- material, the base state, tangible, visible, moving through space
- ethereal, a more rarefied state, intangible, rarely visible
- eternal, a less rarefied state, impenetrable, fixed in space
- astral, a conceptual state, intangible, invisible, beyond space
That leaves a fifth element, empyreal, the mystical equivalent of fire. It is completely visible, sometimes blindingly so, but smokeless and mostly intangible, but can interact with the material state in the form of fire. Again, it’s not literally fire – it can’t be smothered or doused with water, and it doesn’t consume fuel. It doesn’t even always burn combustible matter. Most empyreal matter only emits light, not heat, but some of it may be hot or actually burn, and some empyreal beings can control this, starting fires.
The source of this is some classical and medieval cosmologies which name the highest heaven The Empyrean, and describe it as a place of pure light. There’s also some influence of Middle Eastern stories of djinn, efreet, and peri, which are all described as beings of smokeless fire (in other words, light.)
I may actually have more mystical states in the works. I’ve been thinking about this in conjunction with my revamped magic system. Some of the spell effects are explained as partial or total transformation of something from one mystical state to another. So, more mystical states means more spell variety.
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