Minor Magical Focus in Logos

Our group is gearing for a Maltese campaign and one of my players wants to play a magi with Ars Notoria. I have suggested he be Ex Miscellania with Ars Notoria as his Major Supernatural, Necessary Condition: Rhetoric (he must argue reality into fulfilling his desires, no silent casting for him) and a Minor Magical Focus in Logos as his Hermetic Minor.

Now Logos covers a LOT of ground in classical greek and even Christian philosophy, but in Ars Magica terms I'm thinking of stuff that enhances reason (Int/Com boosting spells), encourages rational thought (by dispelling emotion or tending the target to reasoned thinking) and dispelling rational thought (turning men's minds animalistic) - all very basic Mentem magics.

But in the back of my head I'm thinking Logos could apply to some crazy stuff like the fundamental nature and function of the universe, maybe aura and regio based magic, Magic Realm Magic and other weirdness. And in the Christian context, well, it's easy to equate Logos with Jesus and that's way, way beyond the scope of Hermetic magic (the character is not a Holy Magus, just Ars Notoria).

Got any weird ideas for Logos magic?


What about the role of reason in the theology of Thomas Aquinas?

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Well we looked at that but Thomas Aquinus is born in 1225, so his reasoning won't show up for a while in game.

Going by Art & Academe, Reason is provided by the soul and uses the input of the common sense, estimation, memory and imagination, to reach conclusions.

Intellect is also provided by the soul, but is separate from reason. So anything without a soul has neither reason nor intellect.

So Logos is useless versus animals or anything soulless.

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The point is, that Aquinas concentrated, rewrote and thereby established the Aristotelean theory of mind and soul on the Unversities and in the church.
This was decisive and hard work, as the condemnations of the bishop of Paris in 1210, 1270 and 1277 demonstrate.
A&A takes its theory of mind and soul from the teachings of the later 13th century universities, not even mentioning the heated controversies before.

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Well, what is Logos exactly? Every student of classical Greek gets taught that it's a word that means both "thought" and "word/speech": in other words, rational, abstract ideas both processed and communicated. That's what a modern mathematician would probably translate as Information (John 1,1 takes a sci-fi vibe if you translate it that way directly from Greek: "At the beginning there was Information, and Information flowed into God, and God was Information.")

Now, we know that Hermetic Magic in 5th edition does not handle information directly (see TME, p.99-100). On the other hand, handling information does not break, or even stretch any greater or lesser Limit of Magic. So, it's reasonable that e.g. Mentem could be extended to do so, with nothing more than a Major Breakthrough (in fact, I'd rule it a hefty-ish Minor Breakthrough, because no Limit-stretching occurs).

Logos would then apply to all such new magics. The most obvious example would be translating unknown writing. But "reading between the lines" of someone's speech, without entering his mind directly (and thus without breaching his MR) would qualify too. And I'd say that computing would qualify too: for example, sufficiently high-level Logos magics would allow one to create horoscopes and inceptions on the fly via magic, rather than laboriously by hand (see A&A p.70 on how Inceptions are the only formulae of experimental philosophy that cannot be brought into being by magic, unlike Theriacs and Reagents).

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With almost everything in Mythic Europe having a spirit, it's not hard to imagine there being Spirits of Information, especially given that some holy books seem to have divine spirits associated with them. Spirits of Language, Mathematics or Knowledge might be considered Logos spirits, though some of these are probably Theoi, named spirits.

Funny take, but if Logos is information then it is Adamic speech and was lost with Babel.
What is left is interpretation.

With this Mentem meaning, you could listen to a speech through the ears of your target and understand how he gets it. By saying ambiguous things, you might pull out secrets by reading how he interprets them.

In another direction, you could relate Logos to Ideal and use it to Creo "pure" objects. This is kind of a return to Adamic, but hey.

Adamic would probably be the ideal form of thought, though its main power in Ars Magica is to name things. Though a practitioner of Ars Notoria already has a head start on learning Adamic, as they have to learn 4 languages just to begin their studies into the Ability.

But picking out the meaning behind words you don't understand seems like a Logos ability. Written word might not have the force of meaning behind it, but spoken word certainly does. So understanding the spoken word really seems appropriate as Logos magic.