Case Two Themes: Santería & Elemental Psychology

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Kalila Stormfire's Economical Magick Services - Case Two: Water deals with multiple spiritual and cultural themes. For a layperson, this primer outlines a few helpful notes to consider when listening to the episode. The world of Kalila Stormfire is not ours, but it does include real-world magical and spiritual traditions, along with their specific structures and philosophies. Don't worry; the following discussion does not include spoilers other than acknowledging aforementioned themes of the second episode!

Santería & Closed Religions

Santería (or Regla de Ocha or Lucumí) is generally defined as an Afro-Cuban syncretic tradition influenced by Yoruba (a spiritual tradition originating from West Africa) and Catholicism. It is an initiatory religion, which means that most of the practices and liturgy are closed to laypeople or the uninitiated. This is not the full scope of the definition of the religion and some initiates will likely have different ways of describing their religion. 

As a descendant of Cubans and as someone with direct cultural experience with Santería, my understanding has been that people can honor, give offerings, or even have personal spiritual relationships to the Orishas, the "santos"/saints or deities of Santería. However, people cannot claim to be "headed" by Them or undergo certain rites unless they are initiated by a lineaged House. This distinction touches upon issues about appropriation. I do not mention any practices that are specifically related to Santería, but I personally have interacted with the Orishas from the point of honoring and personal conversation. 

Some closed religions do not have this distinction, and it is not appropriate to interact with the gods/deities of those religions if you are not officially sanctioned or part of that lineage. Closed religions are very diverse, and I recommend that people do their research from direct sources--not just whitewashed academia--before interacting with religions that are not their own.

There are books written by leaders in the tradition. I personally loved The Altar of My Soul by Marta Morena Vega. If you are interested in more information, there is likely a Botanica near you. Talk with someone there, they are often initiates or otherwise embedded in Latinx/New World African spiritual communities. I would recommend you go there first rather than your standard New Age store.

Elemental Psychology

As you may have noticed from the first episode, Kalila talks about "alignments". These alignments are specifically related to my spiritual tradition, the Order of the Elemental Mysteries--which is influenced by the Reclaiming and Feri traditions, Jungian psychology, and the cultural/political commentary of people like bell hooks, Cornel West, Audrey Lourde, and Starhawk. 

Elemental Psychology is a framework developed by my teacher and tradition High Priestess, Katrina Messenger. The core ideas in this framework relate Jungian introverted/extroverted alignments (Feeling, Intuitive, Thinking, and Sensate) to the four elements (Water, Air, Fire, and Earth). As I mentioned in the press kit, this story was inspired by the philosophy of and the work that I do with Reflections Mystery School and in my initiatory tradition.  

You won't necessarily have to understand the framework in-depth other than people have preferences in how they interact with the world. In Kalila Stormfire's world, her remedies are dependent on the specific alignments (the energies and personalities) of her clients. Someone who is an extroverted thinker, for example, is seen to have Fire preferences and could need encouragement with additional Fire-related practices or some balancing with Water-related remedies.

Explicitly Pagan Themes in a Fantasy Story

I am very aware that the real-world "woo-woo" magical aspect of this story may not connect with everyone. This story is important to me as an expression and representation of my identity as a witch and a pagan, as well as a part of my personal vocation/journey as a storyteller. 

If you have any questions or comments about episode themes and spiritual connotations, I will be happy to hear them!