Central concepts of Celestial Chorus Practice:
The Celestial Chorus believes the Avatar is a shard of the One which sustains, guides, and empowers every living thing. Some Choristers refer to it as the Conscience or the Guardian Angel. Chorister Avatars tend to either be highly abstract, disembodied voices, or whatever the Chorister concieves Angels as appearing as. Some may appear as various Saints.
Debate continues among the Chorus as to whether souls truly reincarnate or just Avatars. Avatars seem to gradually take on some of the memories and identity of those they have been connected to in the past, which makes it hard to tell if the entire soul reincarnates with the Avatar, or whether Avatars seek out a new person to guard and guide when their previous charge dies.
This is the CC term for the various Gauntlets, Barriers, Horizons, or what have you. They are thought of as a gulf which must be bridged, rather than as a wall which must be pierced.
All Magick flows from Faith. Faith has power, even distorted Faith, and all Magi draw their power from the Faith. As one grows in Faith, one can perform greater works and one can more easily summon up one's Faith without relying upon rites as a sort of 'warming up exercise'
Every act of magick is a miracle whose power flows from the One. Because the power of the One flows through all, awakened and sleepers alike, it is also applied to hedge magick.
The One is the diety worshipped by the Chorus. All their power is believed to flow from Him/Her/They/It. The One created the universe, sustains it, and one day will heal it to the perfection it once held and shall have again. Debate continues on many issues relating to the One.
Frequently called 'Divine Essence' by the Chorus. Quintessence is the fundamental clay from which the One shaped the universe. All Quintessence is part of the One; the One did not create from some pre-extant material, but made all of creation out of Her own body. To use Quintessence is to touch the divine in purest form.
This term is used instead of rotes by the Chorus. Rites are further divided into prayers (which produce quick effects, such as banishing a vampire through faith) and rituals (which take much longer).
A mage, especially one who belongs to the Chorus. Nephandi are known as Dark Singers.
The Chorus believes the One sung the universe into existence. Thus, the magick of the Chorus tends to have a strong musical component. Many Choristers try to align the spheres, specific virtues, or many other things to particular notes. The Song is also called 'The Music of the Spheres', and by listening to it at any given place, one can learn how badly the Song has been distorted in that location, and thus deduce the local 'rules' of reality.
The Void is a difficult and paradoxical concept. It is the antithesis of the One, the negation of all of the one's qualities. However, because self-sufficient existence is one of those qualities, the Void does not actually exist. It is non-existence. And yet, at the same time, the Void can somehow act. It hungers, it devours, it destroys everything that turns away from the One. But it is not a being, not a god, not anything but non-existence itself. It is the space in which all of Creation exists, the sum of all points furthest from the One, the source of true destruction, the death from which there is no returning. The Dark Singers, wittingly or unwittingly, ultimately serve it, though it cannot return their devotion, for it does not truly exist. Best not to think too hard on the paradoxes of its 'existence', however, for to gaze upon the Void invites it into oneself.
This line of thought leads to many conflicts with the Euthanatos, for they believe that what they destroy is devoured by the Void to provide the raw material from which new growth will come, while the Chorus believes the Void never gives up what is shoved down its throat. This also causes many choristers to distrust the sphere of Entropy.
It is to be noted that the Nashemites argue that the One and the Void are indeed the same thing, and that the One contains both good and evil within itself, with the decisions of mortals shaping which tendency will win out in the end. This idea is rejected by most Choristers.
"Laws" of Celestial Chorus Magick
Every system of magick has rules of some kind, though as mages grow
in Enlightenment, they begin to see through the rules and break free of
them. Here's some of the ones members of the Celestial Chorus tend
to believe in.
There are four different major ways in which people enter the Celestial Chorus and one minor way. The major ways roughly correspond to the four Avatar types, though not everyone who entered by a given road will necessarily possess that Avatar type; it is simply a tendency.
The first is 'Born into the Faith'. This is the road of the Pattern Avatar. Such people were typically either the children of Choristers or Acolytes. They are often the easiest to awaken, but at the same time, they lack the passion of the converted. This path also includes people who were born into one of the many monotheistic faiths and stuck to it, then were recruited by a minister/priest/whatever, who was also a Chorus member and drew them in. Most such Choristers awaken during a religious rite, especially during Communion. They tend to follow the path of Devotion (see below).
The second road to Awakening in the Chorus is 'Conversion'. This is the road of the Dynamic Avatar. These people were usually very unreligious before their conversion, but then had a confrontation or crisis of some kind that forced them to reassess their life, and indeed the entire universe, whether it be personal failure, the death of a loved one, or the discovery of supernatural evils. Such folk usually awaken before entering the Chorus, who then guides them to an understanding of what has happened to them. They are typically the most fervent chorus members. Both Devotees and Mystics come from this road.
The third road is that of 'Seeking for Truth'. Such people have Questing avatars, and their pre-Chorus lives were marked by a search for meaning. They typically find the Chorus, rather than vice versa. Their moments of Awakening vary greatly, but usually revolve around some moment at which they realize they've found the true road of truth, often when they witness a true miracle. They tend to be Devotees, unable to sit still long enough to follow the Inner Path, but some find their truth down the road that leads inside them.
The final major road is that of 'The Reborn Saint'. Some people were Choristers in their past lives, and others incarnate some special aspect of the Divine; this is the road of the Primordial avatar. Such folk are usually born feeling a special link to the Divine. Sometimes they awaken spontaneously before the Chorus finds them, other times, their avatar guides them to the Chorus. A fair number are holy children with wisdom belieing their age. They tend to become mystics.
The minor road is known as 'Bringing into Tune'. This is the path of those awakened into another Tradition or Craft, or who have spent enough time as an Orphan to build a coherent world view. Such folk must either unlearn what they have learned, or successfully 'convert' their knowledge to bring it within the Chorus world view. Few people follow this path, most of them Orphans, but it does happen.
The usual Chorus method of trying to awaken people's avatars is to have them participate in a system of religious discipline similar in some ways to cloistered monasticism. The idea is to plunge the person into an environment totally shaped by faith, and to have them participate in various faith-building practices, surrounded by holiness and miracles. This includes private prayer, group prayer, singing the 'Hours', theological instruction, worship services, and community service work. At least in theory, the acolyte is exposed to both the Path of Inner Light and the Path of Devotion at this time, and studied to see which they are more apt for.
As they grow in the knowledge of the rites of the Chorus, they begin to assist in the rites and to study the lore of the Chorus and the two paths more intently. Ideally, at some point in this process, they will awaken, although some acolytes never do so. Most of those who fail to awaken still succeed in learning some degree of 'hedge magic'. [Generally, the Paths of Blessing, Cursing, Ephemera or Healing. The Path of Blessing functions like the Path of Cursing, but with benevolent effects, and using a roll of Charisma + Empathy]
When an acolyte believes he has awakened, he is taken to the Chorister who presides over the place of instruction, and is tested. If the results are positive, the Chorister is initiated into the Chorus before the entire community in the manner traditional to that congregation. This ordination makes him a full member, and is sometimes accompanied by a second epiphany, although many Choristers begin their first year with only the most basic degree of enlightenment.
Me and My Guardian Angel
Dealing with the Avatar:
Choristers tend to have fairly communicative relationships with their Avatars, though not always friendly ones. They are trained in ways to contact their avatar, and many treat it as a sort of confessor and spiritual mentor. Unfortunately, humans being what they are, they don't always want to hear what the Avatar has to say, which can lead to conflicts. Furthermore, not being omniscient, Avatars don't always give the best advice. Still, maintaining a close relationship to one's Guardian Angel is considered a wise idea.
Chorus avatars come in two major flavors, though a fair number don't fall into these two categories. Those following the path of Mysticism tend to either see their avatar as glowing light that talks, or as a highly idealized version of themself, their higher self. Those following the path of Devotion usually have Avatars that resemble some traditional messenger or aspect of the One.
A chorister who falls out with his Avatar is in trouble. This may manifest in inability to grow in Faith, in unexpected side effects of magickal workings, of Paradox striking in ways that reinforce the Avatar's urgings, or simply in a constant state of distractedness from it berating him.
Mysticism vs. Devotion:
There are many different forms of religious practice within the Chorus, as might be expected of a group that embraces everything from those who preserve the ancient teachings of Ikhnaton to Catholics to Baha'i. Two paths can be seen as dominant, for their methods easily cross denominational backgrounds, the roads of mysticism and devotion, or the inner and external roads.
Mystics devote themselves to the pursuit of their inner light, trying to follow the teachings of their Avatar and seeking a personalized awakening. Many live lives of secluded prayer and worship in isolated Chorister communities tucked away in the nooks and crannies of the world. They seek to empty themselves, and let the One fill them through ascetic practices, prayer, and meditation, shunning the world. The most successful tend to find the World seeking them out in recognition of their wisdom, despite their desire to avoid it. Some go so far as to retreat into the Umbra and hide somewhere, although this often isn't sufficient (And when it is, tends to lead to them turning into a spirit being, unable to leave the Umbra...which is sometimes exactly what they want).
The magick of Mystics tends to be fairly low-key and directed towards themselves, enabling them to do such feats as live for years without food or drink, to meditate without sleep for weeks, and to render themselves resistant to the power of demons. They are often good at Mind, Life (used on themselves), and Spirit in addition to Prime.
Devotees, on the other hand, follow an external path, seeking to reshape themselves in the image of a spiritual figure who they devote themselves to. They dress in ways pleasing to the divine, they follow a code of behavior dictated by the revelations they follow, and they seek to reshape themselves to become the literal image of Divinity on Earth. They are usually externally focused, seeking to reshape the world as well as themselves. They believe that if one behaves correctly, the process of that behavior will reshape the inner self to also be pleasing to the Divinity. Still, sooner or later, Devotees tend to find the need to retreat from the world for a time and refresh themselves in a purer environment, to regain the strength to go force and face its temptations. The Devotees have tended to dominate the Chorus.
Devotees frequently engage in fairly flashy displays of power, especially
at middling levels of Faith, where they have the power to do impressive
things, and have yet to reach the point of not needing to show off.
Their magick tends to be externally directed. They are typically
strong in the Pattern magicks, in addition to Prime.
An Celestial Chorus Understanding of What She or He is Doing When He or She Uses the Spheres.
The One is all-present. One can petition the One to allow the believer to share in that all-presence, thus gaining the ability to see things far away as if one was there (for the One is there), to pass from place to place in an instant (for the One is not bound by space), and eventually to bend space into new shapes (for the current layout of space exists only at the will of the One).
Celestial Chorus Strengths:
The Celestial Chorus does almost everything well with this sphere. Many Chorister saints were known for co-locating. Indeed, a few monastic Choristers never leave their cells, and simply co-locate if they have to go anywhere else.
Celestial Chorus Weaknesses:
The Chorus' one major weakness in Correspondence is a lack of geometrical training which would enable them to engage in really complex spatial warping; if it can't be expressed in fairly simple, non-technical language, they can't do it. (Which still leaves a lot of ground open to work with, like 'It's bigger on the inside than the outside', or 'the exits from this room bend back on themselves so you end up back inside', but no hypercubes for the Chorus)
Example of Use:
Father Abelard is going to be late for church services because he was busy dealing with a Marauder attack across town. Given he is supposed to be presiding, this is bad. He gets out his Saint Christopher medallion and spends a minute praying for aid on his journey. He then steps through a nearby doorway, which opens into his vestry.
This is the weakest sphere of the Celestial Chorus. They see destruction as easily tainted by the Void, and thus something to be avoided if possible. However, they do believe the One knows the destiny of all living things and acts through seemingly random events, and thus they can call upon His will to predict and control such events.
Celestial Chorus Strengths:
The Chorus is good at detecting lies, finding weaknesses, and predicting and controlling random events. They see this in terms of the Omniscience and Omnipotence of the One. Many Choristers never bother learning beyond the second sphere of Entropy.
Celestial Chorus Weaknesses:
A fair number of Choristers are so bothered by this sphere that they are in fact Entropy inept, and many of the others never bother learning beyond the second sphere of Entropy. While they can conceptualize higher level entropy effects as the wrath of the One, such acts make them uncomfortable.
Example of Use:
After a group of Technomancers attack and burn her chantry, the only survivor retreats to another Celestial Chorus chantry. That Chantry's Bishop leads the entire chantry in performing a Rite of Anathema, naming all of the Technomancers and cursing all their works. At the Technomancer construct, every machine begins to go haywire in highly dangerous manners. (Obviously, this effect included a correspondence component as well)
The Celestial Chorus sees Forces in terms of the 'elemental' aspects of the one. The One's love is a cleansing Fire, which Warms (aka Heat) the soul. The One's knowledge is the Light of truth. The One's Song creates all things. The One's breath is Wind. The One's wrath is a Thunderbolt from the heavens. The One is the Prime Mover (aka Kinetic energy to the less mystic among us).
Certain energies are concieved negatively: Cold and Radiation are seen as being tainted by the Void. Most technological forces other than radiation have yet to really be effectively integrated into the Celestial Paradigm. (Radiation has been integrated because it neatly fits into the vision of the corruption and warping brought about by the power of the Void; Radio waves and the like don't fit so well) Many Celestial Chorus strongholds contain an eternal flame of some kind.
Celestial Chorus Strengths:
The Celestial Chorus works best with Fire, Heat, Light, Sound, Wind, Lightning, and Motion. While they can defend against Cold and Radiation, they see these forces as tainted by the Void and the Dark Singers, and prefer to avoid using them. Forces in general are favored for smiting foes by the Chorus, especially those with dramatic tendencies.
Celestial Chorus Weaknesses:
The Celestial Chorus has yet to successfully grapple with most of the 'technological' and invisible forces. This includes technological applications of the forces they handle well; A Chorister can easily blast you with lightning, but manipulating the electricity in your computer is another story. This is starting to change as the Chorus takes more advantage of mass media and the Internet, beginning to use technology more, instead of its old tendency to simply reject it.
Example of Use:
Sister Rei ministers in a rather rough part of town, so every morning, she spends a few minutes at her shrine, singing a hymn which invokes Amaterasu's protection to turn aside bullets, knives, and other weapons which might be aimed at her during her daily duties. Her shrine contains an eternal fire, symbolic of the neverflagging fire of the One's love for all.
All living things derive their shape, purpose, and very being from the One, who loves all of Her children. She empowers her servants to create new life, to protect it, and to heal the hurts of all living things. Like the Verbena, the Chorus disapproves of using Life magic to make 'unnatural' alterations to a life form, although temporary alterations to preserve life under unusual conditions is generally approved of (such as enabling people to breathe water so they don't drown, toughening bodies against fire to survive being burned alive, disguises to evade capture by evil forces, and so on). Harmful life magic is reserved for the enemies of the Faith, and typically will be designed to be incapacitating, but not lethal, in the hopes that a defeated foe can be brought to repentance. In times past, harmful Life magick has been abused by the Chorus, which has made them more wary of such actions in the present.
Celestial Chorus Strengths:
The Chorus is best at creating new life and healing people.
Celestial Chorus Weaknesses:
Altering life forms in 'non-natural' ways tends to be a weakpoint of the Chorus, who tend to take the viewpoint that the One intended creatures to be the way they are. This mainly applies to traits which are healthy; most Choristers see things such as blindess, deafness, etc, as conditions needing to be healed, even if they are genetic. But Choristers don't go around performing plastic surgery with life magic or giving people wings.
Example of Use:
Brother Abelard's parish is busilly planting and sowing seeds, so it's time for the annual blessing of the fields. He assembles the faithful and leads them on a procession around the fields, bearing several sacred relics, and stopping periodically for prayer and scripture readings. This will protect the crops from blights and parasites.
Matter is a lower level of emanation from the One, possessing less of the One's essence than living things, for it shares fewer of the One's attributes, but it too is created and sustained by the One, and thus controllable by the One's power. The One is the great potter who formed the world to his vision from the cosmic clay of the Void, filling and banishing it. Like the One, Matter is clay in the hands of his servants, who are free to shape and reshape it to further serve his purposes.
Celestial Chorus Strengths:
The Celestial Chorus is very good with any matter application that doesn't require advanced technological knowledge (Advanced meaning roughly 'since 1500'). Thus, a Chorister could conjure a Cathedral more easily than a Walkman. Creating food and drink is an especially favorite trick, as are purification effects.
Celestial Chorus Weaknesses:
The Chorus, while it has moderated much of its old anti-science and technology rhethoric, still isn't really comfortable with modern technology, and thus is at its weakest in manipulating it, except to break it.
Example of Use:
Sister Agnes suspects Technocracy agents have poisoned the water supplies at her chantry. She takes a vial of holy water, and prays over it for a half hour, heating it over the eternal flame to drive out any evil influences. She then takes the purified water and pours it into the water supply, praying for it to multiply and spread through the whole thing, dispelling any taint.
As all life is dependent on the One to exist, so are all minds. The One is omniscient and knows the thoughts and will of every living being. The One is strong enough to override those thoughts and wills as well, though He is reluctant to do so, preferring to allow free will in all creatures, even when it leads to error. Thus, the Chorus is free to know people's minds, but is reluctant to change them. Many do accept the use of Mind effects to instill peace and calm and to defuse a violent situation in order to prevent deaths. Still, Mind is perhaps the most frequently abused of the Spheres, for many Choristers are far too free in using it to override the minds of others, producing false conversions and fake repentance, not always even realizing they are doing so.
Celestial Chorus Strengths:
The Chorus is strongest at effects which allow one to detect and know the contents of minds.
Celestial Chorus Weaknesses:
The Chorus has a harder time overriding the wills of others, especially in long-term ways, for the One has willed free will for all His children. This doesn't stop it being abused sometimes, though. Still, the option remains available, because sometimes altering the will of others may be necessary to preserve the faithful. It's supposed to be a last resort, however.
Example of Use:
Brother N'goya suspects the oil prospectors who have been drilling holes in the vicinity of his village are up to no good. He prays to Obatala to open their minds to him when he will confront them, so that he will come to know what they really want.
This is the signature sphere of the Tradition, and it arguably makes them the most powerful, for they are the masters of the building blocks of the One's creation. Quintessence is the raw clay from which the One molded creation, it is the notes of the Song which She used to sing it into existence, it is the seed of Life, and the motive force of the Forces. Nothing can be made without Prime, and everything that is destroyed returns to the great sea of Quintessence unless it is devoured by the Void.
The most common understanding of Quintessence is to think of it as the 'notes' from which the Great Song is built, and endless tomes of Chorister Lore try to define how many kinds of notes exist, usually keying them to specific virtues. Choristers also differentiate between 'pure' Quintessence, which is linked to virtues, and 'tainted' Quintessence, which resonates with the Void and is linked to vices.
Music and song are thus the archetypical ways in which Prime is manipulated, and music for manipulating Prime is often heavily symbolic (and as a result, often hideous to listen to, as the placement of notes will follow some symbolic pattern which may be utterly unaesthetic).
Celestial Chorus Strengths:
Everything to do with Prime is a Celestial Chorus strength.
Celestial Chorus Weaknesses:
They do everything well, although some music for Prime manipulation will make your ears hurt.
Example of Use:
The Chantry of Saint Bartolomeo is a literal chantry as well, a foundation dedicated to the singing of the Hours and the performance of Masses. This collection of daily rites and songs incorporates a variety of Prime effects which purify the flow of quintessence through the chantry and distribute it to the brothers and to the guardian angels of the chantry.
The Sons of Mithras re-enact Mithras' ritual slaying of the demon-bull in one of their Prime rites (which also has a Spirit component). All the evil spiritual influences of the surrounding area are bound into the bull, and then one of the Sons does battle with it. If he slays the bull, it becomes a Sacrifice (Prime 3), whose fruit is distributed to all those present. If the bull wins, another Son does battle with it. If the bull eventually kills them all, it truly becomes a demon-bull, but this rarely comes to pass. Still, the memory of but a few such disasters has made many in the Chorus wary of this practice.
There are hundreds of Chorister rites to bless holy oils and holy water, usually involving prayer and a sacred vessel. Both are Tass infused with resonance conducive to healing, blessing, and the banishing of evil spiritual influences. Some Choristers use special rites which enable the water to do damage to supernatural beings (Prime 2). Blessing holy water usually takes about five minutes and usually is done as part of a larger ritual in which it will later be used.
Before the Shattering, Spirit and Matter were one, and both remain in existence only because they have yet to completely fall away from the One's vision and love. During the Shattering, Spirit split in half, with the most void-tainted parts largely sinking closer to the void, and the least tainted parts rising towards the Creator. Thus the world of Matter is split from the two worlds of Spirit by two great Chasms. The world of void-tainted Spirit, the Shadowlands, lies between the world of Matter and the Void, while the purer realms of spirit lie between the One and the world of Matter.
The Chorus believes the One created all the beings of spirit, but that many of them have forgotten their role and drifted away from the One, though many are more neutral and selfish than fallen. The Chorus prefers to deal with Angels, those spirits who have not forgotten their role. They reject the spirit terminologies of both the Hermetics and the Dreamspeakers, preferring their own ninefold hiearchy, from the Seraphim who rule the Angels to the lowliest Angel at the bottom. Well, except for those who hold to a sevenfold hiearchy, or ten, or...
Chorister dealings with Angels follow a long-established code of rules and behaviors and mutual duties. Angels must be beseeched, not simply commanded, though with long dealings, one reaches the point where most requests will be granted. The bill will come due; dealings with Angels is not free, though it is not a mercenary relationship. One does not hire Angels, rather one asks humbly for their aid and reciprocates for it with appropriate gifts and services. Sometimes they may choose to aid for free in recognition of your past good deeds, and sometimes they may come to YOU for help.
Celestial Chorus Strengths:
The Chorus deals well with entering the Penumbra or High Umbra, and it excels at banishing and destroying evil spirits and summoning/negotiating with those who hold to its paradigm. They are also fairly good at strengthening or weakening the Chasm (Gauntlet).
Celestial Chorus Weaknesses:
The Celestial Chorus isn't very good at imprisoning spirits, and its members generally are in over their head in dealings with nature spirits, who they just don't quite understand. They aren't much good at tooling about the Middle Umbra, either, although a handful of Choristers have apparently either stumbled into Erebrus, or found a shadow of it in the High Umbra. Choristers rarely make fetishes; why bind an angel, a being higher than oneself, into an object? And why would it let you? The higher ranks of the Heavenly Hosts have been known to sometimes provide Choristers with items that contain bound angels in order to aid a particularly important mission, however.
Example of Use:
Brother Abelard needs to drive a demon out of one of his flock. He spends a day fasting and praying by the side of his unfortunate follower, then invokes the Seven Virtues against the demon, commanding it to begone. It flees out of its victim...then materializes to attack him while he is weak from fasting. But that's another story...
The One created time, and thus has total control over it. The One is also omniscient, with perfect knowledge of the past and future. The One can share this knowledge and power with its servants, enabling them to see past and future and control the flow of time. Choristers who learn this sphere are generally regarded as prophets and oracles, and tend to be Mystics.
Celestial Chorus Strengths:
The Chorus is fairly good at most time effects, and can easily concieve almost any time effect within their paradigm.
Celestial Chorus Weaknesses:
The only real flaw is lack of an intellectual apparatus for dealing with extremely rapid events; if it takes less than a second, it all tends to blur together in their minds, due to lack of a good scale of measurement. Modern Choristers have a tendency to latch onto the term 'nanosecond' without any real idea how long that period of time is.
Example of Use:
Brother Simon wishes to meditate undisturbed for several hours. However, he knows from past experience that someone always shows up to bother him. He therefore spends five minutes singing the third canto of _The River of Time_, which speaks of how a thousand years is but a day and a day like unto a thousand years to the One, thus speeding up time within his cell so that he can get his several hours of meditation into a much shorter time, so that his odds of being interrupted will be much less.
The Foci of the Celestial Chorus are typically designed to accomplish two things; they typically evoke some aspect of the One, and they are intended to aid the Faith of the Chorister by surrounding him with the beauty and power of the One to help him or her truly believe the One can work the deed which you are asking Him to do.
Music and Song are the archetypical Chorister foci. As noted above in the discussion of Prime, some Choristers build symbolic musical systems in which various things are represented by specific notes. The Spheres and the the Virtues are the two most common things keyed to specific musical notes. These tends to result in music that most people don't find very pleasant, and most Chorister music is simply designed to sound good and speak of sacred subjects.
Prayer is another very common focus. The more complex the effect, the longer the prayer necessary. Praying for spiritual sight would likely only take a few seconds, while praying for the sun to rise at midnight might take hours. Prayer can be used for virtually any sort of effect, and is commonly combined with other foci.
Invocation of Saints and Angels is related to prayer; it is a method favored by Devotees, who call upon a being associated with what they are effecting. The knowledges Hagiography (which deals with the lives of the saints) and Angelic Lore are useful for this and can be employed to reduce one's difficulty. This is a fairly swift method...if there is an appropriate saint. There is no saint of 'Making People's Heads Explode', unfortunately.
Meditation often accompanies or supplements prayer. It tends to take the longest of any Celestial Chorus foci to employ...a few seconds medititation isn't much good. Mystics often heavily favor this foci, and they generally have the hours to invest in it. It is most appropriate for effects that are self-directed.
Laying On of Hands is another common active foci. Touch creates a bond between the Chorister and the subject, symbolically recreating the way in which all lives are touched by the One. It is most commonly used for healing, the breaking of curses, and the transmission of Quintessence.
Dance is not a common foci among the Chorus, but this is mostly because the kinds of dance used as foci by the Chorus typically involves multiple people, and is commonly integrated into worship rites and group ceremonies. Dance is used for effects which either affect the body or mind or which play on the connections between people. It is also often used as a way in which Acolytes can contribute to a ritual.
Incense is thought of as the breath of the One, evoking his control over air and wind and also a reminder of his sacred presence. Like air, he is everywhere without being seen. Incense cannot be seen, but it can be smelled; let it fill you as the One fills you. As the breath of the One, it also is used to evoke his favor (or hostility) towards anything that draws breath (namely the sphere of Life). Some also use it for Correspondence, as it evokes the omnipresence of the One.
Fire and Light are two more major foci. Fire evokes both the love and the wrath of the one. It purifies and cleanses, it burns away the impure, it forges things to strength and melts them to slag. Fire makes a good foci for any of these sorts of magicks. The One's Light is the Light of Truth, revealing what is hidden, a symbol of the One's omniscience. It is thus often used with scrying and detection effects, and also to banish evil.
Water and holy oils also evoke the One's purifying aspects, as water cleanses and washes away impurities. Water, holy oils, and other liquids are often used for prime effects as well, for water is the blood of the Earth, and Quintessence is the One's blood. It is also used for healing as well. The Chorus often prepares holy water and holy oils to serve as Tass with an appropriate resonance.
Holy symbols are a very common foci, especially when other foci are not available. The symbol stands for the One and acts as a sign of Her presence. Most Choristers tend to stick to the symbol linked to their own theological tendencies, but some eclectic Choristers will use the symbols of many of the different faiths within the Chorus, using different ones with different magickal acts. They are usually combined with other foci, and in blessings or banishing of evil.
Relics, items which belonged to someone holy or took part in some holy act are used as a foci by some Choristers, although others often denigrate them, pointing out that only the One is truly holy, and that just because a saint wore a cloak, it doesn't make any more holy than someone else's. Debate continues, but in the interval, such relics hold power. Almost every relic is unique, and has some specific purpose for which it is most apt. In the presence of believers, magick which fulfils that purpose will almost always be coincidental. Most relics are tied to healing and the banishing of evil spiritual beings.
Weapons are a foci of choice for militant Choristers. They are usually decorated profusely with various religious symbols, and blessed in elaborate ceremonies. A fair number of those who use weapons as foci take a unique weapon focus, generally strengthened with the use of Prime 2, and sometimes forged from unique materials, such as a blessed alloy of silver and cold iron, before which few supernatural evils can stand.
Celestial Chorus Cosmology:
It is difficult to explain the universe in such a way as to have it make sense to our limited minds. One way of explaining it is to say that the universe is like an onion where each layer grows larger as you move towards the core. The One is at the core of the onion, and everything radiates outward from the One, until finally you reach the True Hells, which form the skin of the onion. Beyond them is only the Void, the maw of Oblivion.
At the core of creation is the One, and all things that have being exist because She sustains them in existence, because He made them. The One is male, the One is female, the One transcends such division. The One is both within all things (immanent) and above them (transcendent). All these things are true.
The One sang the world into existence, and placed a piece of Herself into each and every living thing to both sustain them and to empower them. Those who do magic are those whose shard of the One, their Avatar, has awakened to its potential, thus enabling them to channel the One's power.
The realms closest to the One are the True Heavens, where the souls of the devout dwell after death. Some choose to reenter the lower realms and undergo rebirth, in order that they might help others to rise to dwell with the One, while others serve the One in other ways. No living being may enter these realms unless summoned by the One.
Moving further away from the One, one finds the Realms of Spirit, known as the Umbra to most mages, where dwell spirit beings of many different kinds, and all the strange wonders of the realms forged by human imagination. One can find shadows of both the True Heavens and the True Hells here.
Choristers mostly visit the various realms controlled by major members of the Heavenly hosts, and the Penumbra (and Horizon Realms). They stay way from the Umbral Courts, seeing them as pretentious and fallen to a greater or lesser degree. Those Choristers who do visit the various courts frequented by the Hermetics and other Umbral travellers tend to get thrown out for being too preachy.
Cross the Chasm of Unbelief, and one enters the World of the Living, where we dwell. I'm sure you already know what this world is like.
Cross the Chasm of Death, and you enter the Underworld, the Realm of the Dead. This is the realm of spirit heavily tainted by the void, which sank beneath the World of the Living, instead of rising above it, when the Sundering happened. Here dwell Wraiths and many Void-tainted spirit lords.
Finally, at the very fringe of creation are the True Hells, constantly crumbling realms sustained only by the theft of sentient souls. The Dark Singers must feed the Void or it will consume them, and thus they seek constantly to corrupt the living, who they can then use to sate the Void's hunger.
Beyond that is only the Void, a great paradox. It is Nothing, non-existence, and thus, it cannot exist. And yet it does. A Nothing cannot hunger, cannot burrow its way into human hearts and consume them, and yet it does. Only the One is beyond the Void's power, and so far as you turn yourself away from the One, you gaze upon the Void and open yourself to its power. That is the road which leads to oblivion.
Umbral Realms favored by the Choristers:
Many Choristers seek out the realm known as Paradise, but most see such
a quest as presumptious in this lifetime. Likewise with visits to
the various Umbral Hells.
The Hosts of Heaven:
Debate continues over how the Spirit Legions are organized; it is not
even known for sure how many Seraphim there are, or the number of ranks
below them. Further complicating matters is that a third of the Spirit
Legions fell during the war that caused the Sundering, when they followed
the Lord of Lies into rebellion against the One. Hell enjoys parodying
the ranks of Heaven, and sowing confusion as to who serves who and how.
Another third refused to choose sides and now form the ranks of 'nature
spirits', who the Garou and Dreamspeakers foolishly serve.
The Hosts of Heaven are led by the Many, first born children of the
One, who are also known as the Seraphim. They were to serve as administrators
over the world she had made. Each was given a unique task, and allowed
to create lesser beings which would aid them in doing their work.
The Seraphim operate at a level of activity which is nigh incomprehensible
to mortals such as ourselves. Each incarnates a single quality of
the One, in addition to its lesser attributes. For example, Sophia
is the Seraphim of Wisdom. Since debate continues over the exact
number and listing of divine attributes of the One (for example, whether
the One is single, a trinity, a pentarchy, etc), the exact number of Seraphim
is not known, although a large number of Choristers have attempted to construct
systems which would allow there to be nine Seraphim, each of which watches
over one of the nine spheres of magic. (For example, St. M'bele the
Studious came up with the following set of correspondences: Omnipresence:
Correspondence, Providence: Entropy, First Cause: Forces, Everliving:
Life, Creator of the World: Matter, Omniscience: Mind, Fount
of All: Prime, Forger of Souls: Spirit, Eternal: Time.
He then discovered to his horror that he had forgotten to work Love into
the system and spent the rest of his life trying to discover a tenth sphere
for a tenth Seraphim to rule).
Example: Sophia, the Seraphim of Wisdom
Like all Seraphim, she is rarely seen by mortals, though her influence touches them all. In Chorus iconography, she is typically portrayed as either a wise owl or an old, dignified woman, unbowed but wrinkled and gray haired, holding a spindle. Sometimes she is portrayed as smiling, while at other times she is sad, for hers is the wisdom born of experience and age, and sometimes wisdom comes from pain. Many Choristers believe she selects who among the Chorus ascends to the rank of the Oracles. Those seeking to invoke her power perform rites usually involving passages from Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and similar works.
The Cherubim form the second order. Many Cherubim form the chorus which sings the One's praises in the highest Heaven, but the rest serve the Seraphim, carrying out their work. Cherubim also administrate high level abstractions such as 'space', 'time', 'love', 'hate', 'justice', etc. Some administer entire regions of the Tellurian, such as Yuel, the Cherubim of the Solar System, who in turn watches over the Thrones who rule the individual planets. Those Choristers interested in comparative religions often see the Wyrm, Weaver, and Wyld as beings on this level, though clearly renegade and in need of disciplining. (Some would place them on the level of the Seraphim)
Example: Yuel, Cherubim of the Solar System
Yuel's true appearance is unknown, for those who gaze upon him either go mad or cannot retain the memory of what they have seen. He is typically represented in (modern) Chorus iconography as a star with a face surrounded by nine spheres that form a single circle. Yuel is in charge of the Solar System and of gravity. He is thus frequently invoked for any rite which involves gravity or the planets. Those Choristers with a bent for astrology also see him as being in charge of that as well. Yuel is typically invoked through ceremonies which involve sacred dance and music which depicts the movement of the planets to the tune of the music of the spheres, and thus requires at least 13 people to perform properly (Three musicians, one 'sun', and nine 'planets'). The recent appearance of Anthelios seems likely to be of concern to him; many Choristers expect a battle of some kind between the two, and most of those fear the results of such a fight.
The Thrones rule over entire planets, and simultaneously rule over sub-categories of the major ideas incarnated by the Cherubim. This can make for tangled lines of command; Venus, the Throne of Romantic Love, serves both Yuel (Cherubim of the Solar System), and Agapel (Cherubim of Love). Those interested in comparative religions place Gaea, the Angel of Earth, on this level, despite the Garou claims that she is the highest spirit of all. The Chorus believe she was one of the leaders of the Angels who failed to take sides during the War in Heaven, and that her many subsequent travails are symbolic of what happens to those who fail to take sides in the war between the One and the Fallen. The failure and decline of her children, the Shifterkin, is simply the inevitable result of what happens to those who exalt creations over the Creator (usually various meaningful glances at the Dreamspeakers follow, which is then followed by the usual unpleasantries).
Example: Perelandra, aka Venus, the Throne of Romantic Love
While few in this era can claim to have seen her face to face, her image is known to all within the Chorus, and many of those outside it. She appears to those who seek her out as a woman that matches their own personal image of female physical perfection. While sometimes she appears clad in sumptous garments or light, she usually appears shamelessly naked, as Adam and Eve were before the Fall, for she is unfallen and has no need to hide her body. This has led to embarassment for many a Chorister who has had dealings with her or her servants, who imitate their mistress in their choice of lack of clothing. It takes a supreme effort to enable her to manifest on this side of the Gauntlet, although her attention can be gained through rather less effort. There is a standard rite for the invocation of Perelandra, which involves music, prayer, dance, and readings from 'the Song of Songs' and similar works. It also tends to scandalize a fair number of Choristers, and thus is not frequently performed. Much to the horror of the Choristers, this rite has fallen into the hands of the Cult of Ecstasy, who seem to enjoy doing it whenever Choristers are around. It remains unclear to the Chorus as to why she takes no offense from this. A manifestation by Venus means an end to fighting and a great enhancing of any attractions between those present when she manifests. Certain Cultists of Ecstasy claim she spontaneously manifested at Woodstock, but they also like to claim Marianna is her daughter whenever the Choristers are listening, so this remains debated.
Dominions watch over entire continents or other large regions of a single world, and also represent further sub-categories of the ideas incarnated by the Thrones. Thus, Venus is served by Dominions of love between men, of love between men and women, love between women, desire, passion, love letters, etc. Venus is also served by the Dominions who rule over the various physical regions of the planet Venus.
Example: Elemiah, Dominion of the Pacific Ocean
Elemiah sometimes manifests himself to mortals, although it is fairly rare. A slightly larger group of mortals have visited his umbral realm, the Endless Ocean, a realm of endless sea dotted with islands. He himself manifests as either a white ship (a form in which he has occasionally rescued travellers stranded on some foreign shore), a dolphin of enormous size, or as a man-like being made of water. Elemiah also watches over voyages and maritime expeditions, which sometimes leads him into conflict with some of the other Dominions of the various oceans. Elemiah is invoked through prayer and processions, and his favor is invoked for rites involving water, the sea, and travelling at sea. He is typically invoked to bless any boat when it is first launched.
The fifth rank of the Hosts are the Virtues. Some of the Virtues watch over specific virtues; these are the most famous of the Virtues. Some Virtues report to Dominions, while others seem to be largely independent or serve various Seraphim and Cherubim directly. A fair number watch over large regions, such as Eastern Europe or the Arctic Circle, multi-national alliances or cultural groups, or very large countries, such as China or the United States or Canada.
Example: The Virtue Hope
Hope typically manifests as a preadolescent girl with a broad smile and curly brown hair. She typically takes on the racial appearance and clothing of whatever group has summoned her or sought her out in the Umbra; in the case of a mixed group, each person sees her in the style of his or her own people. Hope is a playful angel, able to bring some cheer into the life of all but the most cynical and depressed. She is typically invoked through a ceremony involving a combination of lighting candles, readings from books of prophecies, and prayer. Her power is called upon for prophecies and mind effects which renew people's hope for the future.
The Powers watch over small to mid-sized countries and regions of large countries. They also watch over multi-national organizations, both sacred (the Catholic Church) and secular (the Red Cross). Each of the Traditions has a patron Power (the more conservative Choristers would argue that the patrons of most of the other Traditions are among the 'nuetral' angels at best, unlike their own patron). The patron of the Chorus is Metatron, believed to have once been the patriarch Enoch, one of the First Singers, who was carried up bodily into the True Heavens by the One in recognition of the purity of his faith. The Powers also organize and lead the armies of Heaven in battle against the Infernal hosts. Those Choristers interested in comparative religions would place the Tribal Totem spirits of the Garou at this level.
Example: Mithras, Power of Holy Warriors
Mithras is another First Singer believed by some in the Chorus to have been transformed after his death into an Angel by the One. Indeed, in the time of the Roman empire, he was worshipped by many people outside the Chorus, who saw him as one of the great servants of Ahura-Mazda. His cult was especially popular among soldiers. He appears as a powerfully built man with short dark hair and a shining aura of light, armed with the weapons of the culture of the ones before whom he is manifesting. He is best summoned by the sacrifice of a bull, symbolic of the demonic bull he defeated in his most famous battle. The bull must be defeated in open battle, rather than simply slaughtered while drugged or asleep. He is invoked to strengthen warriors for battle in a holy cause, to bring sunlight into darkened places, to reveal the truth, and to banish evil.
The seventh rank of the Hosts are the Principalities, who watch over cities and towns, rural regions, large local and regional organizations, entire small countries (like Leichtenstein or Andorra), etc. A Principality might watch over Houston, or Montgomery County, or the Southern Baptist Convention, or the countryside of a French department, or the Alps. Principalities supervise a group of Archangels within that area of responsibility as well. Some Principalities incarnate abstract ideas related to a particular area or organization, such as loyalty to one's state. Principalities are the first rank which has much direct dealings with mortals, and the most powerful Chorister chantries have a patron Principality who dwells there.
Example: Requel, Prince of Houston
Requel frequently appears in the Houston area to Choristers resident in the area, pointing out places where their powers are needed. He typically appears as a fairly stereotypical angel (white robes, wings, holy aura), but has also been known to manifest as a begrimed oil worker, as a neatly dressed businessman with dark hair and light blue eyes, as a redneck, or as a talking puddle of oil. Requel also watches over oil production in Texas in general, and thus has been known to manifest all over the state. It remains a matter of debate within the chorus as to whether he came into existence fairly recently, or if he had other duties before his current ones. Simple prayer suffices to attract his attention within Houston's boundaries or near any oil production site in Texas; elsewhere, one must burn incense and conduct elaborate prayer rites. He is invoked for passage to or knowledge of any location within his purview, for knowledge relating to oils and plastics and petroleum, and for luck in financial dealings.
The eighth rank of the Hosts are the Archangels. The Archangels watch over small groups and locations. An Archangel might watch over a church, a flock of birds, the festivals celebrated by a particular city, a family, the products produced by a particular factory or artisan, etc. In the process, they supervise all the Angels which guard each of the components of the collectivity they guard, guide or promote. They also sometimes incarnate or enforce various low-level abstractions which involve connections between different things, such as an oath of marriage between two people, a long term friendship, or even, in the case of demons, the long-term hatred between two people. Those few Choristers with any understanding of Garou religion believe pack totems to be Archangels. Most Chorister Chantries have an Archangel for a guardian.
Example: Issaliel, Angel of the Winds of Chicago
Issaliel usually manifests as a wind that speaks, and frequently manifests unseen in Chicago whether he is called upon or not. He is best summoned outdoors in Chicago, although one could try to call upon him in any outdoor location. He is best summoned through the use of music from wind instruments, the burning of incense, and prayer. He is invoked to create or still winds.
The lowest rank of the Hosts are the Angels. Every single thing which exists has an Angel which watches over it. Your Avatar is your personal Angel. In this dark age, many Angels have failed in their duty and fallen asleep, waking only fitfully, for they are starved of the faith which is their food, and the world is burdened with sin. Even when awake, they are not very strong, although they usually are adept at one or two simple powers.
Example: Carissiel, Angel of Flame
There are thousands of angels of flame, which usually resemble small tongues of fire. Carissiel is but one of that legion, who can be invoked to create small flames. Angels of Flame can be summoned by simply lighting a candle and conducting a short prayer. [Effectively, a fast-castable rite]. Such Angels themselves serve as a component of the rite for invoking Nathanael, the Principality of Holy Fire, said to have been invoked by Elijah in his contest with the priests of Baal.
Most of the interaction between Choristers and the Heavenly Hosts takes place with the Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. Beings of higher rank are generally too busy to have time to answer a summons or petition from even a faithful Chorister, at least in person. Indeed, if a Seraphim or Cherubim did try to drop in to say hello, you would probably be accidentally slain by his effort to communicate with you; the sound waves would slice through you the way a hot knife goes through butter, and the heat of his holiness would melt you away. Thrones can tone themselves down enough to communicate, but are too busy to come to summons and are unlikely to seek you out. Dominions, Virtues, and Powers do sometimes seek out individuals to communicate with them, but are very difficult to summon, although one can go to visit them.
Choristers do not compel Angels, although they sometimes use some degree
of compulsion against nature spirits, and feel no guilt about slapping
Demons around. There are two major methods of summoning Angels.
Those following the road of Devotion typically perform a ceremony to attract
the Angel's attention and to ask it to manifest itself. This usually
involves a combination of prayer and another foci appropriate to the particular
type of Angel. Thus an effort to request a manifestation by the Angel
of Romantic Love would involve a combination of prayer and singing a song
based on 'The Song of Songs', or a similar holy text about love.
Those following the road of Mysticism typically meditate and seek out the
Angel in its dwelling place within their heart. This is generally
slow unless they've had a lot of past experience contacting that Angel.
A few Celestial Chorus rotes:
Blessing of Solomon (Entropy 1)
Solomon was reknowned for his fairness as a judge and his ability to discern the truth. This rite, which involves the recitation of one of the stories of Solomon's judgements (or often the singing of one of the 32 major songs of Solomon recorded in the Chorus records), enables the Chorister to tell if people are telling the truth or lying. It is usually coincidental.
Bridge the Chasm (Spirit 3 or 4)
Choristers think in terms of crossing a gulf, rather than breaching a wall when they enter the Umbra. Ideally, one prepares for this process by spending a day fasting and praying, singing songs of reconciliation and of faith in the One's protection of travellers. One also meditates on the image of a bridge forming between this world and the spirit world, and the actual process of crossing the Gauntlet is experienced by the Chorister as walking across a narrow bridge over an endless chasm. With Spirit 4, one can enable others to walk across the Chasm as well by creating a larger bridge.
Bypass Barriers (Prime 4, Matter 3)
This rite is generally fairly vulgar. It enables the Chorister to pass any barrier by removing the Quintessence from the part of its pattern which makes it tangible. It must be targeted carefully to avoid the Chorister also rendering the floor intangible and being sucked through it by the Earth's gravity. Militant Choristers use a variant on this to strike through people's armor, which can sometimes be coincidental.
Communion (Prime 3)
This form of this effect is most commonly used by Christian Choristers. During the worship service, Quintessence is drawn from the local node into the bread and wine, which then passes into those who consume it. This involves multiple Arete rolls, and is generally coincidental.
Enter Eternity (Time 5)
This rite is most commonly used by mystics, who through heavy fasting and meditation, step outside of time and enter the realm of Eternity, the state of being in which the One exists. Such mystics strive to spend more and more time outside of Time, hoping to eventually achieve a full perception of Eternity, the state in which past and present and future are all one in the One. This passage is but a first step, which escapes the present, but does not yet merge past and future with it. If the mystic makes no changes in his environment, this is coincidental, and since most mystics are simply interesting in moving closer to the One, it generally gives them less paradox problems than one might normally expect from a Time 5 effect.
Exorcism (Spirit 2 or Mind 4)
This rite drives a possessor out of the victim's body. Spirit creatures can be banished with Spirit 2, effectively 'summoning' them out of the body. Possessing minds require Mind 4. The classic rite is the Catholic one, but many variants exist in the Chorus.
Guidance of the One (Correspondence 2 or 3, Mind 1, Time 2)
This rite consists of a prayer to the one to guide you to where you are most needed. The Correspondence 2 version is coincidental, as one simply follows one's instincts to where one is most needed (The Mind 1 component guides one without knowing what one will necessarily find; you don't know what you're getting into, necessarily). The Correspondence 3 version is vulgar, as you take one step and you're there.
Hand of Mithras (Prime 2 or 3)
This rite is used to empower either a weapon (Prime 2) or the Chorister's own body(Prime 3) with the power of Mithras, enabling it to do aggravated damage. Typically, the weapon or warrior is blessed as the culmination of a complex rite, though in times of emergency, a few prayers are muttered and holy oil is liberally sprinkled on the subject of the blessing. (The emergency version is effectively fast-casting. The ritual version takes about 30 minutes.)
Heartseeker (Forces 3, Matter 3, Prime 2)
This rite is used when battle with vampires is expected. Rosewood stakes are blessed as the culmination of a religious ceremony. Such stakes merely need to be stabbed into the vampire, as if you miss the heart, the tip will break off and migrate through the vampire's body to his heart and impale it, staking him if the number of successes on the rite exceed his Fortitude. This is vulgar unless everyone in the vicinity thinks you simply have to put the stake in the vampire to stop him; given that the vampire himself usually knows better, you're generally out of luck.
Horn of Jericho (Entropy 3 or Prime 4)
This rite tends to be rather vulgar, as it involves circling an object seven times in a procession, reciting various verses and singing songs of the One's wrath, culminating in blowing a horn and having the thing circled either fall down and break (Entropy 3) or evaporate completely (Prime 4).
Invoke Guardian Angel (Spirit 2, Prime 3)
This rite, which usually involves spending about time [about a half hour per roll] praying over the person, burning incense, singing, and annointing with oil, calls upon an Angel to watch over the recipient of the rite, and provides an offering of Quintessence to strength the Angel which answers the call. The stronger the Angel, the more Quintessence is traditionally offered. Typically, the Angel is either set to Watch and Ward, or to Watch and Warn. In the former case, the Angel is asked to use its powers to protect the person, while in the latter case, it alerts the Chorister patron of the person protected of impending dangers.
Know Local Song (Prime 1, Spirit 1)
This rote opens the Chorister's ears to listen to the Music of the Spheres at this location, letting him know what the local 'rules' are (the local paradigm) and how tainted the local area is by the power of the Void. One interesting variant of this rote is to pray over a musical instrument, which then 'tunes' itself to the local Song. One then tries to play it, and by examining the ways in which it is now out of tune, one comprehends how the local Song varies from the Song in its purest form (namely as it is sung within a Chorister stronghold). This rote is generally coincidental, especially in the form which uses a musical instrument.
Midnight Sun (Correspondence 4)
This rite is generally VERY vulgar, but is typically used in situations where you just don't care about that. By using Correspondence 4, you can make the sun seem to rise at night, most commonly used to make the lives of vampires hell, or even seem to stop the sun in its course. This rite is rarely used these days, as it involves extensive sacrifices, hours of chanting, and a willingness to suck up mega-paradox. It has most commonly been used as an ultimate weapon threat in vampire/Chorus wars.
Peace of the One (Mind 2)
This rite is used to defuse angry situations, to end fights, and to bring people out of frenzies. Ideally, it involves a prayer, a song, and incense, but there is often not time for the full routine. Normal mortals, Changelings, Magi, and Wraiths must make a Willpower check at difficulty 8, getting more successes than the Chorister did, in order to avoid succumbing to the effect and becoming calm and peaceful for its duration. Two successes will bring a vampire out of frenzy (Three for a Brujah), while a Garou must make an opposed Rage vs. Arete roll to resist (Yes, it is hard to calm a frenzied Garou). Garou also lose one point of Rage per success if they fail to resist it. It is generally coincidental so long as you don't just point and calm people.
Penance (Prime 5)
Choristers see the ministrations of Paradox spirits as a punishment levied upon them for their sins in many cases; thus, they deal with the problem by going to another Chorister, confessing those sins, and undertaking a penance assigned them. Once their Faith is restored and cleansed, they can drive off the offending spirit with Divine Essence channeled through their purified Avatars. The spirit suffers successes * 5 in Power damage, and if driven to zero Power, it discorporates and flees, with the effects of its charms being dispelled.
Speaking in Tongues (Mind 3)
This rite comes in two forms, or to be more precise, two different rites have come to bear the same name. The first rite enables one to speak and be heard by everyone listening as if you were speaking fluently in their native tongue, whether you speak their language or not. It is coincidental among believers or if everyone present speaks the same language but you so no one can tell. It is vulgar if a group that knows their languages are mixed are listening to you and they realize you seem to be speaking several languages simultaneously.
The second form involves frenzied speaking in what appears to be gibberish, but which contains messages that only those guided by the One can understand. It is used both to generate and to understand these messages. This rite is sometimes combined with other spheres in order to pass on oracular messages from the One (especially the use of Time 2 in order to prophesy). It is generally coincidental.
Strength of Mithras (Life 3)
This rote is not only used by Mithrasians, but has kept the name it was given by them over the centuries. It involves stripping naked, going to a secluded place from which the Sun can be seen, and performing a sacred dance, asking the One who made the Sun to fill one with the Sun's might. (The nakedness is intended to prevent one's clothing from blocking the absorption of the Strength of Mithras into any part of one's body, and as a sign of humility.) This is often done as an extended rite, which requires a Stamina check along with each Arete check. Each success can be added to one physical attribute for a time determined by the total number of successes. Every twenty four hours afterwards, one must feed the fire of the Strength of Mithras with a point of Quintessence, or it will begin to consume you with the Sun's fires. This is often itself done in the form of a short rite at whatever time of day one first invoked this effect. This rite is coincidental if no stat is augmented by more than two points.
Turn Undead (aka Banish Through Faith) (Mind 2 or Spirit 3/Mind 2)
Older Choristers tend to grind their teeth when some younger Choristers refer to 'Turning Undead', but despite their best efforts to preserve the older term, 'Banish through Faith', the neologism seems to be gaining ground. The simple version of this involves brandishing a holy symbol, which forces the vampire or wraith to flee until they can no longer see it. This effect is coincidental if all observers know the target is a vampire, otherwise, it is sometimes vulgar. The more complex version involves touching the undead with the holy symbol, who first takes damage, then must flee. It is vulgar unless everyone observing knows the target is a vampire. [This rite never suffers the fast-cast penalty, as it is intended to be snapped off in a few seconds, before the Vampire can do anything horrible to you]