Spirit Shifting

A person as three "selves", according to traditional Shilo thought.

  The first self is the body. It is the outer skin of a person, their tangible self.

  The third self is the soul. The soul is deep within, represented by bone. Your soul is the core of who you are, intangible and incorruptible. The soul takes root in the body the moment an infant opens its eyes for the first time. A soul is where memories, beliefs, and conscious thought are seated.

  But, between them, is the other self: the spirit. The spirit exists in the blood, flowing through a person. It carries the spark of life and bridges the outer world with the inner. A soul is enduring, while the spirit changes moment to moment. It holds a person's energy, their day-to-day emotions, their impulses, and instincts.

  Everything in the word, from the rocks to the trees and the sea, has a body. Every living thing has a spirit, including plants and animals. Only humans have souls.   One significant difference between a spirit and a soul is that a spirit is not tied to a single person. Spirit flows in and out of all life, connecting people and spreading moods around. The natural flow of spirit is in equilibrium, leaving a person as they die and entering a new person as they wake up full of energy.


There are some people, though, with a deeper connection to spirit than most. They can push and pull that energy in and out of living things. In its most innocuous form, they pull spirit from the flowers to give themselves a little energy boost, or push some of their warm feelings and comfort into a crying child as they hug it. Stronger shifters make for powerful healers. A gravely injured person can be pulled back from the bring of death by filling their body with the life force of a nearby animal. An old soldier having a breakdown from an attack of traumatic memories can be pulled back from the edge by a soothing shifter who pulls out their anxiety and pushes it harmlessly into a tree.

  Shifters don't only move spirit from human to human. They often discard negative feelings into plantlife (because spirit cannot be created nor destroyed, only moved from vessel to vessel). Pulling impulses or instincts from animals is sometimes used for warriors before battle. Some high ranking warriors pride themselves on having a shifter handy to always give them the tenacity of a bear before going into battle.

Dangers of Shifting

Not all shifters are virtuous. The power to manipulate life can be intoxicating, and there are more than enough stories of shifters who used their power for ill will. Just as a loving parent can push comfort and affection into the mind of a child, an unscrupulous shifter can pull the terror out of a trapped mouse and force it upon a nearby human. And like a powerful healer can fill and dying body with the spirit they need to hold onto life, a powerful shifter could drag the spirit out of someone, draining them of energy until they drop dead.

  Draining someone to the point of death is a difficult task, of course. It takes a long time, and the farther away from someone you are, the harder it is to manipulate their spirit. Getting close enough to completely drain someone gives them the time to physically fight you off before you get much done. Harmful shifters are more likely to slowly sap energy from someone over a long time span, or manipulate their emotions in such a way they don't even realize someone is doing anything.

Shifting as a Vice

One shifting practice that is greatly looked down upon is the use of shifting for hedonistic pleasure. A shifter can come to enjoy pulling pleasant emotions from other people and drain them of their good feelings like a vampire. There are cautionary tales of shifters who became addicted to consuming the spirit of others and let their bodies waste away.

  Slightly less selfish, shifters might hire themselves out to underground dens to push feelings around for paying customers. This is especially sought after in the sex work industry.

How to Become a Spirit Shifter

The ability to shift spirit is part natural inclination and part study. Although plenty of people are born with an innate ability to shift energy around, it requires years of training, meditation, and practice with a master to create noticeable effects. Even someone with no apparent natural talent can gain some ability after intense study and practice, although a lack natural ability will usually limit potential.

  Shfiting is often tied into spiritualism and religion in general. Many shamans and, later, Timilist sages are also shifters. If you're looking to become a shifter, a shrine or monastery is the best place to start the search for a teacher. Because of shifting's potential to cause great harm, potential shifters are vetted intensely and sometimes spend over a year as an apprentice to a master without being taught at all, just to prove their character and assure the master that they can be trusted with the art.
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