The Ten Principles of My Very Favorite Cult

My last blog post, Star-Spangled, was pretty serious. It was so difficult to write I’m giving myself (and those of you who read Following Serendipity) a break.

I was gifted with the name Serendipity during my first Burning Man experience. Burning Man is one of the wildest, most formative events of my current lifetime, and this week I’ll share some of its spectacular images with you. All of these photographs were taken by me or my husband.

Burning Man has a set of guiding principles, and this photo essay is loosely arranged around them. Enjoy!

Radical Inclusion

I felt the spirit of radical inclusion dancing with this man at the opening ceremony.
One year radical inclusion meant inviting groups who sponsored regional burns, events much smaller than the main event, to bring art projects that were burned together a few nights before the Man.


In the middle of deep desert, someone has given the gift of shade.
One theme camp gave us the gift of nearly-naked zip-lining, complete with a mattress to crash into at the bottom of the slope.


Burning Man prohibits corporate sponsorship, although it does offer grants to help create exquisite artwork like the shipwreck in the desert this crowd is enjoying.
This Burning Man Warrior is wearing clothing by Goodwill. Bicycle donated by Ben.

Radical Self-Reliance

Keeping an air-cooled VW engine running in the desert is the very definition of self-reliance.
Radically self reliant in hat to block the sun, dust mask  and head covering to face the storms, goggles, and guitar.

Radical Self-Expression

These proud women march topless in the parade known as Critical Tits.
My own radical act of self expression — going out braless in a see-through negligee — was a huge, brave leap, and felt empowering and amazing.

Communal Effort

Some of the art at Burning Man is kinetic, but you must cooperate to get the full effect.
A hardcore crew spends as much as a month in the desert creating the infrastructure that we use at Burning Man, including the Man himself.

Civic Responsibility

While the Burn is an epic jaunt of wildness and creative chaos, there are perimeters set up to keep crowds as safe as possible manned by volunteer firefighters and the Black Rock City Rangers.
We all wait patiently for the man to fall so we can circle closer to the flames.

Leaving No Trace

There is no public trash collection at Burning Man. This artist decided to burn his project instead of packing it out.
Burners are expected to chase down MOOP — matter out of place — and help keep tiny particles that might blow off of costumes or artwork from littering the pristine desert we have invaded for these eight days.


When you participate, you become part of the art.
If you participate, you can fly.


Is there anything more immediate than watching the sun rise over a hatching dragon?
Immediacy can be about looking inside yourself in order to overcome barriers that keep you from living in beauty. Trusting the universe is something I would like to be better at.

4 Replies to “The Ten Principles of My Very Favorite Cult”

  1. Great pictures. But no heebeejeebee ones? I think the sharing that goes on at their site must be amazing….

    1. I have some group photos of the Heebee Geebee Healers camp and all the people who I love and adore in there. There aren’t any pictures of the healing tent, though, I think the healing that goes on in there is just so incredibly absorbing no one ever thinks to take pictures. I should do another whole blog post on what it’s like to be considered a healer and how the Heebee Geebee experience really made me the Reiki Master I am today. Without them, I don’t think I’d have found the confidence I have in energy healing and the belief in it. Here’s their website:

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