The Spheres of Magick are the various types of power a Mage can wield as they reshape reality to suit their whims. Every mage has one Sphere in which they are specialized, and in which they are most powerful, and a very low-level mage may only be able to work within a single sphere. But nearly all mages are competent to some extent in multiple spheres, or even all of them. At any given moment, each Sphere may or may not have an Oracle, the galaxy's most powerful mage possible in that sphere, who becomes the living embodiment of that realm of magick.
The Technocracy and the Traditions do not entirely agree on how the spheres should be delineated, or what to call them. The Rationalist Technocracy is not comfortable with the sphere of Spirit, for example, and instead practices their own version, which they know as Dimensional Science, but both abilities allow one to cross over into the Umbra.
Correspondence is the study of location, space, and how places relate to each other. At low levels, this power enables a mage to sense their immediate surroundings, to notice things like active spells, hidden compartments, or listening devices, eventually expanding the area thus sensed to include vast distances and places far away from the observer, or many places at once. Medium levels enable one to reshape distances and locations, to teleport small objects and even people from one place to another, or to cut off a pocket of space from the rest of the universe to create hidden spaces, secret places, or even magickal passageways from one place to another. These Correspondence Portals are one of the most visibile and famous powers of mages, and they form the basis of such technomagickal devices as Jump Gates and Transit Beacons. Masters of correspondence can teleport large objects or open portals that span vast distances, bringing many people through with them...or can even themselves be in many places at once, doing many different things. Most mages with skills in this sphere can also detect or block the magick of others to some extent, at least over a limited area, although it can be difficult to block the effects of more powerful mages than oneself. Nearly all higher-level mages make at least some effort to master the skills of this sphere, as they are so useful, and have become such a part of consensual reality that they are much easier to pull off without fear of Paradox than such powers would have been before Gehenna. Correspondence is also sometimes known as Connection, an older term for this type of magick.
Entropy is the study of chaos and order, fate and destiny, probability and prediction. Known to the technocracy as Chaos Maths, it is a very dualistic sort of magick, with two very different and sometimes incompatible paths to its understanding and control. The path of Chaos is the more famous, or perhaps infamous, of the two, and is shunned by many. This path includes much in the way of the study of death and decay, of the way objects and systems fall apart and break down. Studying too much in this area runs the risk of madness, becoming a Marauder or even a Nephandi, but the careful student can obtain immense power over the universe. The path of Order is safer, the study of how matter and systems are organized, how they grow and develop and change over time. Both systems are quite useful for cheating at games of chance such as dice or poker, as at even low levels they grant one the power to sense the future by understanding the role that probability plays in fate and fortune. At higher levels, one can alter the course of destiny, either in a manner as simple as manipulating the flip of a coin or as complex a matter as determining the outcome of a battle, or an election. At the very highest levels, they grant control over the very quantum nature of the universe, manipulating the fields of probability that determine the flow of electrons and the surging of vaccum energies, to create temporary matter out of nothing or tap immense energies from the empty spaces between the particles in an atomic nucleus.
The form of magick practiced by the Vulthra is strikingly similar to the Sphere of Entropy.
Forces is perhaps the single most common sphere of focus for mages. It is the study of energy, how it flows and changes form, where it comes from and where it goes. It forms the basis of technomagickal devices such as gravity drives. Ancient wizards casting fireballs from their wands were using forces magic, and before Gehenna such obviously magical effects carried a severe cost in Paradox. Nowadays, everyone knows that Mages can toss around fireballs and shoot lighting from their fingertips, so such powers are trivial in difficulty, yet incredibly useful. At low levels, one can sense the flow of energy to find buried power cables or people hiding behind closed doors, and toss around small objects or low-power bursts of energy. Medium levels enable one to move massive objects and control and create powerful surges of magickal energy, while the highest levels grant one the power to transmute one form of energy into another, turning flames to ice and lightning to sprays of water...or a nuclear detonation into a mere thunderstorm.
The sphere of Life is the sphere of life energy, the study of how living organic matter differs from inanimate matter. Ancient healers and medicine men often focused on this sphere, and modern practicioners often serve as field medics in the Tech Infantry. Many mages not specialized in this sphere will study it for the advantages of being able to heal injuries to oneself or others. Also, while mages normally don't live much longer than unawakened humans, those who master Life Magick at the higher levels can continuously heal the ravages of age, and live for centuries. At low levels, Life Magick allows one to sense the presence of living beings, and to diagnose illnesses and injuries. Medium levels allow one to heal onself, and then to heal others. At higher levels, more complex alterations to living creatures is possible, and masters of the arts of Life Magick can do incredible feats of alteration to living creatures, or even create entire living organisms out of thin air (although some skills in additional spheres are needed to pull that trick off). Many of the rarer breeds of werecreatures were created by Life Mages altering the genes of existing werecreatures, or combining humans and animals with their arcane powers. Of course, with the ability to affect living tissue, Life Mages can also cause illness, injury, or deformation upon the bodies of their foes, so when a Life Mage goes bad, they can go terrifyingly bad indeed... but luckily most Mages with natural skills in this area tend to be more of the gentle-healer archetype than the mad-biologist archetype.
Matter is the study of physical objects, how they are put together and how they work. It is essential to study Matter Magick if one wants to create objects out of nothing, or to change the properties of an object. Low level Matter mages can sense the properties of an object, diagnosing the malfunctions of an engine or finding the weak point in a tank's armor. Medium levels allow one to transform the shape or size of an object, or transmute one material to another. Higher levels allow one to alter the properties of a material without altering its substance or appearance, such as making a lead sheet as light as a feather but retain all its radiation-blocking properties, or creating transparent aluminum. Masters of Matter can create complex objects out of thin air, or even living creatures if they also have high levels of skill in Life Magick. Retired Tech Infantry matter mages often work in industry, creating materials with phenomenal properties to be used in making power armor and starships. Matter magick also forms the technomagickal basis for digital gates. Such physics-defying feats used to carry a heavy penalty in the form of Paradox, but after Gehenna, everyone knows that Mages can do such tricks, and so they are far easier and less risky than they were before.
Mind is the sphere of thought and ideas, and is essential in using magick on sentient beings or computer systems. Mind Mages are some of the scariest and most powerful individuals in the galaxy, for their abilities to alter the personalities and memories and beliefs of other people hold great temptations for abuse of their powers. Mind Mages often work in Military Intelligence or Internal Security, where they become involved in all manner of dark and shadowy plots and conspiracies. Rogue Mind Mages often work as computer hackers, using their abilities to control artificial intelligence systems to bypass complex security procedures and download information directly from computer memory into their own heads. At low levels, Mind mages can sense the general tone of a person's thoughts or emotional state, often described as reading an aura. Medium levels allow one to read the surface thoughts in a person's head, or implant ideas or subconscious urges in another mind, or communicate telepathically with those who they share an emotional connection with. Higher levels let one read the deep subconscious thoughts of strangers on the street, or enter another person's dreams. Masters of Mind can completely control the conscious mind of another, create complex computer intelligences, or transfer a mind from one body to another, including their own.
Prime is the sphere of raw magickal power, concerned with the manipulation and creation of Quintessence, the very fabric of reality itself, and the source of all other magickal power. At higher levels, this is probably the most overwhelmingly powerful type of magick, but it is also one of the most difficult and subtle forms of magick. Prime mages are rare, but if a mage is going to become a master of any other sphere, they probably will want to study Prime in depth as well. At low levels, Prime gives one the ability to sense the magickal powers and activities of others, or to cloak one's own inner light to some extent. Medium levels of power allow one to store up magickal energy over hours or weeks to prepare for more complex and powerful spells ahead of time, and to reduce the effects of Paradox on one's own spells. At higher levels, one can imbue objects or even persons with magickal properties and abilities, creating enchanted items such as magical rings or swords, and true masters of Prime can create effects and objects out of nothingness, creating Quintesscence at will, and weaving it into almost any pattern they desire.
Known to the Technocracy by the less mystical name of Dimensional Science, the sphere of Spirit not only deals with souls and disembodied spirits, but also with the Umbra and its associated spirit realms. If one wants to cast spells to affect Wraiths or other spirits, or directly affect almost any other supernatural being such as a Vampire, Ghoul, or Werecreature, one must have at least some skill in this sphere. At low levels, this sphere enables mages to sense the presence of spirits and of other supernatural creatures. Medium levels allow one to communicate with, and occasionally even control, spirits and spectres, and to see through the Gauntlet to the Umbra. Higher levels let one pierce the Gauntlet and enter the Umbra, and travel through it to other locations in realspace. Masters of Spirit can bind, control, and even create spirits, or use them as raw materials for Soulforging, and can alter the unreality of the Umbra with spectactular results.
The sphere of Time is, quite naturally, associated with time travel and the manipulation of time itself. Working in concert with other spheres, the use of Time Magick can greatly extend the duration of magickal effects, delay their onset, or even make them retroactive to some time in the past. At low levels, time magick lets one always know exactly what time it is, even if one has been drugged or otherwise knocked unconscious for some indeterminate length of time. Medium levels allow one to peer increasingly far into the future or past, to see things that have not happened yet, or which did happen someplace at an earlier time when no one was around to see them. Higher levels allow one to communicate across the future and past, or alter past or future events in minor but subtle ways. Masters of time can travel through time, changing the past and the future at will, creating new timelines or fixing events across multiple timelines.