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Burning Woman

Artist: Fei Fei Lua

Sanctuary Sunset 2012

 

Dear Friends –

Last summer at our first Burning Woman Festival, representatives from the CT Burners showed up just to tell us they would not be attending. I was saddened. We had done a poor job of communicating our intentions and we had offended them.

Part of me was also perplexed. I thought, so much for the gift economy! Which upon inspection, means that the Burners did not see our offering as a gift.  They saw it as a threat to, or something which detracted from, their abundance.

Burning Man is a revolutionary thing, and as a protest, extraordinary. Visually, the art-laden desert scene is stunning and politically, the event creates the space to experiment with and experience a true gift economy (The Wonderful Weird Economy of Burning Man – The Atlantic) temporarily.

My admiration for Burning Man aside, the motivation for Burning Woman arose from a much different place.  I have a deep love for mythology and began to notice a few years back that a fire goddess appears in most pantheons and indigenous traditions the world over.

Couple this with my belief that the true opposite of patriarchy is not matriarchy but a partnership paradigm where we understand opposites as cooperating, in contrast to competing, with each other.  This model prevailed throughout the Neolithic era.

It is also my understanding that Burning Man and festivals like it are celebrating a kind of rebirth of the divine feminine, though perhaps unintentionally. Is there no place at the table for the Burning Woman then?

Burning the Man is a protest, the Burning Woman calls for direct action. Burning Man is a cleansing of a negative energy, of power run amok. Burning Woman asks, how do we wish to rebirth ourselves from the fire, in what form shall the Phoenix rise?

Bonobo / Democratic Republic of Congo, 2017

Our festival supports a cause each year. Last year, we raised money for Standing Rock and this year the proceeds will go to help an endangered species, our closest living genetic relative, the Bonobos.

Burning Man is huge, but Burning Woman will always be a small local affair, as our land can hold no more than 200 people for an event.   If many communities adopt a similar festival, small & local but tied to direct action, we can accomplish some good and further the principles of Burning Man in a concrete way.  This summer, we are partnering with similar, small, local festivals in Sweden and Nigeria and will live stream the concurrent events.

We hope the community at large appreciates our humble offering!

With much love & gratitude for the work we all do –

Jen Taylor

 

Maia Rose / Fire Spinner – Cirque de Beast, “A Tigress Reclaims Her Fire” / OmFly 2013