Mage/Sodality of the Tor

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Sodality of the Tor


Overview

Mages walked the spiral pathways of Glastonbury Tor to awaken the latent divinity within their souls long before hordes of neo-pagan tourists descended upon western Britain. The moon served as their symbol of ecstatic divinity, an otherworldly presence inextricably tied to the mortal experience. This concept of drawing the divine into oneself, nurturing its traits and shaping one's soul, is the most sacred Mystery of one of the oldest British Legacies.

The Spiral Walkers teach that the human soul can embrace godhood only when the soul sets aside the conscious mind. The Supernal is not transcendent, grandly beyond human understanding; rather, it is immanent, found within all things wild and natural. When the Awakened allow their unconscious and primal self free reign, they touch the divine. The Sodality of the Tor's wild rituals unshackle the conscious mind's control to allow the mages to experience their "divine selves." In truth, this means expressing the qualities attributed to their personal deity, totem or spirit in their own personalities.

The Legacy is an ancient one in Britain, purportedly founded in the pre-Roman period. Historical records support the existence of covens performing similar ecstatic magic as early as the 10th century, although the spread of Christianity scattered pagan practitioners to the fringes of society. The Spiral Walkers recognize four branches originating from founding cabals in the early 1400s, separated by violent schisms, nationalism, and varying religious practices and beliefs. Sodality mages trace their membership to a branch not by their place of birth or residence, but the tradition of their teacher. Mentorship is held sacred among the Legacy, and a teacher passes down her association to her student.

Deep divisions spurred by factional squabbles and theft of valuable grimoires broke into open war between the Sodality mages in the sixteenth century. Under significant pressure caused by religious reforms and regional uprisings, the Sodality of the Tor splintered into smaller covens. Their name was associated with blood feuds and baseless in-fighting for decades. The Legacy barely held on in its traditional strongholds -- Somerset, the Hebrides, Iceland, and western Norway -- until the 19th century and Alister Crowley brought resurgent interest in British occultism.

The Sodality of the Tor expanded beyond its ancestral bases in the Second World War. Together with other Order mages, Sodality covens participated covertly in an arcane battle for Britain. Sulis covens gathered near Portsmouth, Vestfold mages in Kristiansand on the North Sea, while Ebudae turned to the contested sea lanes patrolled by u-boats, and on Lammas Night 1940, they collectively performed a great Working targeting Nazi Germany. The taxing ritual felled a great many Sodality mages and Scourged the Sulis and Ebudae high priestesses. Within months, the Germans launched Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union. What effect the covens actually had remains a mystery, but their coordinated efforts redeemed the Legacy's reputation in large part.


Essentials
  • Name: Sodality of the Tor
  • Nickname: Spiral Walkers
  • Primary Arcana: Fate
  • Parent Path: Thyrsus
  • Members: Nimue (NPC)


Organization

Mages of the Sulis tradition trace their origins to covens strung from New Forest to Bristol across southwest Britain. For centuries, they defended their independence against factional Londinium politics and attempts to subvert their purpose or tame their traditions. Negative stereotypes of uncontrolled ecstatic orgies and uncouth country witches arose from historical clashes, misperceptions, and smear campaigns by enemies. Many Sulis remained staunchly pro-Welsh and joined the Anglesey Consilium at its foundation, leading to political tension between English members. Talk of establishing a separate Welsh tradition allied to the Avalonian movement has gained traction in recent years, leading to fears of a second Sodality Schism.

Just as old as the Sulis tradition, the Ebudae settled in the old Brythonic (Welsh) speaking areas of western Scotland as far as the Hebrides, from which they take their name. Claiming descent from the founding covens, the proud Ebudae resisted Christianization or maintained the thinnest veneer to satisfy churchmen while preserving their ancient ways. Ebudae mages prefer wilder, natural devotions to the structured "Apollonian" dogma popular among their Sulis rivals. Many of their elaborate rituals follow the ancient Briton calendar, incorporate Pictish and Norse symbolism, and preserve Arthurian vestiges.

Norse and Teutonic customs permeate the covens following the archaic Vestfold tradition. Sodality mages of Vestfold trace their ancestry to Norse traders who settled across Scandinavia and northern Germany. They widely practice classical pre-Christian Norse sorcery, notably seidhr, spinning charms, cauldron scrying, and rune-carving. Modern seidhr practices include divination through deep meditation and ecstatic trembling. These mages trace their lineage back to the 16th century, and some broke away from the Ebudae to preserve their Scandinavian cultural overtones.

The Cynthian tradition took root among neo-pagans in North America by the 1930s, reaching its maturity by the 1960s. Sodality covens flourished on the West Coast and in the American Northeast, and have made in-roads to rural areas. The Cynthians are noteworthy for their extensive inclusion of Native American spiritualism blended with traditional British folklore and mythology.


Attainments

1st Attainment: The Spiral Dance
Prerequisites: Gnosis 3, Fate 2, Expression 3, Occult 2

2nd Attainment: Drawing Down the Moon
Prerequisites: Gnosis 5, Fate 3

3rd Attainment: Immanent Divinity
Prerequisites: Gnosis 7, Fate 4


RP Hooks
  • Nearly all the wild deities and powerful figures that Spiral Walkers of Scotland style themselves after are so-called "Dionysian gods," figures of the untamed wilds, lonely moors, and dark crannies so commonplace to Caledonia. Even brighter mythological figures take on darker shades in the north.
  • The Ebudae (Scottish) tradition of the Sodality of the Tor sets the rules and traditions for Caledonia and the Royal Society, and they tend to view the Sulis tradition as upstarts and rivals.
  • Sodality mages in the Sulis tradition are torn between their support of the Avalonian movement in Anglesey and remaining under Londinium's auspices. They may well split into opposing factions.


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