- Rote Specialties: Investigation, Occult, Survival.
- Order Tools: Books, scrolls or written talismans. A key made of a rare or precious substance.
Alae Draconis, the Wings of the Dragon.
Awakened society looks upon the Mysterium as the great storehouse for all knowledge and wonders, and for its members to have incredible lore at their beck and call. Not all magicians consider knowledge and magical ability to be tied together, but when any mage seeks esoteric lore outside of his own experience, it is usually to the Mysterium that they turn.
The magical philosophy of the Mysterium is deeply academic, seeking to wind one's way through lifetimes of information in order to unfold wisdom. Their stance can be broken down into three core Theses.
Knowledge is Power
Two concepts define this thesis - pancryptia and academia.
- Pancryptia is the concept that magic naturally hides itself beneath the cultural and historical detritus of the Fallen World.
- Academia is the discipline that allows the Wise to seek beneath that detritus and discover the hidden lore of the Supernal Realms, like pearls concealed in a midden pit.
Knowledge has a Price
- Amorality: Magic doesn’t want to be free, nor is it inherently moral or just.
- Ordeals: Magic demands much of the sorcerer, changing him into a vessel fitting for the Supernal.
- The Basis of Authority: All authority is rooted in reason, tradition and gnosis (intuition, visions and mystical experiences). Any magical society that adheres to these three “pillars of authority” is a legitimate magical society.
- Reason: Magic is logical and rational. If a decision seems irrational, it must come about as a result of adhering to tradition or following gnosis.
- Tradition: Human innovation often obscures Supernal truths; they are usually the result of pancryptia, Seer deceptions or mortal Quiescence. Long-lasting traditions tend to preserve themselves.
- Gnosis: Visions and intuition act as the language by which the subconscious communicates to the conscious. Meditation, vision quests and subtle messages from the Oracles grant insight.
- Structured Exchange: Giving something of value away for nothing devalues it. There is occult significance to how much something is valued; devaluing something renders it powerless. Thus, magic that is given away freely has its true power eroded away.
The Corpus Mysteriorum
- Magic is Alive. It is called by some the Neuthasphere, the Metameme, the Ultraorganism.
- Oldest term is Corpus Mysteriorum, named for the grimoire of an archmage who erased signs of his existence.
- Most Athenaea have copies of the Corpus Mysteriorum.
- It is tremendously complex, with Atlantean glyphs in a variety of styles, worked into illuminations and fragments of over a dozen different languages.
- Magicians are constantly finding new lore in this grimoire.
- It is divided into 16 different sections: one for each Supernal Realm, one for each Arcanum and the “Miscellany,” which remains the least understood part of the grimoire.
- The Living Mystery: Aspects of magic are the sub-systems of the magical organism. Supernal Realms are organ systems, Arcana are practical functions such as breath and circulation, spells are fleeting thoughts, heartbeats and other momentary impulses, while the Fallen World is the “skeleton” on which magic flourishes. Five philosophies have evolved:
- Aletheianism: Reality is a single, contiguous whole. Destruction and separation are the result of interaction between subtle “etheric flame” and gross “ignorant night” (Yin/Yang). The space between them is the source of all Intelligence.
- Deus Ex Sorius: “The god from sorcery.” Magic is the body of a deity, and spellcasting is a form of communion in which souls reach closer to that Presence. The Abyss is a dualistic Adversary.
- Dharmakaya: “Body of the Law.” The Ascended Masters and Oracles –are– magic itself. Oracles are bodhisattva-like beings who postpone unity with the Tapestry to maintain the Watchtowers, to guide others to Ascension.
- Thaumacology: Magic is the heart of a metaphysical ecosystem; it is itself an ultraorganism. Mages are the cells of this organism, and magic exudes mundane reality to give itself a habitat, like coral. The Abyss is an imbalance in the ecosystem.
- Transmemetics: Magic is living information. Unlike normal memes, which rely on thinking beings to give them “life,” magic is a transmemes, or information structures that accrete in the Tapestry itself. Magical and natural laws are arbitrary transmemes structures that survive selection. Popular among techngnostics.
- The Mythic Corpus: The Living Mystery is not dry theory; it should be the basis for ethical considerations in all mystagogues. Mythology acts as a means of understanding the interactions of aspects of these theories.
While the Philosophy of the Mysterium orients their goals and projects, their praxis tells how they do the work they do.
- The Wise must uncover magic from the world around them. By combining intellectual learning and intuitive experiences, they achieve enlightenment. This is called the Sophiad.
- The Sophiad is organized into disciplines of study. These are divided into Soriology, the High Path of study of the Supernal Realms, mages and magic; Esotology, the Central Path of study of the supernatural creatures and phenomena of the world; and Exoterics, the Lower Path of study of the mundane world and its arts, sciences and peoples.
- Magosophy: Study of Awakened souls, as well as the psychology, sociology and moral philosophy of the Awakened.
- Supernology: Study of the Supernal Realms, structure of the Tapestry, the subtle layers of the Fallen World and the Abyss.
- Thaumatology: Study of magical technique, including the nature and origin of spells.
- Occultism: Miscellaneous supernatural phenomena, non-Awakened mortal magic
- Sidereology: Study of the Astral Plane
- Teratology: Study of cryptids and supernatural creatures.
- Exoterics: Conventional arts, sciences and humanities.
- Following the Lore: These are the techniques by which mystagogues achieve pursuit of the Sophiad in their quest for more knowledge and experience:
- Acquisition: Evidence is of the utmost importance, and acquiring items and other such physical manifestations is vital. “Mystagogue as thief.”
- Fieldwork: Most phenomena must be observed “in the wild,” requiring the mage to venture to them in order to find true lore around them. “Mystagogue as adventurer.”
- Research: Discovering the discoveries of previous scholars, and learning from their experiences. May also involve seeing out first-hand sources. “Mystagogue as scholar.”
- Mysticism: Subconscious and visionary revelations can bring truth as well; Divinations and omens can provide signposts. “Mystagogue as priest/seer.”
Protocols and Quanxi
- The Protocols: Series of principles that govern proper behavior. These are upheld through alliances with other orders, by offering services to other mages and by getting involved in Consilium politics in order to correct declining standards of protocol.
- The First Protocol – Right Scholarship. Lore and information is too valuable to occlude and weaken through falsehood. Mystagogues avoid lies and deceit; they would rather say nothing at all than to speak a lie. This does not apply to Sleepers or other supernatural creatures, strictly.
- The Second Protocol – Right Apprenticeship. The master-apprentice bond is sacred.
- The apprentice does not oppose the master in political matters; should share rotes and esoterica with her master; should support master’s interests until one of them dies.
- The master must provide comprehensive training; answer for any crimes committed by the student (to a lesser degree); ensure ethical behavior from former students; ensures his students have the necessities of life – no mage should suffer poverty.
- The Third Protocol – Right Exchange. Secrets must be traded appropriate to their value; magic should never be traded for mundane wealth and power.
- The Fourth Protocol – Right Authority. A formal political system isn’t always necessary; democracy isn’t for sorcerers, as it relies on the idea that all participants are equal; mages should defer to the most knowledgeable among them; all Awakened political systems must acknowledge magical skill; superior knowledge should be respected with proper deference, while the knowledgeable must take responsibility for the safety of the community as a whole.
- Interdiction: Punishment levied on magical community that fails to follow protocols to the extent that they threaten basic civility; when activated, no mystagogue in the caucus can share any knowledge of any of the three Paths with those considered in violation.
- If Interdiction is met with Mind magic or threats, the caucus invokes the Right of Nemesis as a whole, refuses diversion to a duel, and curses, injures or kills the offenders.
- Guanxi: Concept wherein mystagogues deal with one another through the equitable trade of favors, adhering to the protocols. Guanxi takes precedence over Consilium rules and laws; a mage should support someone he has strong guanxi with, even if that individual is at odds with the Consilium or other allies.
- Athenaea are the heart of the Mysterium; they are storehouses of lore and artifacts, serving as temples, schools, libraries, labs and museums.
- All Mysterium of Dadouchos rank (Status ••) are responsible for helping to upkeep the nearest Athenaeum to them.
- Divided into a number of different types and functions:
- Academy: The Athenaeum serves as a training location for apprentices; most teach apprentices very basic magical lore and then release them to other Orders for Order-specific training.
- Archive: The Athenaeum secures and organizes occult lore and artifacts, intended to preserve and catalogue its contents for study and dissemination to proper individuals.
- Censorium: The Athenaeum contains and hides lore and items intended to be kept away from others for safety’s sake; highly secured and secret.
In many ways, the Mysterium is a society of academics - as such, their organization is influenced by the kind of Ivory Tower mindset that shapes academia in general.
Earning dots in Order Status (Mysterium) is a matter of service to the Order, and in well-representing the Mysterium in one's dealings with the other Orders. The Mysterium seeks to be the go-to Order when other magi have questions; the ability to answer those questions within proper respect for the Protocols is well-looked upon.
- Neokoros (–): Unknown; experienced Mysteriorum Exemplum
- May receive lessons in Arcana up to ••
- Initiated into the Order, but not the Atlantean Mystery.
- Senior Neokoros (•): Requires Gnosis •. Known to a small part of Order; may be made Acquisitor or Censor; experienced Mysteriorum Arche; equivalent to a grad student, choosing topics of importance to them and focusing on learning about them.
- May receive lessons in Arcana up to ••• or Rotes up to ••
- May view mundane copies of Corpus Mysteriorum and imbued items up to •••
- May borrow imbued items up to ••
- Iintroduced to the Athenaeum; equivalent to a grad student.
- Daduchos (••): Requires Gnosis ••. Known to majority of Order in region; may be made Savant; experienced Mysteriorum Anima; granted responsibilities of importance; direct neokoroi in basic services to Order; expected to work hard on behalf of the Order; equivalent to professors, already well-trained in their fields and prepared to educate others.
- May receive lessons in Arcana up to •••• and rotes up to •••
- May examine imbued items and Artifacts up to ••••
- May borrow imbued items up to •••
- Senior Daduchos (•••): Requires Gnosis •••. Known to majority of Order in nearby regions; may be made Curator; experienced Mysteriorum Barathrum
- May receive lessons in Arcana ••••• or rotes up to ••••
- May view grimoire Corpus Mysteriorum
- May examine Artifacts and imbued items up to •••••
- May borrow Artifacts and imbued items up to ••••
- Hierophant (••••): Requires Gnosis ••••. Known to majority of Order in country; experienced Mysteriorum Calamitas; leaders of the Order who generally leave behind administration in order to seek wisdom and enlightenment.
- May receive lessons in rotes up to •••••
- May examine Artifacts ••••• • and imbued items ••••• •
- May borrow Artifacts ••••• or imbued items •••••
- Hierophant (•••••): Requires Gnosis •••••+. Exemplar of Order ideals; experienced Mysteriorum Focus
- May receive lessons in Arcana ••••• •+ and rotes of ••••• •+, given interviews with the archmages who still associate with the Order
- May examine or borrow any Artifacts or imbued items.
The Caucus sets regular meetings at convenient intervals; generally one meeting per month, held at the caucus’ Athenaeum.
- Acquisitor (Status •): Responsible for acquiring lore and relics of Supernal origin that should be in Awakened or Pentacle hands.
- Censor (Status •): Aggressive individuals who make sure certain items, lore or spells remain hidden until they are needed
- Savant (Status ••): Scholars and masters of two fields of knowledge: one occult and one worldly, usually joining concepts between those fields.
- Curator (Status •••): Leadership position, responsible for protecting, enhancing and organizing the Athenaeum; must be a skilled manager; generally only one Curator per caucus/Athenaeum; approach politics as a learned advisor
- Archaeomancers: Specialists in uncovering lost Atlantean lore and Supernal shards buried in the Fallen World; focus on study of the past, seeking to recover what has been lost.
- Archivists: Recording and collecting lore and knowledge for the Mysterium.
- Bricoleurs: Experimenters with discovered lore or items, and creators of new spells and items.
- Egregori: Seekers of Mystery, seeking to deliver the Mysteries to the world in a fashion that doesn’t endanger them or Sleepers; often in the middle of magical societies and religions.
- Reclaimants: Thieves and fences who work to gather up grimoires, artifacts and other Awakened relics and lore out of Sleeper hands.