Spirits is the generic term for any sort of sentient being that originates from within the dream worlds. They are not made of atoms and molecules, but instead are made of the substances that are key to the composition of the cluster they originate from. Spirits are sometimes called dream beings or dream entities.
There is no standardized taxonomy for spirits. Scientists across the different clusters have documented their own way to categorize various types of spirits. Colloquially, various names have been given to spirits such as fey creatures, fairies, imaginary friends, ghosts, demons, gods, and many other terms from folklore.
Spirits are also said to have an indefinite lifespan. They do not die of old age. A spirit can be slain though depending on the nature in which they died, they have the possibility of reforming at a later date. Additionally, humans that die have the possibility of reincarnating as a spirit. Because of this, it is believed that spirits share the same makeup as that of the human consciousness.
The classifications of spirits vary. However, they have several common properties that can generally be quantified on a sliding scale. As a spirit develops and changes throughout its life, where they fall on the sliding scale may change. A spirit may acquire or lose certain abilities.
- Intelligence - Measures a spirit's ability to analyze situations and plan ahead.
- Rationality - Measures a spirit's ability to philosophize and display self-awareness.
- Emotions - Measures a spirit's ability to express and control emotions.
- Power level - Measures a spirit's ability to output energy.
- Relation to cluster - Measures a spirit's affinity towards certain properties of its home cluster
SomniLabs based their original taxonomy in relation to the research of Sigmund Freud - that is, classifying spirits into Id, Ego and Superego. SomniLabs had also heavily consulted Carl Jung at the time who was a significant influence in determining how spirits could be explained through scientific means. The term "Id" entered circulation into the public to describe malevolently-inclined spirits that have very basic desires. While the terms ego and superego are still used on occasion, the number of possible spirit personality configurations meant that these categories would be considered very broad especially as the number of different types of spirits being discovered grew exponentially. As such, by the time of the 1980s, SomniLabs had begun to concentrate more on analyzing spirits on a case by case basis.
The system that most closely resembles the general classifications came into proper fruition in 2004 as detailed in the Dreamwalking Thesis. Even then, compared to the Primanna, Earth lacked the thousands of years of constant interaction with spirits required to design a fully sophisticated taxonomy. As such, the Sol Cluster's taxonomy of spirits is still under continuous development changing as necessary as new types of spirits are discovered. When first contact with Coracan was made, a "relation to cluster" property was added to the taxonomic system as the spirits of Coracan had fundamentally different makeups than those of Earth.
It was believed that spirits would be naturally inclined towards one of three categories. While unknown at the time of the creation of this system, it was theorized a spirit could potentially embody the traits of all three in a way that made them indistinguishable from a human consciousness. Although considered obsolete, the Freudian classification is often used to illustrate the idea of incomplete or partial consciousnesses that are observed in many spirits.
- Id - A spirit that lacks intelligence and rationality that acts entirely on impulse. While mostly associated with malevolence, some benign spirits of this classification do exist.
- Ego - A spirit that has a well developed sense of intelligence and emotional control though has an underdeveloped ability to apply morality to a situation.
- Superego - A spirit that has well developed sense of morality and philosophy. It is considered the most mature type of spirit.
Scientific study of spirits in the Primanna is a centuries-old tradition, having spawned alongside revolutions in agriculture, physics, chemistry, biology and politics that were happening at the same time. The arrival of humans to the cluster some thirty-three-thousand years ago greatly changed the spiritual landscape of the cluster and resulting in anthropogenic and native, or Primannogenic, as the two broadest categories of spirits.
These spirits are the more recognisable of the two categories of Primanna spirits. They tend to take on the shapes of humans, animals or other natural features, but all of them ultimately exist because of the human presence in the Primanna. Sapient anthropogenic spirits are known as metabeings while non-sapient spirits in the same category are called metaorganisms.
These are complex spiritual creatures capable of sophisticated thought. They include many beings considered 'gods' and, in the past, the more powerful metabeings created parallel feudal power structures much like the human societies they cooperated with. Many metabeings are almost as old as human civilisation in the Primanna itself and can be many thousands of years old. However, new metabeings are being created all the time and others fade away or are absorbed by others.
Metaorganisms usually take natural forms resembling physical creatures. They can be parasitic, preying on humans, in which case they are commonly called 'id'. Otherwise, they are classified as animistic spirits.
The Primannogenic spirits are the more mysterious and rare side of spiritual activity in the Primanna. These are spirits which predate humanity's presence in the cluster and are often strange and incomprehensible to them. Some spirits are pure concentrations of one of the Primanna's four elements (Fire, Dust, Void and Water) and are called elementals; they appear as giant cosmic forces. Others are tied to specific locations, like mountains, trees, rivers and hills and are known as geographic spirits.
Some Primannogenic spirits resemble animistic metaorganisms, but only the former exhibits eusocial behaviour, such as flocking and swarming. The last category of Primannogenic spirits are called isolates. They are solitary creatures and come in a great variety of different shapes.