..check out this AMAZING bear from Agent Orange, with texture change hearts to change to the initials of you and your beloved.
(The box has been put in a safe place, just in case….)
Of all the Pagan Places in world, one that has probably received the most publicity, and rightly so, is the Witchfest/Witches Island community. It’s a vibrant community, and the home of the justly exalted Artemis Tavern, and is backed (or at least was, I’m not sure if this is still the case) by ‘The Children Of Artemis’, an esteemed and world-renowned RL non-profit Witchcraft organisation (of which I used to be a member, didn’t renew due to moths flying out of purse when opened)
Before we discuss the main shopping area, billed as the biggest Pagan shopping area in world, remember how I told you that at Covenstead you can rent properties and thus become part of a Pagan community? Well, Witches Island offers the same, in fact they have an enormous rentals business which encompasses small dwellings, mansions, even enormous skyboxes. Anything the Witch about town could possibly desire! I noted that a fair number of the dwellings seemed to be inhabited, always a good sign, and what makes this habitat especially nice is that the living spaces are dotted with stone circles and temples between residences for avatars to enjoy. The landscaping is nice, but not great…for example, I don’t care much for the teleportation devices, which are just signboards. Their appearance really jars against the environment, but I can see they serve a useful purpose, so may one be so bold as to say why not change them to something more in-keeping with the rest of the area?
The Artemis Temple that looks out over the landscape looks great, but, disappointingly, when you go inside it’s very bare apart from two scrolls to your immediate left. If you click these you’ll find some introductory Wiccan teachings from Merlyn Herne, one of the community leaders here, and they’re an excellent introduction. ..I just wish that as much thought had be applied to the furnishing of the temple! I also spied a huge cave which turned out to be a nightclub, but again it just didn’t strike me physically as somewhere I’d like to hang out.. Look, I recognise that appearance isn’t everything and it’s the people that make a place and not the pictures on the walls, but at the same time a place needs to be inviting, to draw you in and make you want to stay. Judging by the amount of traffic that this place gets on a daily basis they’re evidently doing something right, but I just feel it could be a wee bit improved…
Anyway, I don’t want to dissuade you from visiting or put a total damper on this piece because this is an essential place for any virtual Pagan to visit, make no mistake about that. I’ve visited The Artemis Tavern a number of times and each time have been made to feel really welcome. In fact, every time I visit there is usually someone in the Artemis, if not a group. In over three years of Second Life I’ve never visited and not found people enjoying themselves there or engrossed in discussion, it really is a genuinely popular place with Pagans and non-Pagans alike. This popularity says a lot about the community at the heart of the place:) I’m sure because of it’s affiliations Witches Island is a great place to seek valuable instruction, and if you’re just starting out on your path then you could do a lot worse than make yourself acquainted with the folk here. They have courses and events constantly, and will be more than willing to fill you in on details should you ask.
Okies, shopping time! The shopping area is mall-like, and each vendor is an open plan barn-style store, which vary in size from small units to much larger, grander affairs. There are money trees ( hat do actually contain Lindens) dotted around, and there are random freebie boxes to be found too, a useful bonus for a newbie. The shopping area itself is relatively plain and easy to navigate, but would benefit from a lick of paint. The Mall is divided into courts named after Astrological signs. There are LOTS of stores here selling practically everything you could imagine at a virtual New Age fair…from crystals to clothing, wands to whiskers you’ll find it here. A quick point: due to the scale and nature of this mall a lot of the stores in residence are satellite stores, but don’t let that discourage you, the majority are well-stocked. A final point, I’m not covering every store in this post, that would take too long. Some stores I’ve not included because I didn’t especially like their wares, or because I felt there were copyright issues that needed to be addressed. Some I’ve not included because I just didn’t have time.
This is just to give you a taste of what you will find there, the idea is to make you visit, naturally:)
First up, in Leo Court, is a store called ‘Briar Rose.’ OK, it’s not a great looking store, but inside you’ll find a few useful pieces, such as ten scripted, individually coloured candles with holders in a pack for L$80, when you purchase them you receive a note with advice on using candle magic & several sample spells, but these are perfect for decoration or lighting too. More expensive is the copy/mod spell box which retails at L$100. (Situated next to the box is a scroll which has details about creating and using magical spell boxes should you be so inclined. Worth reading that before you purchase I think.) To be honest this is an odd little store without much in the way of stock, but what is there certainly has it’s uses. I especially like (and this is fashionista, not witchy related) the pose rug and rezzable private dressing room which costs just L$25. Just the ticket if you have no fixed abode in SL and rely on sandboxes…that said, ‘Briar Rose’ offers a solution to that too; there’s a rental property board inside:) Leo Court also features a furniture display by ‘Twin Souls’, and it is gorgeous, richly textured renaissance inspired stuff. Take a LM and visit the main store if your castle needs new nicies:)
‘Hectic Moon’ features extremely fetching gowns and outfits. I particularly liked ‘Alchemy’ and ‘Vamp Priestess’ but to be honest I was more captivated by the objects on sale rather than the outfits. A real bargain, is the ‘Crystal Magic Pendant Set’, which features a 21 colour change wire wrapped crystal pendant. At L$199 it’s a bargain.
You MUST see ‘Mae Fairy Tale‘, a store owned by a very talented lady called Maena Tammas. For starters, she’s created a fabulous witch broom and grimoire set, as well as a wishing well, gazebo, stunning fantasy tree house and a gorgeous little mushroom for a linden. She also sells really beautiful Fairy wings, and even though I can’t say that they are an item I especially covet in SL, I think you’d be hard pressed to find better. What I particularly liked however were the original artworks displayed at the rear of the store. Maena is a girl with exemplary digital talent and a visit to her gallery, via the LM in store, is definitely worth your while. Her artwork is of course available to buy and would be a worthy addition to any Elven themed home.
Moving into Capricorn Court now, and I was going to walk past the store called ‘Vamps and Tramps’ because the name just made me cringe so much, but I have to say, on closer inspection, that the clothing was actually exceptional (as are the ads displaying the wares) If you like gorgeous Gothic gowns, then you have to come here and see the ‘Gothic Romance’ gown. Even better, the clothing in the store is TRANS, so you can buy pressies here! It isn’t cheap though – the ‘Pagan Romance’ jewellery set is absolutely stunning but at L$800 it’s a bit of an investment buy. Still, if you’re after something a bit more adventurous than your common or garden pentacle this has to be worth checking out!
Onwards, past The Artemis Tavern to Libra Court. There’s a huge display here featuring the COA’s magazine, ‘Wicca and Witchcraft‘. I own a fair few issues of these myself and it’s a glossy well-produced magazine (are they still producing it?) and there’s a large display featuring an article on ‘Cyber Witchcraft’ that was featured in the Lammas 2008 edition for you to read.
‘The Fairy’s Aunt’ is another showcase of digital art, this time by Sylphie Fei. There is a lot to enjoy here, and the prints are very reasonably priced too. Her work is varied and beautifully designed, and I fell in love with a number of pieces, especially ‘Hunters Moon’ and ‘Fallen Angel’. Like ’Mae Fairy Tale’ the artwork would look stunning hung in your virtual home. Next door you’ll find ‘Temp T’ a shop selling a mixed bag of goodies, including spell cabinets, jewellery and a ‘Mystical Greenhouse’ which would be a perfect skybox dwelling for Fairy aficionados, and nearby is ‘Talevin’s Designs’, where lovely magical book props, as well as jewellery, wands and staves are the order of the day. There is an excellent unisex triple moon Goddess pendant for L$50 in store.
I’ve told you about a handful of shops ( I’m leaving the hard work up to you!) but let me tell you about my favourite store in the mall. It‘s called ‘Picky Pagan’, and is owned by Dixie Berliner. There are actually two outlets at the mall for this brand, but the main store is where you will find quite simply, the loveliest Imbolc altar set-up that you will find anywhere in SL, and she also offers TEN pagan freebies for your delectation; all quality items that some designers would charge the earth for. Dixie is evidently not profit driven though – her work is not only exceptional, it’s great value too: the altar is a steal at L$100. At her other store you’ll discover a cauldron bathtub scene, replete with animations, tub, witches hat and broomstick, which is just so much fun that I had to have one, and there’s a glorious cooking hearth with bread, cauldrons and a roaring fire. Again these are perfectly created and cost just a mere L$100. Bargains.There’s lots more I could share with you but I’m going to reserve my other favourites for another blog post. Suffice to say that if shopping with a mystical flavour is your thing, then you’d be hard pressed not to visit the mall here, and I also totally recommend the social network that thrives here. My only gripes are that there are some items on display that are quite blatantly breaching copyright ( as per my previous post) and also there’s some pretty awful items on sale too. I also hinted earlier that I think physically, the place could do with a bit of an overhaul, but all things considered there’s a reason why this ranks amongst the top Pagan destinations upon the grid, and that’s because it is run by Paganfolk for Paganfolk, and that shines through all.
It has to be said that you really do need to retain your taste and selectivity when shopping for all things Witchy across the grid, because as much as I hate to say this, there is a lot of tat out there. Textures that were best left in 2006 seem to be the style du jour for a vast majority of Pagan merchandise creators in-world. I do not consider myself a ‘Second Life Snob’, but I do wish that there was more imagination out there.. the Pagan creations that I’m seeing all too often feature the same shapes, textures, slogans…boring!
Even more disturbing is the apparent lack of regard by some store owners for copyright. The vast amount of prints and pictures on sale in stores ARE NOT original works, but copies.
They’re ten a penny too; it’s ironic that a culture that seeks to ‘Harm None’ is so intent on making money from other peoples’ work. It’s truly disappointing, and very annoying.
BUT, there’s a flip-side to this rant, I promise! When you do find something genuinely exciting and original in-world the buzz you get is second to none. Although I have seen some incredibly awful, shameful ‘creations’, I’ve witnessed some real wonders too, so I’m happy to be sharing them with you during ‘Witchy Week’.
But please, if you’re setting up a Pagan store in-world, PLEASE don’t rip off Neil Geddes-Ward, Ann Stokes or any of the myriad of wonderful artists out there, it’s not fair.
Instead share your own artworks with us, and if you can’t do that, then DON’T open a store. Simple.
‘Covenstead’ describes itself as an active community of Spiritual People; Wiccans, Witches, Heathens, Magicians and followers of the Voodoo, Celtic and Asatru faiths, but it’s much more than that. It offers workshops, discussion groups, rituals and above all else the facility to mix with like-minded folk in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Ainsley Weatherwax and Jimmy Orsini have provided the grid with a wonderful space filled to the brim with shopping and interesting places to visit, including sacred places, quality dwellings to rent and above all else the facility to partake in Pagan activities.
When you rez at Covenstead, you’re in the middle of a terraced shopping area in front of a visitors centre. There are freebies inside (well worth checking out!) and lots of information about Covenstead, it’s environs and what it has to offer, which is rather a lot! The location is a very pretty, traditional ‘Olde worlde’ style build; think Medieval and Tudor buildings with a Germanic flavour and cobbled streets. You’ll also spy a horse and carriage; hop on and you can go for a guided tour around the sim. An excellent idea if you ask me!
The shopping here is obviously Pagan-centric, and you’ll find cloaks, cauldrons and masses of jewellery. There’s art and wall plaques to decorate your virtual pagan home, as well as gowns and more pentacles that you can shake a stang at. Take your time whilst you browse the shopping; some of the stores didn’t really strike me, but I found some quality items at a few stores which I’ll share with you now.
Let’s begin with ‘Oak Leaf Emporium‘, which has a stunning ritual outfit for sale at L$300. It’s called ‘Gaia’s Goddess’, and is traditionally beautiful. The outfit includes a sturdy silver Goddess headpiece, vest, skirt and arm adornments and is definitely worth checking out if you have an important gathering coming up.
Another beautiful outfit available in store is ‘Invocation’, which is a gorgeous Pentagram adorned purple number, or if you’re on the lookout for more casual wear there’s a lovely grey dress called ‘Meditation’ situated next to it, replete with green and indigo scarves. These are, of course, very ‘Witchy’ outfits, and perfect for being all flouncy and mystical, and both retail at L$200. If you’re after ritual kit there are some brilliantly priced items in here too; an entire altar set for L$50 and an unusual but rather sweet moon and pentacle wall print featuring lights (would have been perfect for Yule!) which is just L$20.
As I carried on exploring, I found a store called ‘Shaman Heart’. I’ll be honest, it didn’t grab me especially at first, until I took a closer look to see what was on offer and I was pleasantly surprised.
As well as cloaks, altars and assorted fancy you’ll find staves, moccasins (!) and guided meditation pools. I really like the tree ties and the Goddess trees, which struck me as a wonderful idea. My only complaint is that they’re a tad dark, but would make a really striking talking point on your land..(For example, you could use 4 of them to delineate the quarters on your circle. I’m full of good ideas me!) What really caught my eye was the Pagan Hud. I’ve never come across one in Second Life before, but at L$450 and with free updates this one may well be worth checking out. It features 26 animations, and there’s a note card which provides full details., but I have to say that a demo of the animations would have helped convince me to part with my Lindens.
‘Magick By Design’ is a new favourite brand of mine, selling Tarot decks and seasonal altars. I really recommend that you check this place out if you’re into divination, although the store at Covenstead is a satellite and just serves to wet your appetite for the main event ( there’s a LM, go and visit!) I love their working Tarot tables, but I really dig the Rune card table. At L$399 it’s a nifty wee purchase for all those who practise this ancient Nordic craft. I have to say here that Tarot and Rune tables, wherever you buy from, are only as good as the reader who uses them, and they won’t interpret the cards for you, you have to do that bit yourself…(Or get someone to do it for you? More news coming up on that later this week!)But if you enjoy these practises then you’d be daft not to treat yourself to one.
Nearby is ‘Nightshade Design’ which stocks Nordic clothing and jewellery,. Especially eye-catching are the beautiful Rune amulets, Odinic Cross, Freja Symbol and Thor’s Hammer necklaces. Each are a measly L$100 apiece. Upon further exploration I spotted a highly detailed herbalist table, featuring 62 prims of herbal happy. At L$350 it’s a bit costly, but there’s a link to the creators home behind it and my guess is that if you follow that you’ll be able to see it in action. There are some nice Wtchy ensembles here too: ‘Nuna‘, ‘Serafina’ and ‘Morgana‘. Each one is highly detailed and replete with items such as wand for Nuna, Bow and broom for Serafina and Magick flasks for Morgana. Very nice indeed.
If you have a garden be sure to check out ‘The Hedge Witch’, another satellite store, but featuring lovely plants and herbs to decorate your Witches kitchen. There’s a fab wheel of the year planter, as well as some lovely holiday centrepieces. I especially liked the ‘Kitchen Herb Garden‘, which at L$150 struck me as great value and consists of a planter and a variety of kitchen herbals.I must quickly mention how delighted I was to find a Druidic specialist store called ‘Awen’s Fire‘. Druidry is often left in the shade ( somewhere I think that it prefers to remain tbh) but it’s a wonderful Pagan path and a fabulously rewarding way of life, and it’s great to see it represented here. Bocan Undercroft is the store owner, and it’s pretty obvious from the wares on offer here that he’s passionate about the Druid way of life. There are fire pits and structures on sale in his store, but I really like his ‘Seek the wolf within’ tee at L$50, as well as the sculpty ‘Freedom’ staff, replete with animations at L$400. Again, I’d have preferred a demo, but I’m sure if you contacted Bocan in world he would oblige. I could go on, but this is just a taster of the shopping that can be enjoyed here., I implore you to go and check it out for yourself!
At the hub of the shopping area in the ‘ The Firebird‘, a Pagan pub and inn. It’s a large, traditionally styled meeting place, and gets very busy of an evening. In fact, I must say that I encountered a fair number of people during my visit, there were lots of avatars shopping or, like myself, just milling around and enjoying the space., which is always a good sign in-world. This is a good place to mention that Covenstead also offers money trees and job opportunities too: you can apply to be bar staff or a DJ at The Firebird, should you so wish!
Both in the foyer of the pub and the visitor centre you will find a teleporter which will take you around the sim. If you select the ‘Hub and Cottages’ option, you’ll be taken to a neatly landscaped section where there are rental cottages available. I think it’s a great idea to be able to live with like-minded folk, and think it’s fabulous that Covenstead has presented this opportunity . There are two communities of cottages. In the first, the majority are basic, two room structures in a rugged style of build and are perfect for furnishing with all your Witchy wares. (Considering the styles of houses here, I think it would have been nice if a second floor could have been put in, something that could easily be achieved by fixing a roof/floor onto the second room and adding a ladder for access, but that’s just an observation on my part, and you know what a fussy moo I am:) That said they’re perfectly adequate virtual homes and I’d be happy to reside in any one of them. At this point I have to confess I was *really* nosey., and did something I usually don’t do…but I’ll hold my hand up and confess that I took a peek into a cottage and although I have no idea who lives there I must compliment them on their taste, for it was the perfect mix of Pagan and modern styling (Yes, there is such a thing!) and I really loved it. The adjacent rental community features white stone Celtic dwellings. These range in size and style, and rentals cost from L$495 a week for a 225 prim dwelling, up to L$650 per week for 350 prims. I love the little touches around the communities too, both are landscaped beautifully and feature wishing wells, beautiful wild flowers and even a small flying dragon!
Did I mention there’s a sky clad area? Well, if you’re so inclined you can bathe completely nude beside a waterfall underneath the stars…there’s also a cave with a fire pit and chill out area. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t a ritual area here; after all a lot of people perform ritual in all their naked glory so it seems only fitting that there be a provision for it , but perhaps that’s something the creators are working upon. There is actually a main ritual space, adjacent to the fishing pond. It’s a ritual henge, equipped with Elven drums. It’s a perfectly adequate space, but for me it was spoiled by the ads for various fishing games that you could play at the pond area: nor did I especially care for the tip jar in the middle of the henge, next to the bale fire. I understand the need for tips, but surely this is better placed external to the circle, rather than in the midst of it?
Back to the teleporter, and this time I found myself in the Japanese ceremonial garden. It’s gorgeous; very ‘zen’, and when you go into the main building you’ll find a seated eating area replete with sake and various sushi items. Perfect for meeting friends and great for Asian-styled photo opportunities, and they also perform Tai-Chi here, how fabulous is that?
As you can see so far Covenstead really aims to please the Pagan populace, and the next location is truly awesome for the facilities that it provides. The library, which looks like a proper Antiquarian book repository, actually features readable texts on all sorts of subject ts from Egyptian to Norse Mythology, Wicca, Spiritualism, Tarot and much more. There are spell books too. It’s a useful resource and a great example of the thought that has gone into creating this space. You can even contribute to the listed works as well.
In the foyer, leading to the lecture room (and yes, they do have lectures here!) there are works of art on display from a recent competition. There’s also a book of poetry, it doesn’t appear to have been updated since August 2009 but the contents are very enjoyable. (When you click on the poetry book it deposit’s a folder in your inventory so you can read the poems at your leisure, I especially enjoyed the works by Mercy Taffler and CorvusPDX Noble)All this exploring left me gagging for a brew, so what better way to quench my thirst than to pop over to the Russian Tea Rooms? I think this is my favourite location on the whole sim; it’s a beautifully decorated, welcoming place for learning and relaxation. By clicking upon the various artworks you can learn all about Slavic Pre-Christian traditions, something I knew nothing about until I visited. There’s a lovely altar display here, backed with Runic script and kitted out with a drinking horn, fruit, flowers, candles and bread. The main room sells various eclectic items, from jewellery to the rather cute ‘Grandma’s Knitting Chair’, replete with basket of yarn. You’ll also see a couple of spell kits for sale in here, as well as a Ouija board and Crystal Ball, but really the tea room is all about appreciating the Russian Pagan tradition.
There’s so much here to see that I can’t adequately describe it in print, you really have to check it out for yourself. I haven’t even told you about the atmospheric graveyard or the Handfasting chapel, It’s fair to say that Covenstead really does offer an all round experience for those interested in ‘the ways of old’, I found it to be a really enjoyable and educational place to visit and I will certainly be going back for more.
Ok, now I’m off nights and feeling ‘normal’ again ( STOP LAUGHING AMANDA) I’m going to be posting in earnest, and to celebrate my 70k achievement I’m going to spend the next week writing ONLY about all things Pagan/Witchy in world. Kittywitchin’ was always intended to include such items, but it has to be said my posts on the subject have been sorely lacking of late. I hope to redress the balance over the next week, and also announce that “Wednesday is Witchy Day!” upon the blog from here on in, so you should always see something on topic on Wodin’s Day (Look it up folks:)
So here goes; places to visit, shops to relish and treats to be had..ooh the very thought! Let’s crack on shall we?!
OMFG! Just realised that the blog has passed the 70k mark! Thank you so much to everyone who pops by my little spot in cyberspace to read my random wafflings…your support is appreciated.
Now, if only I’d got a quid for each hit ;P
Here’s to the next 70k…thanks everyone!!!!
Hugs and Noms,
Latest update on the lost inventory saga. I mean, this is almost comical..my original ticket was CLOSED if you recall, and the instructions told me to OPEN ANOTHER TICKET if I still had issues?
So I did, opened three days ago.
Got an update this morning…….
Please re-open your ticket 4051-7209950 as this has already been assigned to CSR. Opening a new ticket for the same issue just slows the process down in getting responses out to you and to other residents.
If the ticket is marked closed you still have the option to re-open it and let the CSR know that you are sill missing your items what more can they try.
So, I’m going to RE-OPEN my ORIGINAL closed ticket..if they had told me to do this originally I wonder how Far I’d be along?
Piss up and brewery springs to mind…….
Two other things, 1) Why couldn’t they just re-open the original ticket for me and assign accordingly, and 2) How do you re-open a closed ticket anyway??
<Sigh> I’ll keep you all posted….
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