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Old 09-24-2017, 06:41 PM   #21
whswhs
 
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Default Re: foci in MtA

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I don't know whether it would work for the specific character, but 1905 is about right for Freud starting to be taken seriously – still mostly in Vienna, but someone who took a particular interest in the field might have heard of him. That's the modern scientific theory of mind of that era.
Yes, it is. But wouldn't that be more likely to appeal to the Progenitors or the New World Order than the Order of Hermes or even the Sons of Ether?
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Old 09-25-2017, 04:35 AM   #22
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Default Re: foci in MtA

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Yes, it is. But wouldn't that be more likely to appeal to the Progenitors or the New World Order than the Order of Hermes or even the Sons of Ether?
You know what might fit in the setting; I just know the history. Historical magic is nothing like as specialised as what one needs for an RPG. There's lots of pointless memorisation, like all those long lists of demons and what they do, but nothing like systematisation or hierarchy; you get a list of fifty demons, not a classification of five types with ten examples of each.

If you want an old-fashioned theory of mental process from the real world, well, there's no real distinction between mind and soul until the 1700s, and it took a while to catch on. But from what I remember of the WW system it makes a very definite distinction between Spirit and Mind. So you're a bit stuffed, really.
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Old 09-25-2017, 06:18 AM   #23
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How about the products of disciplined thinking as foci for Mind? Dictionaries, books on mathematics and formal logic, collections of poetry, and so on. Euclid's Elements seems especially appropriate.
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Old 09-25-2017, 10:55 AM   #24
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If you want an old-fashioned theory of mental process from the real world, well, there's no real distinction between mind and soul until the 1700s, and it took a while to catch on. But from what I remember of the WW system it makes a very definite distinction between Spirit and Mind. So you're a bit stuffed, really.
Well, yes and no. WW does make that distinction. But what it means by Spirit seems to be, first, invisible and intangible entities that have awareness and volition but not bodies, and second, a realm inhabited by such entities. The second idea has overtones of "other dimensions," which certainly is not a medieval or Renaissance idea; Dante, for example, places spirits (devils and angels) either under the earth or in the heavens. I don't know when the idea of "other planes" was thought of. But I think a pre-1700 Hermetic could make perfect sense of the idea of a disembodied entity, as opposed to an embodied human mind.

Looking at Benedek Lang's Unlocked Books, I see that he talks about five varieties of magic—natural magic, which relies on the occult powers of natural substances; image magic, which uses signs to focus magical power into objects; alchemy; divination; and ritual magic, which involves calling up spirits and bargaining for their aid. (Ritual magic includes divination by crystal balls, mirrors, reflecting pools, and the like, and probably also talking with mediums, because there's thought to be an element of "bargaining with the devil" in this.) Divination in turn seems to have three subtypes: looking for natural signs, as in physiognomy; manipulating humanly created signs, as in sortilege, or casting lots to seek a sign (in a sense, dice-based RPGs are a form of this!); and an intermediate case, numerology, where you treat names (humanly created, but not primarily for magical purposes) as if they were natural signs.

Magic as defined in Ars Magica, one of the ancestral sources of Mage, seems not to be about "ritual magic" in this sense. Oh, you could call up spirits using Mentem, and perhaps command them, and send them on errands. But AM mages who want to start a fire don't usually seem to call on fire elementals to do it. A lot of their magic seems to be just directly acting on fire, or animals, or the human senses and their impressions. And I think that in the same way, while an OoH mage could call up a spirit that has the power to set things on fire, they could also just put together natural correspondences that increase the potential for fire, based perhaps on the affinities of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius, and not involve spirits at all.

Anyway, gaining knowledge of other people's thoughts would seem to involve things like physiognomy, or numerology, or oneiromancy. In fact, just yesterday, C was talking about her art history course, which includes discussion of the canon, a scheme of ratios that's said to define the ideal human form for artists; and that made me think that this would fit in very well with numerology, on one hand, and with divination by facial features and bodily proportions, on the other. So physiognomy could be a basis for gaining knowledge of people's characters.

The thing that's problematic is that physiognomy doesn't seem to be a good way to cast spells on people. Short of plastic surgery, that is! But the cognitive use of signs, where X is a sign of A and you know A by seeing X, is hard to reconcile with the conative use of signs, where X is a sign of A and you bring about X to bring about A. it might be that a Hermetic mage needs one set of signs for divination, and a different set for thaumaturgy.
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Old 09-25-2017, 12:13 PM   #25
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Yes, it is. But wouldn't that be more likely to appeal to the Progenitors or the New World Order than the Order of Hermes or even the Sons of Ether?
Questionable. I'm not sure either group welcomed the idea of the subconscious. But for inspiration for the OOH I'm totally down with Jungian Archetypes.
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Old 09-25-2017, 12:30 PM   #26
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Questionable. I'm not sure either group welcomed the idea of the subconscious. But for inspiration for the OOH I'm totally down with Jungian Archetypes.
Jung's ideas could fit the OoH, though they're also plausible for the Verbena or the Celestial Chorus (whereas Freud would appeal to the Cult of Ecstacy, if anyone in the Traditions). But Jung's collaboration with Freud, during which he mainly worked out the theory of the collective unconscious, was 1906-1913, just a little after my starting date.

What I'm mainly thinking of about Freud is his lack of interest in the occult and his attempt at biological explanations for human behavior (flawed though it was). He classified religion as an "illusion," founded on wish fulfillment. That would definitely not put him on the side of the Traditions. And Bernays, one of the pioneers in psychologically based mass advertising in the 1920s (he put together the "torches of freedom" march of women smoking cigarettes), was a follower of Freud. That's exactly the sort of thing the NWO would go for, I think.

But most of that is in the future.
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Old 09-26-2017, 04:48 PM   #27
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I found https://i.pinimg.com/236x/21/d8/0a/2...rs-number-.jpg Dont know the history, but is numerology relating to mind
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Old 10-01-2017, 11:35 AM   #28
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There are a lot of good foci, which they call instruments, in Mage 20th Anniversary. While there's a ton of material on magical practices there, I do like the overall tiers of paradigm (how you believe the world is and how it works) practice (how you work the world and the mythic threads you pull on) and instruments (the memes or items you use to do what you do).

Any Order of Hermes mage should have picked up social domination tricks like eye contact and name-dropping through their apprenticeship. For Mind, the key to controlling one's own is focus and poetry and other ways to get people to work a certain way work well for affecting others.

For the numerically inclined, keep a stack of numbers and cards around and you can start getting people to think about the connections between them. Keep showing the same number and then ask someone to pick a number and they are more likely to pick it.
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