The article is very interesting and I encourage you to read it in its entirety at Fest300. I want to highlight in particular the occult and marketing aspects of this. The emphasis is ours:
Every year, hundreds of accomplished fire performers throughout the world wipe sweat from their brows, cross their fingers and submit an audition reel for the experience of a lifetime. If accepted, these “conclaves” are granted exclusive access to the Holy of Holies at the godfather of transformational festivals: the Great Circle at Burning Man . They’ll be among the select few taking part in a ritualized fire dance as a gift to all the fest’s participants, and as tribute to the epic burning of “the Man.”
Out of all the myriad forms of artistic expression found at festivals today, many are grandiose achievements by incredible men. But the hearty warmth, nurturing, and acceptance that pervade these places are divinely feminine. Perhaps the archetype who best captures this quality is Crimson Rose , the fire performance community’s celebrated heroine and a founding board member at Burning Man.
Often hailed as “the godmother of fire arts” (she was the first-ever fire dancer on the playa), Crimson reviews conclave auditions with a panel of legends to select the crème de la crème for the ceremony. Year after year, fire performers strive just to be a part of her continued legacy by pouring their souls into their Burning Man performances so the tradition is passed with grace on to the next generation.
To learn more about this sacred art, we caught up with Crimson Rose, who graciously took some time with us to talk about the origins of fire performance, the history of fire dance at Burning Man and the future of man’s first invention in the festival community.
Before joining the Burning Man community in her current role, Crimson was a fine art model and dancer for 27 years. In the 80s, a good friend passed along the art of fire dancing. Coming from a background in theater and dance she took to it quickly and fostered an intimate relationship with flames.
And when they say “intimate relationship” in this
puff piece glowing tribute, they’re not kidding:
“…to me, that was really the journey of magic that I discovered not only within myself, but in fire dance itself.”
In those days, everybody danced but nobody danced with fire. What Burners now enjoy out on the esplanade is an evolution of many ancient dancing-based traditions – which only became more tribal once flames were introduced. “I don’t do poi and I don’t do staff,” she said. “My dancing is really handling torches and a bowl of fire, dipping them into the fire and laying that on my body.”
Sometimes called fleshing, this technique has been passed down through tribal civilizations for generations. It’s sensual and intimate, and sparks a very special rapport with fire, both for the viewer and the performer.
Righty-ho. Nothing too occult about that is there, worshipping fire so intimately that you want it laying on your body, “sensually”. Perfectly normal behavior, everyone does it, Marge Simpson‘ll be into next.
When we asked about her first-ever dance, she said, “I discovered things about myself because I felt like the fire was a sort of essence of all life. Although, it really is more a phenomena in some sense because there’s a magic to it…That magic, for a lot of fire performers, is the hottest part of the flame…“It was also as if the fire was sort of leading me on its own journey. Sort of provoking me to bring it to life.””
Without question, this person believes that this is a magick ritual she is performing, in the much larger magick ritual of Burning Man. She was recruited into the
Organization Project in 1990 – 7 years before Harry Potter came out – specifically to perform this magickal role.
We asked how she got involved with this desert social experiment in the first place. She thought for a bit, and took us back to a time before that first dance, to an email and a phone call with the man often accredited with launching Burning Man, Larry Harvey himself. “In 1990, I had a conversation with Larry Harvey and he talked about a thing they were doing. He had sent me a video of what they did the year before. It was really dark. It was a lot of fire and I couldn’t figure out what the hell they were doing.”
…she said to herself sarcastically. “I’m gonna be really cool because I don’t know what the hell these people are doing. They started pulling and a man raised up, and something clicked in me.” Crimson explained. “I didn’t know what it was. But I knew that I had to go to the desert.” Footage from the prior year continued to beckon her to visit. Seeing a man in the film breath the fire that ignited the effigy was enough to inspire the trip.
Igniting the effigy, from the magickal cauldron called El Diabla. Inside the pentagram and the 0.666% circle.
“I always felt like I was sort of a freak. You know, that I never fit in. Not with my family. Not with the school. And all of a sudden I felt like I was among my family in the desert.”
Yep, that’s the marketing pitch. Play to the social element, give the reason why all the freaks should buy tickets to this transformational festival. They don’t have to look beautiful and glamorous and cool like the people at other festivals. But maybe once they spend $400 and brainwash themselves at the self-service cult, they will walk away feeling Burnier-Than-Those People.
Back to the occult bits:
At the center of her magnetic attraction this new subculture was this effigy, over which Crimson grew protective. In one of her first encounters with it, “one of the very first things I did is I had these 16-foot-wide silk wings that I wore as I climbed the Man.” People were astonished to look up and see what looked like a fairy climbing to the top of the figure’s shoulder. “I felt like that at that point, I was the protector for the Man. If the man was going to be released we had to do it in the best way that we could, so that year I got a chance to actually help set him on fire.” For the first time, the magic of dance kicked off the legendary ceremony.
Dance, magic dance.
We must all worship the fire. Like Druids.
Despite an urge to push the envelope every year, rules now exist with a sort of informal reverence for the Great Circle. The fire is hallowed and respected
…Fire dancing at Burning Man spawned greater mysticism and creative energy, along with an appreciation for the accompanying rituals and traditions from which fire dancing came.“Spawning greater mysticism” is presented here as a positive. Is this black magick, or white magick? It happens at night in a pentagram with people wearing devil horns and a fire lit from a cauldron named El Diabla; the corporation they started around it chose to launch with Helco parties where they got a lawyer to draw up contracts for people to sell their souls to the Devil. It seems pretty obvious to me which side we’re talking about, but your mileage may vary.
The suggestion that Crimson Rose invented incorporating fire dancing in sacred rituals at Burning Man in 1991 is ridiculous, as anyone who has been to a South Pacific island could tell you.
Back to the sales pitch:
One of the great joys of Burning Man is that it provides a space for us to go and learn about one another and ourselves through such rituals. Those who travel to the playa often report feeling more distant from what is familiar. Many, like Crimson Rose, find deeper connection. This will be her 24th Burn on the playa, and she told me, “Every time I go I feel I’m coming back to a place I’ve always been. You know, it sort of reminds me of home.” [Source: Fest300]Even in the sales pitch there are quite strong occult and psychological elements.
I’m not sure how things could be made more clear to you, people. This is one of the Founders of Burning Man laying out for you specifically what goes on, what she was recruited into the organization to add to their Project.
An occult black magick ritual ceremony of fire dance. It’s more than just a rave in the desert…
We have published quite a few articles on the spiritual and occult side of Burning Man in the past. We have a lot of new readers now who probably have never seen some of our earlier work, I would encourage you to check these out: and think for yourself.
Finding Jesus at Burning Man – a Christian perspective
Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow – Paganism, Wicca, Druids, Lucifer
Ghost Trancing on Sacred Lands – Native American
Burner Principles vs the 10 Native American Commandments – Native American
Burner Fundamentalism – Burning Man’s own religion
Looking for the Next Evolutionary Step – Buddhism and consciousness