By turning your awareness inward you discover more than your self. If religion is one’s personal relationship with whomever or whatever is believed to be THE Creator, then does creativity define the divine? What if you’re a creative with intuitive perception capable of unusual and often universal insights? The very art of discovering hidden knowledge by the interpretation of signals is a form of divination in and of itself. Growing up, religion was all ritual and tradition, never spiritual. My awakening was spiritual, but it wasn’t a religious experience. My travels have brought me to the Taj Mahal (which is really only a marble Muslim mausoleum) and the Wailing Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. Neither wonder felt spiritual or deeply religious. Many places feel holy while the art, the architecture, the very ground they occupy, may in fact be sacred to many. It depends on your individual relationship with the Great Spirit. The Creator. The soul.
Rising from Black Rock City’s 12 o’clock point, standing all by itself out on the playa, is the very soul of Burning Man – The Temple. A beautiful and meditative space, it is the secondary major recurring art installation, after The Man - which it faces, as it beckons participants to take a respite within its walls. The Temple is a community shared structure embracing all of humanity as a sacred, healing space that provides Burners with whatever it is they need in the moment. A neutral, non-denominational and temporary place, for some reason it’s something people tend not to report on or mention as part of their Burning Man experience. Without a doubt, the most spiritual place I’ve ever entered, and when I’m there, I understand what it is to be human. Sharing in moments of meditation, contemplation, and connection, strangers and friends gather together to remember the past, honor or curse the present, and ponder the future. Mostly silent, by the end of the week every single inch of reachable space is covered in words, photographs, and shrines left to express the inexpressible. Letters to the departed, victims, abusers, no one, and everyone. The only sounds you might hear are sobbing, chanting, and aleatory music from a singing bowl, chimes, mbira or didgeridoo.
The Temple consistently stirs awe and inspiration. Messages collected there are in stark contrast to anywhere else in the city. Everything at Burning Man is amplified, figuratively and literally, the Temple’s intensity comes from the tremendous sacredness. Heightened solemnities of remembrance, grief and renewal are inescapable. This is where the community of Black Rock City goes to unburden themselves in a cathartic release. If that doesn’t do the job, one can always wander into the playa where eventually you’ll come across Miles Eastman’s interactive art installation - a working phone booth. One caveat, the only call you can make is to “Talk To God”. There’s no charge, and always a line.