The Burning of an Old Self – Burning Man (part I)
I’ve been brainstorming on this blog for a few days now and I’m determined to publish a piece of it before I leave the coffee shop I’m at in San Francisco today! That said, I’ve decided to break up this story into a few pieces – here is part one.
What is Burning Man?
I had heard of Burning Man from a few different people over the course of the past year. I heard stories and saw a few pictures of crazy parties, wicked costumes & art, partial nudity & full nudity, extreme weather conditions, and life transformations. Though the truth is that with a week leading up to the start of Burning Man I didn’t really know much about it, let alone did I imagine my self being a part of it this year.
In short, I can now tell you that Burning Man is one of the most unique experiences modern man is able to participate in today’s world. The experience of Burning Man takes you to an uninhibited desert in northern Nevada called Black Rock City. You are faced with extreme desert conditions that helps keep only the bravest of souls to join the community now 50,000+ strong that create the city of Black Rock City. For one week a year the Black Rock Desert transforms from an empty desert into the canvas for the 3rd largest City in the State of Nevada. Then it vanishes completely in accordance with one the primary values of Burning Man – “Leave No Trace Behind.”
The event and the symbolic burning of “The Man” represents uniquely different things for many uniquely different people. I have heard the burning of the man be described as “sticking it to ‘the man’ (or the institutional power of our society)”, as an escape from the reality of our current world, and even as a pagan festival in celebration of fire & earth. To me however, going into it Burning Man meant something different altogether from much of what I had heard.For my self Burning Man represented the burning of an old self. As I find my self where I am now in life and all that I am in search of I couldn’t imagine a more fitting experience to metaphorically recreate my self. To me, and as I’m sure for some others too, the burning of “The Man” was like the mystical story of the burning of The Phoenix. At a certain moment in the life of the Phoenix it would experience a transformation of self in which it would literally burn it self and from its ashes would bring the birth of new and evolved self that would rise into a new life.
This was the opportunity that my life presented to me with the chance to attend Burning Man 2012. It was something that I can now confidently say I manifested, though I can more faithfully share that I was called to experience…
Blog inspired by my virgin (1st year) experience at Burning Man 2012.
Written in San Francisco, California.