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 Wednesday – The Wizarding Fayre 2013

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There is so much Halloween goodness hitting the grid at the moment that it is incredibly difficult to keep up! However, it’s a Wednesday, and I haven’t posted a Witchy Wednesday in ages, so I’m going to feature an absolute corker for you today. 

Watch out for tons of  Witchy related activity, spooky surprises and ghostly goings on in every corner of the grid, with hunts, events and sales galore celebrating the Halloween theme.  Be wary and wise by making sure that your eyes are glued to the blogosphere for news on the latest events.  I also recommend keeping at least one eyeball fixed firmly in a Mad-Eyed Moody style  on Elysium Hyne’s Pinterest boards. Ely seems to moonlight as a pinning whirlwind and is doing a great job of keeping a record of all the festivities. Last but not least, Seraphim SL offers a myriad of event catalogues that are well worth a browse.

So let me tell you about  The Wizarding Faire 2013. This has been going on for a while already and is due to end on the 20th, but it’s an absolute must-see! (I realise I am late to the blogging party on this one, and I’m playing catch-up.  Real life, what can I say?)  The Wizarding Faire is of course a celebration of all things ‘teenage boy-Wizard’ related, but even if you aren’t a fan of the series of books this event is styled after you will still find lots of interesting items on sale, with some of them more Witchy than others.

There are 48 designers in attendance, and each one has contributed something very special. Gachas, clothing, poses, furniture, the list is endless. Not only that, the sim is beautifully designed and fabulous for visiting and taking tonnes of photographs. Look, you know it’s going to be special when you have to open a wall of rocks to step inside!

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I spent a happy hour here exploring and shooting pictures and buying lots of nice things..

I absolutely fell in love with the ATOMIC cauldrons and potion-making supplies. Ivy Graves is a veritable mesh Goddess, and these look fabulous. They’re a great shape, a little different to the cauldron norm and are beautifully textured to  perfectly capture  a worn feel.  The little jars of essential spell making ingredients really look the part too.  Love it!

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I also need to give a shout out to LARK as well, because Sienia has done it again.  ‘It’ being making mesh magic all on her own. I am constantly blown-away by the work that Sienia does. She is blessed with a talent for great design, teamed with an astonishing imagination making Sienia’s creations an important force in Second Life design.

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Her latest works are these are these awesome ‘Towering  Tomes’ that fit in very well with the Imaginarium Librairium that was such a success at The Arcade this year.  These books are actually able to be worn, or can be rezzed to great effect as a furnishings, which is what I have done with mine…

Snapshot_013 You’ll find lots of clothing items at the event. It’s well worth checking out the astonishing Damien Fate’s FATEPLAY label because not only will you find some fantastic clothing, but also the BEST mesh Witch Hat, called ‘Damadore’, that I’ve yet seen on the grid: nice and plain and simple and best of all A FREEBIE! Whoop! There is so much to enjoy at The Wizarding Fayre. It must be said that the team behind this event have produced a corker; rather than fill it to the brim with items that are of dubious quality, each item is a winner. There’s just enough to enjoy with bucket-loads of original mesh items to splurge upon, and the environment is, excuse the pun, simply enchanting. It stands up so well to repeat visits with so much to enjoy. In a grid that is often teaming with events and occasions it takes just one quality themed event to truly show how it’s done, and The Wizarding Fayre meets that brief head-on.

 I’m NOT going  to blog all of it in the hope that this will encourage you to fly on over there and see for yourself.  Check out the list of designers below, how could you not want to visit knowing these guys are taking part?! 

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As a final nudge to elbow you over to Diagon Alley, I must tell you about the frogs.

Yes, you heard me, frogs. What Witch is worth her salt without heartfelt affection for these amphibious critters? I love frogs, and I automatically fell in love with THIS Gacha when I saw it:

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Yup, it’s full of every kind of frog to fulfil all your ribbety needs!  What drew me to it was the inclusion of the Desert Rain Frog, which is featured in THIS video, which I love.  But readers, they are all equally fabulous. I’ve bought a few of these to decorate the landscaped areas at my new home (more on that coming soon!) and each one of them is an absolute joy to behold.  They’re beautifully created and textured, and I have no idea how BEETLEBONES has crafted them, but I am so pleased that they did! They’re AWESOME. Oh, and yes, Gacha prizes. Damn those addictive things!Snapshot_014

This is Sylvia, she’s my pet Moon Frog and she lives on my fireplace:) 

So, tempted by The Wizarding Fayre? Better hop on your trusty broomstick and zoom on over to the event faster than you can exclaim  ‘Expecto Patronum!’

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And if you like my broom, this was a group gift from Dutchie this month, and it is great fun! I’m practically already set for Halloween! See you at The Wizarding Faire