Camping at Midsummer

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Gwyneth:

Don’t ask me why I decided to go camping by myself at Midsummer. I could have gone to any number of festivals, any number of pagan moots in London, but no.

I borrowed my dad’s VW  caravan, this thing he’d modified like back in the 80s, and I drove up into Epping Forest, and I got as far back into the nowhere as I possibly could.

It must have been something about sleeping overnight in a cramped caravan the night before Midsummer, but the mist that morning really caught my imagination.

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There was a kind of ruined folly.

There was a kind of ruined folly about 200 yards from where I’d decided to set up camp, such as it was. And Josh kept texting me, which was super annoying, particularly when I was trying to set up a tripod and use my mobile to take photos of myself so you could also see the folly. I guess that just means life in the twenty-first century, or something.

I kept playing with the zoom on the phone lens, controlling the whole thing from my Apple Watch, and Josh kept texting, and it was really pissing me off.

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Despite all that, I managed to get a couple of good shots.

Despite all that, I managed to get a couple of good shots. And yet, when I got in to the folly itself, it somehow seemed wrong to take photographs there. I decided to stick to selfies, since that’s what my Facebook friends care about anyway, right?

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Once the mist burned off, the day shaped up.

Once the mist burned off, the day shaped up to being the perfect Midsummer. I started second guessing myself: maybe I should just drive back to London and find an open ritual. Staying in the caravan for another night wasn’t all that appealing, to be honest. But the truth is, I had this dream where this voice kept telling me that I had to do it alone this year. Just me. My own ritual, my own balefire. My own moon, my own longest day.

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It felt like I spent most of the late morning staring into the sun.

It felt like I spent most of the late morning just staring into the sun. I know you’re not meant to do that. I do. Eventually, I got hot and made myself a picnic lunch and went off to look for usable ritual space. I brought all the usual stuff, but then I wasn’t sure I was going to need any of it. The woods were deeper beyond the folly, so I explored there first, picked a clearing, and started bring fire rocks from the caravan. That was the only time I actually missed Josh. Then again, he texted so often while I was carting rocks from the caravan to the clearing that I just about broke up with him, but then I thought better of it because somebody has to help me get rid of the rocks. Or maybe it wouldn’t be awful if I just left them here. These are the thoughts that go through my head. Weird I am.

I was going to meditate and get myself ready for the night’s ritual. But to be honest, I took a nap. Those rocks were heavy. So, yeah. I took a nap and I woke up in time to go and build the fire. I don’t think it’s wrong to do sausages over the balefire before the Midsummer ritual. Of course, it’s my ritual and my balefire, so fuck anybody who says it’s not OK to do sausages over a balefire before the Midsummer ritual.

It was nearly ten o’clock before it was dark, because, fuck. Longest day of the year and all.

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So I began invoking.

So I began invoking. I felt the fire rise higher as I called on the ancestors, the nature spirits, the gods.

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Working alone was so different.

Working alone was so different. There were bad things and good things about it. I mean, duh. Obviously there were bad things and good things about it. Bad: nobody to chant with, hold hands with, feel together with. Good: nobody to tell me what to do! No Wiccan telling me there’s something wrong with my cosmology. Yeah, because yours is perfect. omg.

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Something happened, though. Something really happened.

Something happened, though. Something really happened.

I was there, visualising the fire as the sun, the great initiator, and suddenly I felt a shiver in my body, and it was like, I don’t know, almost like, I left my body.

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And as if in an instant, I had a completely different life, all there in my head.

As as if in an instant, I had a completely different life, all there, in my head. As if it was a memory that had always been there.

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Somewhere around this time, I just pulled the bindings out of my hair.

Somewhere around this time, I just pulled the bindings out of my hair. It didn’t feel right for it to be back, not with this other life coursing through me.

And who was I? I was as I am now, a Sidhe of fine descent, only by some freak accident I was brought up in a world where there were purported to be no Sidhe, no Elves, no Trolls, no Dragons. No magic. My parents were academics, and I became an academic, and then one day I left that world and again, through a series of highly improbable coincidences, I became a Queen in Faerie. Imagine me, a Queen. Father would have a good laugh at that. Mother too, even if her sister actually is a Queen, it’s not like she consorts with the likes of us.

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It was like a physical blow.

It was like a physical blow, these memories. Not mine, but the Sidhe in them was me. Another me. Could have been me. Might have been me. And now she lives in a world without mobile phones and the Internet and everything even remotely technological has to be accomplished with magic. I felt kind of sorry for her.

And I wouldn’t want to be her. Probably she doesn’t know (assuming she exists at all and this isn’t some bizarre hallucination brought on by the cheek of doing sausages over the balefire before the Midsummer ritual) I got all these memories in such a flash, but just in case she did, I tried to tell her to get out of this backwater Faerie she’s living in. Because fuck me: a girl deserves an iPhone, am I right?

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I awoke in the Remembrance Garden.

I awoke in a plush bed in the Remembrance Garden. There wasn’t a bed here before. And I had the strangest dream.

Story notwithstanding, this is the first of a series of posts that will be showing you some of the coolest things at Hair Fair, which is now open! Both these hairstyles are from Analog Dog, because of course I am the world’s biggest Analog Dog Fan and so of course I had to show you two of Queue’s amazing styles before I move on to anybody else. Hair Fair only comes around once a year, and a percentage of everything sold there goes to benefit Wigs For Kids. It’s the best place on the grid to come and see great new hair. Don’t forget to join the demo group before you make your big shopping trip: that way you can pre-shop and choose what you want to buy before you make the trek. Hair Fair is four complete sims of hair, and it’s on until the 31st of July. 

Style Cards:
First four photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Dyana
Ears: BentBox Sylvan Ears
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae Bare, T1 (The Eirtae Bare skin has been updated and is available at the Lumae Main Store now!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Love (available at Hair Fair! Hair fair is NOW OPEN!)
Clothes: Wonderlost, Olivia Boho Skirt and Top (sold in loads of colours at The Secret Affair!)
Necklace: The Plastik, The Wenje Jewellery, (Available at this month’s Liaison Collaborative!)
Poses: Frolic, Route 66, Don’t Touch the Hair and Sun In My Eyes, (Coming soon to the Mieville Route 66 Celebration!)
Trees: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods
Caravan: Contraption, The Cuddle Camper, Pink

Midsummer Night Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Dyana
Ears: BentBox Sylvan Ears
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae Bare, T1 (The Eirtae Bare skin has been updated and is available at the Lumae Main Store now!)
Makeup: Fetch, Luna Makeup (Available at at The Secret Affair!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Evolve (updo) and Love (loose)  (available at Hair Fair! Hair fair is NOW OPEN!)
Clothes: Poet’s Heart, Marisol Skirt and Top (sold in loads of colours at The Secret Affair!)
Necklace: ieQED, Antler Necklace, (Available at at The Secret Affair!)
Poses: Frolic, Harbinger 1 & 2 (Available at the Frolic Main Store!)
Trees: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods
Bonfire: Heart, Forest Bonfire Medium

Faerie Photograph:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Dyana
Ears: BentBox Sylvan Ears
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae Bare, T1 (The Eirtae Bare skin has been updated and is available at the Lumae Main Store now!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Evolve (updo) and Love (loose)  (available at Hair Fair! Hair fair is NOW OPEN!)
Clothes: Eve, Ethereal Swimsuit (available at The Secret Affair!)
Necklace: ieQED, Antler Necklace, (Available at at The Secret Affair!)
Circlet: Junbug, The Sabrina Circlet
Poses: Frolic, Seated 4 (Available at the Frolic Main Store!)
Bed: Death Row Designs, Evening Romance, White Clouds (Available at the Indie Teepee Event!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never subject my primary rp character to dreams with glimpses of what might be alternate lives, or possibly just proof that she’s completely losing her marbles, without it!

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The Fantasy Collective for July

From the player:

From the player:

If you’ve been looking for me (all two of you!) you haven’t found me. I’ve been appearing to idle on SL a lot, unresponsive to messages, no flickr or  blog posts for days; in short it seems as if nothing’s going on with me. And of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ve been in hospital here in London receiving and beginning to recover from a full knee replacement. I’ve talked before on this blog about my husband’s cancer and why helping with Fantasy Faire and events like that is so important to me. My own disease, the one you can see anyway, is arthritis. Arthritis doesn’t just strike super-old people, although I’m hardly what would be described as young. On Wednesday, I had my right knee replaced and depending on my recovery speed, the left one will follow in its own time.

As it happens, the full knee replacement is apparently one of the most painful surgeries you can go through, and I can now vouch for this. I don’t have the energy or concentration level to role-play or write the stories about my narrators that people have begun to expect here, but I’m still taking photographs and finding cool stuff. These photos have mostly been hanging around for four days, waiting for me to have the energy and wherewithal to put them into a blog post.

So here’s the stuff Gwyneth really fell in love with at the July Fantasy Collective. The Fantasy Collective is open until the 15th of August, so you still have time to check out some of these lovely things. I’ll present the style cards with the photographs.

Sweet Lies, Tauriel Gacha

Sweet Lies, Tauriel Gacha

The Sweet Lies Tauriel Gacha has a beautiful array of dresses, and you will get a dress on every play, not just pieces and parts. This one is Box 11 (rare), and I love the detailing on the sleeves and the over skirting. Gwyneth is also wearing the Deviance Erulisse Circlet (The Priestess, Rare), Analog Dog (natch!) ‘s new(ish) updo, Sambuca. The stunning necklace is an event find from I don’t know how long ago, The Mithrind Necklace from Storybook, which is a staple of Gwyneth’s wardrobe. Here, I love how it picks up on the lattice pattern in the dress’ arm texture. The skin is 7 Deadly s{K}ins stunning Baukje, which started out life at the first July Designer’s Circle and is now available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store. She’s in the Maitreya Mesh Body with SLink hands and feet.

Les Encantades Ivy Dress, Azur

Les Encantades Ivy Dress, Azur

Here is another beautiful dress from The Fantasy Collective, Les Encantades Ivy Dress. This is the Azur colourway. I did mention Gwyneth likes blue, right? 😉 The hair is from Ayashi, which is doing such a great job with superlong mesh hair right now; it’s called Sirena and is available at The Fantasy Collective. Necklace is once again the Storybook Mithrind Necklace, and the mask is from Spyralle, who’s long been one of my favourite SL designers. It’s called Forest Edge Mask, and you can get it from the Illusion Point event, which I’ll talk a little more about farther down. Skin is of course Baukje from 7 Deadly s{K}ins, and I can’t say enough good things about it.

Senzafine Beriawen

SenzaFine Beriawen

The dress here is the SenzaFine Beriawen ensemble. SF really hit it out of the park on this one. The stuff is always good, but this style just makes me so happy, and additionally the tunic is completely wearable without the skirt and vice versa. The matching shoes are from The Illusion Point event, and they come in the same colourways as the clothing ensemble. You want to go to Illusion point, btw, and saying you’re just going for these shoes is a pretty good rationalisation!

Senzafine Beriawen, tunic detail

Senzafine Beriawen, tunic detail

Gwyneth is wearing SenzaFine Beriawen tunic and skirt in Pack 4, which includes the metallic colours, so Gwyneth really likes it. I also picked up the blues, greens and purples for her; those are Pack 2.You get a choice between gold and silver trims on each piece, as well. The necklace is Aegon from Le Forme and is still available at The Epiphany: this one is “eclipse” in silver. The tiara is also from Le Forme‘s Epiphany offerings; this one is the Aegon Tiara in Silver Sapphire (rare). The hair is, naturally, Analog Dog, the new(ish) Sambuca updo, and the skin is still the stunning Baukje from 7 Deadly s{K}ins. I just can’t get enough of this skin. Gwyneth’s eyes in these photos are actually new to her: I’d been using my own tweaked CustomEyes for her for so long I’d stopped crediting the eyes. These are from Mayfly, Luminous Mesh Eyes in Borealis. Ears are as always the Leevi Long Ears from Lumae. This is the Maitreya Lara Mesh Body with SLink hands and feet, and the shoes are SenzaFine‘s Aesbrennil Velvet-Lined Slippers, in colourways that cleverly match the ones for the Beriawen Tunic. This is pack 4, of course. They are available at the Illusion Point event: you should go there “just to buy the shoes”…. 🙂

Faida and Fallen Gods, Berenice, Blues

Faida and Fallen Gods, Berenice, Blues

I know I’ve rhapsodised at length about the Faida/Fallen Gods collaboration, but I’m going to do it again! They seem to have a gorgeous new dress for every event that comes along these days, and since I can’t resist a gorgeous new dress, here is Berenice. No fatpack was available, so I bought the blue ones to get the gorgeous Royale colourway, and as ever, it does not disappoint. HUD options are included as well, and you’ll see some of those later. The hair is Pepe, Athena, a gacha you can play at The Fantasy Collective. This is the rare light blonde colourway, and you don’t even want to know how much I spent to get Gwyneth’s colour in this hair. But, you know, if you want some of this hair and you don’t feel like leaving your house, just IM me in world and we can work something out. 😉 That said, if you’re not bothered about colours, the gacha is L$100 per play and the textures are all really nice. I’m always looking for ponytails and braids that work with Gwyneth’s ears, since I’m not giving those up, and that’s why I spent so much to get the colour I wanted in this one: it works with the ears! The circlet and crown combination are from ieQED, the Arwen crown (rare) and circlet (common) from the most recent Fantasy Gacha Carnival. Shoes are Deviance, M’Lady’s Slippers, from a longer-ago Fantasy Gacha Carnival. The ring is from JCNY. Body is Maitreya Lara Mesh Body, and hands and feet are SLink.

Faida and Fallen Gods, Berenice, Detail

Faida and Fallen Gods, Berenice, Detail

I’m presenting so many of these dresses with close-up photos so you can see the detailing on the dresses, it’s true, but also so you can get a closer look at this skin I’m currently raving about: Baukje from 7 Deadly s{K}ins. As with all of the 7DS skins, the detailing and subtle makeup on the face is worth taking a second-57th look at, and this skin has something that I really love personally, which is pronounced and visible eyeliner that does not take away from the eyes or the rest of the face. It’s eyeliner I might wear in real life if I wanted to be subtle. Yes, really.

Faida and Fallen Gods, Berenice

Faida and Fallen Gods, Berenice

One of the things you can do with the Berenice dress HUD is hide the bodice altogether. I quite like this look, but as Fae Queens go, Gwyneth is actually frightfully modest. So, I thought of this necklace from Zibska, called Aisling, which I haven’t had much of an opportunity to wear, immediately. I don’t remember where I got it, but you can score it at their main store, and they have a special one available in the dark rose colourway at The Lexi Project, another great event for a great cause that you should run not walk to as it has loads of worthy stuff.

Faida and Fallen Gods Berenice, plus Zibska Aisling, a closer look

Faida and Fallen Gods Berenice, plus Zibska Aisling, a closer look

And even closer. Irresistible skin from 7 Deadly s{K}ins.

And even closer. Irresistible skin from 7 Deadly s{K}ins.

This close-up photo is a good way to see how the Baukje skin employs such beautiful subtle highlighting, and you can also get a better look at the Mayfly eyes this way. I love the way the falling petals on the Zibska necklace seem to cup and enhance the breasts; as a Sidhe, Gwyneth is a bit of a titless wonder, so she needs all the help she can get in that department!

Now, I have to go get ready for physical therapy, which is the reality of my life for the next several weeks. I’m hoping to step up the blog posts for later today and later in the week, since so much is happening on the grid, but I can’t promise narrator stories or rp blogs for the foreseeable, as this post literally took three days to put together because my concentration is shot due to surgery, hospital, pain, heavy drugs, etc.

Thanks for reading.