Detroit By Night(Mage)
The Celestial Chorus is one of the most misunderstood Traditions of all the Ten. Although it is a religious Tradition without question, it does not focus on one religion over another. The One and Prime that the Chorus reveres transcends any single congregation’s deity. All humanity is part of that cosmic song, the glorious radiance of the Pure and Prime. When humanity is united again in this reverence, the Prime shall be whole gain, the song manifest and the universe healed
Like the Akashic Brotherhood, the Celestial Chorus holds that is is one of the first Traditions, not necessarily in its current form but as the embodiment of a philosophy and an exaltation that has been part of the universe since its creation. The Chorus’s roots stretch to hymns and exaltations that can be traced back thousands of years; its actual existence as a Tradition dates to approximately the time of Ikhnaton. Since then, humanity’s history, not least because the Tradition fervently maintains that is duty is to protect Sleepers and guide them toward Ascension through knowledge of the One.
From the earliest days, the Chorus has urged people to seek the song that unites them in contemplation of a better form, a celestial harmony. In some times and places, the Chorus led by example and founded tolerant, accepting and hopeful religions. In others, the Chorus went awry, bringing forward its vision of One through a single way that brooked no deviation. Alternately hierophants and heretics, the Choristers looked to the inspiration of something greater than mankind, a creative force that could unify all people under is influence.
Unfortunately, the Chorus is not always pure and right, not even in its desire to help. The many experiments of the Chorus in fostering a “true way” opened the door to dogmatic schisms with intolerant medieval churches of Dark Ages Catholicism and Islam. From roots with Grecian and Roman temples, the Chorus slowly evolved into a form closer to the Catholic Church. All Choristers learn about the group’s involvement in the Inquisition and in both sides of the Crusades. Although the ideal – keeping the world safe from dangerous influences – may have been there for the Inquisitors, their fervent belief got in the way of their sight and their better judgement. New Choristers are cautioned to keep their minds open, to remain focused on unity and to remember that all paths are trod by the One and Prime. Initiates also learn about the Tradition’s ties to the Cabal of Pure Thought, a small group within the New World Order. Although the two groups started out as one, the Cabal of Pure Thought refused the idea that all people, regardless of faith, could be part of its One World.
It was the split of the Cabal of Pure Thought from the Chorus that many believe led to the downfall of the Tradition. Although their power was prominent in the Middle Ages, many Choristers came to be regarded as heretics for their schismatic acceptance of other beliefs as equally valid paths to the One, while some clutched so tightly to their views that they fought even their brethren. The uncompromising drive of the Church, combined with its corruption by material greed, drove people to the embrace of the Cabal of Pure Thought’s ideas of empowering the masses of humanity instead of laboring in hopes of a better afterlife. Eventually, the power of faith waned as the Order of Reason rose. Members of the Chorus fled the crumbling pillars of the Church, as often hounded by churchmen swayed through the Order’s material gifts as by the Order’s own soldiers.
As the clouds of Reason and Technocracy gathered, the Chorus sought shelter in sub-groups, lay communities, mystery cults and minor offices. The broken back of religious belief could no longer support the Chorus, and members had to hide their miracles amongst the Masses as leaders or supporters of tiney groups. The Chorus’ vision remained focused on a holy communion, a Sacred City wherein all humanity could unite its voice in harmony with the Song of Creation, but the goal slipped slowly from their grasp. Ironically, only this common defeat could truly unite the Chorus’ disparate factions, and even today they retain a suspicious and guarded relationship within the Tradition. People still want to believe. There is a need for something greater, a desire that the Chorus answers in people, and the Chorus fans the flames of faith from that tiny spark of questing.
The Chorus adheres to a structure more strict than that of any other Tradition except the Order of Hermes. The hierarchy is modeled closely after the early Catholic church, with a system of rank based on seniority within the Chorus, responsibility and mgical ability. Communication is easy for the Chorus, because every junior Singer knows who her superiors and inferiors are, and he can pass information along. However, many of the Tradition’s opponents point out that the systme of rank encourages the Singers to forget their real purpose and focus on upward mobility. The point is valid – some Choristers are more interested in recognigion than in helping others – but the Chorus defends its system. It’s designed to teach new members and allow the more experienced ones to guide the Tradition wisely, they say.
The Chorus is filled with voices from all walks of life and all corners of the world. Anyone with faith in he One and a desire to help can become a Singer. Choristers don’t even have to be religious to begin with; they can just have faith that there’s something out there that’s bigger than they are. It’s more important that an Initiate have the desire to achieve harmony than that she believe a certain bit of dogma. However, some people are more drawn to this Tradition than others: Nurses, social workers, people with handicaps, clergy and teachers are likely to become Choristers.
Any number of factions make their home in the Chorus. Although the Tradition divides along lines of religion, it also sub-divides by different ways of approaching religion or seeking divinity. These manifold factions are, like the rest of the Tradition, often loose a collection of people who can agree on only some basic tenets. Indeed, more and more Choristers reject factionalism today in favor of a true unity among all members of the Tradition.
Nothing so defines humanity as its capacity to strive for the divine. On some level, every individual is aware of this spark, this higher ideal, this greater power. Even the most evil and depraved monstrosity recognizes this divinity, if only through its deliberate rejection, but unity waits for all. Just as the splintered shards of the One are scattered throughout the world, so too do humans seek a unity of purpose that will rejoin them. The purity of song joins many voices together as one, in a greater harmoney that unites them all and creates something new and beautiful that no single voice could make. From such a chorus, there comes a song of a glorious whole. Even strife and discord are washed away by the greater song. So too can all humanity be united when the greater unity brings peace, understanding and fivine grace to everyone.
The failings of the Chorus are as obvious as its strengths. On the Surface, it might look like the chorus is made up of a horde of humming people who all agree that there is one deity and that the deity is the One and Prime. However, the divisions between the various religions within the Chorus remain. Catholics and Angelicans still argue, Jews and Muslims still don’t quite trust one another and every group has a problem with at least one of the others. They may all ultimately decide that they worship the One, but they can’t quite shake their individual religious ideas. Of course, this weakness lies directly in the way of the Tradition’s goal of unifying humanity. If they can’t agree on their own philosophy, how can they possibly lead all people everywhere into harmony with each other? It is an ironic twist that a Tradition devoted to unity should have a history so scarred with conflct and oppression in the dogged conflict over the form that unity should take.
Theories and Practices
The base creed of this Tradition is that of universal Aum, the song that was sung before time was time. The one began a song, and that Song split into the infinite harmony that is all of the children of the One. Sleepers and Singers – as the calls its members – alike are children of the One, and all are part of the Song. Although the Tradition appears to be made up of only Christians, it has many other faiths within its ranks as well. Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Pagans also join the Chorus. They continue to practice their religions while understanding that th enames they use for their gods are part and parcel of the One force that is the source of all divinity and light.
The strength of this Tradition is its devotion to its highest ideals. The ideal Chorister is everything that is a good Christian, a good Muslim, a good Jew or a good Pagan should be; kind, compassionate, strong, faithful and altruistic. Choristers are dedicated to helping their fellow humans, both Sleeper and Awakened, and they stand up against oppression and hate. This Tradition might be peaceful, but it is definitely not nonviolent. Holy war is still war, and holy warriors are terrifying on the battlefield.
Magic is the will of the One, and the singers simply open themselves to it. They become channels for the Song and allow the flow of harmony to fill their spirits and their voices. No human can do more than guide the direction of magic. Mages are simply the hands and the fingers of the One and Prime. Song is they great symphony of creation and a Chorister can release that symphony, if only for a moment, through the mortal vessel as it becomes one with the divine. Because Choristers focus so strongly on a meta-magical and meta- religious idea, their area of expertise is Prime, the Sphere that deals with the very fabric of the universe. Prime is the direct magical manifestation of the One.
One a more physical note, Chorus efforts often take the shape of comon church functions, like soup kitchens, free medical clinics or caring for the ill and lonely. If people have their material needs fulfilled, the mages reason, they are more inclined to be generous to their neighbors. Also, it’s easier to spread a message to people when the messenger is actuall among the people. Standing in a pulpit is fine, but it isn’t going to reach the people who really need to hear the song. The fact that they’re leading by example is also central to the Choristers’ approach to encouraging Ascension.