Information gleaned from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, World of the Wheel of Time, and The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game has been arranged and modified for reference by Jenisi. Special thanks to Davian for use of parts of his Talent Listing. Edited by Amalia. (Take a look at the unraveling section, please. I left the original wording in place and wrote my own attempt beneath, because I wasn`t quite sure what is right.)
The True Source
The True Source is made up of two parts that work simultaneously with and against each other, each having its own affinities. Saidin, the male half, is only reachable by male channelers and likewise saidar, the female half, can only be touched by women. In fact, the only way each can even feel the other half of the source is as an absence or negativity in a weave that has been woven using both Saidin and Saidar. Saidin and Saidar feel different; Saidar is a gentle, inexorable flow a channeler has to surrender to. Saidin is Fire and Ice, whipped by a raging tempest and a channeler always has to fight it. Recently purified, saidin had been Tainted by the Dark One's touch for three tousand years, causing every man who used it to go mad sooner or later.
The One Power comes from the True Source, the driving force of Creation. The male half of the True Source, saidin, and the female half, saidar, work against each other and with each other to provide the force that turns the Wheel of Time. The True Source cannot be used up just as a river cannot be used up by a mill wheel. (TEotW,Ch12)
While strength lies with men in the amount of Power they can handle at one time, women have shown far greater dexterity in actual weaving, making them equally matched. Men grow in strength faster than women do, but there have been cases of exceptionally strong women and weaker men.
The Five Powers
"There are threads to the One Power, and each person who can channel the One Power can usually grasp some threads better than others. These threads are named according to the sort of things that can be done using them - Earth, Air (sometimes also called Wind), Fire, Water, and Spirit - and are called the Five Powers....While Spirit was found equally in men and in women, great ability with Earth and/or Fire was found much more often among men, with Water and/or Air among women." (TEotW,Glossary)
It is common with channelers to have greater strength with one or two of the Powers and be weaker with some of the others. For example, someone strong in Wind may be all but unable to weave Fire, or may be weak in Earth but equally strong in Spirit and Air. Some few rare individuals have been found to be very strong in as many as three, or in very rare cases four, of the Powers. But since the Age of Legends no one has had great strength in all five. Even then, such individuals were very rare.
Men usually exhibited greater ability with Earth and Fire while women more often excelled in the use of Water and/or Air. Equal numbers of men and women were strong in the use of Spirit. There were, of course, exceptions, but they were rare enough that Earth and Fire came to be regarded as male Powers, while Air and Water were considered female Powers.
Rare and Forbidden Weaves
Some weaves and Talents have faded from the memories of most channelers since the Breaking. Most weaves are common, that is, they are known by many channelers and can be easily learned by others. Some weaves are rare, they are only known by a few channelers, and before the Forsaken and the rise of the Dragon Reborn, nobody knew them.
A channeler can learn any weave inside his/her talents without any problem, and learn with some practice ones within other talents. However, a channeler can only learn a rare weave by observing it woven by another channeler - you cannot just "figure it out". However, those channelers who do know these weaves guard their secrets very carefully. So if you decide to give your character a rare weave, tell a bit of a story behind it, because it requires one. Some of these rare weaves are also forbidden, being too dangerous. If your character identifies one of these weaves from someone, keep it secret! Just knowing how to create these weaves - such as for instance Balefire - is considered outlaw.
Tying, Slicing and Unraveling Weaves
Few women knew the trick of tying a weave (The Shadow Rising, Into the Palace). According to Jordan, the length of time the knot lasts is the choice of whoever makes the knot and is not dependent on the strength of the channeller. The tied weave would continue to exist if the channeller died, at least if the channeller had not set it to unravel in a certain time.
It is possible to channel a weave to slice another weave by using Spirit. You cannot slice or cut a weave if you are shielded from the True Source and you must embrace the True Source before you can slice a weave. As your target is about to cast a weave, you identify the strength of the weave they are casting and throw your spirit weave to slice it. You must channel a Spirit weave with strength of equal or greater strength to slice your opponents weave. Held and tied-off weaves are treated just like weaves currently being channeled. You cannot slice held or tied off weaves of the Warding Talent. Inverted weaves may be sliced if you detect their presence. Male channelers have a much more difficult time when attempting to slice a female channeler’s weave to reflect women’s greater agility with saidar while women have a much easier time in slicing weaves of saidin.
It is possible to unravel a tied off weave that you have detected even if you are shielded from the True Source. You cannot unravel a weave that is being held through concentration by a channeler. It is only possible to unravel weaves of the Warding Talent. You probe the weave for a few minutes to find a weak spot in the tied off weave. If successful, you open a hole in the weave and collapse it. If you fail, nothing happens, and your weave is wasted – though you can try again after probing for another few minutes. If you fail enough, the channeler of the weave feels your tampering, although this feeling alone does not tell who is responsible. If you successfully unravel a weave you can follow up with a backlash strike against the channeler and all who are linked with her/him. The backlash is only effective if the original channeler of the unraveled weave is within 100ft.
It is possible to unravel a tied off weave. Unraveling does not seem to be directly connected to the One Power because it is even possible to unravel a shield on oneself if it is tied off. If the shield is held, the normal rules apply - a shielded channeler has to be a good deal stronger to break through the shield. But if the shield is tied off, it feels like a hard point which has tiny gaps. It is possible to mentally squeeze through them and make the knot burst. If linked channelers are holding the shield, their number is reflected in the number of soft knots. When they reduced their numbers, those missing leave hard points which are possible to unravel. If enough are unraveled, a channeler may break through the shield and even still those holding it at that moment. (Lord of Chaos - Dumai´s Wells)
Channeling Without Training
Those who first touch the power unintentionally generally feel nothing unusual at the time, but suffer a violent reaction as much as ten days later. This reaction seldom lasts for more than a few hours. Headaches, chills, fever, exhilaration, numbness, dizziness and lack of coordination are only a few of the most usual symptoms, often occurring simultaneously or in quick succession. These effects return after each incident of touching the Source. Each time, the reaction comes closer to the actual act of touching, until the two happen almost simultaneously. At this stage the visible reactions stop. But unless some sort of control has been learned, death becomes a certainty. Some die within the year, some survive as long as five years, yet without the control that is almost impossible to learn without guidance, all die. Their final days are usually marked by violent convulsions and screams of agony. Once the last stages are entered there is no known cure, even with the use of the One Power.
Many who teach themselves develop mental barriers to hide from themselves what they are doing. They are only able to channel if they feel or do certain things, or limit their channelling in some way. Blocks can be broken with assistance from those with training, but it is a painful and arduous process.
Channelling draws on threads of the One Power and uses them singly or in combination in a weave designed to accomplish the particular task at hand. To the channeller, the flows seem to originate in his or her very immediate vicinity, not to emanate from themselves, although to another channeller, those flows do seem to be emanating from the channeller. The latter is the actual case, as the One Power is passing through the channeller, one of the reasons for individual limits on how much of the Power a particular person can handle.
A channeller sees the flows as coloured very faintly, according to which of the Five Powers is involved (red = Fire, blue = Water, green = Earth, yellow = Air, white = Spirit), although the "feel" of the flows are also different to a channeller, so that a channeller can tell one from another without actually seeing them. (That is how someone can tell that somebody else has channelled, say, Fire and Earth, in their vicinity without seeing the flows.) It isn't a physical feel; you might almost as well say that they have different flavours. They appear to be smooth and nearly transparent, tinged with colour. - Robert Jordan, TOR Question of the Week
The first way a channeller learns to do a weave for a particular thing imprints itself on them so that learning a second way is very difficult and almost never works nearly as well. Unlike the Wise Ones, Aes Sedai often use hand gestures when they weave. The gestures are not a part of the weave, but are essential purely because they were part of learning the weave and therefore imprinted with it. Pregnancy interferes with the ability to channel. It is harder to touch the Source of weave the flows. This difficulty often grows worse as the pregnancy progresses and the mother will be unable to channel at all while in labour or giving birth. The difficulty ceases after the child is born. If a weave is done incorrectly, even only slightly off, it could produce something dangerous.
Single Power Weaves
It was one of the warnings novices were given; never draw heat in. A flame could be extinguished using Air or Water, but using Fire to pull the heat away meant disaster with a flame of any size. It was not a matter of strength, so Sheriam had said; heat once taken in could not be gotten rid of, not by the strongest woman ever to come out of the White Tower. Women had actually burst into flame themselves that way. - The Shadow Rising, Playing with Fire
Fire alone can be used to:
light and control fires heat and melt objects form a weapon, like Rand's sword of fire cut weaves
The Stone of Tear was built by Earth being used to draw rock from the ground.
Earth can be used to:
smooth earth and stone weaken chains break locks
Air can be used to:
lift and move objects be used to restrain and hold be formed into weapons with which to hit or cut make sound carry make a covering to hide things form shields and barriers
A weave of Water can be used to:
move water draw water out of things douse a fire
“Those who can channel the One Power,” Moiraine said quietly, “those who are particularly strong in Spirit, can sometimes force their dreams on others.” She did not stop her soothing of Min. “Especially on those who are - susceptible. I do not believe Rand did it on purpose, but the dreams of those touching the True Source can be powerful. For one as strong as he, they could possibly seize an entire village, or perhaps even a city…Aes Sedai learn to shield their dreams. I do it without thinking, when I sleep. Warders are given something much the same in the bonding.” - The Dragon Reborn, The Hunt Begins
Spirit is the only one of the Five Powers that can be channeled while the channeler is asleep. Dreaming is a Spirit-affiliated Talent.
The Warder weave is an intricate weave of Spirit and requires the channeller to touch the Warder while weaving it. Compulsion Finder weave Masking a woman's ability to channel, the flow of the Power, and blocking men from sensing a woman is holding the Power Make Gateways with Saidar The Blue Ajah has a secret weave of Spirit which induces unease, fear or panic depending on how much it is tightened on the person When Rand broke through the shield on him at Dumai’s Wells, he crushed the knots being held by Aes Sedai in fists of Spirit, stilling them (Lord of Chaos) Shielding another channeler from the One Power
Multiple Power Weaves
Fire and Earth
Explode objects Reduce objects to dust Arrows of Fire- a weave which fires one red filament from each fingertip, each blowing holes in any body they touch
Fire and Air
Make lightning Shield to protect from lightning Make a globe of light Cut cloth, i.e. cut clothes off a person Make burning red filaments Create balls of fire "Folded Light", which bends light around the object of the weave so it cannot be seen, i.e. Invisibility
Fire and Spirit
Perhaps most importantly, a weave of Fire and Spirt Heals severing.
...the Healing of stilling must be done by the other gender to be fully effective. A woman Healing a woman or a man Healing a man results in less than full restoration. It all ties into that theme I keep harping on. Men and women have to work together to be their most effective. And while the weave used by Flinn for Healing is not exactly that used by Nynaeve, either would use the same weave on a man or a woman. --Robert Jordan's blog
Earth and Fire
Joins stone to make incredibly strong masonry Used to make a rolling ring of Earth and Fire at Dumai's Wells
Air and Fire
Warm the air Amplify the voice for outdoor use Form Illusion, or Mirrors of Mist Used for eavesdropping Create a bridge any weight can cross Cut weaves
Air and Water
Can be used to form clouds.
Water and Fire
A weave using these can draw ice out of the air.
Spirt and Fire
Make a barrier against channeling men that, to them, feels like a wall of fire Inflict great pain upon another Make Gateways with Saidin
Fire, Earth, and Water
In the right amounts can be used to kill quickly.
Fire, Air, and Water
In the right amounts and combination can be used to:
Make a ward against eavesdropping Make violent lightning storms
Earth, Air and Fire
In the right amounts and combination can be used to:
Form Blossoms of Fire- tall thin shafts of fire that expand to a disc of flame thirty feet across Forum an airtight barrier that will keep out, or in, anything except balefire Create Cuendillar Removing blacking or dye from articles and form it into a ball
Air, Water and Earth
Remove ink from clothing Raise a thick cylinder of water from a pond and dump it on land
Air, Water and Spirit
Cloud Dancing Healing Delving Compulsion
Spirit, Fire and Earth
Cut weaves Used for Caressing the Child Create Deathgates
Air, Fire, Water and Earth
Air, Fire, Water and Earth in a complex pattern can stop lightning and disperse clouds
Fire, Air, Water, Earth, and Spirit
Used for the complex Healing ("New Healing") where weaves are varied according to the problem A simple weave of all Five Powers is used to Delve the patient before or after Healing Detect whether a man is channelling and in what direction, however it cannot be used to determine what he is channeling Verin uses all Five in her (imperfect) Compulsion weave
Wards give warning, injure or kill (even delayed killing), keep people or creatures in or out, or prevent eavesdropping. There are thousands of ways to spin wards, according to Moghedien. --Lord of Chaos, Questions and Answers
Wardings were complex weaves, if tenuous, and trying to make them do more than one thing could render them useless, in practicality. -- The Fires of Heaven, The Gift of a Blade
It is not possible to set two kinds of wards at once. --Moiraine; The Dragon Reborn, News From the Plain
Dreams can be warded with an intricate weave of Spirit. Wards of Spirit can be held by the sleeping channeller to wake them if set off. In Illian, Rand triggered Sammael’s wards against channelling. Such wards have to be remade once triggered. A ward of Fire and Air with touches of Water will prevent eavesdropping and warn of attempts to penetrate it. --Lord of Chaos, Questions and Answers
Weaves of Unknown Composition
Balefire Gateway blocking weave Keeping Testing for resonance Removing a Finder Aginor's Menace and Awe Asmodean's razor sharp ribbons Graendal's cooling net Be'lal's black sword of fire The weaves the Forsaken used to manipulate Tel'aran'rhiod are also unknown
Maximum Number of Weaves For A Channeller
Working two flows at once was far more than twice as hard as working one of the same magnitude, and working three much more than twice again working two. -- The Shadow Rising, Playing with Fire
Weak channellers can only work one weave at a time, whereas a very strong channeller like Rand can handle ten or more simultaneously. A fair number of Aes Sedai can work more than one weave, but not many can work more than three at once. However, Egwene can split her flows fourteen ways (Knife of Dreams - honey in the tea).