Each Mage experiences different Seekings. They depend on the mage in question and the Avatar and its associated Essence. In most cases, it involves the mage's paradigma, unresolved issues in his life, his dreams and aspirations, as well as his most intimate fears. It is not possible for other mages to follow another mage into his personal Seeking.
While the Avatar has the last say on beginning a Seeking, a mage can use meditation, drugs, ordeals and similar methods to communicate his willingness to begin a Seeking. In other cases, intense traumata trigger a Seeking, like near-death experiences or slipping into Quiet; or intense wonder, like witnessing the Spirit World for a first time or challenges to his personal worldview, result in a Seeking. In general, the mage does not realize at first that he has entered a Seeking. Avatars with a dynamic Essence prefer to take their mage bodily into an otherworld to guide a Seeking, while Pattern Avatars prefer Seeking that take place in the material world. Primordial Avatars focus on archetypical journeys and experiences, while Questing Avatars have no preference. Once a Seeking has begun, there is no way to stop it save the intervention of an archmage.
The environment of a Seeking can be anything, but is always clad in symbolism, whether this symbolism is subtle or flashy. Mages are well advised to pay attention to their environment, since it usually involves small clues on how to solve the Seeking. Each Seeking obeys internal logic, similar to a dream, which is directed at the lesson the Avatar wishes to impart. Over the course of a Seeking, the mage is usually confronted by symbolic representations of aspects from himself and has to deal with them in a way that shows his growing enlightenment and wisdom. The Avatar usually tugs the mage to confront aspects of himself that it regards as debilitating for the mage's eventual Ascension. This has nothing to do with conventional morality: If the mage has dedicated himself to a path of selfishness and personal power, the obstacles he has to face are his remaining compassion and attachments. If he fails (which, in general involves either of the three vices Complacency, Apathy and/or Hubris), the Seeking ends, leaving the mage with a sense of a passed opportunity. If the mage succeeds, he gains an Epiphany, a revelation about himself and his magic that is intensly personal between him and his Avatar, and often difficult to describe in words. This shows his growing Arete and a deepened appreciation of his place within Creation.
Most Seekings are divided into a "chamber"-model. Each Seeking is a new chamber that the mage has to pass for enlightenment. In most cases, each new Seeking incorporates elements from previous Seekings to make sure the mage has learned the lesson. The higher the Arete-rating of the mage, the more harrowing, frightening and intimate his Seekings become as the Avatar drags him to power and enlightenment by forcing him to face aspects of himself that the mage had no knowledge of. At higher rating, failing a Seeking deprives the mage of Willpower.
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- , p.367-369