Crash Course in Magic #3
Magic: How to do the Gathering
Magical energy is gathered, usually by the practitioner from some source. This source can be mana internalized in practitioner them-self or some other external source. Common sources of energy are living things, items of power (also known as focii or focus), and natural elements, such as dirt, plant life, shells and so on. Certain supernatural beings can also lend their power to a practitioner, or in other extreme cases it can be taken by force (such as sacrifices).
Generally channellers of magic access it through multiple paths each of them involving the practitioner entering an altered state of consciousness. In this altered state, a mage “tunes” into the ambient mana around, they become an antennae of sorts, a beacon receptive to the frequencies or wavelengths of energy that all things emit. These wavelengths consist of information or “coding” that can, dependent on one’s unique magic capacity, be rewritten through a force of will. For example a mage could temporarily alter the mana of a stone and the mechanics of how it interacts with air molecules which results in the stone being able to levitate.
The first and generally most practiced way to channel magic is through intense meditation and self-hypnosis. The amount of time needed to alter consciousness varies; a greatly experienced mage may need a few minutes a novice mage, hours.
The second path for a mage includes entering the required trance-like state through drumming, dancing, or any repetitive rhythmic motions, commonly used in ritual dances or spells.
The third path includes fasting, sensory deprivation, or other such rituals that bring about a strong intention of purification.
The fourth path involves sexual intentions or the act of raising arousal and lust as an altered state mechanism. This is the least consistent path due to the ease in which a mage’s focus/concentration can slip. It is also considered vulgar and crude in many conservative areas and cultures.
The fifth and most uncommon path is through the intentional and careful use of pain in order to put the body into an altered state. This path is little used due to the fact that generally pain is far more likely to shatters a mage’s concentration rather than focus it.
One of the easiest, quickest yet historically most dangerous path to an altered state by a mage is through the ingestion of “sacred” agents such as herbs, mushrooms, etc. These often produce a psychedelic or hallucinogenic effect, which can be effective but others can be too potent and cause delusions, health problems, or death. As such, places providing for mages carry and offer approved natural inducement agents.
When it comes to preparing or casting spells or techniques in magic arts, there are various ways to go about doing it.
Tracing a symbol or mark in the air, creating a path for ley lines and runes for mana to quickly flow through and activate when synchronizing with the caster’s will.
Physical movement ranging from simply pointing to grand sweeping movements.
Require specific body movements and rhythms to be activated, often calling forth emotional drive from the caster.
Geometric rituals, traced shapes and diagrams to function. Most symbols create a focal point of ley lines which collect mana into potential energy.
The material (or immaterial like sounds) ingredients you need to call forth a spell.
Words or a phrase, which must be completed in their entirety for the magic to activate. The length of the incantation generally corresponds to the power of the spell itself – a spell with a short incantation has a weaker effect, and so on. Mantras are primarily used as spiritual conduits, words or phrases that instill concentration in the mage. Many mages use mantras as a focal point. The mantra can be any kind of phrase or even nonsense, as long it is a source of comfort and comes naturally to the mage.
A spell that works via music: playing a certain song or a magical instrument that causes a spell-like effect to happen, often calling on strong emotions.
A focus is distinct from ingredients by being reusable tools for doing magic. Most often have materials that resonate with vibrations in mana.
We often have to make a distinction between preparation and activation. Both still use the above the list of components, but some of them may only have a role in creating a spell, while other will serve as a trigger to make it go off.
Spells do not necessarily need to be cast as soon as they are created. If a spell for the user to hold onto a spell after construction to be used later, then it can have a construction method that takes very long such as Ritual Magic (explained later), and still allow for spells that are cast instantly when they are needed, or to be used for fast-paced magical battles.