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Cosmere Catalog #3: Overarching Cosmere Physics & Mythology

Read Time: 12 minutes
Published On: November 28, 2023
Cosmere Catalog #3

Cosmere Catalog is a series of articles that will delve deep into the inner workings of Cosmere and all the books in this shared universe. This is the 3rd guide on the Cosmere Catalog.

Realmatic Theory

Realmatic Theory is the study of three realms of Cosmere. Realmatic Theory is the Cosmere equivalent of Astrophysics in our world. There are three realms in Cosmere

Physical Realm

The Physical Realm is the most comprehensible of all three realms. It exists in the same manner as our universe. This realm is tangible and material, serving as the home for most inhabitants of the Cosmere, including humans.

The Physical Realm is where individuals experience and interact with their physical surroundings. Here, the laws of physics, nature, and science are in effect, shaping the realm in which everyday life unfolds.

It’s a realm of certainty and tangibility, a realm that we can see, touch, and interact with. It’s the realm that most closely aligns with our understanding of reality.

Cosmere Catalog #3: Realmatic Theory in Cosmere

Cognitive Realm

The Cognitive Realm is a realm of thought, ideas, and perception. It is where the collective cognitive consciousness of individuals, as well as the thoughts and concepts associated with various places and objects, are made manifest. Some of the common features of this realm are:

  • the distance between locations is much shorter than the physical realm which is why it can be used for teleportation
  • worldhoppers can use this realm to transition between worlds.
  • people can store their consciousness in the cognitive realm which is why they can maintain their identity in the cognitive realm after physical death. It is essentially living in the realm of thought and perception.
  • the sentient beings in the cognitive realm manifest in the physical realm like how people think.

Spiritual Realm

The Spiritual Realm is a metaphysical plane of existence that symbolizes the realm of the soul. This realm is believed to house the essence of an individual’s being and identity.

Every person in the Cosmere possesses a unique Spiritweb in the Spiritual Realm, an intricate pattern that encapsulates their identity, history, and connections to others.

Often perceived as the afterlife for the denizens of the Cosmere, the specifics of what transpires within this realm largely remain a mystery. The Spiritual Realm is where the Spiritwebs of individuals are formed and interconnected, playing a pivotal role in the magic systems and the overarching cosmology of the Cosmere.

It’s a realm of profound connections and deep mysteries, a realm that transcends the physical and cognitive to touch the very essence of existence.


Investiture is a form of spiritual energy that pervades the entire universe. It is a fundamental and metaphysical force that fuels various forms of magic in the Cosmere, serving as the Cosmere’s equivalent of energy and matter. Here are the key features of Investiture:

  • It can manifest in solid, liquid, or gaseous forms.
  • It is the central source of magic in the Cosmere.
  • Investiture cannot be fully destroyed; it can only be transformed or contained, much like energy.
  • The manifestation of Investiture typically occurs when there’s a crack in a person’s Spiritweb in the Spiritual Realm.
  • An individual possessing Investiture is referred to as ‘Invested’ and they have access to magic.
  • The more Invested a person is, the more extraordinary their abilities become.

Investiture is a profound concept that underscores the interconnectedness of the physical, cognitive, and spiritual realms in the Cosmere, shaping the magical systems and influencing the abilities of its inhabitants.

Type of Investiture

Investiture in the Cosmere can be categorized into various types, each with its unique characteristics:

Cosmere Catalog #3: Form/Nature of Investiture
  1. Kinetic Investiture: This form of Investiture is generated through active engagement in an activity, akin to Kinetic Energy.
  2. Static Investiture: This type of Investiture is contained within a vessel, a gemstone, or a physical object.
  3. Innate Investiture: This refers to the Investiture that an individual possesses from birth, designating them as naturally Invested individuals.
  4. Unkeyed Investiture: This type of Investiture is not connected to any Shards and represents the normal Investiture that exists in the Cosmere, even in the absence of Shards.
  5. BEU (Breath Equivalent Units): This is the standard unit of measurement for Investiture in the Cosmere, as established in The Sunlit Man book.

Nature of Investiture

The nature of Investiture varies greatly in the Physical Realm of the Cosmere. It can manifest in liquid, solid, or gaseous forms, with the Vessel/Sharholder’s innate personality determining the nature and form of Investiture.

When a large amount of Investiture is concentrated in a specific location, it creates fractures in the three realms and can result in the formation of Perpendicularities. (See Perpendicularities below)

AetherLiquidTress of The Emerald SeaLumar
ShardpoolsLiquidPerpendicularities in many booksMany
MetalsSolidThe Mistborn SagaScadrial
SunheartSolidThe Sunlit ManCanticle
White SandSolidWhite SandTaldain
GemstonesSolidThe Stormlight Archive SeriesRoshar
StormlightGaseousThe Stormlight Archive SeriesRoshar
BioChromatic BreathsGaseousWarbreakerNalthis
MistsGaseousThe Mistborn SagaScadrial
Hion LightsGaseousYumi & The Nightmare PainterKomashi


Anti-investiture in the Cosmere functions similarly to anti-matter in the real world, as mentioned in The Stormlight Archive books. There is still much to be explored about this concept in the series.

When Investiture and Anti-Investiture interact, they annihilate each other in a violent explosion. This explosion can destroy Investiture across all three realms, resulting in the permanent death of an Invested entity in the Cosmere.

Bonds with Investiture

In the Cosmere, various types of bonds can be formed between humans and bonding entities that have access to Investiture from any of the three realms. These bonds grant the host access to Investiture, which in turn endows them with magical abilities.

BondsPlanetBonding EntityMagic System/AbilitiesBook
Nahel BondsRosharIntelligent SpenssurgebindingThe Stormlight Archive Series
Singer BondsRosharVoidsprenvoidbindingThe Stormlight Archive Series
ShardbladesRosharInvested Gemstonessummoning shardblade at willThe Stormlight Archive Series
NergaoulRosharThrill controlled by Odiumbloodlust during battlesThe Stormlight Archive Series
Yelig-narRosharSplliter of Odiumuse of 10 surgesThe Stormlight Archive Series
Sel BondsSelSeonserves the ownerElantris
AviarFirst of the SunAviarcan share powers with the hostSixth of Dusk
Awakened ObjectsNalthisType IV BioChromatic Entitiesit tries to fulfill the cause it was created forWarbreaker
Luhel BondsLumarAethercan manipulate Aether in exchange of water from one’s bodyTress of The Emerald Sea
UnknownKomashiNightmaretheorized to be possible to form a bond with nightmares.Yumi & The Nightmare Painter

Shattering of Adonalsium

Adonalsium, a divine entity of significant importance in the Cosmere lore, is often depicted as a god-like figure. The exact nature and characteristics of Adonalsium, however, remain largely undefined. This central figure in the Cosmere’s cosmology is seen as a source of creation and power that pervades the entire universe.

In the time before the Cosmere took its current form, Adonalsium was targeted by a group of sixteen mortals who conspired to bring about its destruction. The circumstances surrounding Adonalsium’s demise are enshrouded in mystery, adding to the intrigue of the Cosmere’s history.

In the Cosmere, the one constant is the principle that nothing can be destroyed; it can only be transformed. In line with this principle, the power of Adonalsium was not eradicated but fractured into sixteen Shards upon its destruction. Each Shard embodies a facet of Adonalsium’s personality, ensuring its influence continues to resonate throughout the Cosmere. This event marked a pivotal moment in the evolution of the Cosmere, shaping its past, present, and future.


Because Investiture can’t be destroyed, can only be transformed or contained, when Adonalsium was murdered, the investiture from its existence splintered into 16 shards.

Cosmere Catalog #3: Shards

The 16 mortals who possess a shard essentially hold a fragment of divinity and were the first ones who ‘Ascended’ into godhood. People who possess these shards originally are called ‘Shardholders’. Shards can be transferred from person to person. A person who has taken up the power of a Shard is the ‘Vessel’ of that Shard. The act of becoming a Shard is called ‘Ascension’.

Each of these 16 shards follows an ideal or concept known as ‘Intent’.

After the murder of Adonalsium, The Shardholders scattered into different parts of Cosmere. Some created new worlds, others came to reside on worlds that Adonalsium created before its death and expanded upon it. The worlds that have Shards residing on them are called ‘Shardworlds’.

Shards are essentially the investiture of Adonalsium. So wherever Shards reside they bring an opulent amount of investiture with them. Hence, each of the Shardworlds developed unique magic systems powered by Investiture. How Investiture manifests in each world is determined by the form & nature of the ‘Intent’ of the Shard residing in that world.

This serves to explain why within a single Universe each world differs so greatly in the magic they are capable of utilizing.

1.Ambition-an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, such as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainmentThrenodyShadows of Silence in the Forrest of HellSplintered
2.Autonomy-pushes her followers to prove themselves. rewards those who are bold, and who survive against the odds. respects big plans and big accomplishments.TaldainWhite SandIntact
3.CultivationGreenappears to be related to transformation. control all things that can be grown and nurtured. accepts there will be a degree of uncertainty.RosharThe Stormlight ArchiveIntact
4.DevotionSapphirewish to care for people and provide them safety from pain and harmSelElantrisSplintered
5.Dominion-uncertain but their splinters Skaze are thirsty for power as a result of their relationship with the Shard, and driven to maintain influence over politics. the focus was amassing and maintaining control over others.SelElantrisSplintered
6.EndowmentHolographic/ Iridescentrelated to bestowing gifts or talents upon others. notably erratic and inconsistent.NalthisWarbreakerIntact
7.HonorBlueuphold oaths and agreements, acts to bind things together. extends to a cosmic sense of justice and order, as well as the natural laws of the universe.RosharThe Stormlight ArchiveSplintered
10.OdiumGold/Violetvicious urge to destroy and powerful emotions that require controlRosharThe Stormlight ArchiveIntact
11.PreservationWhiteseeks to provide stability & preserve things in their current state regardless of whether it’s right or wrong.ScadrialMistborn SagaSplintered
12.RuinBlackembodies entropy or decay and seeks to ruin through changeScadrialMistborn SagaSplintered
13.Survival (unnamed)-Unknown but wants to hide and survive---
15.VirtuosityCyan & Magentaembodies art. and seeks to nurture and appreciate artistic talents.KomashiYumi & The Nightmare PainterSplintered
16.Whimsy-embodies spontaneity. other than that nothing is known---
SLHybrid ShardsIntentPlanetsBooks/SeriesStatus
1.HarmonyThe fusion of Ruin & Preservation in The Hero of Ages and its intent is theorized to create as many possibilities of having a choice as possible. It advocates for free will.ScadrialThe Mistborn SagaHybrid
2.The DorFusion of Devotion & Dominion is a spiritual energy on Sel that powers all invested arts.SelElantrisHybrid

Worlds without Shards

  1. Yolen: Upcoming Book
  2. Lumar: Tress of the Emerald Sea
  3. First of the Sun: Sixth of Dusk
  4. Ashyn: Namedropped
Cosmere Catalog #3: Shardic World

Shards’ Power & Forms

A ‘Sliver’ is a person who has held the power of a Shard and released it. It alters the person’s ‘Spiritweb’ in the Spiritual Realm.

A ‘Splinter’ is a fragment of Shardic power just like how a Shard is a fragment of Adonalsium’s power. A Splinter is created when a Shard is killed by breaking down its power further into smaller pieces.

Shards’ investiture can take a distinct form.

  • Liquid: it’s the most potent form of investiture. It can form Perpedicularities (See below).
  • Solid: Investiture turns metallic in this form are is referred to as ‘Godmetal’.
  • Gaseous: In this form investiture can serve as fuel for magic. Such as Stormlight, Breaths and Mists


Perpendicularities are a sort of gateways that allow a Worldhopper to travel between the three realms. They are a junction of three realms.

They form wherever there is a large concentration of Investiture in Cosmere. We know a large concentration of Investiture in a place indicates the presence of Shards or Shardholder.

Sometimes this is not the case. Because there are planets where there is a Perpendicularity but no known Shard present there.

The known Perpendicularities in Cosmere are as follows

1.Pits of HathsinScadrialRuin
2.Well of AscensionScadrialPreservation
3.Theorized to be a perfect blue pool in the mountains of Southern RoughsScadrialHarmony
4.Bilming (Destroyed)ScadrialAutonomy
5.The Pool near ElantrisSelDevotion
7.Few unstable ones due to the death of their shardThrenodyAmbition
8.Patji’s EyeFirst of the SunNo Shard
9.Horneater PeaksRosharCultivation
10.Theorized to be the Highstorms as Bondsmiths (Order of Knights Radiant) can open it after they swore 3rd ideal for a few minutesRosharHonor
11.Theorized to be the Evestorm as Odium uses this storm to transport Fused from Braize to RosharRosharOdium
12.Elsecallers (Order of Knights Radiant) can create a miniature perpendicularity temporarilyRoshar
13.Somewhere in the forests of HallandrenNalthisEndowment
14.Confirmed to have a perpendicularityYolenNo shard
15.Theorized to be the pool where Yumi does her Yoki-Hijo ritualKomashiVirtuosity


Perception is basically how a person or object interacts in the three realms. This is originally the essence of the Spiritual Realm that gets filtered through the Cognitive Realm to reach the Physical Realm. It depends on how a person or an object perceives themselves. For example, if a disabled person never perceived themselves, they would fix their disabilities when they get access to investiture.

On the other hand, Kaladin perceived himself as if He deserved the Slave brand on his body, which is why it never heals when he gets access to Investiture. This is because he made that brand a part of his identity.

In conclusion, Cosmere is a vast & complex universe with fascinating metaphysics. As we continue to delve into the intricacies of the Cosmere, there are more to come in this series of articles.

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