Sunday, February 15, 2009

For St. Valentine's Day

I believe that 'St. Valentine's Day' is more apt than Valentine's Day to me because of the connotation of suffering and martyrdom. Love is not a painless business, and the ability to love requires willingness to sacrifice to some extent, even if sacrifices involve trivialities.

In some cases, however, the sacrifice that is required is the willingness to surrender to the ultimate reality of loss. Those whom we love, whether they are human beings or beloved pets, are doomed to death at some point.

Again and again, friends of mine who have experienced a pet's death have declared that they never wanted another animal because they couldn't bear the pain of that sort of loss again. To me, this is tantamount to renunciation of life itself. If you shield yourself from all relationships or emotions that could cause pain, you become less than human. Cut yourself off from the pain of loss and you cut yourself off from the joy of love.

I wanted to do something creative for St. Valentine's Day. I have spent little time in Second Life this past year, but it is on the occasions of any holiday or festival that Second Life displays its greatest capacity to express beauty and ritual. I therefore decided to create a little video that would tell a tale of love, using two avatars that I created myself. The setting is one of my favourite castles by Second Life castle-builder Wolves Bain. The castle's name is 'The Awakening'. Wolves Bain created his own story for the Awakening, as he does for every castle he builds, but I borrowed from his concept a little to create my own St. Valentine's Day tale.

I gave the male avatar the name Attis because he exists as a symbol of love and therefore resembles the ancient god who sacrificed his life each year for the rebirth of the earth. Another reason for naming him is that Attis became neither male nor female through his sacrifice. As I am a woman, my avatars cannot be truly male. It is fitting that my sole 'male' avatar should be named Attis.

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