“A Lesson In Humanity And Other Folklore...”-
By MajikVixen (bluevioletvixen.lorefield)
does religion in Second Life mean to you? Some people do not separate
real life from Second Life, they admit that SL is just an extension of
their real life. Is it therefore important to find some spiritual
grounding for your avatar? I happened to think so, until I ran into a
situation that made me feel really uncomfortable.
began with me recently seeing another article on Sacred Cauldron, Witch
School, Wiccan Seminary, part of the Woolston-Steen Theological
Seminary, and I immediately took some personal interest. I visited the
Sacred Cauldron sim, and a lovely helper greeted me and answered some
immediate questions. She informed me that she volunteered to help pay
for her classes, and they treated her very well. I honestly liked the
feel I got when I was there, I was given the impression that I could
enroll and volunteer too. It had been a dream of mine to fulfill my
spiritual needs and to find a new place to belong to, especially since I
spend so much time in Second Life.
She directed me to
the application part of the Wiccan Seminary website, where it asked me
for personal things like my legal name, phone number, birth
date/time/place, current occupation, educational background, magical
training, High Priest/ess contact info., and
medical/mental/disability/learning issues, etc. I filled all this out,
of course, in good faith (part of the Wiccan Rede is "An Ye Harm None,
Do What Ye Will"), thinking that perhaps I would be on my way to a
The next thing I did was contact
Belladonna Laveau (belladonna.yarrowroot). The helper said I should
contact her, as she's the dean, and she would help me figure out what
classes I needed (I had completed previous Wicca training in real life,
and I was unsure as to how that worked with this new school). I also
informed Belladonna that I was looking for a possible scholarship, and
explained that I was on a fixed income, various other things, long story
short, I'm not Richie Rich, but that my intentions were pure and
dedicated (I even offered to help teach a class on The Secret / The Law
of Attraction, as compensation). She got back to me a few hours later
explaining that they understandably needed some proof of my income to
qualify me for a scholarship, and a letter of approval from my current
HP/s. I confirmed with her where to send my proof of income to, and
that my training was complete (but that she was welcome to contact my
HP/s). She thought that was wonderful, and that they should be able to
set me up the next business day. So I sent them proof of my RL income
to the e-mail address she requested it be sent to, and gave her my HP/s
Upon doing so, I received two e-mails (one of which included a manual PDF):
"Welcome to the Wiccan Seminary!
"Thank you for your interest in WiccanSeminary.EDU. I am contacting you
to help you register and transition into campus life. Please take a few
moments to create a profile for yourself on www.wiccanseminary.us and
set up your subscription payment at:
"Once you have set up your profile on the class website
www.wiccanseminary.US and set up your subscription for payment for your
classes, please take a moment to look over the 100 Level courses. We
will need you to send us your two elective choices so you may be placed
"Please remember that your monthly
subscription covers your core classes and two electives and is under
your control. We can not stop or terminate the subscription from our end
and when you complete your schooling, you will need to terminate the
subscription unless you wish to continue to support our efforts for
"We have you scheduled for Joining the Circle: Orientation, which occurs Wednesday at 7pm PST
"Have you created an avatar in Second Life and visited the Virtual
Online Campus, Sacred Cauldron? Have you joined us at any of the online
classes, rituals, or events?
"There are so many
fun things to do everyday. Our next session began on April 3, 2017, but
you are welcome to join in your classes once the registration process is
completed. I’d be happy to meet you on campus, show you around and
introduce you to everyone. When would you have time to set up your
avatar on Secondlife.com and meet with me?
remember that you can always find updated information on the Google
Calendar in the lobby of the Castle on SecondLife or on
www.wiccanseminary.edu website. To see the Session Dates, view the
calendar by month and look up at the top of the calendar for extended
"I look forward to hearing from
you. I am attaching a copy of your Student Manual that has lots of great
information that you will need in order to succeed here at
"Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary"
"Thank you so much for applying for a Service Scholarship at the WSTS.
"The Scholarship Program offers access to classes in exchange for your
skills and effort in a given position. The minimum time requirement for
any Scholarship position is between 15 and 20 hours hours per week.
"Before you are granted access to your classes, you must complete a
30-day probationary period. If you can be placed in a position where
your service can be of value to the school, your tuition will be waived
as long as you uphold your scholarship commitments.
"You will need to plan on attending the Career Counselor's meeting at
5:00pm SLT on Wednesday's which is posted on the calendar in the Lobby
of the Sacred Cauldron. You can also contact Capewind Dept. Director or
Belladonna Laveau, Dean of Wiccan Seminary.
are so glad to have you as a part of our growing student community, and
look forward to working with you as you grow with us.
"Should you need immediate access to your classes, you are welcome to
move forward with paying tuition for your classes. There are several
tuition levels that may be able to help you.
both of these e-mails, I responded by explaining my real-life work
schedule, and that Wednesday would be a problem for me, and to please
I waited a couple of days, and Wednesday
anxiously drew near. I then, finally decided to contact Belladonna
again. She responded a few hours later that she never got my e-mails
and that they would not be able to provide me a service scholarship
because I work. That the scholarship requires 15 hours of work a week,
and already I was having scheduling issues. Furthermore, that I should
consider a hardship discount instead.
I was baffled.
Now, the e-mails I got, looked very much like "welcome aboard" letters
to me. I was just concerned about getting my initial bearings and
welcome class underway. The manual I had been sent along with these
e-mails prided itself on the students being able to earn their degree
through just the use of the website, and that it wasn't necessary to go
inworld (it also contradicts itself and says that at least 1 hour a week
for class labs is required as a Freshman). My main concern however,
that I also shared with Belladonna, was that a school would turn down a
scholarship to someone who was trying to better themselves by working
while being on a fixed income. And how would I not have enough time for
spirituality and their school? In SL, I have been self motivated
enough to have my own store, my own sim, write for the SL Newser, write
the Lindo TOS, have a great rank in the Fish Hunt game, and had even
worked my way up to Gateway Guide in Faerie Crossing and edit their
Magic Messenger. I additionally pointed out that this could be the
beginning of a good business relationship, as once I was properly
trained by her school, I could broaden their schedule to other hours
that weren't previously available for people all over the world. I
explained that I gave her all my details upfront, especially RL info.,
but now, because of my RL work schedule, my scholarship was no longer a
responded that wasn't about me not being able to attend events, that it
was about the needs of the school, as scholarships are not guaranteed.
They found that people with already full schedules do not do well in
scholarship programs, and based on the information I provided, I was not
qualified. She wanted someone who would be reliable in their job
duties and someone who can be respectful to others when there is a
problem. Consequently, there were no job openings, not even for mascot
(which I filled out the application for as well). She added that she
was not discriminating against me, she was just following the policies
set forth by the school. To that, I replied that it seemed she was
judging me unfairly, and that a disclaimer would have been nice before I
took a chance in sending them all my RL information in hopes of such.
Belladonna explained that the 2 received e-mails I got with the manual
that made me think I had already been accepted, were actually form
letters (as in, pre-written corporate letters that everyone gets). She
asked if I had noticed the part where they mentioned my monthly
subscription covering core classes and 2 electives. I told her I did
notice that part, and I figured someone would respond to my e-mails and
explain it to me, or that they would be covered in orientation on
Wednesday. She then said that she had responded to my application
(during this last instant message), and that the others had written her
about the fact that I did not qualify, and wanted her to make a decision
so I wouldn't have to wonder any longer. After figuring out the
circumstances and feeling a bit duped, my last reply was, "This whole
thing has been a fantastic journey of wanting something and not being
good enough to get it, but I thank you for the lesson and wish you
well," and it seemed rather hypocritical but expected, that her last
words were, "Blessed be."
I'm sure there are
probably lots of testimonials that would say otherwise, however, my
final thoughts for those of us who are genuinely kind people and trust
too easily (and can therefore be taken advantage of):
give out your real life information and make yourself vulnerable,
unless you are SURE that it is worth it, and you have researched the
crap out of the asking party's intent. Just because a website looks
official, doesn't mean that it actually is. If something seems too good
to be true, it probably is.
spiritual school, especially from Second Life, that is going to send
out form letters to applicants, does not strike me as professional,
instead they come off in the end as impersonal, manipulative, and not
worth any investment. If they give the impression that they are too
busy for an applicant, then their goal of trying to coerce money (or
other things) out of potential applicants seems counterproductive.
be on your guard; never be so desperate to fill a void in your heart
that you end up throwing yourself or others under the bus. Trust takes
time for a reason, but all things of value are worth the wait.
Sometimes being an overachiever and being on top of everything means to
have the virtue of patience.
I wish you all well in your SL: go forth, being true to yourselves, as well as wary.
Editor's Note. I contacted
Belladonna Laveau about the matter. Her response was "MajikVixen had
applied for a service scholarship, meaning she would be allowed to
attend school in exchange for working for us. Based on the information
she provided in her application, she does not qualify for a scholarship.
We welcome all students, and we make it possible for every person, who
truly wants to go to school to do so. We have policies and limits, that
protect the integrity of the school, the applicant and the rest of the
student body. We have many hardship programs, which fit into almost any
budget. We did our best to help MajikVixen, but were unfortunately
unable to meet her demands."