The first is for those who are either in Second Life or who have some curiosity about this unstructured virtual world. Unlike WoW or other virtual playgrounds, SL isn't set up to encourage competitive play or aggression, nor is there any specific goal or point system. It is simply a virtual world where your avatar can live, socialize, shop and play. Many places are purely social, although loners can enjoy creating objects, settings, even clothing and other avatar accessories. There are also thriving role play groups of every sort you can imagine and recreations of real-world places and eras.
Among my favorite hang outs is ROMA - built by an archaeologist with a strong background in Roman history, ROMA offers a loose role play experience (that is, they're not going to beat you up and mock you if you don't stay 'in character') and has a very active and robust group of participants. Every month, an entire weekend is devoted to a series of festival activities, highlighting Roman customs and holidays and offering a little something for everyone. This past weekend, it was my pleasure to lead a ritual to Juno for Matronalia (which is actually observed March 1). And while you might think that a 'virtual ritual' is simply play, I've found that it isn't - the Internet has been hosting online ritual for widely spread apart pagans for many years now, and for those of us who do not easily find ourselves able to join together with others for ritual, I think this is an excellent way to do so. Adding the three dimensional element and the ability to have tools and visual cues adds greatly to the experience.
As for Matronalia - it is ancient Rome's Mother's Day - Juno acts in her capacity as protector of childbirth and midwives and is petitioned for blessings for easy, healthy deliveries. Those involved in the ritual wear their hair loose - no knots (normally, Roman women would never been seen publicly without their hair up), and their clothing was also loosened and entirely without knots. The reason for this is to 'unbind' the womb and allow for a relatively painless delivery.
Matronalia was also a day when the husbands would offer their wives presents as a thank you for bearing them children and the wives in turn would offer thanks to the household servants by preparing a fine meal for them and serving it to them (here again, respectable Roman women of any rank would not cook for the household, but instead leave that to the servants).
I think all in all it makes for a nice acknowledgment of women - of Juno as Divine Mother, of mothers and wives, and all those who help make the home pleasant and full of life.
On Sunday, it was the UU Auction I'd been waiting for! My Blackwork Chalice was one of the pieces bid on, and went for $30.00. I'd hoped it would go for a bit more, but that was in line with other original art pieces that were offered, and I think it (and some other pieces) suffered a little from coming late in the auction after people had spent their budget. Even so, the woman who bought it seemed to enjoy it and I had a wonderful time.
Michael and I went in agreeing to be cautious about buying much.. and came out with some nice trinkets anyway - an Austrian porcelain pitcher and pair of handle-less cups, a large Asian urn, a woven yarn basket, an onyx UU chalice necklace for me..
The big ticket items of the day were the minister's offer of a sermon on the subject of the winner's choice, and a very thorough car cleaning by a gentleman with a reputation for doing a really excellent job.
I'm already thinking about what I want to donate for next year.
Lastly, I want to note our plans for the next couple days. Tomorrow night, we're off to go see Morgue Story performed by the Molotov Theatre Group. It promises to be bloody awesome.
Then the next evening, we're joining my oldest daughter to watch the Port Tobacco Players do Shadowlands, about C.S. Lewis. That makes a total of three plays in one week, counting the Oz play we saw last weekend. It's like our own personal Fringe week!