The Man: Humanity in Transformation | Monthly Forecast | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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The Man: Humanity in Transformation 

Last Updated: 08/13/2013 3:59 pm

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Synchronicity is the name of the game at Burning Man; this thing we call manifestation is in full force. The stories are too many to count, and it’s fun to see it in action. I really had to surrender to the notion that if I think of something, it could happen in a matter of minutes; and even if I wasn’t consciously thinking of it, but I secretly wanted it, it could happen in when I was least expecting it. Some of these stories are more appropriate for Book of Blue. Synchronicity messes with your idea of how physical reality intersects with consciousness. It’s true that we were in an alternate plane of reality that was a lot closer to the astral/causal levels. If you play this game well, it’s possible to let go of a lot of negativity.

Then, after a week of this, the whole community gathers for the Burn. This year, all day Saturday was in what I’ll call a category 2 dust storm, caused by persistent winds blowing across an ancient lakebed. The storms do get worse: absolute whiteout. But this one was pretty bad, and it seemed to last forever, all day and into the night, threatening the ritual itself. I got myself there early, to have a seat in the front row, the better to photograph for you. And I sat there as the dusty wind pounded my body and my cameras and my lenses, catching dust in my mouth and eyes despite my mask and goggles.

They can’t safely light a fire that big with 40,000 people around it in such a stiff wind, but unlike last year (when there was a similar problem) the higher-ups made the decision to start the preburn festivities: A lot of fire dancers and musicians and acrobats came out and performed in a vast circle to the audience/participants. These performers were dedicated, doing their thing at full strength despite being slammed by the elements. Most of them had prepared for a year for this event.

Finally, the wind stopped and the arms of the Burning Man were hoisted into burn position: high above his head. Then came the fireworks and the pyrotechnics, and then he burst into flames, taking all of us with him.

More photos and articles about Burning Man are at Thanks to Dr. Jeff Patterson for getting me to Burning Man this year.

Eric Francis Coppolino writes daily at

  • Eric Francis Coppolino
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