The Flower Mountain Escuela Mágica is located in Baja Province and exists as a network of individual schools located in the deserts of the Southwest, with campuses in the base of canyons, among the dunes of the Mojave, hidden in the fields of Saguaro, and along the beaches of the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California. Students from what is considered the Southwest United States and Northwest portions of Mexico travel underground via the Fumarole Funiculars and the Lava Tube Lazenby to take courses at the various campuses, each of which specializes in a particular magical tradition. The school buildings appear to be rock formations to Mundane eyes, and are accessed by the Magimundi using constantly changing magical incantations.
Flower Mountain was founded formally in 1868, though individual tribal and community schools existed in the region for over a thousand years. After the massacre and relocation of many native tribes by the mundane U.S. Government, a persecution led by Colonel Kit Carson, a formidable mage who exploited his powers of divination to befriend and betray native shamans, the Baja Province Magimundi felt a greater need to protect its members through increased secrecy and collaboration. A coalition of native healers and mages, including Chiricahua Apache warrior and prophet Lozen; Eulalia Pérez de Guillén Mariné, the mage and magister of Southern California; Sarah Winnemucca, a Paiute teacher; curandera La Huila (Maria Sonora); and curandero Don Pedro Jaramillo, banded together to create the school and the underground transportation network that serves its students. The school takes its name from the Mayan mystical mountain associated with sustenance, protection of the people, creation, and the home of the ancestors. Flower Mountain’s curriculum is a combination of indigenous magical practices as well as rites and rituals introduced primarily by Spanish-speaking wizards.
Students at Flower Mountain are divided into one of four paths: The Scorpion, The Coyote, The Vaquero and The Shaman.
Mages at Flower Mountain take part in a special ritual at age 15, when they have their official induction into the Magimundi. Known as answering the Call of the Condor, the school hosts a three-day event over the 5th new moon of the year. Students are taken into Death Valley where they undergo a series of challenges that test their accumulated magical knowledge and require them to survive among the elements. During this time, students construct their own magical talisman, which they present to the faculty for assessment upon their return. As the moon reappears, the students emerge from the darkness, and three more days of celebration ensue, culminating in a grand masquerade and the awarding of their Saturn Sash, signifying their entrance into the Magimundi. This experience is a powerful memory for all Flower Mountain alums, and often forms friendships and rivals that last a lifetime.
The school’s current headmaster is Estrella Santa Maria, who was elected to the post despite having never completed Magischola herself. While a student at New World Magischola, Santa Maria distinguished herself as a powerful healer in the curanderismo tradition, and, like Flower Mountain co-founder Pedro Jaramillo, was gifted with clairvoyance and the extraordinary power of remote healing. She became embroiled in a scandal in the 1980’s while a student at NWM, as she was found to be using her clairvoyant healing techniques to relieve the suffering of AIDS patients throughout North America. Santa Maria was accused of unauthorized intervention in the mundane world and put on trial in the Solaris province, where NWM is located. Unapologetic for what she argued was not improper use of magic, Santa Maria was nevertheless convicted by the Justices of Solaris of violating the Statute of Mundane Separation and Secrecy . Despite advocacy by then-Chancellor Othello Grier, Santa Maria was expelled from NWM, thereby making it impossible for her to achieve the official credential of Wizard or to legally practice as a Healer in the Magimundi. People in the Baja Province viewed this situation as an affront to their provincial authority, arguing that Santa Maria should have been tried in her home province. She is seen as a kind of folk hero for both her compassion for the suffering of others and for her willingness to stand up for her beliefs. Partly to recognize her prowess as a curandera and partly to thumb their noses at Solaris, Baja Province officials unanimously appointed her Principal of their primaschola, and cited provincial authority to quell the objections of outsiders who felt convicted felons should not be eligible for government posts.
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