The hidden symbolism and concepts in the Aetherstorm Chronicles: Quintessence

I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for symbolism and foreshadowing.  Perhaps it is my love of mysteries that fuels these ideas but they are a large but hidden part of my fictional work. Today I will be discussing the concept of Quintessence as it applies to my story.

In my story’s universe, quintessence the physical manifestation of magical power, much like psi is the operational element of many supposed paranormal abilities.  In ancient and medieval philosophy, it is the fifth essence or element, Aether, supposed to be the constituent matter of the heavenly bodies, the others being air, fire, earth, and water. However, it is actually a very real thing. In physics, quintessence is a hypothetical form of dark energy. It can be either attractive or repulsive depending on the ratio of its kinetic and potential energy. By combining these two concepts I created the idea of how magic works in my story’s universe.

I have this image of my heroine, Tesla St. Vrain, being able to absorb a small quantity of this magical substance and then generating vast amounts of it.  Fundamentally, it is based on the concept of karma .  It is a term about the cycle of cause and effect. Whatever one puts out into the Universe will come back to them. For pagans and occultists, it is called the rule of three. It states that whatever energy a person puts out into the world, be it positive or negative, will be returned to that person three times.

However, I did not want a world where magic was readily available, so I restricted its usage by making it rare. Thus, Tesla’s ability to amplify quintessence is highly sought after due to this principle.

From Chapter 8

“A sorcerer simply absorbs the quintessence from the environment around him,” Sidgwick replied. “The quintessence he takes in to initiate his magick is merely released back into his surroundings in another form. So the levels of quintessence in the environment essentially stay constant. The one exception occurs only if the sorcerer had used quintessence stored in an appropriate container, like a crystal. Even then, the residual quintessence levels would still be quite low. The levels we measured at the ritual site were ten times the average strength.”

Von Voss placed his handkerchief back into his pocket and put the monocle back over his right eye. He adjusted it before directing his attention to Dante.

 “Quintessence originates from the sun. Having similar properties with cosmic rays, it travels through space until it reaches the Earth. There the Earth’s electromagnetic field diverts it, so it does not strike the surface directly. It is the moon that reflects it, sending it back down to our planet where it is absorbed. This is why many occult rituals are performed during the full moon when the highest amount of quintessence is available.”


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