convenience, but further time-manipulating magic must contend with the fact that they have already warped their perception of that time. More importantly, once the mage is working with distorted time, their magical energies are already tied up in the feat.
Time travel is possible for Masters but remains a dangerous and inexact field of study. Things wait in the time-stream, perhaps more incomprehensible than even the spirits that guard the distant reaches of the universe. Mages who meddle too much with time have a disturbing tendency to disappear, sometimes replaced by beings that masquerade in their place, other times arriving with full knowledge of a horrific fate that awaits them in some unavoidable time.
Below is a short representation of how the Sphere of Time is interpreted by the various magickal factions within the World of Darkness.
- Akashic Brotherhood: The Akashic Brotherhood believes that time movement is circular, not linear. Because Time is witnessed through the lens of the limited Self, what we perceive as Time is an illusion. Only by letting go of his ego can the Akashic see beyond the time that humans measure and can influence it with his mind alone to achieve resolvement of karma.
- Celestial Chorus: The Celestial Chorus sees Time as the dimension in which all of Creation interacts and experiences each other. As all Time is relative before the One, Choristers step outside their own experience to see how Time unfolds from another perspective closer to It.
- Cult of Ecstasy: The Cultists speak of Time as the "Ecstatic Principle" and associate it with "Sadness" among the Nine Sacred Passions. Because the Cult sees magic as a series of barriers that have to be broken down, Time is seen as the ultimate barrier which opens all others. Seeing Time as the key force of change and of adaptation, they utilize it to subtle means to aid them in understanding the illusions of the world.
- Dreamspeakers: Dreamspeakers perceive Time in similar terms to Correspondence; it being simultaneously the actions of various spirits, as well as being numerous spirits in itself. Most Dreamspeakers confine themselves to seeing through time, since most of their Totems dislike too many temporal alterations.
- Euthanatoi: The Euthanatoi interpret Time as Sat ("Being"). It is the movement of the Wheel of Ages, and by relying on the perfect stillness of his own Atman, the Euthanatos can change his perceptions of its movement or even travel along different states of the Wheel.
- Order of Hermes: The Order of Hermes speaks of Time as the Ars Temporis. Viewing it as a force of Truth, Hermetics seek to unlock its secrets to glimpse all of Creation and experience everything in the span of a single breath. By mastering time, one masters inevitability, making one's Will the sole determinant on what has been, what is and what shall come.
- Sons of Ether: The Sons of Ether study Time as "Causality Studies". Believing that the flow of time is a matter of mental habit or related to space via "chronotic particles". A new theory speaks of tachyons moving backward through time, and that by converting Matter to Tachyon Patterns, one can travel through time.
- Verbena: The Verbena revere Time during Beltane, the 1st of May. It symbolizes the Eternal Moment, in which life is conceived and new seeds are sown. Verbena time magic is a matter of spontaneity and finding the Eternal Moment in understanding that all time is actually One.
- Virtual Adepts: Virtual Adepts usually master the lower levels of Time, although they have difficulties with its higher levels (thanks to their favor of orderly mathematics). Most use Time for predictions about the future, as well as ensuring undisturbedness while they are away in Virtual space.
- Ahl-i-Batin: The Ahl-i-Batin see Time as connected to Netsah. While they avoid any vulgar associations with Time, many Batini have found the use of its coincidental Effects. As a complex and cerebral Sphere, most Batini study Time and its effects to gain a greater understanding of Unity.
- Kopa Loei: The Kopa Loei call Time Ke kilonae ("Chant of Signs"). Believing that Time is part of a mystic chant of the gods, and therefore has to have a rhythm and a rhyme, the Kopa Loei use this knowledge to glance forward in advance.
- Taftâni: The Taftâni call Time Zurvan, the servant of Asha and inevitability of Truth that will reveal itself. The Taftâni stand divided in the matter of Time. Some prefer its more martial applications, like Trigger Effects or stopping mid-battle to prepare a summoning, while others mainly focus on divination and scrying.
- Wu Lung: The Wu Lung call Time Shih Chien and mainly use it for divination purposes via the I Ching.
The Technocracy speaks of Time as "Temporal Science" and works diligently to avoid any major paradoxes with it. The Technocracy finds a frustrating yet comforting stability in temporal science. Time moves in an orderly fashion; though the right tools can make it appear to compress, expand, warp, or loop, it is an open question whether Time itself is actually altered instead of just the human perception of Time. Technocrats have to start with an understanding of Time's base elements and a means to track it impeccably, since everything else builds on absolute precision.
- Time Sense: Allows a mage to determine the exact time of day down to the second. In addition, they become aware of distortions of the stream of time in their local area.
- Time Sight: Allows a mage to see forward or backward through time. Although those impressions are fleeting, hazy, not entirely accurate, and bound by the limitations of that time and place (that is, what a bystander in that specific time and location could sense under the circumstances), they are nonetheless useful.
- Thicken the Walls of Time: Enhance the rigidity of the local Timeline to ward it against manipulation.
- Time Contraction Or Dilation: Allows a mage to alter the rate at which things happen in comparison to the "normal world."
- "Bullet Time": Allows a mage to slow things down (without changing the subjective time).
- Rewind Time: Allows a mage to rewind or loop time for a few seconds or minutes.
- Time Determinism: Allows a mage to literally stop time in its tracks.
- Time Bubble: Allows to capture other beings or phenomena in bubbles of time.
- Trigger Effect: Allows the mage to generate a keyed pause: Something that does not happen until a specific person, creature, or item comes into the right position.
- Anchor Point: Allows to create temporal anchors for the mage in the case that they travel through time.
- Time Travel: With an anchor point in the present, the mage can send themself or other people or things into the near future or past temporarily.
- Time Immunity: The mage begins to exist outside of the temporal flow and can pull objects into their own temporal field.
- Aid the Past: Allows a mage to send objects, or even Quintessence, back in time.
- Go to the Past: Allows a mage to freely enter moments in past eras (although with a high-risk of Paradox).
- Time Door: The mage may create a portal from one timeline to another. The portal can be made to move with time (remaining open and moving along), remain static (appearing only in the moment of its immediate creation) or even moving backward through time. Time Doors collapse the moment someone steps through them.
- Exist Apart from Time: The mage's Pattern ceases to be bound to a static moment and is instead fused into a single "moment" that encompasses the whole age. Any interaction of him with the time stream, however, causes changes that usually alter the timeline completely.
- , p.59
^ Level 1
|Time Sense||Mage: The Ascension Revised Edition||Pg. 190|
|Time Sense||Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 522|
^ Level 2
|Time Sight||Mage: The Ascension Revised Edition||Pg. 190|
|Past and Future Sight||Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 522|
|Thicken the Walls of Time||Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 522|
^ Level 3
|Time Manipulation||Mage: The Ascension Revised Edition||Pg. 190|
|Time Contraction Or Dilation||Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 523|
|Bullet Time||Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 523|
|Rewind Time||Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 523|
^ Level 4
|Time Determinism||Mage: The Ascension Revised Edition||Pg. 191|
|Time Determinism||Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 523|
|Time Bubble||Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 523|
|Trigger Effect||Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 523|
|Anchor Point||Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 523|
^ Level 5
|Time Travel||Mage: The Ascension Revised Edition||Pg. 191|
|Time Travel||Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 523|
|Time Immunity||Mage: The Ascension Revised Edition||Pg. 191|
|Time Immunity||Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition||Pg. 523|
^ Level 6
|Aid the Past||Masters of the Art||Pg. 74|
^ Level 7
|Go to the Past||Masters of the Art||Pg. 74|
^ Level 8
|Time Door||Masters of the Art||Pg. 74|
^ Level 9
|Exist Apart from Time||Masters of the Art||Pg. 75|
|Mage: The Ascension Spheres|
|Traditional:||Correspondence · Entropy · Forces · Life · Matter · Mind · Prime · Spirit · Time|
|Variations:||Data · Dimensional Science · Primal Utility · Void Correspondence · Qlippothic Spheres|