Identity

It is believed that the soul itself — the absolute quintessence of a person, creature, or thing — does not and cannot exist on the physical plane. Instead, it can be said to cast a shadow, to create ripples much as a stone does in the stream flowing around it. The pattern so formed is one's Identity, the worldly manifestation and expression of one's soul. Identity is considered to dictate the differences between quartz and granite, whether an animal has claws or hooves, and even variations in appearance and personality from person to person; it does this by shaping layer upon layer of aura with elemental compositions reflecting its particular pattern, ultimately giving rise to a unique physical thing. Notably, even inanimate objects are considered to have souls, albeit very simplistic ones.

Identity takes its fundamental shape from the soul, but is much more malleable; it can change and develop over time, its contours adjusted by events and choices. If this was not so, there could be no growth, no learning, no change at all. Unlike actual shadows and ripples, Identity can also inform the soul that casts it, rewriting some part of one's quintessence. These changes are typically minor in and of themselves, but can add up over multiple incarnations to become profound shifts in self.

The disciplines of magic, at their base, are centered around manipulations of Identity. Broadly speaking, shamanism turns inwards and remolds the practitioner's own Identity until it resembles that of whatever they wish to affect; when shaman and subject are sufficiently similar of Identity, each can exert influence upon the other, and the shaman achieve his goal. In contrast, witchcraft is focused on calling forth specific patterns of Identity, whether of the witch himself or of some other subject, and for that specificity finds it difficult to affect anything other than physical substance. The disciplines of Dreamwalking and Webweaving leverage Identity in a different way, using it as a conduit in order to affect the deeper and more fundamental layers of reality, the dreamscape and soulscape.

Finally, Identity also underlies the creation of ghosts. Normally, the soul of the deceased ceases to cast an Identity pattern at all, withdrawing into itself to to consolidate changes and shape the Identity of its next incarnation. In the case of a ghost, death inexorably releases the Identity aspects associated with material elements, but the Identity fails to dissolve its associations with fundamental elements, particularly mind aura. This results in a disembodied entity with a driving obsession, one that clings to immaterial existence until whenever it finally chooses to let go.

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