of the Spontoon Island Kami
(written by Ken Fletcher
including edited material from S.Barber, R. Dorrycott
& other contributors)
Religion & magic do work in the world of the Spontoon Island Archipelago. In the Spontoon Islands the worship of the local Kami (spirits) is guided by the local Priestesses.
There are a small number of Priests with contacts in the Kami world, but 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 conversation.
From the General Guidelines (Religion) by Reese Dorrycott
from the "Writer's Guide To Spontoon Island" (linked below)
"On Spontoon, the only Male priests are the Wild Priests. There is one for each major island (except Sacred Island.) No more, no less...."
"Wild Priests live, on average, four times as long as the average fur. Their lives are lonely, they are very rarely ever seen and when they speak, it is almost always in short, cryptic sentences. Wild Priests are not labeled such because they are Wild or Mad (insane), but because they live in the wild. They are never physically involved with any sex. To date no one has found the abode of a Wild Priest, nor discovered how they travel from island to island without using at least a water taxi...."
"Wild Priests have a dark secret that they speak of to almost no one. The Songmark Student Molly (Procyk) Cabot is currently the only Euro ever to hear the full truth...."
The why of Spontoon’s current Religious Balance.
As told to Molly Procyk by a wild priest just before his passing over.
An edited excerpt from
In The Time of Oharu
Book Two, Chapter Three
(written & shared by Reese Dorrycott - excerpt edited by Ken Fletcher)
* * * * *
“You are satisfied, little Kali?” a male voice asked from behind her.
Spinning around, Molly found herself facing an old male fur of indeterminate species. “Wild Priest,” she stated, at the least being certain of that.
“True. Are you satisfied, little Kali?” he repeated, not moving from his one-legged stance.
“Kali is destruction. I like to destroy. So?”
“Kali, my little fur. No, she is not Destruction. That is Kala. There are two within your school who will clarify that. Kali transforms. Are you satisfied?”
Molly stepped forward, studying the ancient one before her. “Why should you care? I’m just a filthy little Euro....”
* * * * *
"....I do not know why, or if that is the real truth. Saimmi will never tell me what she saw in your soul and I may never look upon it. Thus is part of our treaty. Oharu knew this. In her mind. Her heart, though, could not believe it. Thus do even the mightiest fall. Should you need her she will respond to your call. If the High Priestess allows. Before? She would have given up all to be at your side. This much you have lost forever.”
“Big deal. So what if I lost something. She’s a woman. I don’t like women. Besides I have Lars. Who else could I need?”
“Do you? Have Lars? Or does he have you? Do you hate women? Or fear them? Look into your heart, young child. Look deeply, then call to the mountain your answer regarding him. I will hear.”
Molly struggled to her feet. “You talk a lot for a Wild priest....” she suddenly realized....
* * * * *
"... Oharu Wei is a very powerful Priestess, little one. More powerful than even myself, it seems. Soon she will be even the greater; not for her need, but for Spontoon's need. For she draws upon not one foundation, not one land, but two. Such was common when we first arrived, now she is the only one to do this. Perhaps the three Songmark children will join her. This is their choice, but they can never equal her, for they haven’t quite the dedication. Another truth is this: We are not permitted to change any female. Not permitted to order any female.”
Shifting his weight to the other leg the wild priest chuckled, the sound surprising Molly. “Why? Why not tell you? Listen, little Euro: I will explain why our children no longer listen to us. It is with great cause. You see, when we first came to this land, that fragment young Oharu put her soul in danger to recover -- (Who nearly lost her soul, too, when she stood between you and that bullet) -- It was not a fragment then. We were twenty priests, almost three hundred full Priestesses. As do Euro religions, we ruled our children. We... we, the Priests, ordered our children to cleanse this land for us. Thus they did, at the cost of all but thirteen of their lives. Think, little Euro. Twenty males sent almost three hundred females to near eternal suffering. Simply because we ruled. Rightfully, those thirteen cast us out. Even today there are only fifty‑one full Priestesses, nearly fifty part-time priestesses. Since then, we have lived on the edges -- watching, nudging, but knowing that were a thousand-thousand generations to pass, we would still have that blood upon our paws. Thus we care deeply for our children, though only each High Priestess is fully aware of our actions.”
Molly thought over those words, putting pieces together in her mind. “Cranium Island, Krupmark. Their 'fragments' are gone. They return to what they were?”
“Krupmark yes, in time. Cranium Island? No. Cranium Island has defiled itself, drawn the fragment's energy into itself. Thus those Priestesses are still lost to us. Saffina returned the souls of a third of those we lost. All those who were entrapped upon Krupmark. Until Cranium Island's darkness is defeated, another third remain lost. Yes, Krupmark will cool. In a generation... two, at most. Though its cooling will be violent. You will much enjoy its cooling.”
“Oharu. Cranium Island?”
“Perhaps. With the three from Songmark. Together they will become a great force, given enough time. Perhaps she will face Cranium Island. Cleanse it. Return our children. You should not go there with her, for her torn heart is still yours. She would fail, trying to protect you. Though I think you will enjoy watching as her bones are torn from her living body. And those of all your friends. That darkness I can sense within you, for you would feel it a 'fair fight'. So perhaps you should go there. After all, inflicting pain upon her seems to be your greatest pleasure.”
Molly stood, then stepped forward in anger, bringing one hoof off the sand to swing into the figure before her. Instead of an impact, her leg swung through the figure, causing her to spin around. Staggering back into a standing position, she saw the Priest now had a frown upon his face. “In truth, it is good that you have denied yourself Oharu’s love. You are not a good enough woman for her.”
Stepping forward again Molly reached out, stunned to watch as her paws flowed through the Priest’s form. “Yer a ghost!” she gasped, stepping backwards.
“There are no such things as ghosts. Not on these Islands. I am simply waiting to say goodbye to Saimmi, and tell her who my replacement is. True, my body is dead, yet I have not quite moved to my rest. Still, I am no ghost, little child.”
Staggering backwards, the Chicago born-and-raised native bounced off the stone she’d leaned against, pressed back again, to feel its solidness. “Father in heaven...”
“Oh, please. I am no more danger to you than the mist. Return to Songmark. Look into your heart. Then when you are absolutely certain about your Lars, call to the mountain. Your words will come to me -- and to be honest, little child, I am very much interested in your answer. No matter how long it may take you.”
With those last words he vanished from Molly’s sight. It was much later that Saimmi returned to stand next to the still staring doe.
“There is something of interest in the waters?” she asked, her voice again soft.
“He wasn’t there. But he was,” the doe answered.
“Yes. You are correct. I will walk you to a water taxi...."
* * * * *
"A picture of a local Islander, Dressed as a Spontoonie Priest...."
From these accounts, one can imagine that because there are so few Spontoonie Kami Priests, images of them may be infrequent, if there are any authentic images at all. The actual Spontooni Priests are seldom seen. They are often called "Wild Priests" because they seem to live out in the brush and jungle, with perhaps very few visits into the communities.
Religious authority is not determined by a cliche appearance or costume. While a Priest (or Priestess), 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 Priest to be exercising his powers and duties, wearing very little obviously religioius, 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 Priest. These have not been documented here in our stories. It does seem that they are plainly dressed in a casual native costume, and that one might be more likely to intuit their office by their speech or attitude. Seeing an image, one would have to interpret the context or caption to know if the costumed male is one of the actual "Wild" Priests.
There are other costumed individuals one might encounter, who would be dressed in a way that would look like the expected "island priest":
There are some individual 'magic users' who may not be part of the organized Priests. 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 of these costumed natives are part of Custom-playing street-theater groups, acting as the native worshipers that the tourists expect. (And entertaining the locals in the process). Most of these groups would be acting-out exotic (but dignified) forms of worship. These groups are sanctioned by the Althing & the Priestesses, but observing from the outside, one 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 male to be dressed in a priestly-looking costume as part of his sincere worship of the Kami, in a public or private ceremony. A "Priest" may actually be a tiki-guardian: The secular (non-ceremonial) care, protection, and maintenance of some of the tikis and temples are the part-time responsibilities of locals, who may take this duty as a service to the Kami and community. They may dress in a "Polynesian-priest-style" of costume (sometimes complete with large mask), to show that they are 'on-duty' , especially if tourists are likely to be encountered.
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 Priests, or may be of someone playing the role of 'priest' for visitors or for fun, or they could be locals worshiping in Polynesian-style ceremonial costume, privately or in a group. Or the illustrations may be of Priests or Shaman from other islands in the Spontoon Archipelago.
Masked Dancers - by J.P. Morgan
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.