A gallery of fire and absurdity from this year’s annual gathering in Black Rock City.

IT WAS WHEN the massive Trojan horse exploded in the distance, that I remembered why I’d come home. Above me, a masterful musician slid his gloved fingers along the “Earth Harp” – massive strings reached from his platform and attached to the surreal Temple of Transition a hundred feet away.

This was my third burn, and every year in the frantic lead up to departure, I wonder why I put myself through the ordeal. All the packing, planning, coordinating, and driving seem insurmountable. And yet, when I gaze out onto the playa, surrounded by a circus of oddities that I couldn’t begin to describe – I realize there is nowhere on earth I’d rather be.

Burning Man: Rites of Passage offered this to say about our current time:

We are living in a period of widespread fear and insecurity. We cling to what we have, but what we’ve had was merely the illusion of a mortgaged future. Nothing that we see around us feels sustainable. As one who blunders off a cliff, our legs still twiddle in the air: we haven’t gained a foothold that will see us through. Deeply-fathomed change we share with others — the kind of change that summons up the earth to meet one’s feet — becomes the only pathway forward, our most crucial step.

Enjoy our favourite pics from this year’s leap into the abyss.

1

The Man

In the fading light, the Man straddles the chasm of our future. Photo: Ian MacKenzie

2

The Playa

Heading out into the vast playa. Photo: Ross Borden

3

Stargate

Portal to a new world. Photo: Ian MacKenzie

4

Joywhirl

"Joywhirl" spreads her pink bliss to all. Photo: Ian MacKenzie

5

Use protection

"Electro Jester" surveys the landscape. Photo: Ian MacKenzie

6

Devils dancing

Dust devils are often seen dancing along the playa. Photo: Ian MacKenzie

7

Center Camp

Center Camp resembles a cafe from another planet. Photo: Ian MacKenzie

8

Fishing for burners.

Photo: Ian MacKenzie

9

Skeleton crew

If participants heave and ho just right, it triggers a strobe light that gives the illusion of the skeletons rowing.Photo: Ian MacKenzie

10

Poi at night

Poi spinning is everywhere you turn. Photo: Ian MacKenzie

11

Hail the Octopus

Every been to a dance party with a giant flaming octopus? Photo: Ross Borden

12

"Mercury" rising.

Photo: Ian MacKenzie

13

Grown tall.

Photo: Ross Borden

14

Evening in BRC

Photo: Ross Borden.

15

The Temple of Transition

The Temple of Transition - an utterly beautiful sacred space. Photo: Ian MacKenzie

16

Burning of the Trojan Horse.

Photo: Ross Borden

17

Tiptoeing among the flowers.

Photo: Ian MacKenzie

18

Jar-jar binks

Costumes of all types roam the playa. Blink and you'll miss them. Photo: Ian MacKenzie

19

The door to nowhere.

Photo: Ian MacKenzie

20

Dali versus Black Rock

Black rock desert stretches into the landscape of your dreams. Photo: Ross Borden

21

All you need is...

Photo: Ross Borden

22

Sunrise from the Temple of Transition.

Photo: Ross Borden

23

Burning of the temple

On the Sunday night, the Temple burns in a somber ceremony. The flames take with them the sorrows and grief of all. Photo: April Reed.

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