cordyceps: (Default)
Judging from what Wikipedia has to say, appears to be common thematic element in many classical "elemental" theories of Eastern hemisphere cultures.

If four out of five of the elements are water, fire, earth, and air...the fifth one (the most metaphysical of the bunch) almost always corresponds with the concept of the sky or of empty space.

The five elements of Babylonian myth are sea, sky, fire, and wind.
The Greek word "aether" means pure, fresh air" or "clear sky," and was postulated by Plato to be the substance that the heavens and planets were made of.
The five elements of Hinduism are are earth, water, fire, air, and akasha, a word that means "space" in Sanskrit and "sky" in many other Indian languages.
The five elemental processes in Tibetan culture are earth, water, fire, air and space.
The five elemental processes of Japanese Buddhism are earth, water, fire, wind, and sora, which usually gets translated in the west as "void" but can also be translated as "sky" or "heaven."


Not all the elemental systems (whether they be ones of substance or of process/behavior) follow this, but the ones that are based around earth/water/air/fire always seem to consider sky or space the "fifth element."

Sad that fantasy novels/kid's cartoons/RPGs/TCGs, when they choose to invoke the 4 elements and finds themselves in need or want of a fifth one, never go with the classics. The idea of elemental sky/heaven/space magic is SO cool.

(Thought: what if you have the four elements correspond to the four states of matter, and then make space/void into dark matter. Vaguely-based-on-science dark matter, not just "we thought it would be cool to name our evil shadow ectoplasm after a science word we heard on tv once" dark matter.)

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Sep. 8th, 2013 01:52 pm
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Magic, is, in essense, a manipulatable force of nature whose main property is that it manipulates other forces. Raw magic is therefore not just upredictable, but IS Unpredictability made quantifiable. As such, raw magic is REALLY dangerous, and needs to be allocated to specifc things or types of things before it gets channeled into a specific spell.

The element supercategories and subcategories:

EARTH: Of the earth
╚ Plutonian Fire: heat from the earth's lava core
╚ Groundwater: water in the soil or trapped underground
╚ Wavewater: flowing water and bodies of water on the earth's surface
╚ Metal: metalic chemical elements and their alloys
╚ Crystal: minerals with a crystaline chemical structure
╚ Life: complex, self-sustaining cell-based oh just look it up
░╚ Wood: plants and algea
░╚ Blood: animals and fungi
AIR: Of the atmosphere
╚ Wind: gases and their movement, duh
╚ Stormwater: clouds and their precipitation
╚ Veilwater: vapor, steam, mist, and fog
╚ Diogenian Fire: heat-creating phenomena originating above ground
░╚ Mercurian Fire: ordinary fire, from candeflames to wildfires
░╚ Auroral Fire: plasma-based phenomena in the atmosphere, such as lightning
AETHER: Of places beyond the earth and atmosphere
╚ Solar Fire: heat from the sun's plasma
╚ Unearth: would normally qualify as earthen, but is from an extraterrestrial source
░╚ Lunar: from the moon
░╚ Fallstar: from comets and meteors

A substance or spell can be derived from one of these supercategories without having a subcategory assigned to it. Most rocks and minerals are considered Uncategorized Earth Elementals by magicians because it's just not practical to categorize rock spells by chemical structure, and likewise it's dumb to categorize wind spells by the exact gas being manipulated. Meanwhile, most aetheral substances and phenomena like dark matter or black holes are impractical for earthbound mortals to manipulate because they're so far away, but DO have their own subcategories from the perspective of immortal magic spirits.

As you can see, fire and water subcategories are found throughout the supercategories. Fire and water are the "symbiote elements," which because they do not have a single central place must be combined with the superelements that do have central places. Fire, which is really just heat and energy, is more heavily associated with whatever its symbiote is, wheras water is always more heavily associated with itself than with its symbiote because it is a substance, and that gives it an identity. Also with the exception of stray Eigch-two-Oh particles in SPAAACE, all water is connected through the Water Cycle, giving the element unity.

Fire elements have more accademic-sounding names than water elements because the fire names were more recently made in-universe. Solar fire and auroral fire were once Holyfire, plutonian fire was once Demonfire, and mercurian fire was Mortal Fire. These names were abandoned because they made moral judgements on fire based on its elemental afiliation and created prejudice against mages and elementals who used the "wong" fire.

Blood sounds more sinister than Wood because, well, it is. The concrete aplications of their magic (healing and killing, manipulation of form, control and empathy) are the same. It's the metaphysics of the two elements that makes one much worse than the other.

Abstract life magics are fueled by either the physical presence or the magical energy of what fuels their patron life forms. Technically, plants and animals are equally selfish, but plants are fueled by nonliving things - soil nutrients, water, sunlight - and one of these things is not even removed from the enviroment by the plant. Meanwhile, animals and fungi are fueled by water, plants, and other animals and fungi, and the animal/fungi "sucks up" all of these things from their source to live. To cast a self-healing spell, a wood elemental needs only sunlight or some magic from a fire elemental, while a blood elemental needs to actually steal some life energy from or outright kill a living thing to live.

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