Inspired by a PM conversation with Vort, I suppose I'd better explain in some detail the ways and wherefores of magic:
Magic is the result of the divide between the mundane world in which Earth exists and another ethereal plane of existance being torn, or more accurately, holed. The mundane people lack the capacity to see through this divide, although the beings that lurk in the far mire can see, and influence, the human world though they have no real interest in human affairs nor is any great benefit to themselves conferred by doing so. These so-called 'Gods' see Earth as little more than an interest of novelty or perhaps even an entertainment source. Their agendas cannot ever be known to humankind, assuming they even have one. They are silent and despite numerous attempts to communicate directly with them, only Solomon ever succeeded, and even that was by accident.
In fact, it was Solomon's meddlings in the arcane and his sheer willpower that caused the holes in the divide to be created. He was bestowed with incredible supernatural powers and even the ability to bestow them upon others as in the Army of Heaven's Wrath. The Lesser Key of Solomon, though purported to be an almanac of creatures Solomon encountered beyond the veil, is little more than a quaint fiction; there would be no way for Solomon to know which being or beings he spoke to and to give them names, imagery or other attributes is both arrogant and an attempt to personify and rationalise them to the human mind. Better to simply assert that an unquantifiable number of somethings exist beyond the veil, and their influences, whether intentional or accidental, whether for a specific purpose or amusement, whether specific or generic, have affected and shall continue to affect existence for evermore, and to otherwise forget about their existence.
Likewise, it would be fallacious to attribute to them alignments of malice or benevolence - how would anyone tell the difference? A supposed act of benevolence could turn out to be a curse in disguise, while an initial apparent misfortune may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened in the long run. There is no way to know the difference for a member of the mortal coil, nor for them to know the intent or whim of whichever being bestowed their powers or to what end (if, indeed, any at all). Some of the beings play off against one another, some make bets, some meddle purely for their own entertainment, some disagree and still others spin webs of unknowable and eldritch intrigue. The Earth is simultaneously a ball of Play-Doh and a Petri dish to them. To name them or attempt to discern their intent is ultimately pointless.
All that being said, it is all too easy for these beings to be seen to intervene and interfere on behalf of one individual or group, despite the intervention being either coincidental or simply for the being's own amusement rather than any actual disposition to improve that individual or group's lot. From such beginnings has religion been able to take a tighter hold than it might otherwise have, with the dominant religions of Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox and Protestantism (most notably the Church of England) wielding the most political power and the largest followings. Though they all believe in one God, and indeed the same God, their belief that that singular God has intervened on their behalf or bestowed upon them great powers on every occasion is entirely erroneous. The truth, unbeknownst to everyone in the universe, is that none of them are the creator of the world and all things.
As for why the Christian subfaiths have attained more power than any other religion, this is simple; not only has Christianity held more time in positions of great worldly power such as the Roman Empire and its descendant states, but its great rival religions have never had the opportunity to come to fruition; Islam, being a very new religion in the world compared to the other Abrahamic religions, barely even exists in light of a strong Byzantine Empire and a man by the name of Jesus Christ, a very powerful mage who, using his powers at a time when mages were very few in number and frequently hid their power, performed a number of miracles before being crucified and then resurrected (by a fanatical healer disciple). The New Testament therefore is supported by much more visual evidence. The most powerful mages get recruited into, or join, the church and often clergy.
The powers bestowed range from the power to heal oneself or others, the power to command elements or other primal forces of nature, to scry in order to see the future or communicate with the dead, or some other capability far beyond that of normal persons. The powers could also be Blighted - some persons who inherit a corrupted or altered form of the power to heal become vampires, while others may be wracked or mutated in other ways. Those with the gift of seeing into the future or communing with spirits may become raving madmen, completely detached from all reality.
MORE TO COME
The Way of Magic, the Gods and Religion
Started by Ash, Dec 30 2011 12:51 AM
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