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Madra is a spiritual energy, a driving force in the magical practice of the sacred arts on Cradle

Aura & Madra

This page covers both vital aura and madra, because the two components are integrally linked —- vital aura becomes madra. Also, it covers the more accessible sources of vital aura and most common aspects of madra. Also, the aspects of madra key to the Cradle storyline — pure madra, hunger madra, destruction madra, etc.

Eithan Explains Madra

Eithan stroked his chin. “Picture, if you will, a building with many floors. Each floor is higher than the last, and each supports the one above it. These floors are the laws that govern our existence. At the bottom, the foundation, are the physical laws.” He clapped his hands together. “It’s no less complex than the other systems, and it forms the basis for all of them, but it is superseded by the level above it.”
He spread his palms apart slightly to reveal the blue-white coin he’d Forged. “Madra.” A snap, and the madra disappeared. “With madra, we can break and bend and overrule the physical laws that would have bound us otherwise. Within certain rules and limits, of course. If we continue this analogy, soulfire is the staircase between the madra system and the next level up. At which we exert our wills to control the world directly.” (Bloodline ch 4)


Madra, a thing of spirit, is essential for the practice of the magical sacred arts on Cradle. Madra is powerful. It is the spiritual energy produced from vital aura and residing in one's core and madra channels. Once cultivated, madra can be used to fuel and empower a multitude of techniques as well as one's own body. The specific Path a sacred artist follows relies on a specific type (or types) of madra. As sacred artists progress through each new advancement level, their madra becomes more potent and more dense, allowing them to do more with less. And when a sacred artist dies, they leave behind a Remnant, made of madra.

Source: Vital Aura

Madra comes in many different aspects, generated from the various kinds of vital aura accumulating in the surrounding environment or habitat. Vital aura becomes magical madra, and not only within a sacred artist. There is shadow aura, water aura, ice aura, light aura, dream aura, cloud aura, lightning aura, wind aura, blood aura, fire aura, earth aura, etc etc. For example, around a morgue or graveyard, a particular type of vital aura accumulates — death aura. When sacred artists absorb the accumulated death aura, and cycle its aspect, it becomes madra, and they can employ it. Death madra.

Fisher Gesha lists seven common types of madra --made from vital aura -- and explains how madra is essential to even the most basic Soulsmithing.

“These are the seven most common aspects of madra, you see,” Fisher Gesha said, pointing to each in turn. “Fire, earth, wind, water, force, blood, and life.” He had studied these aspects before. There were other types of madra that he felt should have been equally common, but these seven were most widespread because they were the easiest types of aura to cultivate. Light aura was everywhere, but it was difficult to convert to madra, and required special techniques to harvest. The surge of pride Lindon felt when he heard that had surprised even him. His Wei clan practiced a Path of dreams and light, and now it seemed that might be an impressive combination, even by Gold standards. (Blackflame ch 6)

  • For another example, the vital aura that accumulates around an active volcano is twofold — fire aura and destruction aura. When a sacred artist absorbs and cycles this aura, it becomes madra — blackflame madra.
  • A sacred artist who grows up surrounded by a forest or a farm might absorb or cycle life aura, and then it is transformed into aspects of life madra.
  • Force madra might be generated from vital aura with motion and kinetic energy: Whitewater rapids. Tides, and tidal waves. Windmills. Earthquakes. High winds. Fisher Gesha's clan cycle a kind of attracting force aura, gravity perhaps.
  • See list of madra aspects at bottom of page

Pure, at Birth

A human baby is born with pure madra, to slightly strengthen their little bodies. Pure madra is generated from the child’s own vital aura —— from life aura, blood aura, and dream aura. These types of vital aura, generated by the baby from birth onwards, are converted into pure madra, and are then used to strengthen the body throughout infancy and early childhood. However, by roughly about age six —— even sooner in aura-rich areas —— as vital aura in the surrounding environment is absorbed into the body and integrated into the core, the child’s core takes on the aspects of that particular vital aura, and the corresponding madra is produced, instead of pure madra. Only the rare few sacred artists keep a pure core throughout life. If so, they are objects of ridicule.

Cycling Madra

The core resides in the center of one's spirit, placed just below the navel, and madra channels loop throughout the body, to and from the core. Replenishing and expanding the madra pool in the core is done through cycling, drawing in vital aura of the same aspect, and also possibly through the use of expensive elixirs and pills. (See Magical Items)

Madra Has Intent

Madra is a spiritual phenomenon. Each different type of madra, being made of spirit, has its own unique feeling, will, and intention. From water aura in the environment, sacred artists can take in and cycle its aspect, water madra. From the vital aura of green trees and plants, sacred artists cycle its aspect, life madra. But, beyond the aspect itself, each kind of madra has some spiritual signature, or intent, which creates an emotional tone. So, water madra would feel refreshing, soothing, fluid and fresh. Life madra might feel alive, whole, healthy. Water and life together might generate a soothing yet thriving spiritual balance, at least when combined in a Sylvan Riverseed, a nature spirit such as Little Blue.

Attempting to advance to Overlord, Lindon meditated on the spiritual nature of his madra types: pure, Blackflame, and hunger. He sought to understand each kind of madra — their attitude, will, and intention, their unique signature, and also how the three spiritual signatures combined, or worked together:

More than just their aspects, madra carried deeper impressions. His Blackflame madra felt angry, aggressive, and his pure madra—since his bond with Little Blue—felt like a cleansing tide.. . . Lindon stretched out his spiritual perception, reaching not further, but deeper. The Path of Black Flame burned away the physical form, and Twin Stars now wiped away the spirit. Those had clear similarities: he could see them as direct opposites, one destroying the body and the other the spirit. Pure madra even had parallels to water madra, which he’d known since he was a little boy begging a bowl of madra to freeze. Seven Principles called it the Principle of Fluidity, but he found it made a nice balancing contrast to Blackflame. Which would have been perfect, if those were his only two sources of madra. But his hunger arm was in the mix too, a ravenous presence at the end of his elbow.

. . .Northstrider had even emphasized discovering the common ground between his three madra types. Maybe Blackflame devoured the material, pure madra devoured the spiritual, and hunger madra devoured everything? That sounded like it could work, but Lindon found himself pushing for some confirmation. He sensed no trembling in the aura around him, as he had when he’d discovered his Underlord revelation, but he did feel something. There was a deeper principle, a concept tickling his mind like a whisper just out of hearing. (Wintersteel ch 22)

Key to the Storyline

See also Paths for master list of Paths and the corresponding madra cycled

List, Madra Aspects

Alphabetical order, probably not the complete list