“Elemental is to be explored. Chaos is not.”
- - Kez'Ksha
Elemental refers to a group of essence cultivation techniques for spiritual growth; to obtain new states of awareness, esoteric knowledge and a range of psychic powers. Countless systems of essence have been developed by nearly every sentient species in the known universe, but during the formation of the political Gigaquadrant, it became clear many belief systems had archetypes in common, which were grouped together as elemental.
Elemental has often been incorrectly been assumed to be a distinct kind of essence, like Psionic energy. Yet it was found that elemental cannot be categorised into the primary essence system of chaotic and celestial counterparts. Unlike these essences, the potential to be harnessed by different species is universal. It also has no associated plane of existence or deity, although it appears to react via a set of moral axioms, for example negative uses of elemental will punish the user in negative ways, although it is not always clear what reaction will result. It has a dual nature like chaotic and celestial energies, but instead of focusing on opposing forces, the dual nature elemental must be transcended for it to be harnessed.
Practitioners of elemental are mostly in agreement that elemental is the same thing as essence, but it is a different way of understanding essence than the specialist types of it. Although it can be used to manipulate the physical world, elemental is focused at internalising essence into being, rather than using essence to alter the properties of external objects (although in the process, demonic and life essences can overwhelm the body and mind of the practitioner). Some scholars point to the conceptual overlaps between elemental energy and Chaos, being the part of chaos that is essence itself. Neither Chaos or essence can be truly understood, as they escape any rigorous attempt to define them. Elemental is a way to perceive essence through limited means, while Chaos practitioners may seek to understand Chaos with essence in a very limited way.
Practitioners and powers Edit
Elemental is one of the most common forms of essence cultivation, but very few individuals live long enough and have a strong enough calibre for true wisdom or mastery over the world. Psychonauts (meaning "Sailors of the soul") build up their sensitivity to elemental to guide them through altered states of consciousness in order to uncover hidden spaces or communicate with otherworldly beings. Many individuals harness elemental unknowingly at subconscious levels that bolsters their physical abilities. In less technological societies, some who stumble into their latent potential become seers or shamans in order to read nature, or become alchemists seeking eternal youth or enlightenment.
Like all essences, elemental is open for abuse, but immature generation of elemental energy can be destructive to the immediate environment, let alone the practitioner. Most practitioners fail to overcome their self-imposed limitations and never advance, a few go insane, and some even die.
Elemental practitioners may seek either empowerment or enlightenment, and while the two are not mutually exclusive, those seeking empowerment alone may suffer only self-imposed limitations. The range of powers open to elemental practitioners appears to be an unlimited range of powers: from improved physical performance, hyper-creativity and immortality; to telepathy and remote viewing; to precognition, telekinesis and transforming the physical world. However, no two elemental practitioners are likely to have the same powers or strength, making it much more unreliable than specific kinds of essence, which tend to be much more powerful in a more limited range of abilities.
The Microcosm and the Macrocosm Edit
Sentient beings find themselves in the absurd condition of existence. Scientific societies discover that the universe at a fundamental level follows simple rules that could exist without mind or meaning, without any space for familiar concepts like the flow of time or causation, or free will. But the rules themselves were set in motion by Chaos, which has resisted the sciences of the Gigaquadrant. Sentient minds are not fundamental, and yet they are in-separable parts of the universe; regularities evolved to perceive and understand other regularities in nature, which are themselves sums of smaller regularities. Only in an ever-emerging context can causation be contingent in history or allow complex adaptive systems to live, have minds and affect the world. Minds are elaborately self-referential loops of symbols, that express the self and perceptions of the world. Language and culture divide the world into yet more categories of thought stuff. Minds are entities of the world forced by their experience to have inward perceptions of it, this is called a reality tunnel by elemental practitioners, which consist of a mixture of experiences and consensus reality.
Expanding the Logos Edit
Elemental practitioners believe that reality tunnels are not fixed, and it is possible to enlarge their reality tunnel by creating wider and wider loops of symbols to mediate their experience of the external world reflected within themselves. Practitioners cultivate essence to expand the reach of their minds over the physical world, this is cultivating elemental energy means: self-experimentation with essence and repetitive meditation exercises to visualise magical correlations of cause and effect. However elemental energy is a filtered perception, an illusory visualisation of the true essence, or Chaos. It is easy for practitioners to become burdened by their own beliefs or powers, or to "lose the map home" so to speak, becoming insane in the process. Hence it is important for any elemental practitioner to not get caught up in beliefs or experiences, and it is why there are many powerful users of essence exist who are not particularly wise or intelligent.
Elemental energy is rarely cultivated in isolation properly. As reality tunnels change, elemental psychonauts may find themselves reaching positive states of happiness and bliss, and neutral states, but may also undergo experiences of meaninglessness and darkness. These reality tunnels may incorporate planes of existence in the form of visions, dreams and trances.
Sympathetic magic Edit
Sympathetic magic is a basis for many magical modes of thought. It is the belief that the resemblance and contact between two different patterns is a result of one causing the other, even if they are physically separate in space and time. All conscious beings in the universe are prone to magical thinking, because they have evolved to identify regularities in apparent randomness, which can sometimes be erroneous. Belief systems may evolve around a number of systems relating to correspondence, such as imitation magic or contact magic. Synchronicity is a kind of significance attached to events in time which form a correlating pattern in time.
Nearly all systems of magical thinking are mere superstition, and sometimes it is based on a limited understanding of real cause and effect relationships. But in the context of Essence, sympathetic magic sometimes works for the practitioners most attune to exploration of the outside world within without being limited by their beliefs.
Transcending the Unity of Opposites Edit
Alchemists are locked in a never ending battle with duality to incorporate elemental energy into mental symbols. The nature of the self and other symbols fundamentally divides the world into categories, which can be self-limiting or generate conflicting paradoxes. With enough persistence and intellect, it is possible to break out the duality of thought or experience to gain a transcendent insight or state of mind. One technique to do this is to un-ask the question that lead to a paradox. The embracing of duality sharply separates elemental practise from its chaotic and celestial counterparts which focus solely on categories of essence.
The dualities that interest alchemists are situations based on the existence of opposing forces. These situations may be coincidental forces in the world, and some dualities may emerge from cultivation of essence, for example to seek action through non-action. Alchemists may seek to unify the microcosm of the self and the macrocosm of the universe, but the self and the world are symbols. Breaking out of symbolic thought may be a never ending struggle against duality, but alchemists can use use partial insights to alter the properties of the world through unity of inner and outer existence.
Psychonauts may have less lofty goals than alchemists, using elemental energy and other techniques to map the vast hidden worlds of the microcosm, widening their reality tunnels using thought and states of consciousness. Negative thoughts and experiences at a personal level can shorten the loops, while positive thinking can widen them. But all symbols are self-imposed illusions.
The reality of thoughtforms Edit
Essence generates a context for symbols to manipulate the physical world via magical thinking. A thoughtform is a product of corresponding mental and physical effects burned into one's reality tunnel through repetitive techniques. Species may have unique thoughtforms based on their biology and culture, but common types of thoughtform include visualisations of a subtle body made up of vital energies or deities, or reading significance from synchronicity and miraculous events. Because of the nature of essence, it is possible for a subtle body or deity to appear to take on a life of its own.
Energy cultivation Edit
The symbol of energy is a common motif amongst pre-elemental schools of thought. It is the sensation of essence flowing between the macrocosm and the microcosm. It is not energy as defined by physicists, and it does not appear to be a vital function for living things to exist. Elemental practitioners believe it to be an inner thoughtform that symbolises an expanding awareness of the complex processes of life and mind. Elemental energy has a number of dualistic forms, unification creating even deeper sensations of energy. Species with bilateral symmetry often perceive two dual forces, while a species with octameric radial symmetry have a tendency to perceive two groups of dual forces. They are opposites that cannot exist without each other. They can transform into one another and affect each other. But progress involves storing these energies and then finding ways to mix and transcend them, which can bring on sensations of bliss. Where one's reality tunnel becomes limited, they may feel such things manifested as blockages of energy. However, elemental practitioners must be careful not to force their energies inward or outward, for that can be either destructive or insanity provoking.
Astral planes Edit
The astral planes refer to the hidden spaces within the microcosm, accessible states of consciousness altered by any means necessary. It is believed that the astral plane allows a conscious mind to access more information, by filtering different symbols. Alchemists are aware of the distinction between inner spaces and the objective world, but see the identity of opposites as the secret to magic. To control a lucid dream is to give an elemental a greater sense of empowerment over reality.
Synchronicity is the experience of finding personal meaning between physically separate events. It can usually be dismissed as coincidence, but in the context of essence, synchronicity can be way to organise events without direct physical cause and effect via sympathetic magic. Synchronicity is non-local phenomenon that cannot be measured by rational means, it is a "know it when you see it" phenomenon. Alchemists, psychonauts and shamans explore synchronicity to deconstruct the personal meanings of their subconscious that sensed a synchronous event. Elementals have claimed to be able to communicate with Essence beings or highly advanced precursors using synchronicity.
Collective unconscious Edit
Reality tunnels are not restricted to individuals. Culture embeds symbols and motifs, allowing some to become ingrained deep in the unconscious psyche of every individual in a society. This creates a virtual space for essence to manifest - the collective unconscious. It is a vast web archetypes, which can be accessed in visions and dreams. Thoughtforms can become haunt the collective unconscious, including the animated hopes, desires and fears of a society. This can allow for the propagation of alchemical objects to be projected into the physical world. Some elemental schools believe that the Xhodocto are fear and hopelessness incarnate, this is widely rejected by most academics. However this may have some grains of truth for the Tzquuucha, after it was discovered.
Science, hyperspace and magic Edit
There is a great debate about the metaphysics of essence, as to whether it is a supernatural force or one than can be amenable to scientific investigation. In a sense, both camps have won their own ground. Alchemists have proven that essence can make sympathetic magic work. Physicists have indicated that every power harnessed by an elemental alchemist can be physically understood as a set of physical mechanisms. In the advent of the hyperspatial revolution, a scientific understanding of powers like telepathy, precognition and telekinesis has emerged. It is now known that most conscious beings have quantum senses that allow them to access hyperspatial physics. Technologies have been developed that can harness essence or suppress the sensitivity of elementals to essence. Many physicists believe elemental is a lower dimensional version of gyronic, which the Taldar use to manipulate time. However, gyronic is technological and elemental is based on essence. It is unknown what essence is fundamentally, because it seems to be another tangible form of Chaos, underlying all physical and abstract reality.
Psychonauts are less concerned with the metaphysical debate of essence fought by scientists and some elemental mystics, because all such definitions are self-limiting beliefs. But psychonauts see themselves as kindred spirits with scientists instead of mystics, because psychonauts experiment with the microcosm of inner space using trial and error of experience and belief to map the way, like the way a scientist uses conjectures and refutations to perform experiments on hypotheses in the macrocosm.
Notable events, people and schools Edit
Wormulus II, once Emperor of the Delpha Coalition of Planets is one of the strongest living elementals, with a bloodline of ancestors who had sensitivity to essence. He used his powers to shield the Onuris Alliance during the March of the Apocalypse, and has virtually stopped ageing. His greatest asset, Warlord Kilnok claimed to encounter an elemental even greater than him, an ancient human named Kez'Ksha who communicated with Kilnok in dreams to aide his mission in the War of Ages. Paragon Uriel Ultanos of the Draconid Imperium used elemental mind and body techniques to complement his understanding of essence, helping him to overcome his path to descension. In the 2810s, the rediscovery of the Tuuros galaxy unveiled a belief in the "Synchronising Cultural Extelligence Unit to Engineer Regress" (otherwise known as SCUTER or Tzquuucha), a techno-mystical entity that acts as a contagion on technological societies to regress them into a hellish state of suffering, by synchronising events that initiate the creation of evil artificial intelligence.
It is known that several precursor civilisations harnessed elemental energy, such as the Ascendis, being the basis for elemental ideas to propagate through the ancient teachings of Spode. Numerous philosophies of elemental energy exist, such as schools in the Circle of Ma'div and Eterfiammatheism.
Elemental is related to a specialist essence called mana energy, which is believed to be an essence harnessed by planetary biospheres in a similar way to an organism harnessing elemental. Mana is thought to act like memory on a biosphere, so that newly acquired biological traits begin to resonate across the evolution of different species. Notably, the Salsetthe are unable to contact essence of any kind, because their ancestors evolved to reject mana or elemental energy early in their evolutionary history. Contact with mana is somewhat similar to using elemental to contact the collective unconscious, which mana can penetrate. It most commonly accessed by shamanic cultures who have lives least abstracted away from nature, in order to read patterns in the biosphere and treat it as if it was an intelligence of its own made manifest in mana.
- Elemental energy was originally introduced as a universal energy available for all species, as an energy beyond good and evil.
- Elemental energy is based on a variety of esoteric philosophies and belief systems: Zen Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Taoist alchemy, Kundalini yoga, Gnosticism, Jungian psychology and western psychonautics.
- See also: Chaos and Essence: Defying Logic?