Namaste, Namaste – click any image for full size
Far back in the mists of time (by Second life standards!) I visited and blogged Sethos Lionheart’s beautiful quarter region of oriental design, The Snow Lion, which offered harmony and serenity in a tiered garden setting. Such was my appreciation of the build, I missed it when it vanished from Second life.
So it was with the delight of receiving a Christmas gift that I accepted an invitation from Sethos to visit his most recent creation in Second Life, which forms a home for his growing furnishing design business – and more importantly – an interconnected set of locations open to the public with a special purpose.
“I decided to try a region,” Sethos told me, “not for the business – that exists there purely to help fund the region – but because I wanted to dedicated large parcels to the meaningful aspects of my life (both physical and SL), with the hope that others will find solace and comfort in it and come away feeling spiritually refreshed.”
Currently caught in the depths of winter, the region has four potential starting points for people’s visits. There is Namaste (after which the region is named), which for me offered a direct link back to the Snow Lion, and thus a natural place to start my visit. Within it sits a small Chinese style house, perfect for meditation, facing a low pagoda occupying a curl of land which wraps itself around a facing turn of water.
Observe these from above, and you’ll see they form a yin-yang, echoing one of the centrepieces of The Snow Lion. Here, as with that design, the use of water and land to form the symbol perfectly encompasses the philosophical concept of opposites being complementary. The best place, perhaps to appreciate this yin-yang, is by climbing the stone steps up to another pagoda, occupying a rocky promontory and offering further opportunities for reflection and meditation. Whilst there, do note how the pagoda and fountain are positioned to complete the yin and yang symbols.
“I’ve been meditating every day for the past year and I’ve never felt more integrated with life or more at peace with myself,” Sethos told me. “My hope is that this parcel offers as a quiet place for meditative contemplation and conversation while presenting a visual metaphor for the long process of self-discovery.” To help visitors relax and free their thoughts, Tai Chi balls and yoga mats are offered for visitors to use.
“I’ve spent most of my life as a practising pagan,” Sethos said in introducing Gaia’s Grove, which can be reached from Namaste via the footpath winding through the trees – take the left turn where it branches – or you can follow the snow northwards along the water’s edge. “So Gaia’s Grove is meant to offer a place where one can commune with nature through long walks in the woods, a small temple, and even a version of Stonehenge. I’ve also included an outdoor ballroom for good times with friends and family.”
The temple sits shaded under trees, reached via a second left turn in the path, its back against the wall separating it from the outdoor ballroom area. It also presents a place of quiet contemplation, with a balcony overlooking the water presenting a place for soft conversation. A short distance away, Stonehenge is offered as it might have looked to those who built it, and sits as a peaceful location amidst the snow. Open to the air, the ballroom allows plenty of room for dancing under the sun or stars, in a romantic setting.
The dance area, near The Old Stone Church, Namaste
The eastern half of the region is home to Sethos’ store, OM Namo, and The Old Stone Church. “I spent some time as Friar Sethos in Tintagel,” Sethos said of the latter. “Teaching basic Latin to the village children and giving mass each Sunday was some of the best moments in my Second Life. I finally understood in SL what I’d not seen in real life. That the church often is the heart-centre of a community. So I offer this build as a reflection of that, and a place of sanctuary. If you do go, visit the graveyard to the right of the church. I find it particularly serene.”
Connecting the church and store is the second of the regions two large dance venues (a smaller third dance area is located to the side of the church), and a frozen pond awaiting skaters.
Caught within the snows of winter, with trees frosted and white and rolling snow-dusted hills surrounding it, Namaste made for a perfect seasonal visit this Christmas Eve. My thanks to Sethos for extending the invitation to drop in – Caitlyn and I will be back for certain!
Namaste is rated Moderate.