Through the dark of a phosphor moon, or wandering the virtual cemetery

RVI’s PreFab Cemetery at Holly



Entering a cemetery means moving into a liminal zone; a space on the cusp of past and future. The rush of traveling souls blasts us as we cross onto a smoking charnel ground. Such realms do seem best shrouded in classic fog, with old iron gates and the rustling of hidden creatures keening “the big question.”

Cemeteries are for grieving, for jolting ourselves, for reminders, for visiting, for maintaining. And they are mostly for the living.

The St. Louis Cemetery, New Toulouse


Wandering through the New Toulouse cemetery as a newcomer in 2009, I assumed the crypts with 2 and 3-year date ranges were in memory of young children – in fact, a RL cemetery in Pittsburg California features dozens of crumbling grave sites memorializing those who died from childhood diseases in the early 20th century. But then, a few illuminating remarks from an older avatar clued me that the crypts were memorials to virtual souls. Here was the starting and stopping of pieces of our selves manifested in the SL realm.

The Catacombs at the Second Afterlife Cemetery, Saunuel


Like so many other things, death is boundless in the metaverse. We can reinvent and rewrite our lives, arguing or loving our way from interpersonal rigor mortis to instant replay. Our loved ones vanish and then return reframed as strangers. For all involved, the anguish of such metamorphoses can be as harrowing or enlightening as a death process itself. Eventually then, could memorializing these past soul bits become a celebration of ascension to a timeless future?

Cemetery at Love Lace Lingerie

Cemeteries are for fantasizing, for praying, for promises, for fights, for erotic encounters – they are for reminding ourselves we are alive and that we are going to be dead. And they are for that great chorus of soul bits who make up our world – those who may someday answer us again, given the courage and the presence to hear them.


Crypts at the Second Afterlife Cemetery, Saunuel
Author: RMarie Beedit
Marie lives in a temple full of monkeys. How she came there is no coincidence, because there are no coincidences. Living in a large US city. Background in the arts, foreground in tech management. ----- ◬♥ -----

11 thoughts on “Through the dark of a phosphor moon, or wandering the virtual cemetery

  1. Hey RMarie! Welcome to iRez! Thanks for joining us and thanks so much for this wonderful post! I hadn’t really thought much about Virtual Cemeteries, but now I’m fascinated!

    You could dismiss them as simple remediation and certainly much in virtual worlds is that. Yet I think these Virtual Cemetery spaces do indeed have a lot to say. For me virtual worlds, particularly one like Second Life, are Virtual Identity Factories. They are amazing spaces to consider, explore, and express our identities. Is a Virtual Cemetery silly? Or sublime? They can be a meditation on the multiple lives we experience in the fullness of our one big life.

    As you suggest, virtual worlds allow for RL phenomena we’d like to believe in but often can’t, such as things like reincarnation and resurrection. If an old friend comes back as an alt, is that deja vu?

  2. Yes – reincarnation, ressurection, heaven and hell; it’s all around us! A limited tolerance for alts can be balanced by a fond regard for Hinduism. And the same person who said “religion is the opiate of the people” said, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

    Thank you for the inspirational forum Vanessa and warm wishes.

  3. As we project our living selves in Second Life, we extend the projection to our departed self. We can try on goodbye rites, and why couldn’t it inspire us to figure out what our RL goodbye rites might be?

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