Not as much is known about the power that fuels gramarye as laypersons may believe. Whatever one calls it—mana, essence, chi, spirit, energy, power—it appears to be tied to the phenomenon of life itself. We will adopt herein the technical term essence-power, in order to avoid terms that have too much poetic resonance and for other reasons discussed elsewhere at length.
Furthermore, we can say that although it is not same thing as electricity, the famous fluid first bottled by Bishop Franklin, essence-power behaves like electricity in that it flows in circles or, to use a more technical term, circuits. Also like electricity, essence-power is dangerous. A wizard who overloads his own soul with essence-power may accidentally burn away forever his own ability to perform magic, or worse, may burn himself to death.
Finally, we know that not all material substances, nor all spiritual substances, conduct essence-power equally well. This is manifest in the varying magical capabilities of individuals—at one end of the spectrum are the vast majority of Eve’s children, who are unable to cast a single spell or can manage one or two small hexes at the most, and at the other end are the great thaumaturges among the children of Adam, who are able to effect great works of gramarye both out of their own essences and drawing upon other essence-power sources.
This is also manifest in the case of substances that are magically inert, the most well-known being silver. A small piece of silver will terminate a small spell, banish a small spirit or devil or irritate the flesh of a magically sensitive creature (such as an Ophidian). Larger pieces of silver are required to disrupt more powerful magic or flows of essence-power—one hesitates to calculate the amount of silver that would be required to be thrown into the Mississippi River to disrupt that circuit, and one positively trembles to think what might be the result.
– Nikola Tesla, First Principles of Power