Dec 02, 2022 1:39 AM
Vanda Nossëo visits a planet with dragons
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"Thank you. I have more, we'll look at each element. Just to be complete, the most basic earth magic is being physically tougher, and it can become always-on too. Most earth magic metaphor is defensive, resisting poison or heat or disease. The ultimate expression of earth magic is active healing of others, but the multiverse has more efficient sources of that, which feels a tiny bit tragic to me. Just a tiny bit, it's obviously good to have healing even if it takes away a bit of majesty from my favorite thing."

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"Maybe there's chronic stuff your thing is better for?"

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"Quite possibly yes! I'll have to look into that. Okay, any questions before we move on?"

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"Is there a limit to how much magic you can do in a day?"

"How long have you been practicing?"

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"More dramatic works can be quite spiritually draining. Tired in the soul. I've been a shaman for twenty-eight years, though that wasn't magic all day every day, it was a lot of travel and talking to people."

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"What's it like to be tired in the soul?"

"Does this work if we don't have souls?"

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"I believe you will develop the thing we call a soul during our practice. I think a Spirit-soul is crucial for learning shamanism. It feels like... Well, not indescribable, I'm going to describe it. A bone-deep feeling that you need to stop. Something you should remember but just cannot, or trying to do athletics but your body is moving too slowly. I've heard others say 'like pouring from a cup that is empty', or 'like trying to breathe nothing', or 'the chill of midnight in winter'."

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"- will this make it harder to resurrect us, do I need to alert my insurance?"

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He blinks. "-I had not thought of that. I don't have the answer offhand, since I'm still not used to that... Being a thing."

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"Well, can people here be resurrected?"

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"I'm thinking, I remember reading this, just a moment." He pages through a notebook. "...Aha, yes, I did hear about it. Doing it naively doesn't quite work, you feel disoriented and disconnected, but a group of religious people wished up a Spirit-specific power that does, it seems."

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"Okay. I should let my insurance know." So should several other people, but one of the students is from Dreamward and already has a soul. "Can you tell if it's the right kind of soul?"

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"I don't think so, not until you make progress or fail to. If you're used to troporting things that might help, but that's just a guess."

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"I'm not exceptional at it but I do it, like, a normal amount, which is multiple times a day."

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"So you're used to taking an action that's not purely physical or mental. If I understand correctly. We'll see, we're just speculating right now. If anyone wants to leave after that little revelation, by all means do. If not, I think it's time for some guided meditation."

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They all stick around to guidedly meditate.

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He has everyone sit in a circle in the clear area and walks around them. He reads poetry in a low steady voice and pauses to play a bit of music or nature sounds instead sometimes and tells them to feel the strength of the earth and the playful wind and the flow of energy in the plants and so on.

Nothing obviously magical happens.

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Well, they did know it might take a while.

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He tells them they can continue thinking about the elements and meditating but trying to force it won't work, and he has copies of the soundtrack and poetry online, and he repeats the whole process with several more groups of eight.

The same class meets again two days later, and this time he's drawn circular diagrams in salt and chalk and ash.

"Welcome back! Today I'd like to discuss the basics of symbology and ritual in shamanism and then we can try meditating within a circle, which should help. First thing's first though, any questions?"

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"What will it help with?"

"Does it matter what the materials are or are these just convenient?"

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"These circles are meant to concentrate or block particular elements. They're the most common way to contain or repel spirits, and it'll be easier to feel the elements inside, or the differences as you cross. The next two steps if this doesn't work are visiting natural places with good resonance and visiting an actual aware spirit, but this is more convenient. The materials do matter, much like love has become resonant with the spirits and elements, certain materials and actions and symbols are too. Ash is fire, salt is neutral, seeds and flower petals and spices can be air or water, powdered stones and coal are earth. Chalk is earth, but only slightly."

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"The ash makes me a little nervous? They use it in Disappear magic..."

"What does salt being neutral do?"

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"These circles are all perfectly safe. They're small and I drew them in a few minutes each and didn't pour extra ceremony or energy into them. Not all shamanism is safe, mind, but it's advanced works or hostile spirits that are truly dangerous. Salt is good for when you want all the elements or none of them, or just the effect of the symbols."

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"No, I mean, I believe that within this context it's safe, I'm just nervous around ash in general since Disappear magic uses it?"

"Is this an all elements or none elements salt circle?"

"Can we take photos? Are the symbols the kind of thing we should have on flashcards?"

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"Ah. I'm not sure I can do anything but reassure you. This is an all elements circle, and feel free to take notes or make flashcards. The circles can be used even without sensing the spiritual world, you just won't have any feedback on whether they're working right."

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