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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Hope in Blackmoor

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Gwyneth:

Rest turns to sleep, sleep turns to dreams, and the FaireLands turn over into a new day. A day that made me realise something. Well, a lot of somethings, but we’ll get to those in a minute or twenty, as soon as I’ve collected my thoughts.

Our universe, our metaverse, is full of a million wonders. And I, without humility (what Sidhe is possessed of humility?) can say that I am one of those wonders. But the magicians who make the FaireLands? The magicians behind the magicians who create this once-a-year spectacle of light and sound and literature? These are the wonder-makers.

It’s because of those magicians, in so many ways, that I can be who I am: Gwyneth Evans become Gwyneth, Queen of Faerie, born in the mind of a different kind of magician and risen, kneaded, and risen again in the kitchen of story.

Many of my wanderings during this year’s Great Faire have been informed by magicians behind magicians: in this case, the wonder makers and thought experimenters of the Fantasy Faire LitFest. Each day, a different Realm came up as a tour for writers, and word-weavers came along to look at the Realms and write something down about them.

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A different guise.

So I shall take on a different guise for you today. I am Gwyneth, but I am something different.

Something, perhaps, from a sonnet:

Hope Always Remains
In this dark land, she spreads her golden wings
And calls for mist to clothe her shining limbs.
Before the dawn, her smothered spirit sings
As if her destiny lies in a hymn
Or maybe some inhuman synonym.
What calls to her at last? It is a sound
And when she stirs, her steps feel tugged by whim
Her feathers lift her just about the ground
And when she finds the source, she stands, spellbound.
Where river pours itself onto the rocks
And makes the stones and crevices rebound
As if the water goddess bends and talks
And calls the mist to clothe her where she stands
To bless her with the waterfall’s pure hands.

(Gwen Enchanted, LitFest Tour, Blackmoor)

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In this dark land, she spreads her golden wings and calls for mis to clothe her shining limbs.

Blackmoor. Land of darkness. Land of gargoyles. Land of enough cemetery architecture to make the most eyelinered up goth in Gothtown, Gothy McGothface, tear up and buy every Sisters of Mercy album. On vinyl. Again.

In fact, it would be easy to walk through Blackmoor and not see anything but the darkness.

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But did you look up?

But did you look up? Up into the trees? Up into a night lit with stars beyond counting?

Did you look up?

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Did you travel to the edge of the land and look back upon the glimmering stars?

Did you travel to the edge of the land and look back upon the glimmering stars against the waterfalls?

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Did you balance between a meadow and a waterfall?

Did you balance between a meadow and a waterfall, trying not to be distracted by the glimmering lights overhead?

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I looked back from where I’d come.

I looked back from where I’d come. Such a long way. That may have been the point where I realised I had hieroglyphs painted on my golden (!) skin, a scarab around my neck, wings like a bird’s rather than a butterfly’s. And I thought of myself as a vessel carrying the past into the future. Carrying my story. Carrying all my stories. Carrying my friends and family, and being carried when I cannot carry myself.

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Sometimes it seems like the hardest thing to reach for is hope.

Sometimes it seems like the hardest thing to reach for is hope.

And yet, like the golden-winged girl in that poem made by my personal magician, I think sometimes it is not so far away at all.

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Hope Always Remains

What if, even in the darkest of lands, hope yet remains? What if the golden light of hope fills us, and our bodies, our souls, vessels that carry the past into the future, also carry hope?

Every life is a box.

Pandora’s box.

And every bit of hope is a star in the darkness, the mist of the water goddess, green shoots from the earth, ideas from the air.

It’s in every box. It’s in every life.

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Far away from Blackmoor, on a cliff above the beach at White Owl…

Far away from Blackmoor, on a cliff above the beach at White Owl, there sits a harper made of stone. She plays hope. Her box, at the bottom, contained a little sliver of hope named Words, and Music. Other people have the same kind of sliver. Still others have slivers named Science. Other slivers are named differently, but everyone has at least one.

Hope. Like music in the night, like stars in the darkness, like a cure for cancer. It lives in every body. And in everybody.

Feed it.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Jessica
Ears: Soul, Uni High Elf Ears
Skin: Fallen Gods, Blessings of Isis
Eyebrows: The Skinnery, The Lyre Brows, 5
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Epsilon (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Necklace: Musa, Seraph (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Dress: Poet’s Heart, Joy (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Shoes: Bliensen & Maitai, Dreki Anklet (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Setting: Blackmoor and (last photo) White Owl

Yes, the Second Life Fantasy Faire officially closed last night! But the sims are still up and will be for a few days! If you haven’t been already, go check them out now!

Thank you, everyone who works together to create and sustain the Second Life Relay for Life, and thank you, everyone who creates and sustains Fantasy Faire. The event itself is uplifting and inspiring, but nothing prepared me for the joyful and understanding and creative magicians I’d meet there. You are all stars in the darkness.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never explore the Fairelands without it!

The Great Faire

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Gwyneth:

It’s that amazing time of year again! The Fairelands are open!

There is so much to see, so much to do, and of course, so much to buy.

The Kingdom will have to wait for a couple of weeks: but everyone knows where I’ll be when the Great Fantasy Faire is on, so I’m sure Bran can handle it.

Ahh, all the things I could be. All the things I could be, if I could but wander the Faire forever….

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I could be at east in Bright Haven.

I could be at ease in Bright Haven, free from fear or care;

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I could be a Sidhe in Serenity, candles everywhere;

I could be a Sidhe in Serenity, candles everywhere;

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Or even the Dryad of Echtra, calling mushrooms from the earth;

Or even the Dryad of Echtra, calling mushrooms from the earth.

Ah, I wandered the Fairelands all the day, and saw not even a quarter of their wondrous offerings.

But it was in Lucentia I saw and remembered: Fiona. I have to talk to Fiona.

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It was as if she lived there and was opening her house as the Fairelands opened.

It was as if she lived there in Lucentia and was opening her house as the Fairelands opened.

I am intrigued.

But for now….

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Come, we say, come to the Fairelands.

Come we say, come to the Fairelands.

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Marvel at the beauty here, investigate your own beauty.

Marvel at the beauty here, investigate your own beauty.

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Come.

Come.

Fantasy Faire, a Relay For Life of Second Life Event, opened today at 9am SLT and will close on Bealtainne, May 1, 2016.

Over the next couple of weeks, my SL blog will be almost completely devoted to FF and RFL of SL. Not only is Fantasy Faire an amazing place, full of the most beautiful builds and the best merchants anywhere, but its proceeds also go to combat cancer. I, like many other people who work at the Faire, have deep and personal reasons for supporting the Faire as much as I do. Last year, we raised over $26,000 US dollars for the American Cancer Society.

It’s worth it.

Style Cards:

Bright Haven Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Jessica
Ears: BentBox, Sylvan Ears
Skin: Lumae Eirtae, Tone 1
Hair: EMO-tions, Leni
Gown: Poet’s Heart, Theta (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Wings: Faeline, Ayano Rose (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Setting: Bright Haven

Serenity Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Jessica
Ears: BentBox, Sylvan Ears
Skin: Lumae Eirtae, Tone 1
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Iota (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Gown: Sakide, Lienna Skirt & Top (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Wings: Faeline, Ayano White (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Setting: Serenity

Echtra Gwyneth
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Jessica
Ears: BentBox, Sylvan Ears
Skin: Lumae Eirtae, Tone 4, Cherie
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Iota (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Gown, Mask, Collar, & Bracelets: Aisha, Dryad (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Setting: Echtra

The Amazing Catwoman in Lucentia:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Gwen
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears Drow
Skin: 7 Deadly Skins, Ymke Drow (Available at the Fantasy Faire!) (Maitreya and Omega Appliers sold separately!)
Hair: No Match, No Passion
Clothes: Avatar Bizarre, Zaahn Female (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Boots: Avatar Bizarre, Unicorn Boots (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Setting: Lucentia

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never explore the Fairelands without it!