The Mage's Avatar
In Mage: the Ascension the source of a Mage's ability to manipulate the Spheres.
The true nature of the Avatar is never fully defined in the rulebook. One of the theories offered is that the Avatar is a shard from the soul of a Pure One, a race of creatures from a time long past who weilded the power of gods but who were destroyed by Entropy and their power scattered across the Umbra.
Another theory (the one that I play by) is that the Avatar is a hyperdimensional, superconscious extension of the human mind. Working with this assumption the Storyteller can cast an individual Avatar as whatever he wants, including Umbral spirits, Oracles, powerful ancestors, that sort of thing.
The Avatar is effectively a seperate being and as such is such vulnerable to hostile action under certain circumstances. For instance, an especially dangerous Mage who has commited a capital crime may be sentenced to Gilgul - the destruction of his Avatar - by a Traditon council. This is generally very difficult, requiring a Master's power, under close guidance of an Oracle.
Depending on a Mage's Avatar rating he or she may receive guidance from, or even interact with, his or her Avatar. A Dreamspeaker Mage may experience an unusual dream where his Avatar comes to him in the form of an animal spirit guide, leading him to an important place or person. A Cult of Extacy Mage could receive a warning from the voices in his head when preparing a ritual. A Virtual Adept could meet his Avatar while diving in the Digital Web. Mages with exceptionally high Avatar ratings could even cause interactions with others, especially in Horizon Realms or Deep Umbra Realms.
Demeter's back arched as she waved her hands about frantically. She seemed to quiver and thrash as if struggling with some invisible assailant.
Then, two thin white tendrils appeared from out of her mouth, latching firmly onto her face - stretching it as it pulled itself up her throat and out of her wretched body. Gradually, it worked its way out of her body through her mouth and nose, until it was fully expelled. It rose above her, and began to move slowly in a circle about the room, tentacles feeling for a way out.
The others looked on in astonishment as the glowing creature, resembling some sort of giant squid, gently floated around the room - illuminating it with a soft blue light that seemed to calm everybodys nerves.