Secrets of the Soul's Desire
Night Magnitude 10
Performing the Ritual
Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. This ritual targets a character, who must be present throughout.
This ritual reveals information about a past-life vision, potentially answering the question "What happened as a consequence of these events?"
If the target has not experienced a past-life vision (such as that caused by a true liao) within the last few days, the ritual reveals this and no other information.
If the subject has experienced a past-life vision within the last few days, they experience a roleplaying effect that lasts until the next sunrise: The sensations of your past life vision linger. You experience short periods of dislocation during which you may imagine you are back in the vision. You are easily distracted, and may find it difficult to recognise people even if you know them well.
In addition to the roleplaying effect, the target receives a short vision about the events that happened after those they experienced during past-life vision. Usually the information comes immediately, but sometimes it takes a little while (potentially even overnight). Rarely, this information may unfold through the day, but regardless at the end of the process the visionary is left with an awareness of what happened as a consequence of the events they experienced.
This information is provided to the target of the ritual, not the ritualists.
You may increase the magnitude of the ritual to penetrate shrouds or masks.
Along with Eyes of the Soul's Past, this ritual was proposed for inclusion in Imperial lore during the Summer Solstice 383YE by Tanus of the Auric Horizon. The ritual's provenance is not entirely clear - the text is very bare-bones and what detail there is focuses more on the structure of the ritual than its history. It is apparently associated with a group called the "Seers of the Throne", a political group in Urizen interested in gaining influence over the Throne and the Empire "for the betterment of both".
According to the accompanying notes, the ritual was created to help the subject of a True liao vision to place the actions they participated in or observed in some kind of context. The ritual relies on the resonance of intuition and inspiration to expand the understanding of the visionary. By heightening their unconscious awareness of themselves as being the person they envisioned, the magic brings to the surface additional memories or details of things they might have failed to consciously absorb during the often confusing visionary experience. In this way, the ritual attempts to help the visionary to better understand the consequence of the events they have witnessed.
Like its sibling ritual, Secrets of the Soul's Desires is a highly introspective ritual. It provides no information to the magicians who perform it; rather it helps the visionary themselves to expand their understanding of their recent experience. It is useless if it is applied after too much time has passed, or if the target has not actually experienced a past-life vision. It is difficult to predict exactly how the information will be imparted - it may come immediately. Alternatively, the power of the ritual may trigger next time the target sleeps. It may create an awareness of new information in the mind of the target, but in rare cases it triggers a supplemental visionary experience in which the target perceives additional scenes from their vision - albeit in a distant manner very different to the full impact of a true past-life vision.
As with many rituals that draw on the power of Night magic, the ritual consumption of food or drink may form an important part of this ritual. By giving the subject a soothing drink, or something with mildly narcotic qualities, the mind can be freed to explore the recent visionary experience more freely. Likewise, marking the target with a rune or symbol associated with understanding, or that resonates with the details of the vision that the visionary can remember, may also help.
Some ritualists will ask leading questions as part of the ritual, helping to guide the subject in exploring the nuances of their vision. Others may perform the ritual in relative silence, or use music (especially the music of the spheres) to weave the magic rather than risk distracting the visionary.
The rules Aesh, Sular, and Diras resonate well with this ritual. A dramaturgist is likely to call on the persona of the Witch with her aspect of exploring mysteries, often in a scene that simulates a Library. The Lantern may play a key role as well - perhaps as a focus for the meditations of the rituals target. Both the Spider and The Web are of use to the astronomancer seeking to work this ritual, while a blood mage might favour either shallow cuts on the back of the hands or forehead, or the painting of designs using blood from a donor who bears some metaphorical connection to the person the liao vision revolved around.