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.