All things Witchy shall leave you SPELLBOUND!

picmonkey-collageI haven’t written anything remotely witchy on the blog for ages. My bad; I hold my hands up and acknowledge that fully. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to necessarily, it’s just that I haven’t had the time. Plus, perfectionist that I am I’ve wanted to do the subject matter the justice that it deserves and that means lots of photos, lots of writing and lots of additional chores that I just haven’t really had the facility to manage.  However, I am starting the month of October with the very best of intentions to try and make amends, and what better time to begin?

SECOND LIFE truly comes alive at this time of year (which is somewhat ironic when you think about it, being a time traditionally associated with death!) , and right through until Halloween (Samhain),  the grid is simply bursting with buzzing with events and themed sales, parties and celebrations.  It has to be my absolute favourite season and it’s the perfect month to celebrate being a Witch in the virtual world, so if you seek some witchy inspiration, let me start by sharing a few places you REALLY need to visit.

First of all, let me share my absolute favourite Witchy sim..SPELLBOUND!spellbound_004.jpg
OK, I know what you’re thinking : Spellbound is a hair store!?! But the store, and the sim itself, is for me one of the most perfectly witchy places upon the grid. The occult vibe hits as soon as you land outside the main store, where absolutely  everything in sight is beautifully built and carefully placed. Even the font that adorns the sign above the door (on a gothic mansion no less) is just perfect for the theme,  and it really does leave you feeling, excuse the pun, spellbound!

As you enter there’s a cauldron bubbling furiously away,  as incense curls patterns of smoke above the counter. Crystals and potion bottles decorate  the shelves along with grimoires and arcane sketches that hang on the wall, and there’s the ever watchful gaze of an owl and a somewhat friendly looking hell-hound looking after the store in the owner, Kohana Xue‘s absence. Despite the nature of these objects, they all have a colourful, modern bohemian twist, which resonates perfectly  with the product she sells.

She’s changed the landscape a little since I last visited; I *think* that there used to be a stone circle here at some point but sadly that’s no longer present (but there is ample space for one to be erected!)

Why does Spellbound mean so much to me? Because it’s so beautifully and artfully created. You can tell that the store build along with the environment that surrounds it, was truly a labour of love during their creation. Not only that but the contents inside all reflect the theme perfectly; from the way that the store advertisements are lit by candles and crescent moons to the names of the products that she sells, Kohana Xue leaves you in no doubt of her witchy credentials that surely (like mine) extend beyond the virtual home that we share.

Another reason why I adore it so is that despite Spellbound being a store, it puts the majority of the actual Pagan/Witchcraft stores and learning locations you’ll find in-world to shame. I don’t visit many of those places purely because they look shite. There’s no delicate way for me to put this, so I’m not going to; they’re full of builds and artefacts from the early days of the metaverse and it’s a crying shame. Take important places like Witches Island that have served the community for many years. I’m not being disrespectful to the groups that meet and socialise there but the place looks terrible. Ask yourself, where would you rather hang out? A place filled with badly textured builds and furniture that probably looked great ten years ago, or somewhere that really looks the part? It’s especially annoying when you consider how much content creation has moved on in-world; there’s no need to settle for such an uninspiring environment when there’s clearly so much better out there.

While we’re at it, another thing that galls me about such places is that they’re always bloody filled with reproductions of renaissance paintings and copies of artworks made by esteemed real life pagan artists like Mickie Mueller, Lisa Parker and Ann Stokes to name but a few. It makes me incredibly angry to see this, as does any copyright theft in SL, but we’ve all talked about that until we’re blue in the face enough now to know that ignorance is not bliss, and there’s no excuse for it. If you fill your sim with reproductions and copies then I’m not going to frequent it, simple as. Trust me on this, use search and see what kinds of places you find, not one of them look a patch on Spellbound and that upsets me greatly, especially because Kohana has proved beyond a doubt that you can have a Pagan themed environment in-world without cruddy textures, naff styling and copyright abuse.  If she can create like this then surely other people can too?

Well, actually there are some amazing artists that demonstrate the same skills as Kohana. If you’re wanting to establish your own altar in-world then SPELLBOUND sells a few items that can set you on your way. It’s not just hair you know; there’s a gacha in store that is teeming with splendid items that are perfect for decorating your sacred space and there are a couple more quality Witch, Wiccan and Pagan retailers that are more than worth a glance too.  I strongly recommend you check out the work of Kalia Firelyte (the creative genius behind JIAN) and Corwin Lacourte who is the brains behind HEXTRAORDINARY. Not only will you find magical pets and mysterious creatures at his store, but also fantastic Rune and Tarot sets, incense holders, crystal points, scrying bowls and fantastic furniture and exterior builds too! (I’ll be talking about a creation of Corwin’s I’ve recently discovered in a few blog posts time, so stay tuned!) Last but not least we have the legendary Robin Sojourner in-world too, who sells items at her ‘Broom Closet’ store, which is located next to the  Wiccan Learning Centre that she has hosted in Second Life for many years now.  spellbound_003.jpgIf you’re looking for an actual build suitable for your own witchy space you’ll find there are two to consider that are both ideal and available to purchase at Spellbound as well. First of all is the rather grand, formal build that is the ‘Temple Of Illumination’. This impressive structure is styled as a medieval illumination temple and is perfect for formal group meetings and circle workings, but be sure to check out the ‘Atrium Skybox’ that is available in-store too. This is a very crisp, clean and light build that would be perfect for informal pagan group meetings up in the clouds,although it would be just as fantastic to live in.

I’m going to wrap up these witchy ramblings by sharing something with you: my dream in Second Life has long been to establish a working group in-world for witches to hang out in and chat as well as celebrate Esbats and Sabbats.  Sadly I just don’t have the cash to do that just yet, and I’ve never felt that the buildings and accessories are available to be able to do it in style. As Kohana’s work, and that of her peers proves,  Second Life has now reached a stage in build quality where my ambition might prove slightly more achievable.   Alas, I need the land to do it (and some Lindens too)  but one day it will happen, and if you’re interested in joining me on this adventure in the future please let me know, it would be lovely to have you along for the broomstick ride!   Until then, I’ll keep visiting Spellbound to get my witchy hair and home fix.  Click HERE and you can do just the same! 

Witchy Wednesdays: ISON @ THE ARCADE

We haven’t had a Witchy Wednesday for a short while, but this one is a cracker!

I’ve spoken about my love for ISON on these pages before, so I was delighted to read that they would be contributing to this round of THE ARCADE.  I wondered what fashionable delights they would have on offer and eagerly awaited a peek at their wares. Imagine my surprise then when I saw this astonishing decor as their contribution!

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There are nine pieces in this ‘Altar’ set with no rares to worry about, and as you can see it’s pretty fantastic. There’s lots of lovely detail to admire in these mesh pieces which are realistically aged in all the right places. I love the bottles of herbs for spells, the small cauldron-esque bowl with contents ripe for smudging and the pentacle with the horns really looks the part doesn’t it?  But it’s the altar table itself that has really bowled me over; it’s gorgeous, with a Triquetra carved into the front in an ornate style..don’t you just adore this entire set? WOW!

This is a great addition to your Second Life witchy home and of course you can add items to the table to fine tune it into your perfect altar environment. I really love this and  I haven’t seen any mesh altars out in world at all up until now, so it’s a pleasure to feature one on these pages, and at L$50 a pop the ISON gacha is one of the cheapest at the event.  (Plus because there are no rares you should find this an easy set to complete via the gift of yardsales) Oh the joy The Arcade brings!

Click HERE to try getting in to THE ARCADE or click HERE for a comprehensive Yardsale list, courtesy of Seraphim SL

The Artemis Tavern and Witches Island


(Apologies for not posting as much as I’d like during this witchy week due to RL ill health, but I shall, of course, make up for it!)

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.