I arrived at Burning Man at the exact moment sunrise cracked the world open over the mountainous horizon. We'd collected just enough pure water from a local spring to last us a week in the desert. At the gate, they made me drop and make sand angels, ring a bell, and scream "I am no longer a virgin" three times out loud. I knew right away that we had entered a place where magic is palpable and real. The playa is a big, beautiful blank canvas, where epiphanic experiments in human potential are radically, ruthlessly explored. The third largest city in Nevada, while it exists, thrives on a money-free gift economy. There is zero commercialism. The Principles of Burning Man are Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical Self Reliance, Radical Self Expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation, and Immediacy. 68,000 people are expected to come this this year.
Living on a big blank canvas for a week gives you a meta-perspective on your regular life. Many of the mental constructs, filters, and doorways of perception I used to navigate the world with were completely erased in that wide open space. This led to massive upheavals in my closest relationships, and brutal challenges to my ego. My heart broke over and over again. As painful and difficult as it was, it only broke open wider to receive, hold, and give more love.
"This led to massive upheavals in my closest relationships, and brutal challenges to my ego"
This astonishing week full of limitless brilliance and illuminating love culminated with the Burn. I visualized my own transformation, sending all my old pain and patterns into the effigy of the Man while he dissolved in flames. The next night, I prayed my remembering, reverence and devotion into the Temple Burn, which was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. A lone singer sang "Ave Maria," as tens of thousands of people gathered in silence for the ceremony. The Temple was a stunningly intricate vigil, honoring those who have passed and all that we are letting go of. When the flames simmered down low, the crowd rushed through the fire, leaping over the burning embers… softly, swiftly breaking the widespread silence that had held the Temple Burn's sacred container for so long.
What I took away from my first Burning Man, above all, is a deep and utter devotion to the elements. I experienced sunrises which were so heartbreakingly beautiful, my entire life cracked open, receiving astounding transmissions of energy, understanding, and orgasmic love from the source of all Creation. I learned to worship the Sun, Moon, Earth, Fire and Water. I learned how to be in my body. I returned from the playa with a deeper knowing of who I am, where I'm at, and where I'm going, than ever before… and I can't wait to go back this year.