Few magical mysteries ignite the imagination as readily as opuses; those strange habits, hobbies, and pursuits that gradually restore strength to a person’s wyrd. Seeing how opuses are highly specific, individualized, and often eccentric, they tend to be romanticized and subject to speculative storytelling, even within the context of academia. Though often well-intentioned, this casual mythmaking can make separating fact and fiction extremely difficult. In this chapter, I aim to set the record as straight as possible, though it is worth noting that Opus studies are a burgeoning field, apt to outpace this publication by the time it goes to press.
Myth 1: Opuses are how wyrds regenerate their energy
The most widespread myth about opuses is also the most inaccurate. Wyrds produce energy through a process known as “urdic respiration,” where ambient, metaphysical energy, or ether, is passively drawn into a person’s wyrd, and converted into individual urdic energy. This process is required to maintain homeostasis, and can be observed even in those with anomalous wyrds, such as Inurbani. Simply sleeping, drinking, and breathing is sufficient to restore urdic power.
So, what does exercising an opus actually do? For unknown reasons, practicing one’s opus drastically improves the efficiency of urdic respiration, while also reducing the metaphysical fatigue incurred by magic use. Restated: an opus allows a person to recover their strength in a matter of minutes, or hours, rather than over the course of days.
Myth 2: Opuses are completely unique
Again, the answer is more complex than a simple “yes” or “no.”
Every wyrd has a wholly unique metaphysical energy signature, and since an opus is inextricably linked to its respective wyrd, they are also likely wholly distinct. This is unproven however, as we have yet to detect the physical or metaphysical basis of an opus, and the precise mechanics that govern their use.
From a practical standpoint, numerous people perform the same sort of actions to relax and restore their wyrd. For example, millions of practice dance to exercise their opus. Of those millions, hundreds of thousands discover that a specific type of dance is more restorative, such as ballet, ballroom, or tap. Of those hundred thousand, thousands discover that dancing to a certain kind of music, or performing specific movements further increase the efficacy of an opus. This narrowing of individuality and specificity appears to continue ad infinitum. Consequently, a wide array of incredibly obscure and disparate practices have been observed to exist.
The most popular working theory is that opuses can be refined to an incredible degree of specificity, though for general purposes, most people share opus activities in common, as detecting the specific criteria required to ‘refine’ an opus is nearly impossible.
Indeed, an estimated 30% of the world’s population never discovers their opus, and are not adversely affected by it.
Myth 3: You must know your opus to become an Amagia
An opus is not a hard requirement for enrolling in an Athenaeum. Indeed, aspirants devote a great deal of elective study to discovering and refining their opus, exposing themselves to a broad range of hobbies, activities, and interests. That said, aspirants who are unable to discern their opus generally find it difficult to keep pace with the rigors of magical study, and often end their matriculation prior to declaring a formal discipline.
Myth 4: Having an opus is synonymous with natural talent
This one is pure nonsense. Many people, amagia in particular, accrue a great deal of aptitude for their opus through repeated practice, but there is absolutely no correlation between in-born talent and the subject of an opus. Fortunately, this means it is virtually impossible to practice an opus poorly. Singing badly and dancing out of rhythm are just as restorative to wyrds as a virtuoso performance. In fact, certain individuals have been known to refine their opus by performing an activity in a deliberately unorthodox or transgressive manner. It is true, however, that people generally find their opus to be inherently enjoyable, interesting, or relaxing.
Myth 5: Opuses provide health benefits beyond restoring wyrds
This is a particularly popular myth propagated by certain homeopaths and new age theorists. Supposed claims include practicing opuses to relieve stress, speed recovery, or fight illness. While people who find their opus restful will benefit from the effects of relaxation, an opus has no discernable impact on a person’s physical health.
Master Amagia Jaez Matham Barrie. “Chapter 7: On Opuses.” Myths of the Amagium: Facts Behind the Fiction. Argent Press. 2334. Pages 164-165.