Temple versus The Man

There are in essence two finales to Burning Man and presumably all the regional burns, including Transformus: The burning of the man happens on Saturday and the burning of the temple happens Sunday.  Given that they are both burning large objects at the same event only 24 hour apart, it is hard to imagine events which are more culturally different.

Burning the Man is a wild party.  Fire dancers, fireworks, running participates huge pyrotechnics and ultimately a huge burning effigy falls.

Burning the Temple is a solemn and mournful event, which has many of the same design components as burning the man, but is quieter, more respectful and actually more transformative.

temple burn at nationals year unknown

While the party at the burning of the man may well rock your world, it is far more likely that if you step up into the opportunity, is that the burning of the temple will change your life.  [Positive life changes are a principal  funological objective.]  The reasons is that the joyful festive side of large group events is hardly unknown.  But being open to sadness, looking at what obstacles are in your way or simply being moved by hundreds to thousands of people around you who are crying or mourning is much more rare.  And usually more personally significant.

The temples are typically made of unfinished wood (since their life span is so short) and at national Burning Man events are large and highly ornate.  At Transformus, we had a simpler construction made of bamboo (which might even have been indigenous – and thus closer to the Rainbow Gathering style of things.)  In the deeper conversations with thoughtful folks at the You Are Beautiful camp where we stayed, there were many who felt the temple burn was the most important part of the festival for them personally.

temple before burn in sandstorm same unknown year

About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

9 responses to “Temple versus The Man”

  1. Yasmin TheMachine says :

    ya’ll should come to preheat or afterburn. they are the regional spring and fall burns which are located like half an hour from my house.

  2. beatrice says :

    yes. always. for me the temple burn is the main event of the whole festival. thanks for this piece. though i don’t always think of it as mournful. it’s deeply hushed and full of awe. an offering and a release. there is grief there and there is such honoring and communal respect. awesome is so over used, but this is a moment of true awe. at the bigness of our love.

  3. mirabai says :

    the temple burn was awesome for me…well, the temple in general was awesome. seeing all the things (and names of people) written on the temple that folks wanted to let go of was very moving. the burning of the man was much more entertaining but the temple burn was much more personal and profound!!

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