In all my years of going to Burning Man, I've never stuck around long enough to see the Temple burn. Its Burn happens on the Sunday evening after the Saturday night Man Burn. Once it's over, the event is essentially done for another year. The street signs start coming down and all the participants are sent back to the "default world."
This year, I decided to arrive late and leave late, instead of arriving early and leaving early. So, I was able to catch both Burns.
In my inbox zine, I described the Temple's overall mood:
The Temple is a place to say goodbye and its vibe cannot be fully explained in words. I believe it must be experienced in person to truly grok. People leave photos, altars, and other mementos, generally as a way to pay tribute to loved ones who have passed. People also scrawl messages all over the structure itself.
It's generally quiet but sometimes you'll hear people crying or even wailing. The energy is thick and solemn.
The Man itself burns on Saturday night. That's a loud and raucous Burn.
When the Temple burns on Sunday night, the playa goes quiet.
Except (and, yes, I'm sure there are other exceptions), as I found out, for BMIR, the playa's radio station. My friend Rocky Mullin (whose playa name is "Swipe Left") was deejaying through the Temple Burn and shared his playlist (playalist?).
This is what he had to say about it:
The set begins with heartbreak and healing (to get that basic af pain/processing out of the way, like purging bile at the beginning of a psychedelic trip) and then moves on into death, fear, processing, celebration, ritual, renewal...
I ended the set with an indulgent, personal expression of joy about newfound love.
You can find his "Temple XXV" playlist on Spotify.
That amazing photo of Temple Galaxia aflame is by John Curley, and is used with permission.
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