'Motherland: Fort Salem': Seeds, layering, vocals and everything else you need to know about the rules of magic

The magic system of Fort Salem is a lot more complicated than the spellwork of Hogwarts


                            'Motherland: Fort Salem': Seeds, layering, vocals and everything else you need to know about the rules of magic
Demetria McKinney as Anacostia Quartermaine, on 'Motherland: Fort Salem' (Freeform)

Spoilers for 'Motherland: Fort Salem' Season 1, Episode 2 - 'My Witches'

Fort Salem has been called a military Hogwarts, but no one is memorizing Latin magic words there, or waving their wands with a swish and flick. As illustrated this episode, the magic that the witches of 'Motherland: Fort Salem' perform is a lot more complicated than that.

Firstly, we learn that the witches are divided into four distinct categories for their military time - Blasters, Fixers, Knowers, and Necros. Blasters handle destructive attack magic, Fixers heal, Knowers gather intel, and Necros, lastly, manipulate the dead for spy work. Raelle, from what we've seen, is a Fixer - she heals people. What's interesting is that her healing is mixed with prayer. She quotes the Bible, not something we've seen other witches do, which may mean the words are not so important as the faith behind them. 

Though we've seen hints of alchemy, and prop-based magics from the Spree, the majority of magics seem to be tied to the voice, and to things that Anacostia refers to as "seeds." From what we can tell, seeds are the bases of spells - vocal notes that can be grown into more complex spells when mixed with other seeds. These seeds have been identified, numbered, and catalogued with military precision. We've already seen Seed 41 - the seed of haste and accumulation - and Seed 26, the seed of discord. 

The type of spells are also categorized. Windshear, for example, is a sight-based spell, meant to be cast rapidly, under the conjuration category of spells. It is mixed by layering two separate seeds, of which Seed 41 is one. Interestingly, the seeds required for this spells are "subvocal" - meaning that while the throat is involved, the notes for the spell are not actually audible. Seed 41, in fact, is a note that's above audible human range - a note that witches are apparently quite capable of reaching.

There's been an impressive amount of thought put into the spellwork of 'Motherland: Fort Salem,' on a basic level. Obviously, the higher-ups like General Alder (Lyne Renee) would be capable of spells that are complicated and intricate enough to not have to perform magic in quite the same way that privates do, but her power is likely still centered on her voice.

It's a unique magic system that requires harmonization, focus, and, as Abigail Bellweather (Ashley Nicole Williams) was forced to demonstrate, great physical stamina. It's definitely a lot more complicated than waving a wand around and speaking a few clever words of L

The next episode of 'Motherland: Fort Salem' airs April 1, on Freeform.

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