"Thaumaturgy: the science of manipulating the underlying energy that drives the universe - the force behind all creation and all destruction. If Genesis 1:27 is true, if we as human beings are in some way made in the image of God, this is it." - Anneliese Vancil
Thaumaturgy - from the Greek θαῦμα [thaûma], meaning "miracle" or "marvel" and ἔργον [érgon], meaning "work" - is the art of manipulating the fundamental, primeval forces of the material universe. Thaumaturgy has had innumerable different interpritations and names over the course of human existence, but it is commonly referred to in modern English as "Magic".
What is Thaumaturgy?Edit
Thaumaturgy uses the power of a sentient mind to manipulate the fundamental forces of the material universe. Although it is often called such, this force is not energy in the scientific sense - it is formless and without substance. It has no Mass and occupies no space in reality; it cannot be viewed under a microscope. Rather, it is the power that binds molecules together and drives the expansion of the universe. It is the Nuclear Forces of atoms, it is Gravity, it is Dark Energy. Only the mind of a sentient being can give it shape, purpose and form.
Categories like "Elemental Magic" [Naturathurgy] are arbitrary creations, labels produced by humans to catalogue and systemitize the different percievable manifestations of Thaumaturgic power. The force itself is unknowable, impercievable; only its effects can be felt. When raw Thaumaturgic energy is introduced into the material world by a practitioner (i.e. when a Magician uses his / her power), it leaves after-effects - like the wake of a boat passing through water - that can be percieved by those with the knowledge to do so, although not with the naked eye. Thaumaturges use trinkets, such as Anneliese's enchanted pocket watch, to detect these emissions - subtle upsets in the balance of the natural order of the material universe. When more information is required, Thaumaturgical power can be used to enhance the senses, allowing a practitioner to percieve the leftover ripples from Magical discharges and gain insight into what the power was used for. This is, however, an imperfect and subjective sense. Every person with the ability percieves the Magical "after-glow" differently.
The Three SpheresEdit
Michelle Conway: "What's with you Magician people and triangles?"
Anneliese Vancil: "First, I'm not a Magician. I just do Magic. Second: Existence is a triangle, of course. There are three Planes of Existence and the Human Essence, uniquely, is tripartite - Mind, body & Soul. One part from each."
Existence is said by Thaumaturgic Lore to be divided into three Worlds or Spheres. They are:
Material Universe (The Second Sphere) - Our own plane of existence. This is the most "concrete" and stable of the three planes of existence. The Universe exists in a theoretically infinite number of varying permutations, or dimensions, that are each a parallel of one another. There is no "prime" dimension, all of them are equally correct. The laws of physics, time, space, etc. may be different in different universes, but they always obey certain underlying principles and remain fixed / unchanging / constant within the confines of their universes. Thaumaturgic energy is the only constant between different planes, and thus can be used to transition between them, although traditional Thaumaturgic practices forbid this. Every instance of every dimension exists simultaneously, meaning that Time Travel using Magical energy is possible although, again, generally forbidden (not to mention very, very dangerous).
The Fay / the Mirror (The Third Sphere) - a "Mirror" of the Material Universe created by Thaumaturgic energy which has been somehow pulled out of its natural, impercievable state [i.e. from energy that has been used in some kind of spell or casting]. The Fay is a single infinite dimension representing every dimension of the physical universe overlapped and "smashed" together. As such, its laws, properties and inhabitants are constantly evolving and changing in a whimsical fashion. The Fay is accessable to beings from the Material Universe and very few Thaumaturgic schools forbid doing so, although it is generally cautioned against. The Fay is referred to as the Third Sphere because it is a biproduct of the Material Universe and cannot exist apart from it.
The Heavens (The First Sphere) - the higher plane of existence which is home to demons, gods and other such religious / mythological creatures. This Sphere is inaccessable to beings from the other planes, but Heavenly beings can readily "descend" to the other two at will. Only humans, upon death, ascend to this Sphere. Its nature is, as would be expected, poorly understood, with all but the most basic facts being pure conjecture or supposition. All the "afterlifes" of the world's religions are thought to be found here in some form. This is the First Sphere because it is the eternal, original 'existence' from which the other two Spheres were somehow created.
Anneliese Vancil: "I could kill you with a word, you know."
Alexander Warren: "But you won't. It would remind you what a perverse abomination you really are."
"Spells" are not set in stone. They are a form of mental conditioning: phrases, usually in some obscure / dead language the Practitioner wouldn't normally have cause to use, that aid the Practitioner in properly focusing energy to get a certain effect. They allow Magic to be done quickly and with precise, controlled results. In the modern Western world, Latin is the most common language used for spell-casting (this is the language Anneliese uses), though any language will do - theoretically, even the Practitioner's native language, though this is rarely, if ever, done, due to the risk of accidental castings. Every Practitioner has his or her own set of spells with slightly different results. Even if two people are casting a standardized spell taken directly from a widely circulated Grimoire, they will not be exactly the same.
The term "Spell" refers to any Thaumaturgic casting that involves a ritualized uttering of a constructed phrase designed to produce a certain result, from simple attack spells to complex Magical rites. Thaumaturgy is by no means limited to spells - in fact, most of it is done without them. Spells are simply a kind of "quick access" mechanism for very specific results, and are tailored to the Practitioner's needs and situations. Unlike rituals, hexes, alchemy and other such Thaumaturgic rites, spells cannot be modified on the fly. They must be practiced rigorously so that a certain subconscious action or set of thoughts becomes inextricably linked with the words. A truly good Thaumaturge will perform the casting on pure reflex just by uttering the associated words, which is why Practitioners are generally careful not to use common languages in the construction of their spells.
The following is a list of some of the spells created and used by Anneliese, as an example (note that she has had more than six hundred years of practice at this and so her arsenal is far more extensive than most):
- Cōnfunditō - a spell that stops electronics from functioning. Requires knowledge of how to physically disable the target object / thing on the part of Anneliese for it to work. Also works on non-electrical machines with moving parts such as firearms or clocks.
- Congerī - A "burst" spell that rapidly pulls a large quantity of surrounding Magical energy into her body, more than she would normally be able to draw in any given instance. She must expend energy to use the spell, however, so only it can only be cast across a relatively small radius without experiencing diminishing returns.
- Manu invisus divis - General-purpose telekinesis spell to levitate / move / throw / crush target object(s) or being(s) remotely.
- Et Vade - Hurls a target object or person directly away from her with intense force. Can be used for everything from knocking a person over to slamming them against a wall hard enough to kill them.
- Excudō - A rather energy intensive spell, not meant for use on the fly, to convert other forms of Matter into silver. Usually used in combination with a focusing ritual and a store of energy to convert a normal magazine load for her handgun into silver bullets. Can theoretically be used on any object or even to create silver out of molecules in the air, although this is - practically speaking - rather impossible.
- Exī - the opposite of "Et Vade", draws a target object or person toward her outstretched hand. Usually used to remotely retrieve lost items, such as her sceptre or handgun, but can also be used to pull a person Telekinetically toward her and leave them suspended in mid air a short distance from her palm. Physical contact with the levitated object on her part cancels the spell.
- Frenditur - creates a localized sphere of heightened pseudo-gravity around a target that intensifies in proportion to the amount of energy being fed into it. Basically only good for crushing things. Unlike real gravity, this anamoly will not attract things outside of its effective radius.
- Exonerātur - the corrisponding spell to "detonate" the sphere of speudo-gravity and hurl everything in the vacinity away from the epicenter. The stronger the singularity (i.e. the more energy is pumped into the "Frenditur" spell), the bigger the explosion.
- Fulminō - generates a powerful corona of electricity throughout Anneliese's body in proportion to the amount of power put into the spell, which can then be hurled at targets telekinetically or transferred to them via physical contact. Note that maintaining the electricity around / within her body is extremely draining on her energy, and if she is exhausted she will be electrocuted. Because the electricity is Magical in nature, it generally ignores the normal rules of grounding & such.
- Ignem ánimam meam. Scutumque gladium meum erit. - A spell that creates a corona of fire around the blade of her sword by running a flame [i.e. her lighter] across it while speaking the words. Lasts until she speaks the command words "dimissa es". Will also disappate if she drops / lets go of the weapon.
- Lyssna - the Swedish word for "Listen", used as a trigger word for the command spell enchanted into Anneliese's collar pins. In order for the enchantment to work on a target, she must know his / her / its True Name. The command spell is phrased as followed: "Lyssna, du ___" with the '___' being filled by the person's name. It is then followed by the desired command, which must be said in Swedish, i.e. "Lyssna, du John Doe. Ge mig din plånbok!" (Listen, John Doe. Give me your wallet!). Note that, obviously, the person in question doesn't have to understand Swedish for the spell to work.
- Glaciā - Draws all warmth / heat out of an area of her choosing, with the radius being in proportion to the amount of power put into it. If enough Thaumaturgic energy is pumped into the spell, it can be used to kill - even going so far as to freeze the target's blood in his/her/its veins. Note that it is physically impossible for a living human being to "flash freeze" (realistically speaking anyway), so using this spell to the point of lethality is not only extremely inefficient but also very inhumane.
- Refutō - a type of spell called a "Cancel" that disrupts / scatters a directed flow of Magical energy (i.e. when someone is drawing power into themselves for Thaumaturgic casting). Can be used many times in quick succession to hinder the ability of an opponent to use Magic. Will block the casting completely as long as Anneliese continues to put more energy into the "Cancel" than her opponent can draw on in a given instance, but can be countered with a "Burst" spell such as Anneliese's "Congerī" (for more details, see the "Bursts & Cancels" section below). This is Anneliese's favorite spell, as she generally prefers not to kill her enemies - especially not with Magic.
- Somnum Sæculorum - Puts the target into a coma"or dreamless sleep. Can be used against multiple targets, but this is seldom done due to the power required.
- Resuscitāre - the corrisponding command spell to wake up from said coma
- Stabō Fortis - Spell of protection against physical attacks, usually used to stop bullets (extremely draining)
- Tempus flūxerit - A spell that creates a tiny localized area of accelerated time around Anneliese, extending approximately one nanometer beyond her physical self. Used to impart herself with super-human reflexes. Time is sped up in proportion to how much energy is channeled into the spell. Rarely used for more than a handful of seconds due to energy requirements.
- Torrē Ignis - Sets a target object or person ablaze by Thaumaturgically enhancing & transferring an existing flame into it / him / her / them. Usually used in combination with Anneliese's lighter, though any flame within eyesight will do.
- Ustulā - milder form of "Torrē Ignis" that enhances an existing flame. Can be used in combination with "Torrē Ignis" to easily kill human beings or other living creatures by immolating them almost instantly. Can also be used to boil liquids or create localized heat without the need for an existing flame by exciting molecules. (Also a good way to get a lighter to work in windy conditions by intensifying the spark).
- Vade hinc - a modified Burst spell that draws a large amount of energy into Anneliese's body and then destabilizes it. The energy can then be released through uttering the follow-up command spell "Statim", creating a kinetic shockwave that will propel all nearby people / objects / things over a great distance with lethal force. Basically a more powerful version of "Et Vade". Simply being struck with the shockwave at fairly close proximity is usually enough to kill a human being. The energy can also be released by physical contact with a living organism (i.e. punching or kicking something), which will release the shockwave from the point of contact rather than from Anneliese's center of mass. Unlike "Et Vade", the power of the force cannot be controlled - it is a purely destructive spell.
- Videre visu sine. Occulum mentis meæ. - A spell to open her Thaumaturgic Sense
- Vos debeo - summons Anneliese's sword into her right hand. This spell only works if the blade is placed on one of the two specially echanted stands which are linked to the spell through runic inscriptions. One of these stands is kept in her apartment, the other in her office.
Bursts & CancelsEdit
Two spells which have been utilized in essentially the same form by almost every Thaumaturge in history are the "Burst" and the "Cancel". These are the lynchpins of traditional, codified Magical dueling - like the thrust & the parry for competitive Fencing.
In Thaumaturgic dueling, the competitors are given no weapons, aids or implements (traditional Greco-Roman duels are, in fact, conducted in the nude, because even clothes can be used as an advantage and throw off the balance of the match). Because spell-casting will rapidly deplete the available ambient Magical energy in the surrounding area, the competitors must practice economy of force. Re-directing, nullifying or blocking incoming spells is extremely energy-intensive and exhausting - which is why stopping the spell from being cast in the first place is preferable.
Enter the "Cancel". A "Cancel", as described above, is a spell that disrupts the flow of Magical energy when it is being drawn or directed to a particular point, almost always by scattering it. Thus, it stops the opponent from collecting enough energy to cast his or her spell. The counter to a "Cancel" is a "Burst", which is a spell that expends energy in order to rapidly draw more of it into the caster's body.
A "Cancel" spell can be used to negate a "Burst" spell, but only if the Practitioner puts more energy into his/her "Cancel" than the opponent has into the "Burst". And even then, some energy will reach its intended destination in the time it takes the Practitioner to initiate the "Cancel". A truly good Practitioner can maximize this window with a large degree of concentration and practice by accelerating the speed at which the "Burst" collects energy.
As such, the first duelist to successfully manage an offensive casting is generally considered the winner of the bout, as his / her opponent will rarely have sufficient energy collected to counter it. However, in practical Thaumaturgic combat outside of formalized duels, the two opponents will almost invariably be equipped with an array of Magical trinkets, sinks and foci that impart them with considerable pools of pre-stored and readily-available energy, making the "Burst" / "Cancel" paradigm less important, although still crucial.
Thaumaturgic Chanting is the act of repeating the Magical phrases associated with rituals and spells. In the case of hexes, rituals and such, the words are repeated to draw power for the casting. With spells, Chanting is used to multiply their effect. Traditionally, chanting is done in triplets (i.e. the words are spoken three times, or in multiple sets of three), though this is not necessary and there is nothing wrong or disadvantageous about using a number greater than three.
As an example scenario, Anneliese might say "Ustulā, Ustulā, Ustulā!" to create an especially large flame. In complicated spells composed of multiple phrases, portions of the phrase can be chanted in order to modify the intensity of a particular aspect of the spell - i.e. "Videre visu sine... Videre visu sine... Videre visu sine... Occulum mentis meæ" would considerably multiple the intensity of Anneliese's Thaumaturgic Sense.
Codex - A Codex (plural: Codices) is what most Thaumaturges in the Western World call any book relating to Thaumaturgy. The term is, of course, just the Latin word for a book and there are many things referred to as Codices which have nothing to do with Magic. As such, the term "Thaumaturgic[al] Codex" is often used when clarification is required. Traditional Western Codices are almost universally written in Latin. To qualify as a proper Thaumaturgic Codex, the writing must be done by hand. Codices are generally made in a very old medieval style, often with Illuminated Manuscripts, although many of them are not actually all that old.
Grimoire - A specific kind of Codex that contains instructions on Thaumaturgic practices (i.e. spells, rituals, hexes, divinations, rites, etc). Grimoires are basically textbooks on Magic. Most grimoires are themselves Magical in nature, and destroying them or tampering with them can often have dire consequences. Traditional lore holds that Grimoires serve as gateways to the other two Spheres through which creatures not of this world can pass.
Necronomicon - a hypothetical text of Nekyia or Necromancy (i.e. death Magic) which has been the subject of much speculation over the course of human existence, appearing in some form in a wide variety of unconnected cultures throughout history. The Necronomicon has become famous in mainstream modern society because of the work of H. P. Lovecraft. He is often credited with having invented the idea, although only the name Necronomicon is actually his invention. In fact, "Necronomicon" is an incorrect derivative of Greek, although the name persists - even among the Thaumaturgical community. Other names for the book include "Libro Mortis", which means "Book of Death" in Latin (not to be confused with the Egyptian Book of the Dead).
The Necronomicon is said to contain the proper rituals for hypothetical Thaumaturgical rites such as bringing the dead back to life: things which no one has thus far been able to achieve (at least no one human). Most authorities among the Thaumaturgic community believe that these things which the Necronomicon supposedly contains are impossible, just as the book itself is pure myth. However, many books on Necromatic magic have been produced and given similar titles, which are sometimes mistaken for or claimed to be the "real" thing.
Thaumaturgy - the Art / Science / Practice of Magic
Thaumaturgic / Thaumaturgical - the adjectival form of Thaumaturgy, used interchangably.
Thaumaturge - Someone who practices Thaumaturgy.
Practitioner - A more generic version of Thaumaturge, sometimes expanded to include those with only limited knowledge of the art.
Magician - Often considered interchangeable with the terms "Thaumaturge" & "Practitioner". The vast majority of Thaumaturges self-identify as Magicians. Some however, such as Anneliese, do not. The traditional mark of a Magician is a Thaumaturgic Staff (something which Anneliese rejects using).
Sorcerer / Sorceress - Masculine and Feminine forms of the noun for a Thaumaturge who belongs to a particular sect or organization in the Thaumaturgic community, or who identifies with / exclusively practices a particular branch of Magic.
Warlock / Witch - The terms Warlock and Witch (masculine & feminine, respectively) have no specific definition. They are used by those who identify with a particular Thaumaturgical sect or branch (i.e. by Sorcerers / Sorceresses) to refer to Practitioners who engage in Magic which is forbidden by their particular sects. The term is also used by some radicals, like Alexander Warren, who see Thaumaturgy in general as evil or blasphemous, to refer to any Practitioner of the Thaumaturgic arts. Such radicals are usually colloquially termed "Witch Hunters".
Savant - an informal term for those who have knowledge of Thaumaturgy but do not engage in it themselves. Usually, "Savants" are highly valued by the Thaumaturgic community because of their extensive, unbiased academic knowledge of the Magical arts. Cassie would fall into this category.
Demon - a generic term for any lesser denizen of the First Sphere of existence (i.e. a Heavenly being that is not powerful enough, or not well-known enough in the Material Universe, to be considered a god). The term "demon" carries strongly negative connotations, as all recorded Heavenly beings that have directly interacted with the Mortal World have been malicious in nature.
Angel - an "Angel" is a hypothetical "good-natured" denizen of the Heavenly Sphere. Most in the Thaumaturgical community take the existence of Angels as a given, although no record of them exists, because of second-hand evidence. Tradition holds that these hypothetical Angels are either forbidden from, or choose to avoid, directly interacting with the Material Universe.
Fay / Fæ - a "Fay" or "Fæ" is a denizen of the Third Sphere of Existence, which is itself often called "The Fay" or "The Fæ". They are called "Spirits" as well, although this is also another term for the soul or essence of a human being. Fays are incorporeal consciousnesses, minds without bodies or souls, and cannot physically interact with the Material Universe unless given a corporeal form by a mortal Thaumaturge. Fay creatures are not truly sapient, but give the appearance of being such. Rather, they are mirror images or immitations of human beings, formed from the basest parts of human nature & consciousness.
Humanity & the Three SpheresEdit
Humans are unique among all existing creatures in that they are tripartite, composed of three parts: one related to each of the Three Spheres of existence. They have a Body (a corporeal form which exists in the mortal world), a Mind or Consciousness like that of Fæ creatures (something all other beings in the Material Universe lack), and a Soul or Spirit which is like that of Heavenly beings and which ascends to the First Sphere upon the death of the human's mortal body. All other living beings are of a singular nature (except, according to Christianity, God).