Understanding Garou

So then. What are Spirits?

Spirits are children of Gaia who have been stripped of their bodies, or who have never had bodies to begin with. When the Gauntlet arose, it divided matter and spirit, and many beings retreated into the Spirit World to be forgotten by humans. These fantastical beings come in many forms, for they are as varied as imagination itself.


The Garou need spirits and spirits in turn need them. Garou need the spirits' lore of Gifts while the spirits need the Garou's might to protect them or even give them material homes for awhile (fetishes). But there is no across-the-board rule for dealing with them. They can be a fickle bunch, and they certainly aren't easy to classify. For instance, one might want to say that all of Wendigo's brood are a cold and dangerous lot. But Wolverine can be a great pal to gulp some beer back with and Mosquito can provide a lot of gossip, just don't get them pissed off.
Each spirit has its own asking price, or chiminage. This it wants in return for its aid or lore. If they don't get it, you don't get their aid, it's that simple. It isn't any wonder Elders get bent out of shape when they find out that young Garou cubs are insulting revered spirits, causing them to threaten to leave the caern. It's usually the cubs, of course, who have to trudge off into the Umbra seeking whatever object the spirit wants in return for burying the hatchet. And if they don't return with it, the elder may make it clear that they shouldn't come back at all.
All of this is meant to get the point across that spirits aren't there to provided every whim a Garou desires. They are hard-fought friendships which can to easily go sour. Power is not an easy thing to achieve, and spirits are not going to go and give it to anyone who walks off the Moon Path asking for it. In other words, Garou have a lot of hard work of ahead of them. If it's not fighting the Wyrm, it's meditating in the middle of the woods in three feet of snow to make the Origami spirit in your fetish happy.

Understanding Spirits

"Hey, you there. Yeah, you sitting at the computer reading this. Take a deep breath. Come on, humor me. Take a deep breath and hold it. Then, close your eyes and exhale slowly through your mouth. Chances are good that was the first time today you consciously though about breathing. Most of us rarely think about it. We don't see the air, yet it is there. If we didn't feel breezes and see smoke, we wouldn't know it existed at all and that it is all around us. If we didn't hold our breaths or choke once in a while we might not know that if we stopped breathing for a few minutes, we would die."

The spirit world is a lot like that. Spirits float all around us, but we rarely think about them. We violate their territories, draw their attention and appreciate their works. However, since we usually can't see them or feel them, we barely know that they are present. This is the case with most humans. However for the Garou matters are different. Since they are almost never without spiritual accompaniment, they don't realize how crucial they are to their continued existence. Without the Garou's ties to the spirit world, they would die as certainly as if they didn't breathe. The only difference would be that their physical body wouldn't die: It would be Spiritual Death.
Spirits must be strongly present for most anyone to notice them. Ever walked through a graveyard and felt something in your blood? It was probably the sense of peace or despair from the spirits in the Dark Umbra that haunts such places. In early spring, when the sky, trees and clouds conspire to create a morning paradise, one can feel the life blossoming all around. That is partially spirits are celebrating the rebirth of Gaia. Some humans are highly sensitive to the spirit world, while others, desensitized by the modern world, never feel the spirits Since modern science doesn't accept the spirit world, even when people recognize the presence of spirits they often choose not to accept them.

While never alone, the Garou (among others) do notice when spiritual energy is lacking in the world around them. If one walks through an antiseptic lab, they will feel uncomfortable from the strong Gauntlet blocking the spirit world. If sitting in a uniform brown or gray office underneath pale fluorescent light, one feels a bit drained. Even Glass Walkers, attuned to the Weaver's energies, know that feeling of spiritual emptiness and desolation. Whenever the Gauntlet is strong, separating them from the Umbra, one feels isolated. The Garou are spiritually cut off from Gaia. Most Theurges believe that a lack of spiritual interaction leads to Harano and in time, madness.
Because the Garou are half spirit themselves, they cannot ignore or deny their connections to Gaia's brood. They cannot survive apart from the Umbra. They need Spiritual energy, Gnosis, to curb their Rage and power their Gifts. Without Gaia's aid, few of them could cling to sanity, and none of them could experience true fulfillment and happiness. Their lives would always feel empty and lack meaning.
Unlike breathing, interacting with spirits can be come very complicated. Apocalypse is to take place through out the Tellurian. Events in the Umbra could be more important in determining the Garou's final fates than events on Earth. Learning to harness their own spiritual energies, protect their ties to the Umbra and ally themselves with spirits who will aid them in the future will be the only way they can survive. They cannot afford to ignore spirits.

The Umbra

Although a few lie dormant in the physical world in fetishes or bound to sites, all spirits live primarily in the Umbra. One can never hope to understand the spirits themselves, without understanding the world that they live in. The Umbra does coexist with the physical world, but is also extend far beyond those boundaries.

There are several different layers to the Umbra:

* The Periphery touches the physical. In this part, one can feel movements of the spirits on the other side of the Gauntlet.
* The Gauntlet separates the physical world from the rest of the Umbra.
* The Penumbra coexists with earth and contains a direct spiritual representation of almost every physical object.
* The Near Umbra encompasses known spirit realms such as the thirteen Near Umbral Realms.
* The Membrane separates the Near Realm from the Deep Umbra.
* The Deep Umbra is a mysterious place which is home to the Triat.

The great oceans of the world are an excellent example of what life is like for a spirit living in the Umbra. They are adapted to the "waters" as it were. There are caverns, underwater mountains and coral reefs, analogous to domains and realms, however if a predator finds you in the open waters, you're screwed. Food flats everywhere around — in the form of ephemera and lesser spirits — just like the soup of plankton in the oceans. The Umbral currents change continuously making it necessary to find the proper airt, or spirit path, to reach a destination. The solidness and relative safety of the physical realm confuses many spirits because of all this.
Homids tend to look at the Umbra as something of a fantasy realm, a place were things that only exist in books and imagination should exist, a place that isn't quite as real as the physical world. This mindset, strengthened by the Gantlet, may take years to get one's mind around. The umbra is as real as the physical world, and in the War of the Apocalypse, the battles which rage across it may be more important than those on the physical side.

To truly understand spirits one must be in their shoes, so to speak. To them, the physical world is a fantasy realm and the Umbra is ultimate reality. Most all these statements are broad generalizations, and Garou should rely more on their own experiences with the Umbra for themselves. Visiting a spirit's habitat is the best way to learn about that spirit's life. Like animals, spirits all have their own ways of surviving in the Umbra. There are more spirits than anyone can hope to dream of, at least one for every living being. Including plants and insects. Most of the spirits that Garou will deal with on friendly terms are members of Gaia's brood (Unless you are a Black Spiral Dancer, then they are of the Wyrms Minions, but that is a no brainer here). However all spirits of different broods, Gaian, Weaver, Wyrm, or Wyld share certain characteristics. For purposes of this article the spirits of Gaia will be covered.


Sadly, the majority of spirits spend their existence in Slumber; becoming like ephemera, the inert spiritual material which composes the Umbra. By expending their own spiritual energies into the environment around them, Theurges, and other Garou, can awaken these sleeping spirits. The active spirits that travelers encounter are only a small portion of the true number of entities in the Umbra.
In the state of slumbering the primary essences of Gaia's spirits merge with the consciousness of Gaia. After the time spent as part of the Celestine, which is much like a state of dreaming, spirits reawaken renewed and revitalized. Slumber is one of the major ways in which spirits sustain themselves.

With the Apocalypse growing nearer, a greater number of Gaia's spirits fade into slumber. As the Wyrm and Weaver sap Gaia's strength, as her animal children die out and as the humans forsake her, the amount of Gnosis in the world diminishes. With out Gnosis to reawaken them Gaia's spirits become lifeless and forgotten ephemera. Spirits are dying. Whether this is because Gaia cannot restore all her brood to awareness or because slumbering spirits are calcified by the Pattern Web or devoured by the Wyrm is unknown. No one, spirit or Garou, claims to understand the exact reasons. Only that the Apocalypse is coming. For all of Gaia's brood, maintaining enough Gnosis to survive is the order of the day.

Spiritual Sustenance

Spirits draw power from different sources. Gaia gives energy to her slumbering children. When Garou preform a rite, the participants feed the invoked spirits with their expended Gnosis.
Ties to the physical world seem to help spirits maintain their power. it is possible that they need the physical world for the same reasons that the Garou need the Umbra. Physical objects with spirit symbols or locations dedicated to the spirits allow them to draw upon the energies of living beings to restore themselves. Spirits may hunt other spirits, consuming them for the Gnosis they contain. This survival of the fittest seem limited to certain locations and exists only between and within certain brood groups. Members of family broods do not want a war consuming all the of the spirits with Gaia's greater brood. Such a calamity would bring on the Apocalypse even faster.
Gnosis comes in various "flavors", depending on the source of power. Few spirits can use any type of Gnosis. Most spirits have limitations on the Gnosis they can use. Some Charms, powers that spirits have, can convert spiritual energy of one sort to another, such as Wyrm-tainted power into life-giving energies of Gaia through Purify the Blight.

Spirit broods

All of Gaia's spirits belong to spirit families called Broods. Each individual brood belongs to the greater collective brood that incorporates all of Gaia's children. Therefor, all spirits of Gaia are related. They think of themselves as related, much in the way the Garou see the Garou Nation. The Garou know they are one people, but that doesn't prevent them fight fighting over little things such as tribal matters, breed, pack lines or even auspice.

Most spirits only recognize the brood as that of all spirits connecting with one of the Incarna. Incarna are the most powerful of all spirits, each embodying the most primal of aspects. These can be anything from Totem Spirits, Gaia, the spirits that service for the planets (hence the name "planetary Incarna"), to members of the Triat. Each Incarna maintains a vast numbers of spirits, and several of them hold gatherings of their broods in times of great strife. The brood of an Incarna is analogous to a tribe of Garou.
Jagglings are the spirits below Incarna in broods. Each Jaggling will have numbers of Gafflings who work in their service. The immediate ties between Gafflings and Jagglings are often the strongest such as between the Master of the Wild Hunt and his Hounds.
When dealing with spirits, Garou should be careful to consider the feelings of the spirit's broodmates. Offending a member of a spirits' brood can result in bad feelings between the entire group of spirits and the Garou. Being adopted as a member of a brood is a high honor, roughly equivalent to joining a pack.

Spiritual Natures

Every spirit embodies an aspect of Gaia's creation. More powerful spirits, such as Incarna, correspond to many different aspects of Gaia. This purpose, or spiritual correspondence, colours most of the spirit's actions and governs the spirit's decisions. A spirit cannot ignore its purpose anymore than a living being could stop breathing or a shark from swimming. Sure it's possible but not healthy.
Although spirits have basic natures determined by the aspects of reality they represent, individual spirits have their own personalities. They may also have different abilities or Charms from other spirit of their type, because they each represent their own unique aspect of Gaia's creation.

Spirits are not humans or wolves. Spirits don't truly age. They don't live or die; they experience periods of awareness and slumber. The personality traits of a spirit may seem familiar, but one should always remain cautious. Even a friendly spirit may have sets of values which seem cruel or inhuman by standards of the living.

Spirit Names

To be completely secure with a spirit, a Garou must know the spirit's name. Spirits only give their true names willingly, because these names give one great power over the spirit. Most spirits would cease to exist before revealing their names to an enemy. If a spirit reveals their true name to a Garou, that wolf has a friend in whom he can place absolute trust. The common names for spirits are never their true names.
A spirit can cannot resist rites or Gifts that invoke its true name. Spirits only give their names as signs of Absolute trust or in payment for a debt. They expect the name to be kept secret. A garou who abuses a spirit's name will earn that spirit's enmity. Greater spirits have more that one name, and all of the names must be known in order to compel that spirit without resistance.

Spirit Taboos

All spirits have taboos which limit their abilities. Some taboos are more of a hindrance than others. Almost all taboos serve some purpose in Gaia's plan. They keep more powerful spirits from running amok in the Umbra and causing great conflicts between different families of spirits. Taboos also seem to be linked to a spirit's purpose. In this way, they help keep the spirit on track and properly directed towards its tasks. Each spirit's taboo may be slightly different from those possessed by others of its kind.

Spiritual Advantages and Disadvantages

Spirits have several advantages over the living. They don't die, they all have a purpose and they know where they belong in the grand scheme of things; though they may not be aware of the significance of their roles. They all have families or broods. Many of them have wisdom collected from ages of awareness.

Spirits also have several disadvantages. As the physical world changes, it affects them dramatically. Spirits are unable to adapt as quickly as living beings. They don't possess the personal resources of the living. They don't change the nature of their being. Whatever aspect of reality that spirit embodies, it changes only if that aspect changes. Spirits also have difficulty understanding the importance of events in the physical world.

What can spirits do for Garou? They make formidable allies – think about an ice storm from Wendigo arriving at an enemy's door. By entering a fetish, a spirit can add their strength to our own. Spirits teach the Garou of Gaia's design. Totem spirits guide the tribes and packs, granting them Gifts, strength and wisdom. Cearn spirits guard their homes and grand precious Gnosis.

Spirit Pacts

A pact is a bond between a Garou and one of Gaia's spirits. Pacts are part business contract and part friendship. The stronger the pact, the more both parties benefit. Garou and spirits form many different types of pacts.

In developing a bond with a spirit, a Garou should be careful to approach the proper spirit. Some young Garou head off on their own aisling with little knowledge and try to collect spirit allies. This method of finding potential allies is one of the leading causes of dead first rank theurges. Many times, even if a Garou is successful, they find themselves obligated to numbers of spirits who have no ability to aid them.
Better, more survivable methods of locating a potential spirit ally go as follows. First, consult with elders and explain what you see. If you don't what what you seek to accomplish, then you should not aimlessly venture into the Umbra The elders may introduce you or give you advice on what type of spirits could help you. Use any advice or contacts you receive, This method doesn't work for some tribes like the Get of Fenris or the Shadow Lords; they prefer for the strong to work things out themselves. Another approach is to meditate at a safe location in the Umbra, focusing on yourself. The mediation often leads to the discovery of anamae.

Anamae are spirit friends that have strong personal ties to a Garou. They are your personal spirit aspects. Examples of anamae are Heart Guides, granted to every Garou by the Unicorn, and Moonshadows, spirits who watch over the garou, for Luna. Most Garou don't even know that these spirits exist. Taking the time to cultivate a relationship between yourself and an anamae results in immediate benefits. A Garou who knows their anamae carries around an active spirit who can give them warnings, advice, instruction and who may even fight for them.
Once one has found a spirit, pay it the proper respect If you are not familiar with acceptable chiminage, ask the spirit what it desires and be honest with it. Lying to spirits is always dangerous, even when the situation calls for it. Reveal as little as possible about yourself and your true allies during an initial meeting. If a spirit takes a dislike to you, then avoid dealings with them in the future. There are a myriad of spirits in the Umbra, far too many for anyone to ever encounter on a significant number of them. You shouldn't waste your time with difficult ones unless they have something extremely valuable to offer. There are always more fish in the sea.

Personal Pacts

A personal pact involves only two beings: the Garou in question and a Spirit. In principle, it is the simplest type of pact, although in practice, personal pacts can become quite involved. Such a relationship works best when it becomes a deep, abiding, mutual respect and concern built on years of trust: in other words, when the personal pact crosses over the line into a true friendship. When this occurs the spirit will probably offer its true name to the Garou. Such a goal is unlikely – but admirable.
A personal pat isn't something entered into easily. In many ways it is like a marriage. You have to sacrifice your time and energy and dare to be honest and vulnerable. The pact takes effort and energy. Breaking a personal pact risks the enmity of the spirit involved. If the relationship goes poorly, the spirit may initiate the breakup. If the personal pact starts frying, the garou should act as honorably as possible, and try to do everything to make certain that it ends on good terms. Having a former spirit ally as an enemy can be a nightmare.

Pack Totems

The most intimate pacts formed by Garou and spirits aren't personal: They are the pacts formed by a pack and its totem spirit. Pack mates share a bond that transcends most relationships. Our back brothers and sisters are our true family. WE trust each of them with our lives.
The totem spirit which watched over each pack is a member of the brood of Incarana. It shares the spirits of all members of the pack, their feelings, beliefs and passions. The totem unifies the pack. The pack cannot exist without its totem, and by its nature, the totem cannot exist without the pack it represents. As the pack gains glory, honor and wisdom, the pack totem gains prestige and power in the Umbra. The relationship between a pack and its totem spirit is intricate, but then again, it's fairly easy to understand. The more that pack members care for their totem spirit, the more the spirit becomes capable of aiding and teaching the Garou, strengthening the pack even more.
The process of choosing a totem spirit is almost an act of joint creation by the members of a pack. The newly formed pack will petition Incarna and other great spirits in order to find a spirit that will become its pack totem. Once a spirit accepts the responsibility of becoming the pack totem, the pack forms. The ritual changes all the participants. Through the creation of the pack bond, the spirit and the Garou make something stronger than any of them individually.

Spirits can become a Garou's pack mates. The Silent Striders, sometimes tell stories of the Scarab pack, which contained the spirit of one of the fallen pack members. If this happens, the spirit must reveal his or her true name to all pack mates, and become a subservient of the pack totem's brood. Since most spirits already belong to broods, the possibility of any by a highly unusual spirit joining a pack is infinitesimal.

Cearn Spirits and Septs

The spirits that inhabit cearns have pacts with their septs. In exchange for access to the cearn and its energies, the Garou protect the site and tend to the needs of the cearn spirit. These needs vary with the spirit, but they are generally placated with dramatic rites which tell the stories of the spirit. The sept officer, the Keeper of the Land, takes care of the sept site.
Cearn spirits can make other demands on their septs, besides guardianship and stewardship. Some cearn spirits ask the members of the sept to provide them with sacrifices of precious items. Other cearn spirits demand that their septs kill a certain number of the Wyrm's minions every month.

Cearn spirits do not make great demands of their septs. Unlike free-floating spirits of the Umbra, cearn spirits are tied to locales in the physical world. They cannot move their cearns or leave them. They need the Garou in order to survive as much as the Garou need the Cearns.
The spirits of cearns may belong to broods or have broods of their own. In some instances, all the totems of packs at a sept belong to that cearn spirit's brood. Tribal septs often form around a cearn warded by a tribal totem's brood member. If a Garou belongs to a sept, they shouldn't overlook the possible spiritual contacts and knowledge that could be gained from their own cearn.

Tribes and Totems

Tribes have their own totems, all of which are Incarna. Each tribe has a pact with its totem, forged in ages past. In exchange for acknowledgment and respect from the tribe as a whole, the tribal totem watches over and aids the tribe.
An individual Garou belonging to a tribe has many advantages, among which are belonging to a type of extended family, access to tribal Gifts and tribal Umbral realms, and contacts with the Totem's brood. Since Tribal Totems are among the most powerful of spirits, they have the largest broods.

The pact between a Garou and his tribal totem is a simple one. As long as the garou agrees to respect the traditions of their tribe and honor its tribal totem, then the totem will accept them The bond between a garou and their tribe's totem is strong, but it can never be a relationship between equals. To the Garou, a Tribal Totem is almost a deity.
The higher in rank a Garou rises, the closer they come to their tribal totem. As they give her tribe Renown, they improve their totem's position in Gaia's brood. The Tribal Totem takes more notice of them, and is far more willing to come to their aid or send other spirits to intercede on their behalf.

Spirits and the Garou nation

The garou as a whole are part of Gaia's brood. They represent Gaia's rage and form her defense system against the Triat and other invaders. Other spirits of Gaia recognize all Garou as allies against the Triat-spirits. Only a werewolf who gives themselves over to the Triat, such as a Black Spiral Dancer or Abomination, violates this pact. If that happens, all spirits of Gaia will recognize the former brood member as an enemy.

Spiritual Chiminage

Chiminage means that in return for the request of being honored, you will honor a request from the being aiding you. Like more traditional Garou, spirits expect that Garou pay chiminage in return for any services. If you are not ready to pay a price for a request, then you are not ready to make that request. Understanding how chiminage works is essential in developing a relationship with a spirit.
First., chiminage is a sign of respect and courtesy. A Garou who fails to offer chiminage to a spirit commits a breach of etiquette. They basically have shown the spirit that they consider their aid worthless. At the least, the spirit will probably not give its aid. At the worst, the spirit will feel insulted and attack the Garou and their companions. Many ignorant young cubs go about the Umbra insulting dozens of spirits without ever realizing what they are doing.

Chiminage can serve as a means of redemption. In this case, the garou offers to honor a spirit's request as a way of making up for an insult or crime they have committed. For violators of cearns and Garou who break with their packs, this type of chiminage allows them to avoid more unfavorable resolutions.

Chiminage may also be offered or used as a means of empowerment. Gifts may be freely given to improve a Garou's standing with a spirit, or to strengthen a friendly spirit. Some Garou preform requests for spirits to make sure that the spirits “owe” them a favor. Some spirits also have the goal of teaching, giving Garou petitioners experience in their choices of chiminage requests. Powerful allies make an individual more powerful. With any type of chiminage, a deed should be paid for by a deed of equal or greater value. This can result in games of one-oneupmanship between a spirit and a Garou over the course of a lifetime. These arrangements are almost always beneficial to both parties.

Violating and breaking pacts

Pacts are made and they are broken. This happens all the time. A Garou chooses that they don't want to honor spirit's request and ignores it. One side or the other comes to the conclusion that it's time for the relationship to end. When all parties come to a mutual agreement that the pact is dissolved, there are no difficulties, save the possible lingering sense of resentment.

If a garou endangers a spirit by not honoring a pact, their punishment will be extreme. A spirit might haunt the Garou, taunting them and generally making their life as difficult as possible. The spirit might summon members of its brood to attack the garou. Other spirits prefer to curse the Garou or declare them anathema among other spirits.

If a Garou is haunted by a spirit, they may find it more trouble than it's worth. The spirit will attempt to avoid doing any permanent damage to the Garou or their life. If the werewolf tries to lead a normal life among humans or wolves, the spirit will appear and interrupt conversations or distract the Garou at inopportune time. The spirit will hide small items, such as articles of ritual clothing, earrings or car keys. If the Garou goes hunting, the spirit will scare away game. Some particularly annoying spirits will constantly taunt and goad a Garou into frenzies until they relent and agree to pay chiminage and redeem themselves. If the Garou attacks the spirit during this process, they will only escalate things.

An attack will take one of three forms:

* False attack, meant to scare the Garou into realizing that pacts are serious and the spirit means business. In this case, the Garou will not actually be attacked.
* An Attack that does harm or maim the Garou. Ultimately, the spirit however, hopes to teach them a lesson and set a precedent. These attacks are usually followed by a monologue from the spirit. Sometimes it will kidnap the Garou and take them to one of the various Umbral Realms as punishment. Erebus is a popular choice, although Charyss is quick to remove those who don't truly belong in her domain.
* Only in the most extreme circumstances – such as Garou betraying Gaia and becoming a Black Spiral Dancer —- will a spirit try to kill a Garou. If this occurs, the spirit will summon the most powerful members of its brood and former allies of the Garou to hunt them down and Slay them.


Curses are the favorite punishments of more powerful spirits. Any type of spirit with significant tires can invoke a curse. They do so by appealing to the Incarna or the Celestines to curse the Garou in their name.

Curses come in a number of varieties and last for varying degrees of time. A spirit may curse a Garou until the following moon, or the rest of the Garou's life or until a certain condition has been met, such as offering chiminage to the offended or angered spirit. The Incarna responsible may also lift the curse at anytime.

Curses have different intensities and effects. Some Curses are relatively mild, but can often go unrecognized as curses (like animals acting unfriendly to them or milk going bad when they are around). Other curses will cause the Garou to loose her teeth, have rampant luck or be marked with a symbol as an enemy of spirits. These curses can prove fatal.
Most curses have a significance to them which identifies the spirit responsible. A fire elemental might cause a target so that they cannot start fires or might get singed ever time they approaches a flame. A member of [Cockroach]]es brood may make it so that every electrical device will be difficult, or blue screen when that werewolf tries to use it. Dead cellphone all the time even if they charged the battery overnight.

Lifting curses

What does a werewolf do if they become the target of an unjust curse? What is the best recourse that any garou have if they have don't know who the spirit that have offended or what pact they have violated? How do they find a way to defend themselves against fickle spirits of Gaia? With another spirit. Least that is the best defense. If a Garou is in good standing with her tribal totem, they can appeal to it for assistance. Depending on the circumstances and the chiminage they offer, the Incarna may remove the curse in place. Sometimes other spirits, such as a Garou's pack totem, mediate or intervene by informing the target of their offenses and measures that would lift the curse. A werewolf may also plead their case before the Incarna who caused the curse. Eloquent and just Garou may have the curse lifted and choose a fitting punishment for the spirit who requested that they be cursed.

Sometimes, the Garou may settle the matter in a manner appropriate to the Ways: a fight. In this case, the accursed should confront the spirit and issue a challenge. Traditionally, a spirit may choose a champion to fight the Garou. Such battles are fought in the presence of a mutually acceptable judge, often a high ranking Philodox or powerful Jagging of Respect. The judge's decision as to when the battle ends and the victor is final. This method is popular among some tribes, such as the Shadow Lords, and can resolve many conflicts between spirit and Garou.
Mages can reputedly undo a curse. However, any Garou who went around the community of spirits to seek the help of Name Breaker would be looked upon poorly (both by Spirits and Garou.) A more acceptable alternative would be to find a powerful fetish or artifact which could break the curse. Any Garou who endures the Silver River of Erebus will have a curse upon them dispelled.


Spirits instruct the Garou, teaching them Gifts, which in essence are their own charms, to help Gaia's defenders in their continual battles. The practice of Gift-teaching cements a Garou's ties to the spirit world, exposing them to a variety of different spirits. When a werewolf wishes to learn a Gift, they must start by locating a spirit to teach the Gift. Sept elders will often help young Garou find worthy spirit teachers. In may septs, the Master of the Rite has the duty of teaching cubs about spirits and the Umbra. determining the type of spirit needed to teach a specific gift isn't difficult. Totem spirits will also guide Garou to appropriate mentors.

Spirit-teachers often do not accept chiminage. If the werewolf agrees to revere their teacher and follow through learning, the teacher will be satisfied. The process of instruction offers many opportunities for the Garou to obey their teacher's requests. The teacher-student relationship is one of the most enduring and powerful bonds between spirits and Garou. Many spirits start to regard their pupil as a child and themselves as that child's parent. By accepting a pupil, the spirit ties their own renown to that pupil's achievements. The success of the student reflects the wisdom of the teacher.

The most revered teachers among spirits are very particular about who they choose to instruct. Sometimes a young Garou will have to pass tests of knowledge and skill before a spirit will agree to teach them. Spirit instructors take great pride in the success of their students, and some see the students as extensions of themselves. They will share their views of the universe with a student, imparting the pupil with importance of the teacher's purpose in the grand scheme.

Spirit-teachers want their students to learn to respect and value Gaia and Her wonders. Some of the most unusual requests that these spirits make are just attempts to make certain that their charges appreciate the world around them. A favorite story among Galliards tells about a young Philodox who scaled an icy cliff-face one evening, charged to retrieve a small wildflower which grew at the top of the peak. After climbing most of the night to reach the top, she was so exhausted that she collapsed upon the reaching her goal. She picked the flower and just stared out as the sun rose across the grand valley below her. That sunrise was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. Her spirit-teacher appeared to her and asked her if she had the strength to climb back down she replied that she was uncertain, but that she would try.
The spirit responded that there was no need: A small path wound down and around the cliff. When she asked why he hadn't told her about the path in the first place, he informed her that he had to make sure she would be exhausted. Otherwise she might not have watched the sunrise.

Keeping secrets

Once a Garou has learned a Gift, they pledge not to reveal its secrets to others. Only spirits may teach their Gifts, and Garou who try to teach Gifts instruct their students improperly, angering spirits and insulting Gaia. Sometimes, spirits of the Triat are called upon through improper teaching. These spirits corrupt young students.

Only Garou, the other shapechangers and a few Kinfolk are capable of learning Gifts. Even those Kin who can learn a few basic (very basic) Gifts ( and these are never the ones who are capable of true magick) have only a precarious connection to the spirit world. If Embraced by a vampire, a Kinfolk loses that connection on the moment of death. Gifts are just that: Gaia's gifts to those who would defend her, and the Wyrm's gifts to to its most favored children. The ancient pact holds true only for the Changing Breed, who accepted a tremendous responsibility in the earliest times. No other creatures were so honored, nor shall they ever be.


A fetish is the most valuable item a Garou can hold. With their Fetishes, werewolves gain even more formidable abilities. They can activate the powers of the fetish to defeat their enemies, matching the hell-powers of the Wyrm and the technology of the Weaver. Becoming a fetish offers many advantages to a spirit as well. It allows the spirit to take a more direct role in the War of the Apocalypse. Being encased in a material object protects the spirit from the myriad dangers of the Umbra. The spirit also has the opportunity to influence and guide the Garou, furthering its own purpose or its brood's goals on the material plane.

In order to create a fetish, a Garou must locate a spirit with three characteristics. Willingness to bond with the fetish object, a focus and personality that will allow it to be compatible with the Garou, and finally the spirit must have charms and abilities that will enable the fetish to serve the purpose for which is is created.


Spirits will only choose to join items that contain one or more of their material correspondence. For example, an eagle spirit might enter a staff decorated with eagle feathers or a stone with an eagle image carved into it. The higher the quality of the item, and the greater the number of correspondences with the spirit, the more likely the spirit will be to accept bonding with the item.

Convincing a spirit to enter a fetish takes a great deal of work. Most spirits are not willing to join with a fetish, unless the creator will provide chiminage and go out of their way to appease the whims of the spirit. The spirit must be convinced that they can trust the Garou implicitly.
While a spirit lies in a fetish, it exist in a state of half-Slumber. It cannot be attacked or harmed directly, unless the fetish itself is destroyed. The spirit relies on the spirit of the Garou to activate its power through the fetish.

Spirits will only remain in fetishes if they are treated well. Many fetishes require the highest degree of care. For example, most spirits within klaives demand that the blood of their enemies be cleaned from their blades before they are sheathed. Some require thanks after they are used. Individual spirits have a variety of individual demands.


Many spirits believe themselves to be eternal. As the signs of the Apocalypse grow ever greater, though, it appears that nothing is truly without end. The life force of the Umbra ebbs and the Wyld retreats, the Weaver calcifies and the Wyrm destroys. Rites serve to transcend time and place. They allow the Garou to experience the events of the past and come to a greater understanding of themselves. They work with the Silver Record to preserve the Garou collective memory. All rites have ceremony and mythical backgrounds. The titles of the roles and the exact details may vary from tribe to tribe and sept to sept. but ultimately the gist remains the same.

When the Garou perform Rites, they step beyond the here and now. In the Penumbra, the world becomes what it was at the time of the First Rite. The participants are different on the physical and mental level, but spiritually, they become the ancient heroes and mystics. Rite generate a tremendous amount of spiritual energy by re-creating the First Rite. Spiritually, all rites, be they past, present and future, occur at the same moment in the same place and draw on the strength of ll participants. The amount of spiritual energy generated at the moment of the rite can be almost unlimited.

Tapping into the timeless spiritual power of a rite is not effortless or automatic. The success of the rite ultimately depends on how close the participants can come spiritually duplicating the First Rite. This requires not only duplication of actions, but duplication of thought and meaning. The more closely the rite corresponds to tradition, the more potent the effects will be.

Spirits have a tie to that mythical age. They have taken the same roles in the rites from the First Times. The spirits have experienced the moment of the rite and so, their aid and presence makes the rite of the Garou correspond more closely to the original rites. Often spirits are the focus of a rite, drawn to the Garou by the ancient power unleashed by the rite. For successful rites, Garou should use as may material items as possible which correspond to the appropriate spirits' nature.

Spirits and Others

* Kinfolk: Like many Garou, spirits seem divided about how to approach Kinfolk. Most Kinfolk are treated as if they were living creatures under the Garou's protection and generally ignored. A select few are treated as if they were Garou, but these must constantly prove themselves tot he spirits that interact with them. Also, these Kinfolk almost always use a Garou as a go-between for them and the spirits.

* Changelings: Like the Garou, changelings are part spirit. Spirits treat changelings much like Garou, although they believe that the fey do a better job of accomplishing their purposes and taking their place in Gaia's plan. Spirits are generally well-disposed toward changelings, urging them to fully embrace their fey natures. Sadly, few changelings ever see a spirit.

* Hunters:Hunters cannot interact with the Umbra, hence it is assumed they can't deal with spirits. Besides, someone that actively hunts Gaia's protectors is someone that is to be avoided.

* Mages: Mages conduct numerous interactions and exchanges with spirits, whom they often refer to as Umbrood. Mages use their own terms to describe spirits, such as giving them titles of nobility. The two groups of mages closest to Gaia's brood are the Dreamspeakers and the Verbena. Enlightened mages may even hold positions in the courts of some spirits. Garou should never underestimate a mage's spiritual authority; it may surpass that of even a high-ranking Philodox.

* Vampires: Vampires are dead creatures, most whom reek of Wyrm-taint. Spirits of Gaia are almost always hostile to the undead. A few vampires have a magical set of Gifts which allow them to control spirits. With very few exceptions, once a brood learns about the existence of one of these undead sorcerers, the spirits hunt down the Leech and destroy it.

* Wraiths: Wraith are dead creatures of the Dark Umbra and as such, do not interact with the spirits of Gaia except in the must unusual situations. Almost all spirits react negatively to wraths. They believe that wraiths should remain in the Dark Umbra and leave Gaia's realm to the living.

Final Notes

All Garou are spirit-creatures in physical form, neither truly spirits nor purely physical creatures. They are Gaia's defenders, and with their claws, fangs, hearts and minds will ultimately determine the fate of their mother and all other spirits. They walk the edge of the Gauntlet between one side of reality and the other. As always, they are torn, part of both the living animal and the spirit. They belong only to a whole Gaia, a Gaia who will not exist until they bring down the Gauntlet. They must never forget they are members of Gaia's brood, with their own special purposes.

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