I've been toying around with a magic system for a little while but feel like I've hit a wall when trying to refine some aspects of it so I figured this would be a good place to post.
The original system was religion-based and centered around the nine Old Gods, each of which had domain over some primordial force/object (Earth, Life, Storm, Ocean, Fire, Ice/Cold, Stars, Moon, and Sun). There is also Night, a god in opposition to the others and not part of the pantheon, although still a source of arcane energy. The premise of the world was that before humans existed, these gods went to sleep and humans later started to awaken them, with one person at a time (called Oracles) able to host a god's consciousness. Over time, as the gods slowly become more and more awake, the Oracles' power grows significantly but they also become less and less human.
I've kept most of the original system but got interested in the idea of science as a basis for magic and religion and replaced the gods with "forces," for lack of a better word. Instead of being connected to a sentient being, Oracles are in tune with the universe itself.
Magic is split into three families of three schools each: the Naturals (Earth, Life, and something to replace ocean), the Elementals (Cold, Fire, and Storm), and the Celestials (Stars, Moon, and Sun). Night magic is forbidden. While some wizards learn magic for purposes of war or entertainment, there are always magical scholars who dedicate their lives to experiments that further their understanding of the physical world and make their magic stronger. Their knowledge is preserved and used to teach the next generation, resulting in a consistent increase in the abilities of wizards. The scholars who make the most significant breakthroughs are chosen to be the next Oracles and serve as the heads of that entire school. Oracles continue to grow in strength compared to normal wizards because they gain all of the knowledge from previous Oracles rather than the awakening consciousness of a god. However, as humans have always used religion to fill the gaps in their knowledge, I have decided to keep the original god-based system as how people believe magic works until much later in history, which also serves as a limitation in their ability to really understand the nature of magic (for example, since cryomancy has always been thought of as the ability to remove heat from objects, it took a very long time for anyone to realize that it could also be added).
I’ve been trying to decide what forces or basic physical concepts should serve the basis for each school. I’ve listed below what I have so far but I think that some of it is kind of weak and it also ignores some other things I might consider universal forces or basic concepts like radiation, sound waves, kinetic energy, etc. I am open to any and all suggestions and questions about anything in the post, but if anyone has ideas for concepts that could flesh out the basis for any of the schools or that fit well with anything else I’d love to get your feedback.
Earth/Terremancy: non-organic matter
Storm/Tempestomancy: electric forces
Ocean: got rid of, looking for alternatives
Cold/Cryomancy: thermal energy/movement of molecules
Stars/Astronomancy: empty space
Moon/Lunacy: objects in outer space/gravity
Sun/Solomancy: maybe light? alternatively fission or fusion?
Night/Noctomancy: power from the Void, an empty alternate dimension slowly swallowing ours into nothing
P.S. I’ve had this all in my head for a while and this is the first time I’ve actually written it down. I tried to include all relevant information but please let me know if anything is unclear or needs further explanation.