Wednesday, November 2, 2011


This past August I made my first trip to the Playa. This is the familiar and affectionate term used by attendees of Burning Man to refer to their home away from home.

The whole trip was deeply spiritual. An effigy of a man is the hub of the space, a center in nothing, the middle of desert expanse. He is burned on the final Saturday night. There are fireworks, there is screaming, drums, dancing. Firespinners spin. When the man burns there is chaos. 

There is also a temple built each year. It is a reflective place where people leave their pain, loss and grief to be consumed by the flames. The Temple burns on Sunday night. People are transfixed. This year it was called the Temple of Transition. There is total silence when the Temple burns. Total.

The burn hollows us out, relieves us of wooden weight. We then re-create.

I wrote a poem for a Rite of Passage taken by the women I camped with this year. The poem was a gift I received a few weeks before I left LA for the Playa. It was a moonlit night. From a quiet space, it welled up. 

I share it here as a reminder of the strength and beauty that inspires us to be wholly who we are, newly who we are, wherever we are: gifts, on and off the Playa. 

The Temple of Transition, Tuesday.


We come to the verge, where earth and ocean meet
With the support of our sisters
Beautiful women, all

We invoke the strength of these elements
That hold and embolden us
As we be in the world
Beautiful women, all

This beach
shows no footprints
Not because no one has come before
But as testament to the power
Of the earth,
The air
The water
to hold, absorb, transform
every gesture we make
beautiful women, all

Under the moon and the stars, we close our eyes
Stars bright as a sun, or dim and distant
We turn inwards
And with a vertical gaze
Sense the stillness
Hear the quiet
And be held in the calm darkness
Inside us
Beautiful women, all

We invoke the earth
The air
The water
The safety and strength of what creates us
these elements that hold us
Beautiful women, all

We turn inwards,
Safe to gaze at all that’s inside
With the support of our sisters
The sun moon and stars

We are curious observers
Of the marvels of our selves.
We explore.
Follow the footprints, our traces on this earth:
We acknowledge, we honor, we clearly see
what we’ve done
Who we’ve been
What we’ve created

We discover, in the light of these stars, our sisters

So we can offer it all
To who we are becoming
The best we keep, the rest we release
We invoke the power of
Earth and ocean
It’s immersion, conversion, transmutation, transformation
And humbly seat ourselves

Before ourselves
Before one another
Beautiful women, all

In stillness, peace and trust
For all that we become.
Beautiful women, all.

The Temple of Transition, Sunday.

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