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  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    This year I’m
    doing something
    different than my
    usual tradition of
    pithy punch list of
    lessons learned to
    wrap this series of
    entries up.
    I’m writing
    this last entry
    exactly two weeks
    after we got home
    from the burn, b ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Monday morning I
    woke up early and
    decided that I
    wanted to do one
    more personal ritual
    before we had to
    break down and pack
    up our yurt and load
    the truck and leave.
    So I took my handpan
    and one of our
    little chairs and
    walked ou ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Sunday is always a
    tough day at the
    burn because we have
    to strike
    tough physically of
    course but
    it’s also
    tough emotionally
    because it feels
    like the setting and
    the vibe we worked
    so hard to put toge ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Saturday was my only
    day with nothing
    pre-planned and
    nothing I had
    committed to do. The
    burn was almost over
    and I was starting
    to feel nibbles of
    FOMO (Fear Of
    Missing Out) so I
    was determined to go
    see some more art
    (especially ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Because I had
    actually gotten
    enough sleep, I woke
    up reasonably early
    on Friday morning.
    Josh was still
    asleep, but I wanted
    to take advantage of
    the relative
    coolness of the
    morning and go do
    something. So I
    decided to take my h ...


A blog in which Our Heroine records, reflects and wrestles with meaning. With lots of asides.
Tags >> identity work

Rites of Passage at Burning Man: Part 4

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Tagged in: solipsistic , reflect , record , life , lessons , inspirational , identity work , freaky , Burning Man , art

Isis and Supernova in the Metal Ring Sculpture-Burning Man 2011Wednesday night was probably the one night that I actually got a full night’s sleep the whole time I was out there, and it was a good thing too because I had had such a mind-blowing, epiphany-full day the day before, I really needed to recharge. When we got up on Thursday morning it was lovely and cool and quiet (not what I had expected in the desert, but at such high elevation, the nights are actually quite cool and it takes awhile to warm up again). We eventually got ourselves together and decided that this was the perfect day to be sparkly purple fairies and go visit Center Camp, both to check it out as its own interesting environment and to get ourselves some coffee and some ice, which are the only things actually sold as opposed to gifted at Burning Man (and only there at Center Camp or at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock plazas). So we got all dressed up and wandered over to Center Camp.

On the way there we checked out the general neighborhood, and saw some more cool art—giant metal sculptures on the playa, all different kinds of theme camps (Space Cowboys! Circus people! Thunderdome!) and people doing a wide variety of whatever their own freaky self-expression was. The outside of Center Camp-Burning Man 2011There was also all kinds of interesting art on the outside walls of Center Camp as well as inside it—we could have looked around forever but in what I was coming to experience as the general serendipitous flow of the Burning Man experience, we didn’t push to go see everything, just appreciated what came our way as we moved about on our way hither and yon. We got ourselves some iced coffee (now *that* was a fabulous sensual treat in the middle of the desert, plus a general treat for me since I’d been mostly off caffeine pre-Burning Man) and sat around a bit. I really liked the art around the coffee bar, which was a variety of cut-paper shapes collaged with images, combined with thought-provoking past-tense questions written all over them Center Camp coffee Bar-Burning Man 2011(questions like “What did it feel like to break free?” or “What was your desire?” or “What was it like when you finally arrived?”). 

After looking at the big long line, we decided that we would skip the visit to Camp Arctica to get ice, and instead wandered around the Center Camp neighborhood for a bit looking for the Artery (the central place for information about Burning Man artists, art tours, etc) and the medical tent (Isis wanted to pick up some more bandages there). At the Artery, I met a gorgeously costumed pink bunny person—we were so delighted with and appreciative of each other’s outfits that we had to take a picture together.Purple Sparkle Fairy and Pink Bunny-Burning Man 2011

Rites of Passage at Burning Man: Part 3

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Tagged in: solipsistic , reflect , record , life , lessons , inspirational , identity work , freaky , Burning Man , art

Our cozy tent set up-Burning Man 2011Wednesday morning we got up around 8 and looked around Sacred Spaces Village a bit and then finished setting up our camp. We put up a big EZ-up shade shelter in front of our tent, and under that we put the hammock on a stand that Isis had brought with her. I also staked everything down, and arranged camp chairs and boxes so we had a sort of sitting area under the shade. The final touch was duct-taping up a couple of freak flags on the top of the shade structure. Although we’d initially envisioned having two tents and more room to set up, our camp setup actually worked out to be quite cozy and pleasant—we spent a lot more time at our tent than we’d thought we would! While I was puttering around camp, Isis went to an energy healing session she’d signed up for. When she came back, we figured out the day’s costumes (I finally got to wear my custom-made shiny red lace pants!) and set out to explore. Isis wanted me to meet Ammo, the guy who’d done the energy healing for her, and he introduced us to Jai, who was running one of the spaces affiliated with but just outside the main Sacred Spaces Village: the Sacred Spaces Pod.

Jai showed us the pod (which much to my regret, I never got to spend time in—apparently it was a sort of spiritually-focused isolation tank experience) and the Rites of Passage Game experience he’d built around a deck of divination cards. He encouraged us to try the first level of the game: we each chose a card from the deck. Mine was “Mental i-Soulation”. The message in that one that appealed to me was that it was time to retreat from mental stimulation in order to reflect consciously on my own thoughts and the patterns and unconscious habits and conditioning that occurred there.  I also liked that it emphasized that “thought is creative” (in other words, your thoughts create your reality) and counseled “rethink your destiny”. It made me question what kind of reality was I choosing to create for myself? What had it been in the past, and what did I want it to be in the future?

Isis and Ammo left for lunch at that point, but I was intrigued and wanted to stay around a little longer. I tried the first level of the game, which required finding a word with a spinner Jai had made and then reading about the “gene key” that it related to. I found myself totally caught up in reading about the particular gene key that I’d chosen: in my case, the gene key was “Diamond of the Self”, which seemed appropriate. Each key has certain concepts related to it, of “shadow” (the human/ego level), “gift” (the soul/spirit level) and “siddhi” (the source/oneness level). In my case the shadow was “mediocrity”, the gift was “style”, and the siddhi was “exquisite”. I’m not going to bore you with the specific details, I promise (though if you really want to check out this or other gene keys and other trippy stuff you can go look here), but what I will say is that this touched me in that pinched, uncomfortable identity work place, where I was feeling blue about “oh sure, what’s so special about me anyway? I should just stay small and mediocre and safe so I don’t disappoint anyone.” Being told that the gift I was embodying was “style”, that unique, creative expression of individual spirit, well, that was right in line with the kind of reality I wanted to create. And bringing that gift forward into the “siddhi” (source/oneness) level of “exquisite” tapped right into my desire to be a conduit of divine creativity. And that’s all I’ll say about that for now (not because I’m trying to hide anything but because there’s still so much to talk about.)

Rites of Passage at Burning Man: Part 2

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Tagged in: solipsistic , reflect , record , life , lessons , inspirational , identity work , freaky , Burning Man , art

Ticket for Burning Man 2011: Rites of PassageSo after much conversation and intention setting, Isis and I finally arrived at Black Rock City (which is what we call the city that springs up every year around Burning Man) early Tuesday evening, almost two days into the event. It took us about an hour or two to get ourselves to and through the gate, which was frustrating at first but then we realized why it was taking so long. Not only do you have to show your ticket and let them search your car (no big deal really), but also they have a welcoming committee that you pass through, who pull you out of the car and give you hugs and tell you “welcome home!”, make sure you know where you’re going. And if you’re new, like I was, they get you to lie down in the dust and make a “playa angel” and ring a big bell. (I turned down the playa-angel-making experience, because I was just not yet ready for the dust. They didn’t force it.) We knew where Sacred Spaces Village was (4:15 and Esplanade, which was actually right on Black Rock City’s “Main Street” and therefore a pretty awesome home base) but even after wandering around a bit, we had a really difficult time accessing it by car. You’re not supposed to drive on the Esplanade, but we finally gave up and did so, just so we could get ourselves close to where we were supposed to be. We found the Sacred Spaces Village camp, but couldn’t find the people who were supposedly in charge of checking us in, so we waited around for a while as it got dark. Isis went inside the main chill space so she could lie down, and I waited with the car. Finally a lovely soul named Aaron arrived to take care of us. He welcomed me home (I love it how that simple phrase, which I heard many times while I was there, encompasses so much about community and identity) and then helped me figure out where we might be able to put our car and where we could pitch our tent. He even stayed with me to help direct me as I drove the car (slowly, cautiously, against the night traffic) to the camping spot, and made sure we got ourselves settled.

So once we had our spot staked out, we were able to grab some food, and then we finished signing in and got our camp bracelets (which let us officially get food) and our bathroom keys (SSV had its own bank of port-o-potties and a couple of shower stall spaces, which was a huge blessing). By then it was getting close to 10pm, but we still had yet to put our tent together. Since Isis was still needing to rest and not lift anything due to her health issues, it was up to me to put our personal camp space together—and I did, after a few struggles with trying to adapt our fantasy plan of how things would be set up to the reality of the situation we found ourselves in. I pulled boxes out of the car, put up our big tent (we had brought several tents but there wasn’t room for them), filled it with air mattresses and our sleeping gear, and let Isis crash out. Me in My Fish Hat and Stripy Scarf-Burning Man 2011By then it was close to midnight, but I really couldn’t go to sleep without at least taking a brief look around. I found my costume bin and dug out a crazy yellow fish hat and bright orange shirt and stripy scarf, and put them on. Then I grabbed my Camelbak backpack and walked out the front door of our camp, which faced the open playa with the Man in the middle of it.

[A brief digression here to explain to those who don’t know how Burning Man is laid out—those of you who do know can skip this part. There’s a map, but the simple explanation is that the city is laid out like a semi-circle surrounding a large open area. The radial streets of the city correspond to the hours on a clock, from 10 o’clock on the left to 2 o’clock on the right. The streets that run the circumference of the semi-circle start with the Esplanade on the inside, closest to the open playa, and then after that are alphabetical A-H. Each year the alphabetical streets are re-named to correspond to the year’s theme, so this year, for example, A was Anniversary, B was Birthday, C was Coming Out, and so on. All rites of passage, see?]

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