Author's note: If we review the fundimentals of the Sublight magic system, the Sublight universe is an interference pattern between three other "realities". Those realities are described by modern scholars as Mind, Will, and Soul. In the past I have described how it ties in to Hinduism. Well, now it is also going to lightly "steal" from Shinto.
In the Sublight world, the Nihon Empire was relatively unscathed after the Great War and was very active in the early space race. The Empire was also the first to settle Psyche, which they call 鉄の世界 (Tetsu no sekai / the World of Iron). Nihon was one of the founding members of ISTO, and developed much of the technology that is used today for deep space settlements.
The Shinto traditions of the Nihon also played an important part in unlocking many of the technologies of Tegic. Thus, many phenomenon that deal with magical manifestations in our material world borrow terms from the Japanese language.
The first concept is that Kami (神) are beings who exist in the other planes of existence. We cannot "see" them directly, but individuals can be trained to sense their effects. Kami are neither good nor bad. But actions we take in the material world can affect them, and when that happens they can interfere right back. When we interfere with them in a positive way, they reciprocate. When we interfere in a negative way... they also reciprocate.
As it turns out, spirits exist even in the cold desolation of space. The planetoid Psyche is covered in shrines to appease the spirits, and the (鉄の人々) (Tetsu no hitobito / People of Iron) maintain those shrines and worship at them. Because of the delicate sensitivities of the geology of Psyche and spirits who are disrupted by human activity, outsiders are forbidden from going to the planet itself. When the capital of ISTO was placed on Psyche, the stipulation was that all foreigners had to remain in orbit.
Mining on Psyche is controlled by a cult of priests who ensure the spirits are appeased for the material mankind takes. Every chamber excavated is reinforced with elaborate carvings. Priests regularly return to each shrine, and look for signs of the spirits becoming unbalanced. These signs inform future excavation patterns, and in extreme cases can trigger the construction of brand new shrines. These new shrines also just happen to structurally reinforce parts of the planet.
Some find their ways backward and superstitious. Yet it is hard to argue with their performance. Psyche has been under continual excavation for nearly 100 years. Their accident rate is the lowest in the solar system. Their output is extremely consistent. It doesn't have the "optimal" throughput of other operations, but it also doesn't have the many work stoppages brought on by accidents, collapses, and labor uprisings. The Tetsu no hitobito enjoy a rather high standard of living at all levels in their society.
The Testu no hitobito also describe in their religion when man made objects take on spiritual qualities. This happens because interactions with humans over decades can lead to an object picking up a presence in the non-material worlds. It was first described with tools and other household objects which they call 付喪神 / Tool Kami / Tsukumogami. As space technology advanced, they started to notice that major station components and entire vessels would take on a life of their own. In particular: reactors, computers, and long running life support components.
The first fusion reactors came from the Nihons, and their approach was to create a shrine for a 火の幽霊 (Hi no yūrei / Fire spirit). While engineers across the solar system insist there has to be a more logical explanation, they still carve elaborate artwork into the inside of their reaction vessels, and the procedures for lighting the reactor up still invoke the same incantations.
Complicated equipment is considered 機械的精神 (Kikai-teki seishin / Mechanical Spirits). They are given attention by tegicians on a schedule that is not based on pure preventative maintenance. Tegicians also sing to the devices, tell them jokes, and give them offerings of "treats". Each system has a different item it seems to crave. Computers seem to love the aroma of a fresh cup of coffee. Sewage treatment equipment likes hardcore pornography. Air handling equipment likes a spritz of Sake.
Still other manifestations are 妖怪 (Yōkai / phantom). These are beings from another realm that take on material form. This phenomenon ranges from simple noises heard in the dark, to items moving strangely, to shapeshifting apparations that appear to human beings.
Psyche has a lot of settlers who emigrated from Hibernia, and they have incorporated the intrusions from the spiritual world as the work of the Fey. But is the subject of a different blog