“The One is perfect love. The One is perfect justice. The two cannot be separated. To ignore one is to dim the other, though to serve one above the other is understood.” – Martin Mercier, Celestial Chorister
Those who serve the One are haunted by duality.
They are difficult to trust. They have earned your trust a hundred times over.
Few are capable of greater charity. Few are capable of greater cruelty.
They are the most visible and powerful of any of the magickal traditions. They are the most besieged and fighting for their existence.
Their motives are pure. Their motives are suspect.
They are more powerful than ever. They are fading from the world.
This is the reality of the Chorister in the 21st Century. Religion seems to have a greater grip on the imagination of the world, even as the principles of faith and prayer have a weaker and weaker grip upon the centers of the world’s power. With the rise of religious fundamentalism throughout the globe, the other Traditions look upon the Celestial Chorus with suspicion. What is the price of promoting their kind of magick in a world inhabited by fundamentalist nightmare states and terror shrouding itself under the mantle of many faiths.
In the Western World, monotheism’s influence wanes outwardly. But even in their own churches, those aspects of worship of the One that fosters the soul have been under siege from within. Prayer, contemplation, meditation and scholarship have given way to megachurches, a gospel of personal wealth and prosperity, and divisive politics meant to serve worldly political ends. All these things bear the mark of the Technocrat’s aims, to make religion yet another cog in the machine of civilization and nothing more.
But this perhaps makes the fight all the more important. The Masses have to believe in something for the Tradition’s image of Ascension to survive, and when the Chorus falters, it makes a mockery of all belief.
The Chorus’ internal struggles are very real. Losing their central leadership and having all the fractures and disagreements of mundane religion, Choristers struggle with the reality of the One in a modern era of relativism. The One is not the One if it is without love. The One is not the One without revelation. The One is not the One if it is without justice. For now, various societies have formed out of Chorus, each choosing to honor one of those aspects – the Staff, the Light and the Sword.
Shepherds are those who choose to follow the One through guidance and charity, the shepherd’s staff. Associations of them take titles such as the Order of the Samaritans; or the Circle of Wanderers. These are the most worldly of the Choristers – something their compatriots are quick to point out – but beyond guiding and enriching the lives of sleepers, they have come to play a very important role in mage society. They often witness or sense new magick in unexpected places, and fall into being orphan finders. Many shepherds are often finding and shepherding the newly awakened to the Tradition which serves them best.
Ascetics pursue a path of study, contemplation and prayer, pursuing the Light. They are the smallest aspect of the modern Chorus, but their reclusive and studious nature make them an anchor for other Choristers, trusted in matters of faith and counseling disagreements within the Tradition.
Judges take on the mantle of the One’s perfect justice. Some take on the ornaments or words of holy warriors of the past, while others take a simpler approach to faith. They right wrongs, and right wrong-doers. Their intensity is unrivaled, and of all the aspects of the Chorus that has emerged, those who proudly take the Sword up give the other Traditions the most pause. Or in the case of the Verbena and the Dreamspeakers, open objections and vocal suspicion. They have seen this before, and they do not like where it leads. But with the Gossamers influencing reality, and the growing threat of the Union as well as mortals, these warriors in the name of the One are a resource some would rather have than not.
The Chorus’ contradictions might not be sustainable, but the thread of this Tradition remains strong, enough to change the world. But as always, the Awakened struggle to control that power and keep their duties to those powers above.