The Verbena is a Tradition of mages in the Classic World of Darkness dedicated to preserving the ancient crafts and wisdom passed down over the ages by witches and warlocks , druids and druidesses , shamans , mystics , and priests and priestesses of the Old Gods. Though modern Verbena have some similarities to Wiccans , they are inheritors of far older legacies from disparate cultures originating around the world. Regardless of their many differing faiths and customs, the Verbena share many principles in common. This includes a deep respect for the Earth and the natural order, a holistic view of people and the world as intrinsically intertwined, and the belief that power and understanding can be found by embracing life in all its passions and pains. Of all the Traditions, the Verbena are perhaps most challenged by the changes brought to the world by advancing technology and expanding civilizations.
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Re: Mage - The Ascension: I do not understand the paradigm of Verbena and Order of He Harry Dresden is a great example of a contemporary Hermetic, and if you haven't read those books starts with Storm Front by Jim Butcher then they're a great way to explain his paradigm.
Trying not to spoil potential readers, but I think there's nothing that Harry does that a relatively widely read Hermetic of Arete 4 couldn't pull off.
The idea is that magic is a fundamental, rule-bound, secret force. Using the secret language of Enochian, which is the key to the universe, the Hermetic mage can order the world to follow their will - and provided they pronounced the words right, had the right diagrams, used the right equipment, it'll work.
The Order of Hermes is also a highly organised and structured secret society. There are Houses, although each one is comparatively tiny in this age of darkness, each with their own traditions and ways of working magic.
In my campaign, there are secret handshakes and codes and signs and signals that let them recognise one another. The Hermetics believe in order and discipline, they believe in keeping in touch, they recognise that two mages together are more than twice as useful as one mage on their own.
It is they who came up with the terminology of Spheres and Arete and Quintessence and Avatar. It is they who invented certamen, the art of wizards' duelling. In my campaign, in recent times they have borrowed from the terminology and behaviour of Sleeper secret societies to plug gaps left by forgotten ancient knowledge. Hermetics are - or were, and their masters will expect them still to be - about politics. The interesting sort, the sort between mages.
And while they don't typically all go around every day dressed as extras from Harry Potter, they totally all could dress up like that if they had to. Verbena, meanwhile - welll. A long time ago, like, in the Europe of the Middle Ages when the Traditions were banding together, there were a lot of traditions that practiced seat-of-the-pants hands-on nature magic and didn't have much truck with things like mage politics.
The witches, the druids, the priests of the Old Faith, the guys who even then were keeping the home fires burning and the old ways alive against the Johnny-come-latelies you know, the Romans and the Saxons.
Their magic often old and rooted in the land and very much not about words, but about life. And basically, they put aside their individual differences and came together as the group that took as its symbol the healing herb vervain, or in the scholars' tongue verbena. And just like the Traditions have had half a millennium of getting over the fact that some of them oppressed some of the others of them really, really hard - the Verbena have had half a millennium of putting aside the fact that these old groups within the Verbena really didn't like one another.
And they've been running a cell structure for longer than some of the other Traditions have known there was a war on. Verbena magic is physical, it's about skin and blood and sweat and tears and hard graft, it's about tongue-burning potions and mistletoe gathered at moon's dark with a golden sickle and prayers to gods that were old long before Rome reared its ugly head, it's about a thing for a thing and a gift for a gift and about an expertly judged thumb on the scales.
It's sevenfold vengeance and the rule of three and an it harm none, do as ye will ; it's leaving milk out for the brownies, and woe betide the hedgehog that thinks it's for the wildlife. But it's also about hanging from a tree for seven days and seven nights or putting out your eye for wisdom.
And yes, talk to a worshipper of any of the faiths whose traditions it's based on and you'll find that it's an ugly syncretic mess. But it works. And the only person in the whole Tradition who looks like the crazy woman on that page in the rulebook is her. Most of them are way too sensible to go around skyclad in February. Last edited: Apr 29, This leads to the accepting-but-arrogant attitude they have toward the other Traditions.
Any Hermetic will freely admit that every other Tradition has a good point and an effective magical technique - this is why the Hermetics are tolerant and open-minded enough to organize the council in the first place - but Hermetics also believe that every other Tradition has an art that is inferior - it's only a piece of the grand picture that the OoH can see the whole of.
Rangdo I used to be Ovid. Validated User. The Hermetics are the wizards and the Verbena are the witches. Re: Mage - The Ascension: I do not understand the paradigm of Verbena and Order of He One of the most successful cultures to really embrace the Verbena paradigm is actually the Mayans - Sacrifice is power and the more potent and powerful the sacrifice the more potent the effect.
According to beliefs which I am truncating and simplifying significantly. How much blood was Enough? Life is harm. That being said Granny Weatherwax is an stellar example of a Verbena and one that has to deal with Hermetics. Or separate laws depending on who you ask. That's the most important thing about the Hermetic paradigm - There Are Laws.
They are a pre-technocratic paradigm that is no less rigid. They're essentially the first ejected paradigm from the Technocracy - they're rational universe with predictable results fits nicely as does the Wu Lung's but they were excluded for political reasons. Re: Mage - The Ascension: I do not understand the paradigm of Verbena and Order of He To be more accurate, the Technocracy was created mostly by radical Hermetics that rejected Hermetic elitism and wanted to use magic to bring power to the masses rather than keep it bound up in mystic towers for only the select few to access.
Something else to note on Verbena paradigm that hasn't really been touched on directly: Community matters. Mages are humans, and humans are creatures of family and community. The Verbena, much like the comparison to Granny Weatherwax implies, are bound to their family and their community because that is part of life.
That's why bloodline relations and rituals of fertility both of humans and the land are core to their practice. RPGnet Member. Despite being one of the European groups, they were also one of the dumping grounds for the Traditions like Akashics often were for asians and Dreamspeakers were for everyone who didn't wear pants , so they resist broad classifications.
They have a wide array of cultural practices, and plenty more members who adopt a modern occult thinkings. This is a faction that is less about trappings and more about focus. You must log in or register to reply here. Jessica Wardman, longtime forum member Snoopy, passed away last week.
She's been a valued part of the RPGnet community since , and will be dearly missed. Top Bottom.
The Verbenae believe Life is sacred, and to be prized above all things. That being said, these primal sorcerers work magic the way they embrace life- with determination and raw passion. They embrace suffering as readily as comfort and enlightenment, and aren't afraid to make difficult choices. The tradition traces its path from a group of primordial Awakened known as the Wyck, whom they believe carried the knowledge of magick across the globe. During the late Middle Ages many of these were burned at the stake as satanic witches, hunted tortured and burned. Over the centuries it took for witch-craze to die down, the Wyck came to practice their arts in secrecy and became known for dealing with their foes harshly. Thus the Verbena were born.
Mage - The Ascension: I do not understand the paradigm of Verbena and Order of Hermes
Life is Magic. From the miracle of childbirth to the power of adrenaline and the mysteries of our DNA, the very fact that we are alive is the greatest of all mysteries. The Verbena know this, and have worked with the magic of life as their focus for centuries, and continue their work even until now. They are among the oldest practicioners of magic, with means ancient and arcane, a magic of intuition and blood over formula and rote.