The knowledge in this page may not be accessible to the average character, as it may not be common knowledge.
Please consider if your character would know this knowledge first before using it in roleplay.
Author Note: See 'public knowledge' section of psionics lore.
"So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong."
An awakening is the catalyst to an individual attaining psionic abilities. When a person awakens, their mind becomes aware of the everpresent shifts of reality that we call anomalous flow and they gain the ability to manipulate flow to their advantage. An event that leads to a psionic awakening is called an awakening event. Psionic awakenings are caused by a variety of different means, but the most common way is by sudden brain activity as a result of intense stress or trauma; this trauma causes certain neural traces in the brain to violently become anomalous and forcefully manipulate flow to use an ability to attempt to escape this stress or trauma as a means of subconscious self preservation. This process of awakening is called a forced awakening. Forced awakenings occur more commonly if an individual has been exposed to cuils previously.
Forced awakening, though the most common form of awakening, can also be very dangerous in many different ways; awakenings can be highly unpredictable in the moment, and the ability one awakens with typically cannot be controlled. In worse cases, the newly awakened psion may develop a psionic disorder or even die. Those intentionally seeking to forcefully awaken themselves are also at risk; if they don't awaken when trying to do so, the thing they are trying to awaken themselves with may harm them.
Another form of psionic awakening is a guided awakening. As opposed to a forced awakening, a guided awakening is gradual and controlled; as opposed to violently awakening neural traces, a person would instead gradually grow and cement these anomalous neural traces over time with the aid of safe cuil exposure. Guided awakening is significantly safer, but also very time consuming; some people training to awaken may take years until they manifest abilities. In addition, these abilities typically begin very weak; it is common for people undergoing guided awakening to first become cuil touched before actually developing full abilities.
Guided awakening is most typically attained through guidance of a teacher, but they can also happen accidentally over time if somebody were to put significant focus on something such as a sentimental object.
With time, a psion may want to develop- or accidentlaly develop- new abilities that they can use. New abilities may require a smaller awakening in order to use the full extent of the ability. With practice, a psion can push the limits of their current abilities without requiring another awakening- for example, telekinesis can be used in a number of different ways, or an ability that produces light could be used in an ability to create a laser without needing an awakening because its within the constraints of their existing abilities (this can be extended a good bit; such as someone making light being able to make holograms). However, going beyond the scope of what they are already awakened into requires a new awakening.
Awakening a new ability tends to be easier and safer than a psion's first awakening, and involves pushing the limits of a psion's current abilities and conditioning their brain a certain way so that when put into a situation they may awaken a new ability. By imagining that they are doing an ability for example, they are subconsciously conditioning their brain to awaken in a certain way that may resemble such an ability. The more 'different' an ability is from someone's existing ability or aptitude, the more difficult it is to attain an awakening for such an ability (this aspect of developing abilities is what the psionic horseshoe describes; abilities further than your aptitude on the horseshoe are harder to learn and use).
It is possible to develop new abilities through guided awakening, though is a similarly time consuming and difficult process.
Training to develop a new ability can only go so far; though mental exercises and pushing the limits of one's existing abilities can help, a psion cannot utilize the full potential of an ability without awakening it first. Certain aspects of the ability that are similar enough to a psion's existing abilities may be used without an awakening, but an entire ability will most likely require an awakening. This awakening must be attained through roleplay.
Though the mechanics behind psionics aren't exactly known, when a person awakens certain neural traces in their brain become anomalous through some means, allowing them to affect anomalous flow to produce actual results. Similar to how certain memories (which are also composed of patterns of neural traces) can be evoked by certain stimuli (synapses firing), so can recently acquired psionic abilities- this can result in the phenomenon called involuntary will manifestation, which abilities can manifest unwillingly from certain stimuli such as emotions until the psion learns to control them by expanding these anomalous traces to other parts of the brain and rewiring them.
When developing new abilities, abilities that build off of existing neural traces (aka existing abilities) are easier to develop, but abilities that involve entirely different parts of the brain are more difficult to develop. This is perhaps a reason why subjects on the psionic horseshoe that are further than a psion's aptitude are more difficult to learn and use; metamanipulation abilities that are tied to motor regions of the brain aren't connected to parts of the brain that clairsentient abilities might use such as the frontal lobe. However, this isn't compelling evidence for the reason the horseshoe works as it does, as psions of different brain format such as novakids follow the same rules.
The more abilities a psion has and the more complex those abilities are, the more parts of a brain become anomalous. This can lead to dissonance.