Friday, July 19, 2013

Burning Man 2008 mushroom trip - part 3

continued from Part 2 ...

Part 1 here.

I found I had energy to stand, and the music's rhythm inspired me to jump out of the chair and dance frenetically.

The music playing was reggae, one of my favorite genres.  I danced as I like to do, letting the rhythm move me.  At some point, a song came on with lyrics that sounded to me like, "I wonder why Babylon be fighting marijuana?"  This spoke deeply to my own bitterness and anger at the prohibition of cannabis, and I yelled out, "Yeah! What the fuck, right?" looking to the other people dancing, who acknowledged me with silent nods.  I danced until I got tired, then I went back to the bar where I'd originally been offered the saki.  This time, I accepted a shot of saki and it went down really smooth.

The dust was still thick, and I was thinking of moving on from this camp, so I asked those camping there to help orientate me.  I asked where the Man was in relation to us, and they pointed up the adjacent road, not the way I was expecting.  I was incredulous, at how much I'd been turned around.  Putting my gear on, I said goodbye, and headed up the spoke towards the Man.  I figured I'd have better luck walking along the Esplanade, keeping the large theme camps to my right. 

It was somewhat better tracking by the large landmarks and signs.  I was still looking for the Entheon art galleries. Just as I thought I must be getting pretty close, I saw a sign that said "Do not ask us where Entheon Village is."  This was a sure sign that I was near, but very frustrating, since of course I had been thinking of asking for directions.  I figured that many a lost psychonaut had bothered them, to lead them to erect the sign.

I ducked into a dome to wipe my glasses, and a woman inside was chanting at a small shrine on one side.  She was chanting "Nam myoho renge kyo," which I learned is a phrase in Japanese that is supposed to bring one to a state of bliss, by repeating it.  I huddled in there, avoiding the dust, just glad for the shelter, and a place to sit.  For awhile I went unnoticed by the lady, but after awhile she invited me to chant with her.  I was a bit weirded out, but I figured what the hell, it's Burning Man, so I chanted with her for awhile with little enthusiasm.  Soon after, she invited me to kneel with her at the shrine to continue chanting.  I told her I was "good" where I was, huddling by the door, watching the waves of dust sweep by.  I was dubious that just chanting a phrase, let alone that one particular phrase, was going to bring me happiness, and anyway I was already happy.

Soon I left that shelter and walked on, coming to another dome, another group having a party.  I was talking to a girl and the subject of the weather naturally came up, the blinding and stifling whiteness outside. I told her about how I'd invoked the windstorm, given it power, and she got a very serious look on her face, as though taking my power over the weather seriously.  She gravely told me, "I hope you got what you wanted from the storm."  I had to acknowledge that in fact, I did get what I wanted.  From my first year, I always liked walking through a dust storm, and I have come to associate that feeling with this magical welcoming playa.  But by now, I had gotten my fill, and really just wanted the dust to go away.  Apparently my power did not extend to stopping the storm quickly.

Moving on, I next alighted upon a camp with a large dome and a sign reading, "Black Rock Diner".  It seemed open, so I went in.  Inside was a typical camp dining area with camp chairs and pillows arranged in a semi-circle around a long buffet table.  It turned out, they were not open per se, but were having their camp meal.  This camp, at scheduled times, served grilled cheese to all comers.  They welcomed me regardless, inviting me to help myself to their leftovers, since they were mostly done eating.  I was famished, and everything was delicious.  I managed to finish off a large bowl of pasta with grated cheese that they were just going to throw out.  In the meantime, I had fallen into a deep conversation with one of the main organizers of the camp and his girlfriend.  It was one of those discussions that flows naturally, yet changes everything.  I think my admission to being on mushrooms triggered it, but it ended up covering many things: zen buddhism, yin and yang, virtual reality and the matrix.  At some point, he asked me what I'm "all about," and I responded in the Burning Man spirit by saying I wanted to raidate joy and love, throw myself into every experience.  He cautioned me that such a happy-go-lucky approach to life will unconsciously create its opposite, like the yin-yang.  I couldn't quite grok at the time how my happiness could create misery, but his warning opened up a little window of awareness, such that I did see it later.  My exuberance could, and often did become a drag on others, as well as myself.

I left there with kind of a floating feeling, walking out into the pre-sunset "golden hour," and noticed the wind and dust had died down. I could once again see the sky and far down the streets.  People were in their camps preparing, and lots of people were moving up the street towards the man, set to burn in just a few hours.  I was drained from my day's trip: all the walking, the visions, the discussions, the dust.  I had burned myself out, and wanted nothing more than to crash in my dome.  I hate to miss the frenzy of the man burn, but I hate even more to ignore my body's messages that I need rest.  I had never found my goal, the Entheon Village art galleries, but at that point I didn't care, since I had seen more than my share of psychedelic art within the confines of my mind, art which had been animated and interactive to boot! 

Back at my dome, I quickly fell asleep, and woke up hours later, ready to join the aftermath of the Man burn, and see what the night had to offer.

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