Elemental Magic in the Briarverse: Aether

Originally published at: https://ackerlygreen.com/2020/03/23/elemental-magic-in-the-briarverse-aether/

If you’ve been following our narrative since The Monarch Papers, or even just over the course of the past few months, then it’s likely you’ll have come across the six magimystic elements: Light, Aether, Ore, Tides, Thought, and The Wilds. The Briarverse elements are intertwined with all forms and manifestations of magic, from the alchemical symbols to the guilds and the six magimystic houses. Whether Calling the Corners for protection or simply calling upon the raw elemental energy woven into the fabric of our universe, the elements, in some form or another, have been the core magimystic tenets of the Briarverse since its very inception. While they may seem familiar to anyone acquainted with the traditional four-element breakdown (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), the six magimystic elements combine the tangible with the intangible and dive deeper into the natural world and our own creativity for the source of their power, and can be harnessed with reasonable control by practicing magimysts for both large spells and smaller, everyday charms.

We’re going to be doing a series of posts exploring one element per week, and while Aether is actually second in magimystic order, in light of recent world events, we thought it was a more fitting element with which to begin the series.

 

Element: Aether

Associated Guild: Gossmere

Associated House: Humanity

Associated Time of Day: Morning

 

Aether is one of the trickier elements for new magimysts to wrap their minds around, being unique to the Briarverse and the most intangible of the six. And yet, it is one that some—most commonly, new Gossmerim—find that they have always known in a sense, even if they have not yet been able to name it. In a literary sense, “aether” often refers to the skies, the heavens, that faraway unreachable place that encompasses everything, even if it is never truly seen. As the associated element of Gossmere, that logic is extended to the interpersonal as well, which is unsurprising for a guild ruled by the House of Humanity. Aether is at once all around you and within you, it is the space we move through and our means of connection to others, the airwaves to which the sound of the Common Drum beats along in its efforts to reach us all.

In discussing which locations to use as foci during the Elemental Disruption chapter of the Search for Magiq narrative last summer, the most immediately relevant seemed at first to be places of healing—which speaks volumes about the individual contributions of our resident Gossmerim to our greater magimystic community. And yes, a sense of humanity does seem strongest in places of healing, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, and surgeries, but when the Mountaineers began to think beyond the literal, they saw the healing power of humanity extended far beyond the medical and the physical. They saw that it lives also in places of worship, places of charity, in all places of gathering and celebrations of community. There is immeasurable strength in the human connection, and that connection, at its core, is Aether.

I know that many of us have been turning to virtual sources of connection in the past couple of weeks, and even more may be continuing to do so for the foreseeable future. Now more than ever is the time to call upon Aether: its healing properties for those who are ill and for their caretakers, its reminder of humanity during these unprecedented times, and its power of connection, its Call to Hearth, for all of us who may be lacking that connection in our daily lives just now. Call a friend, keep singing and dancing, and remember to take pleasure in the joy of living and being connected to the natural world if you can, and hold in your hearts all of those who cannot.

We’d love to hear how you are keeping Aether in mind these days, especially if you’re cooped up indefinitely like we are. If you have any ways you’ve found helpful in maintaining those important human connections during this time, we’d love to hear those too! We’ve always known that the true magic of the Briarverse is our community, so once again, we’re calling upon that magic.

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(Adding the Aether symbol as well because it seems like a good addition to the post)


I really like the bit about connection, and frankly, I tend to forget to stay connected with other people, which tends to impact my wellbeing. So I think I’ll draw this symbol somewhere on my person and use it to try and remember to stay connected - to reach out to people. Maybe it’ll encourage me to text that one friend who’s moved far away, or just to hang out with my own family more.

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Oh, thank you for including the symbol! Keeping it on your person as a reminder is a lovely idea. I know I definitely tend to find reaching out hard, but something I’ve found helpful is to try keeping in mind how I feel whenever someone reaches out to me, which is almost always positive and grateful that someone is thinking of me.

Going to drop the link for the Elemental Support Network here too, in case it might help anyone to know that others are thinking about you during this time!

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:two_hearts:

The perfect plural.

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Aether is near and dear to my heart as a Gossmere. Reading @AG_Catherine’s post reminded me of a Arcade Fire lyric: “Born in a diamond mine/it’s all around you, but you can’t see it.”

I feel that invisible, intangible connection every day in my work in healthcare. Another place I feel it, actually maybe even more so at times, is out in the wilderness (like camping or on a hike). I feel the Common Drum’s beat beyond just the heartbeats of my family, friends and community, but in all the rhythms of the natural world. Whether it be in the wild or in horticulture, I find feeling the connected-ness of all living things restorative.

Aether’s house, however, is specifically Humanity, but I don’t see Humanity and Nature as mutually exclusive. If anything, they are symbiotic and reciprocal. By listening to the Common Drum, we can support the health of ourselves, of each other, and of our planet and environment. That’s what Aether means to me.

EDIT: I’m excited to read these Elements posts! I’ve always found the 6 elements fascinating, and I’m looking forward to a deep dive on each of them. I hope everyone out there in our community is staying healthy and safe, and I’m glad we all have each other in this exceptional little corner of the Internet.

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Goodness, yes! This is something I’ve been craving for awhile.

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What a beautiful take on the relationship between humanity and nature! Can’t wait to keep exploring the elements with you all :cjheart:

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Some things RE: staying connected

Call or Video chat with people!! We get so caught up in that texting counts as checking up on people, but we often forget that it’s so nice to actually hear another’s voice.
Also consider calling relatives/friends who are definitely stuck in isolation. I work in a group home with mostly seniors and their family can’t visit because there’s a lot of at risk people here and we can see how much they miss that contact. It’s okay if you don’t have a habit of calling your grandparents or whomever every week, but now is when we all need that connection more than ever so don’t let that stop you.
Never underestimate the power of a friendly conversation.

Technology is cool, play games with your friends!
This isn’t like a ‘go join a raiding guild on some MMO’ thing, it’s a reminder that there are simple online games like cards or checkers that you can play with people. It’s super easy to get caught up talking to people only about the pandemic, that having something to do like play a game gives you a much needed distraction and can allow the conversation to be about other less stressful things.

Arts and Crafts baby.
They’re fun and keep you busy, BUT! Something great happening in my neighbourhood is that people are posting messages of hope, funny pictures, cool drawings, really anything in their windows so that when people go for walks they can see that life still exists and is still being lived.
We have a neighbourhood crew of kids that play together so we set up fun games like for St. Patrick’s Day, it was how many clovers can you find in people’s windows. So have fun with it! This is something you won’t see the impact of, but it will definitely be felt by others.

Lastly, just don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.
If you’re stuck by yourself don’t be afraid to ask friends or family to call you everyday at a certain time to talk for like five minutes.
If you’re stuck with your family don’t be afraid to ask for time by yourself for a bit, or to ask them to make sure you’re actually changing into clean clothes everyday (like from your bedtime pyjamas to your daytime pyjamas) just to help you stay sane.
Don’t be afraid to ask the people you care about what they need whether that be reminders, phone calls, memes, cute animal photos.

Be kind to yourselves. We’re social creatures so this will be tough. Right now we need trust more than doubt, and I trust that we’ll get through this -together.

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In regard to reaching out, especially reach out to people who live alone, no matter the age. It’s easy for folks like me, in quasi-quarantine with a husband, to forget what it’s like not to have someone to talk to. We chatted with a dear friend a couple of nights ago who is single and has nobody to talk with other than work colleagues (ugh) or family (who are driving him crazy). He was so happy to talk with a friend he was in tears. (But he’s kind of dramatic anyway. :joy: )

Random people have reached out to me as well, just to check in, and it’s very heartwarming.

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I’ve heard, via phone or text, from some very old friends recently and it’s been a true gift to catch up!

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