Black Rock City does an annual census that is chock-full of interesting information, including the spiritual beliefs of Burners. I was going to write about the overall census results today, but decided to wait for the final 2014 data. That means this will be my last post for the season on Burning Man.
It seems appropriate that I conclude with the Temple. I consider it to be Burning Man’s most unique structure. And yes, this includes the Man. The Temple is a spiritual place. Thousands of Burners leave messages to friends and loved ones who have passed on, including pets. They also leave messages of thanks and love to people who are still very much with us. By Saturday, it is challenging to find a reachable space that hasn’t been written on. When the Temple burns on Sunday evening, all of these messages are sent skyward, with a prayer, if you will.
This does not mean that Burners are religious. In fact, only 7% of Burners define themselves as belonging to a particular religion according to the 2013 Census. Half of all Burners consider themselves spiritual, however. And most of these folks, including me, think of the Temple as sacred space. The thousands of messages of grief and deeply felt love make it impossible to think otherwise.
NEXT BLOGS: I am beginning a new series on North America’s fabulous Northwest. I will start with a week-long sea kayak trip Peggy and I took this summer off the coast of northern Vancouver Island looking for Orcas. I will then move inland for a look at Washington’s beautiful Mt. Rainier National Park where Peggy and I hiked with our son Tony in August. I will finish up with a road trip down the Oregon coast, which I am on right now. It may even include portions of Washington and California’s Coast. Who knows where I might end up. I don’t.
21 thoughts on “Welcome to Burning Man’s Temple… A Spiritual Place”
Amazing journey Curt. Great photos and am pleased you pointed out that the messages left were spiritually inspired but not necessarily religious, although some of them were. Sometimes it is assumed that spirituality is always religious in the sense of a ‘belonging to a church’.
Thanks Gerard. I have felt for a long time that one can be spiritual without being religious. It’s a perspective that not many churches agree with. 🙂 –Curt
That is very true, at least for me. I’m not religious. I’m 58 years old, went to Burning Man for the first time this year, and being in the Temple of Grace was the first time in my life that I felt any spiritual connection to a community. It was a life-changing experience.
I think the ‘spiritual connection’ is a common feeling for the people at the Temple. Certainly there is a sense of respect. Burning Man has a way of impacting people’s lives. –Curt
My concept of reality is already seriously impacted 🙂
Maybe one day we’ll get to BM and have it impacted even more.
Thanks for this post on the sacred temple, and for all your BM posts. I just have to convince Don he’ll survive the dust 🙂
Hi Alison. I think you have a great concept of reality.:) While I just wear a handkerchief when the dust is bad, many people wear much more serious dust protection, including gas masks. I am sure there is something that Don could find that would provide adequate protection. Much of the day is dust free, although there are never any guarantees. Glad you enjoyed the series. Next blog I head up into your neck of the woods. –Curt
Beautiful end to your Burning Man 2014 series Curt. Love the shots you got of the clouds above the temple. Such intricate trellis work – wonder how long it took to create.
Thanks AC. Months go into the project, although David Best has it down to a science. BTW, he is now in the process of building a temple for Norther Ireland that will also be burned. -Curt
“Deeply felt love…” Perhaps that is “it.” Lovely photos.
I suspect “it” is. And thanks. –Curt
Beautiful temple! The photos are especially gorgeous, matching the spiritual aspect you wrote about. Then, you are making sure we will read you again: the themes of your future posts are wonderfully mouth-watering.
Of course Evelyn… have to market. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed our photos of the Temple. –Curt
The temple’s tracery reminded me of a folding fan I had as a child. It was, I’m sure, imitation ivory, but it was beautifully carved,with patterns I remember as being very much the same as some you’ve shown us here.
I like the night shots best, I think. Very, very nice.
Thanks Linda. Glad you enjoyed the post. Can you imagine the work that must go into creating the Temple?
As for your youth, maybe it was real. Back when we were kids, back before the impact on elephants was realized, ivory would have been much more abundant.
My first wife and I bought a beautifully carved tusk in Liberia. It went with her; I got the VW Van. 🙂 Good thing, I didn’t have to feel the guilt and the van served me for several years of happy wandering. –Curt
Your photos and post are a fitting tribute to the Temple of Grace. -Ginette
Thanks Ginette. Appreciated. –Curt
Spectacular. What an opportunity for people to “pray” for the things and people that matter to them. I found following this series eye opening, a journey of discovery. The feast was in your words and splendid photos- thanks to you Peggy as well.
And thank you, Timi. I am really glad you enjoyed the series. Blogging about Burning Man is our way of thanking the event for providing so many unique experiences. And it is always fun to share tales of our wandering. –Curt
I love this version of the Burning man!~ Great posting Curt 😉
The Temple is a special place, a very important part of Burning Man… right up there with the art, from my perspective. Actually, the Temple is art. 🙂
Reblogged this on Earth Speaks Out and commented:
This is the most sacred place on me thanks to Larry Harvey and his friends.