The Elemental Octagrammaton


Those mages who specialise in one field of spellcraft are generally known as Elementalists. There are many different types of Elementalist - some specialising in arts related to the elemental ocatgrammaton, while others specialise in just a facet or one element (Ice mages, for example). Other specialise in several related elements - one of the elemental triads, for instance. Some factors used by many such mages are described below since they are derived from ancient Atalantëan traditions are widespread in both Gorgamelle and Lumulëa. In Ancient Atalantean tradition the world was viewed as being composed of 8 elements - 4 Inert (Earth, Water, Air and Fire) and 4 Vital (Flesh, Wood, Metal and Spirit). This ancient tradition has survived and is part of the world view iof many philosophers, but it is particularly common in Dymeria, where many sorcerors are elementalists.

The 4 Inert Elements are Earth, Water, Air and Fire. They are regarded as primal forces created by the gods. The 4 Vital Elements are Flesh, Wood, Metal and Spirit and they are regarded as the work of will.

Moreover, the elements are grouped in Triads - which are very important in spellcatsing (see below) but which are also considered symbolic of certain types of mentality or occupation - and thus of people or Aspects. These are shown to the left.

The elemental octagrammaton is the mages "model" of how all elements in the universe relate to each other. It is also the basis of spell casting by many ritual mages. For instance to cast a spell summoning a storm, the elements air and water are clearly involved, indicating the triad Air-Flesh Water is propitious. A mage might therefore employ a libation (water), a chant (air) and a sacrifice (flesh). For best effect, the spell might be cast in the time when the constellation of the Dancers is ascendant. Specific numbers may also be important - 3, 4, 8 and 12 signify force or purity, balance, completeness and finality or understanding respectively. Therefore the putative weather control spell could be cast on the 3rd day of the Dancers ascending (or any date with 3 in it) to enhance its force, or on the 4th day to help make it more controllable. A learned or instinctive feel for the combination of these elements is one thing that goes into the creating of a ritual mage. The elementalist philosophy is most developed in Dymeria and the names given are Dymerian in origin, but have spread to many of the adjacent lands.

These are the constellations which are associated with various elements. Although there is not space here to discuss them each constellation has legends which - in Dymeria, at least - tie them symbolically to a certain element. The time when a certain constellation is ascendant is thus considered a good time for activities associated with that aspect, (including spell-casting) but also activities such as planting and watering crops (the Sailing Ship/Water) and harvesting (the Crux/Wood). When the Wain, the Crux or especially the Hunter is in the ascendant, it is a good time to start a building - and so on.

There are, however, many differences. In the Khish states, for example, astrology is much more highly developed than in Dymeria, while in Saharn, the practice of astrology is regarded as blasphemous and stamped out wherever found. A different form of elementalism, which draws on old local tradition as well as elements of foreign lore is practised in the lands surrounding Kesh, which emphasises an elemental quartet and while astrology is practiced, it bears no relationship to the Dymerian form described above.