It's become an annual pilgrimage for Chris and I to jam pack as much stuff as we can into a vehicle, make our way into the dusty abyss, and really shake things up mentally, physically and spiritually. Burning Man is a place where we can dream, build, and help create a city in the middle of the desert just outside of Reno. Burning Man gathers over 60,000 people to create a society built on key principles like Radical Inclusion, Radical Self-reliance and radical Self-expression - everyone must participate. It's a gifting economy (no money is exchanged at Burning Man) and we leave no trace behind.
This year is the first year the founder, Larry Harvey, won't be making the journey with us in human form. He passed away in April - leaving monumental change in his wake. He created a space that we call "home." It's not an easy place to get to. Or easily inhabitable. But we all go. Build a city. And burn away what's holding us back.
It's hard to sum up into words what this annual journey really means but I always say that Eldorado General Store is my Burning Man art installation in real life. It very much was birthed from my experiences in this magical place - and I continue to draw inspiration from Burning Man and bring it back to Detroit to share.
A dear friend of mine, Eliana of Wellness Weaver, wrote an article titled "Rekindle" about what this week in Black Rock Desert means. Her words are always so powerful, so I'd like to share them with you...
"Heading out to Burning Man this year, I've felt a unique energy in the air: a new sensation pulsating through the community. For me, its expressing as a readiness to come together in new way. I hear a call to organize under a brand new light. This light being a culmination of many earthly experiences, but also an electric reflection of the higher spirit, who helped plug us all into this rare life force to begin with. Larry Harvey, the star traveler, who came together with his human community, and built all of us who were seeking: a new home. A place where we could all go, and discover a revolutionary way of being human.
Year after year we come together for a cause that isn't simply about building, but is in truth: a movement of dissolution. Mistaken for idolatry by some who haven't immersed themselves honestly in the culture, this coming together is in actuality an evolution in how we pray. Where we don't worship the power of erected human creation, but instead honor the truth of our fragile humanity. To witness structures: generated by love, dedication, and life force of widespread intricate communities, fall so effortlessly to dust: it is, at the core, a remembrance of who we are.
Swimming in the collective consciousness, is this idea that Larry Harvey created a new species. A new way of being human. A seed of an idea that when watered by his community grew into the most beautifully elaborate family tree that looks like none other we'd ever seen. Branches weaved from many lineages, leaves that grew and fell into exotic seedlings: alien to most other species previously erected on this earth. A tribe smitten with the experience of burning "The Man", a symbol we each had a hand in creating. A logo that we all wear, walking on this earth in the modern age.
They call us burners; those who come together for the sole purpose of burning things down. The element of fire, symbolizing: transformation, change, revolution. What is a burner if not simply a person coming together with their community to light a stagnant world on fire? To be the ignition to their own evolution. To spark change in the society they rose from.
In momentary hesitation, I questioned what connection this year's theme of I-Robot would have with the sudden passing of such an incremental pivot point to a clock of civilization. Where would we find space to connect with spirit, in the expansive playing field of massive robotic toys? Will there be room for sacred conversation? Time to pay our necessary respects, while being inundated with the newsfeed of technical advances? Will we have the opportunity to truly honor Larry Harvey, and all those who laid the foundation of our past, when the intention weaved into this gathering is for the celebration of our future?
My fear dissipated once I saw the idea for this year's theme illustrated so clearly on the 2018 ticket. Adorned so beautifully in the dichotomy of our world. A curious robotic hand, reaching out to connect with the symbol of evolution. The butterfly: a tribute to transformation. When I really think about it, I recognize that technology allows us a means of congregating like we never have before. Diving into our social medias and 'connecting' by way of electrical reverence, we have never been able to relate on such a broad scale. Isn't robotics, in truth, what we as a collective now pray to? Devote our time and give our energy to every single day? We sanctify more moments to looking at our phones then we offer to in person conversation and real life stimulation. Technology IS sacred. We have found faith by redirecting power, literally, into our own hands.
Larry Harvey is Burning Man. His energy infused into its creation. He literally gave his life, to building something new. The conclusion I've come to is that this year's theme, like many other things, is no accident. That as we continue evolving in our human awakening, understanding the truth of who we are, we must give our lives to what we create. We must bring our sacred connection to this world in a way that we have never previously experienced. We are the electric pulse that can very literally change the frequency of our earth. I have learned so much from my time on the playa. Gained so much from the community it has allowed me to build. Embedded now in our consciousness, is the gifts we've discovered in the dust. We are going home this year, radiating in new light.
As the theme of I, Robot is described on Burningman.Org, "Having out-sourced our minds, we might choose to out-source our selves. Who doesn’t want a friend who mirrors one’s own opinion of one’s self? Already it appears we may be moving in this direction."
Larry Harvey, all those we've loved and lost, will be reflected all around us. We will see them, literally, right in front of us in the structures we erect, the robots we build, the ashes where we all eventually will fall. I'm praying for a new earth: robotics ritualized in divine resonance, wholly sanctified in our collective, electric heartbeat. One collaborative conscious that pulsates revolutionary life force back into our world.
Sending love to everyone on their journey home. May we all remember who we are, where we came from, and all that we have the power to be."