of the Spontoon Island Kami
(written by Ken Fletcher
including edited material from S.Barber, R. Dorrycott
& other contributors)
A strong hint that the 'magic' is real:
A kami priestess protects a visitor to the Spontoon Islands.
(Page 5 of "Young Zeichner's Encounters" by S.A. Gallacci, 1998)
Religion & Magic works in the world of the Spontoon Islands. Gods & Goddesses & Spirits exist and can make themselves known and sometimes affect events in the reality of this world. These are not overwhelming presences in everyday life, and are not a pervasive part of the lives of most of the inhabitants of the world. For most living in this world, religion is a comforting routine (that we would find familiar), but perhaps with the additional knowledge that a friend's friend has consulted with someone who is in actual contact with these spiritual forces. For an individual to access the location of these spiritual beings may take innate abilities &/or training in skills.
The Priestesses are the guides to the contact with these spirits (Kami) of the Spontoon Islands. The worshipped Kami are of the Light Side. The Priestesses serve the Kami and the Island community. The religious forms would appear to be generally Polynesian, but also, in recent history there is influence from other religions. (The 'natives' are also from Scandinavia, the Rain Coast, and Asia, with even some British influence.) A Priestess may serve the local Kami, but can also be a priestess of her own tradition. She may have parts of her costume that identify her traditions.
Most of the religious authority and organization is within the local Priestesses, with a High Priestess as head of worship, and responsible for being the Priestesses' administrator, counselor, planner, & coordinator. The number of full-time Priestesses is perhaps 50, with most of them having specialized responsibilities. There are also part-time Priestesses. Many of the Priestesses are the contacts for local individuals with out-of-the-ordinary spiritual concerns, and often these Priestesses may be contacted at a designated location within a village, neighborhood, or area of the Spontoon Atoll islands.
(There are a small number of Priests with contacts in this local Kami world, but in the Spontoon Islands they choose to stay in the background and be subordinate to the public organization of the Priestesses. They are seldom seen and not very likely to be interested in casual conversation.)
There are religious ceremonies the Priestesses perform (including songs and dances), and areas of worship that they supervise. They may be available for spiritual counseling & intervention. As a group, they may be part of the administration and spiritual & temporal defense of the Spontoon Islands. Some of the Priestesses may have the ability to come into contact with the Kami, for more direct communication and travel in the Kami-Place/ DreamTime.
Some of the Priestesses appear in the published Spontoon Island stories.
The Priestess Oharu is explaining to her new apprentices (Tehepoa, Ote'he and Nuimba) the rules that Priests & Priestesses of Spontoon live under. Thaey have asked, among other things, how long they will be learning...
"All your lives" Oharu answered. "Upon your last breath you will still be learning, as I will, as all priests and priestess's are. We serve, we do not rule. WE MAY NOT RULE." Her harsh voice rose, causing all three to shiver in their tracks. "No one may stand between the people and the Gods. We keep up the temples, we keep up the shrines. We remember the rites and rituals. We serve at the pleasure of the Gods. At the pleasure of the people. We are nothing more than the poor orphan who makes his crumb of bread by sweeping the path for others. That is the true secret of what we do. We are, and always will be less than those we serve."
"A picture of a local islander, dressed as a Spontoonie Priestess...."
Religious authority is not determined by a cliche appearance or costume. While a Priestess (or Priest), may have a costume, ceremonial mask, or distinctive fur-markings, they can also choose to blend in to their social situations, wearing everyday casual dress. And it is quite possible for a Priestess to be exercising her powers and duties, wearing very little obvious, or nothing at all.
One would expect that there are fur markings, accessories, and costume that are restricted by the Spontoonie culture and exclusive to a Spontoon Island Priestess. These have not been documented here on these pages. Seeing an image, one would have to interpret the context or caption to know if the costumed female is a Priestess.
There are some individual 'magic users' who may not be part of the organized Priestesses. A magic user might use costume or masks to assist in ceremonies enhancing their magic abilities.
The culture of the Spontoon Islands also supports 'Spontoonie Custom', which is a form of role-playing and dress-up for recreation and gently confusing visitors with street-theater. Many Custom players act out as cliche-costumed 'native' priestesses and priests, with-or-without native-style masks, and complete with choreographed ceremonies, public and semi-private. Some examples include the "Moon Priestesses", who are part of a Custom street-theater group promoting safe & skillful sex practices for the tourists (and locals). This is an institution sanctioned by the Althing & the Priestesses, but observing from the outside, you can be uncertain whether these priests & priestesses are really a part of the local Kami worship.
Other costumed processions at temples or clearings, with what appear to be 'priests & priestesses' may be closer to a community chorus, music, or dance groups. It is possible for a local female to be dressed in a costume as a worshiper of the Kami, in a public or private ceremony.
One can't always be sure if there are distinct lines between the circles of entertainment, socializing, and worship.
Other islands in the Spontoon Archipelago have priestesses and priests in the Polynesian style, but there are potentially other traditions that can be important on the other islands. That may include influences from the Pacific Coasts of the Americas, the coasts of Asia, Suomi, and European cultures.
So some of the illustrations you may see here may be of actual Spontoonie Priestesses, or may be of someone playing the role of 'priestess' for visitors or for fun, or locals worshiping privately or in a group. Or the illustrations may be of Priestesses from other islands in the Spontoon Archipelago.
This is a work-in-progress compiled and edited by Reese Dorrycott.
It collects, summarizes, & adds published background information
on the Spontoon Island Archipelego alternate-history setting.
This may be useful for contributors and entertaining for visitors to this website.
(This Writers Guide collects information from the informal background consensus
that the Spontoon Island contributors share, based on the currently archived material)
Some of the material is republished from this website, some parts
are new essays on
the Spontoonie cultures, histories, and background stories.
Some of the material is listings of characters, social institutions, locations, & objects --
with credits to their creators. Information will be added and revised,
so additional information is welcome. A contact address for Reese is in the file.
The file may be revised at any time.