Reversible Conjuring?

One thought occurred to me recently, it's that Ars Magica has several things that allow Perdo effects to effectively substitute for vis.

Hermetic Sacrifice (Mystery Cults) allows you to flawless sacrifice animals to fuel theurgical rituals.
Holy Magic (RoP: Divine) lets you take Long Term Fatigue levels to substitute as vis.
Leper Magi (HoH: Societas) lets you take Wounds to substitute as vis.

In 4th, Mercurian Magic had you sacrificing valuables as part of the compensation for the lower vis requirements. There may be other examples, these are just the easy ones I remembered.

All these examples seem to imply that the vis requirement of Creo permanent conjuring/creating is basically reversible. It seems possible to destroy to generate vis, or at least to substitute for vis. This raises a number of questions, like for example, is the natural decay of things responsible for the generation of vis? Is the generation of vis a means by which God renews Creation? Would that mean using vis for things other than creation is against God's will? Could this be an avenue for Hermetic research? How would the Criamon view this notion, given their thoughts on the counter-cyclical alam where Creo is permanent and permanent Perdo requires vis? How would magi view the idea?

In my eyes, the sacrifice of animals/long term fatigue/wounds is more about the transfer of energy rather than an aspect of perdo.
Obviously the loss of fatigue and creation of wounds is an aspect of perdo, I don't think you would be able to create vis with perdo only.
I'm not sure hermetic TeFo's are very good for sacrificing something for the benefit of something else.

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That is a very interesting idea.

You are suggesting a sort of cycle where things must be destroyed so that new things can take their place. Where Perdo represents the destruction the allows creation, Creo.

Exactly how well hermetic magic can tap into this cycle is of course debatable. But hermetic philosophers would most likely consider the techniques to be manipulations of fundamental forces in nature, so it makes sense for magi to consider Creo to be a magical manipulation of the natural force of creation and Perdo to me a magical manipulation of the fundamental force of decay. Likewise it makes sense to describe the world in those terms.

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Well, it could be argued that Creo and Perdo are just exchanges of energy. When you Creo to create or heal you are just exchanging the energy of vis for the energy of creation or healing. The reverse could also be true, though obviously more difficult to capitalize on.

This might be an interesting Criamon project, where the (theoretical) destruction of all of Creation should produce an unlimited amount of magical energy (vis), perhaps breaking the cycle of Creation in the process. Obviously the Criamon would want to perfect the technique before going all Perdo on the universe, and it might require breaking the Limit of the Lunar Sphere in addition, but the Criamon are long term thinkers! One step at a time.


Well, if you are brave and don’t mind the paradigm shift, a mage with an unusually modern way of thinking could develop well ahead of time the concept of Eros & Thanatos like Freud did and apply it to magic. Then, he could possibly conceive a way to generate magical power (= vis) through destruction.

By the way, the concept of energy transfer is quite obvious, but at the same time very modern, so I am trying to stretch another concept, based on psychological theory applied to magic.

Of course , such theory open a can of worms since it would not be based on balance or a kind of law of energy conservation, so it could lead to unlimited magical energy.
On the other hand, magic already break the law of physics: create an enchantment generating permanently heat, bring water (regular but even CrAq will do the trick) and you have a eternal steam-powered machine. Every law of thermodynamics is voided.

So why not have a Hermetic breakthrough allowing « free » vis. What could be the cost ? Is it a slow process ? Does it create weakness in the aura ? Does it corrupt the user ? Or even worse: there are no downside and suddenly there is unlimited magical power... how the other realms would react ?
Obviously It must have been part of God’s plan. Is it the end of the world ?

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Is energy conservation in the medieval paradigm at all?

Downsides? What could possibly go wrong?

...something something Dark Sun...

Probably not? But worms spring from rotten materials, so creation from destruction isn't unheard of.

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Don't know how this applies to the conversation but Perdo spells that destroy things targets subtances, not matter as per A&A

Don’t think there was conservation of energy but I think there was conservation of matter in the philosophy of the time. I believe atoms, in the sense of dry/wet and hot/cold particles that make up all matter, could not be destroyed and all that exist existed when god created everything.

John, I think if you dwell too much on how you can fuel magic by killing things, the Burning Acorns Vexellation is going to go "Oh, we've finally found the druids!" and wreck your life.

The central reason why sacrifice magic doesn'r work well for the Order is that Bonisagus was secular, and the three traditions who were big on it (the druids, the Mercurians and the Cthonic Tytalusians) have all been destroyed, basically because if you go killing things for power, demons show up and say "Hey...that's cool. I have a book about that here somewhere."

It works - the problem is that it works too well.

As to what the Criamon think: the Path of Walking Backward do seem to think you can get to Creo by "Walking Backward" up the way of Perdo. In earlier editions it was a lot easier to make the argument that Perdo and Creo were just aspects of the same thing, but this lead to the idea that Muto was a sort of ur-Art. (Creo / Perdo as physical change or shape, Intellego is self-targeted mental change, Rego as a mechanical change of action).

In the Criamon philosophy, magic is caused by the decline of reality into chaos within the material system. . God doesn't renew Creation in the broadest sense: Creation is heading toward the apocalypse. In the local sense, yes, the gears that make the machinery of creation run are either Magic or (if you are into that sort of thing) a tiny angel by every object expressive of the will of God. By studying Vim, you study how the machine that is reality works and you also study how you can change the cogwork. That's probably sacrilegious, but the Criamon don't actually care: they don't want to be inside it.

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With the "transfer of energy" idea, what's the physical mechanism of the transfer of energy? Even miracles have a physical mechanism (that's why there's a ring/water/wine/oil at sacraments).

In Ars the physical mechanism of spellcasting seems to be a temporary spirit created (summoned?) by the magus. If you are calling a more powerful spirit with blood and destruction you are making (summoning?) a cthonic spirit.. It's not diabloism, but you can see it from there.

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Criamon discovered thermodynamics applied to the God's creation !

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Empedocles got there first - they just took it from him.

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conservation of energy and matter is a much later discovery. It was certainly not part of the actual medieval conception of the world and it is most likely not the case for the medieval paradigm in. In the real world the idea that energy and matter is conserved was discovered in the late 1700's.

I think we can agree that Conservation of Matter and Energy doesn't really apply to Ars Magica. Perdo can utterly obliterate stuff and magi draw on the seemingly unlimited fluid vis to do everything. More relevant seems to be the concept of exchange or sacrifice for power, which is much more in paradigm. It just remains to be seen how far the concept can be stretched to apply to Hermetic magic, and what the governing powers of each Realm view as acceptable sacrifices, assuming that destroying stuff to get power isn't just a general principle that's poorly exploited by Hermetic magic at the moment, though expending Fatigue to power spells is available in several virtues already (Life Boost, Life Linked Spontaneous Magic). Holy Magic and Leper Magi seem to be just more powerful versions of these things. Then there's Hyperborean Magic's ability to take Warping in place of using Vis for enchantment