There are two versions of the word magi. The phrase ‘magi’ refers to the concept as a whole, while the word ‘Magi’ refers to a practitioner or user of the magi in his or her professional life. The magi is the term that describes the relationship between matter, energy, faith, and spirituality. Humans are able to convert the energy around them into specific tasks, objects, or actions, such as lighting a fire without matches, powering a light that is not connected to a power grid, or healing a wound without ointment or medical supplies. However, there is a limit to what humans can do. A human is a conduit or tool for transferring and altering energy. In a sense, humans are like a pipeline—they take the disorganized energy around them (water from a lake or reservoir) and transport and direct that energy into a specific result (a home faucet). A given pipe can only handle so much water at a given time, and that limit in a human is governed by the sum total of the energy contained in a human body. It is, under normal circumstances, impossible for an individual to handle more energy than exists within them.
In a broad sense the magi is a way of describing the energy and matter throughout the universe as singular and connected entity. The magi is not a specific force or power, like gravity or the electromagnetic force. Rather, it is the term that describes the fundamental relation of all matter and energy, a singularity of existence. If you place two stones on opposite ends of a table you would rightly say they are separated. However, the magi does not mean things are connected in a geographic and physical sense. Instead, the magi means that both stones can be reduced to fundamental particles of matter and that matter can be converted into energy. In that way, though physically separated, both stones are fundamentally similar and can both be acted upon or manipulated in a similar way regardless of their physical locations.
Humans and all living things manipulate and harness the magi through two primary principles—faith and knowledge. Knowledge of scientific principles and the way the universe operates is required to produce a certain action. For example, you couldn’t heat a pot of without understanding that heat is the movement of particles and that energy excites the particles and creates heat. Though you might have the power to boil water through the magi, if you don’t know what is required to produce the given result you will be unable to act. Like an individual who has a canvas, all of the supplies required to paint a picture, and the image of a landscape in their mind, without knowing how different paints and brushes produce different visual results, painting the landscape is beyond reach. Likewise, without understanding the principles behind the action you wish to take and results you want to see, you are powerless to do anything with the magi.
The second principle of the magi is faith. While you can understand the scientific principles behind an action (such as heating a pot of water), until you believe that your actions will produce the desired results you will be unable to act. Faith in all aspects of an individual’s life is the cause of all action; without faith there is no action and there are no results. A human exercises their faith when he or she plants a seed in hopes of watching it sprout and grow to its full measure. Without faith that the seed would grow there would be no reason to place the seed in the soil. An individual exercises faith when they turn on the kitchen faucet to fill a glass of water. Without faith in the plumbing system throughout the home and the reservoirs holding drinking water for their city, there would be no attempt to fill the glass. An individual exercises faith when they study, believing that reading from books and attending instructional classes will result in the acquisition of knowledge. Faith is a principle of everyday life and a principle of power too. You do not act, you will not move, you will not achieve anything without first believing that your actions will produce a result. When it comes to manipulating the magi, faith is a fundamental requirement.
The gods of Disparia gave form to the universe through faith. They understood the principles behind creation and exercised their faith that, when matter and energy are arranged in certain ways, stars, planets, nebulae, and all the other elements of the universe would take shape. Their power is limitless because their understanding is complete (knowing and understanding all principles of science and mathematics) and their faith is whole. They know that, through certain methods, they can and will create, change, destroy, or manipulate matter and energy. Humans are capable of attaining that same power. However, the knowledge required to create worlds and breathe life into matter is beyond the reach of the limited mortal mind. It is not until death that one can fully attain the power of deity (though a human can be imbued with temporary power beyond their physical understanding so long as they exercise faith and are in communion with God).
Humans then, can attain a perfect faith and understanding of the magi while mortal, though that perfection is measured against mortal attributes. Perfection in mortality does not mean the full power of the Holy Five. Rather, it means a full understanding within the limited capacity of the human mind and body. True perfection requires learning and growing after death in the realm of the gods.
An individual’s capability in using the magi is limited to their understanding and knowledge of the universal laws, their faith in the desired results, and the physical makeup and power of their mortal bodies. It is because of the limited nature of the human mind and the finite amount of energy contained within a human body that humans are unable to produce dramatic and god-like actions. It is true that through the use of machines and tools humans can act with great power, such as powering a motorcart or railcart. However, the machines themselves act as enhancements or improvements to the human mind. For example, you need to understand the scientific principles behind the transfer of heat if you wish to heat a pot of water of your own accord. However, a magi-powered stove makes it possible for someone who is unaware of the laws of nature governing the heating of a pot of water by, in a sense, supplying that information itself. Technology acts as a way to decipher, interpret, and manage the laws of nature so that those without understanding can still manipulate the magi and perform actions that would otherwise be out of reach.
Though great things are possible through faith and knowledge, few people ever realize their full potential. Using the magi requires great knowledge and faith, and few people are willing to work hard enough to realize their full power. As a result, magi machines are commonplace, while acts of extreme power are not.