The Arrival of Empress Zöe

Burning Man didn’t always have themes. For the first 10 or so Burns, the theme was “Burn The Man”, recreating the Wicker Man effigy burn rituals of the Druids.

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Cult movie The Wicker Man, 1973

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These Wicker Man burns had been going on in San Francisco for some time before the first Burning Man on Baker Beach.

beelzebub josh white snake theater

Snake Theater Beelzebub Burn, Sausalito 1979. Image: Bruce Forrester

timothy oneill wicker man

Timothy O’Neill (Gnosis Magazine) Wicker Man Ocean Beach burns, 1984-85. Flyer is for related art gallery exhibition, via Timothy O’Neill

satan man 1986 baker beach

The Man looked a little different back in 1986

In 1995 Burning Man dipped a toe in the thematrical waters with “Good And Evil”, then doubled down on the Evil with 1996‘s “Helco: The Inferno”

BRC_96

The 1996 year of Hell was also the year that Burning Man had the first of what would unfortunately be many deaths to come during the annual radical ritual.

One of the big productions that year was a live opera by Argentinian artist Pepe Ozan.

photo of Pepe Ozan

Here’s a version of the above video narrated by Paradox Pollock, a seemingly close associate of deadly occultist Derrick Ion Almena:

It has never been disclosed what happened to the goat, but Paradox Pollack’s description makes it seem like it was quite a hassle for them having to keep it alive until the performance.

Screenshot 2017-09-18 14.14.57.png

Live animal sacrifices at Burning Man are still happening today. In this case I’m not talking about 2017’s terrible burning man tragedy or the crushing by Lucifer, but Google executives decision to fly live lobsters in from Maine to be killed at the Radical Ritual.

Screenshot 2017-09-18 12.57.31Almena got the lawyer of Hell’s Angels and Shrimp Boy (SF head of the Chinese Freemasons), Tony Serra – “the Hippie Atticus Finch”.

Serra, who took a lifelong vow of poverty on an LSD trip, said “he’s been made a scapegoat for persons or entities culpable for this tragedy…our client has been demonized

Demonized like a goat by entities, huh? Perhaps like the Kali Yuga? These people sure have a strange way of speaking and thinking, which happens to be Aleister Crowley’s way too…but I digress.

Paradox has sp(l)iffed up his social media image since pulling down the video with Derrick that can be glimpsed in the skull-infested screenshot above.

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Suit or not, he’s still promoting Evil:

He was the Master of Ceremonies and Emissary Coreographer of the 1996 Burning Man occult sub-ritual.

the music, magnificently composed and played by Chris Cunningham, was sung by Lili Oldfield, Pat Bregant, Sean Steward and Todd Nelson. The representation of this legendary true story was incarnated by Emissaries Justin Miller as Empress Zoe and by Steffanos X as the High Priest of Hell. The Devil was enacted by the goat Sussy, and His wife by WarriorGirl. Master of Ceremonies was Emissary Choreographer Paradox Pollack. The Graces of Hell were represented by CC, Shari Greenfield, Martha Thomson and Susanne Couture. Deployment Secret Services were executed by Emissaries Sculptors Morgan Raimond, Al Honig, Denzil Meyers, and Leo Nash. Messenger Coordinator was Julieta Ozan.

[Source]

Here’s Ozan talking about his operas and how he was using these elaborate rituals to gather a Satanic sub-community of about 250 people out of the broader Burning Man group (1996 population: 8000):

 

This particular opera featured devils, demons and insects chanting the lyrics “devils’ delight, fire tonight” while dancing around a 40-foot towered sculpture with gargoyle heads called the City of Dis, named after one of the levels of hell in Dante’s Inferno. [Source: John Law]

temple of dis 1996

The Temple of Dis. Image: Burning Man Opera

This description of the Arrival of Empress Zöe is in the video itself:

“A tribal opera with a ballet of insects depicting the peculiar saga of a soul’s birth to death.

The hermaphrodite condition of Empress Zoe and her Lascivious Behavior in the Court has been revealed by Cardinal Petrocelli, one of her passive homosexual Lovers. Condemned by the Holy See to be drowned in the Bosphorous, the Empress manages to take to the waters the Light of the Casiksi Diamond which will assure her the favor of the Devils. Steffanos, the High Priest of Hell, is possessed by Desire at the sight of the Empress inciting the Jealousy of the Graces, who assist him in the Infinite Recreation of Fire.

Pretending to help in the production of the Dust of Darkness to spray the Empress out of Existence, the Graces plot the Destruction of their Rival, the Hideous Lil-llik to ascend in the Hierarchy of the Ninth Circle. Satan, embodied by a goat to please his Wife, seems amused by the events that threaten the very Balance of the Universe”

The wording has changed slightly from the original video to the official web site:

It is the year of ll58AD. The structure of power of the Fire Lingam Project has briefly shifted from Babylon to the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople. The hermaphrodite condition of Empress Zoe has been revealed by Cardinal Petroccelly, one of her passive homosexual lovers. Condemned by the Holy See to be drowned in the Bosphorous, the Empress managed to take to the waters the Light of the Casiksi Diamond which assured her the favor of the Demons. Steffanos, the High Priest of Hell, possessed by desire at the site of the Empress, incites the jealousy of the Graces who assist him in the Infinite Recreation of Fire. Pretending to help in the production of the Dust of Darkness to spray the Empress out of existence, the Graces plot the destruction of their rival, the hideous Lil-llik to ascend in the Hierarchy of the Nine Circles. Satan, embodied in a goat to please His wife, is amused by the events that threaten the very Balance of the Universe. As Chaos erupted, the Mantra singing of 50 devotees and 1000 participating audience helped to save the Universe

The seemingly minor changes – Devils to Demons, Ninth Circle to Nine Circles – could be dismissed as irrelevant, if there were no significance to them. If demons are vices, then we all have demons – even atheists. Devils is explicitly Luciferian.

As for the Ninth Circle, this is the name of a Luciferian Pedo Cult linked to Jimmy Saville, the Jesuits, the Vatican, and many world leaders which has been operating for at least 300 years.

Saturnalia was an ancient Roman orgiastic festival that encouraged gift-giving and continual partying. The god Saturn is associated with black rock.

Of course, this is all just a big farce of pan-ic art and coincidences, they’re not crazy for doing it but I’m crazy for pointing any of it out…go about your day.

 

Tickets 2016: What Really Happened

 

Church fire

Image: Dan Rademacher | Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0

At first, it seemed like things were going very smoothly this year. I logged on in the Pre-Sale, got straight through, got 2 tickets and a vehicle pass, no problem. Whole thing took less than 3 minutes. Of course, that cost $2271.74. I couldn’t bring myself to spend $1207 for a $997 ticket, but for anyone who wants tickets, there are still those VIP Da Vinci’s available. Log into your Burner profile and click this:

Screenshot 2016-04-18 09.28.46

Although it says the limit is 2 per person, the reality is it is at least 2 per profile. Anyone can create a profile and buy these tickets, so if Medici Camps want a hundred tickets they will get them. A little bird told us that you can just log in and keep buying 2 at a time, after buying Art Tickets the button is still visible on the profile. One camp has already purchased more than 100 Da Vinci tickets from a single profile. [Pro tip: if you still need a vehicle pass, you can get one here without getting the Leonardo’s; some readers have pointed out that BMOrg says VP-only orders will be voided, so you might want to make a small donation just in case]

After the Pre-Sale, the Directed Group Sale happened. Although most camps got a reduced allocation from last year, the sale seemed to go through hitch-free for those who did get codes.

So far, so good. That’s about 30,000 Burners in the door. Rich people, and those with enough Borg points to be on the World’s Biggest Guest list, can come to Burning Man.

But just being on the DGS list doesn’t mean that your camp got all of the tickets it needed. A neutral sample from the Theme Camp Organizers group showed 94% got less than they needed this year.

Which bring us to everybody else. Regular Burners, who want to just log in when the sale opens and hopefully get in there early enough that they can buy a ticket.

This is where the problems began.

The 30,000 tickets sold out in about half an hour; it took a further half an hour before people in the queue were informed. From the Reno Gazette Journal:

At about 12:35 p.m., 30 minutes after tickets went on sale, Burning Man announced that all tickets were in the “baskets” of buyers at the time. By 1 p.m., tickets were officially sold out…More than 70,000 people registered to purchase 30,000 tickets

Assuming that most people are buying 2 tickets, that is potentially 140,000 tickets wanted from a pool of 30,000 tickets. Although clearly demand exceeds supply, this is just a regular day in the ticketing world. This problem has been solved, well, and long ago.

Jenny Kane at the RGJ raised some criticism of the last-minute move to add the “Waiting Room”

Since demand has far outpaced supply in recent years, Burning Man has experimented with different ticketing processes, this year trying out an online “waiting room,” which Burning Man threw into the equation via an email announcement last minute Tuesday night.

The waiting room was a response to “anticipation of high demand and a high server load,” according to the email. No information was available about the sudden change of process on Burning Man’s website.

Some Burners criticized the waiting room as a move that returned the system to a lottery-style ticket sale, others said that the waiting room was a joke since Burning Man’s email was sent out so last-minute, and some Burners did not receive the email in the first place, according to reports on social media.

Because some Burners reported acquiring tickets after skipping the waiting room, some Burners suspected that there was a glitch with this year’s process, a theory that Burning Man organizers denied.

“Everything seemed to go as planned,” said Jim Graham, Burning Man spokesman.

Whether as planned, or a glitch, reading a post from BMOrg explaining how the ticketing process went wrong this year is nothing new. I started this blog in early 2012, and ticket troubles have been an annual story every since. The usual response is “we know you are frustrated”, followed by “blame Burners (sort of)”, and then “blame anyone else we can”. In previous years, the problem has been blamed on the previous ticketing vendor, Burners buying tickets for their friends, scalpers, and hackers.

This year, the problem was Burners accidentally entering the early room too early (but it wasn’t their fault), and Ticketfly (supposedly, entirely their fault). BMOrg, of course, did nothing wrong, they are a highly competent organization that unfortunately (and inexplicably) regularly encounters undeserved bad luck.

From burningman.org:

Early in the planning process for the 2016 Main Sale, Ticketfly wanted to put a waiting room in place before the sale to accommodate the expected high server load. Under this plan, Burners who entered the sale before it opened would be placed in a “pre-queue” waiting room, and when the sale opened, everyone in that room would be randomly assigned a place in line.

We pushed back on this idea because it conflicted with our longtime policy that arriving early for a sale shouldn’t give one an advantage over someone who arrives when the sale officially begins. In this respect we’re kind of industry oddballs — it is standard practice in most high-volume ticket sales to use a waiting room like this, but it is philosophically out of line with how we feel participants should be treated in a sale.

In response, Ticketfly insisted the system was necessary to ensure a smooth sale, so we sent our standard night-before reminder email to everyone registered for the sale, including an explanation about the waiting room, to be transparent about the process.

…Needless to say, we don’t like being in the position of having to notify people late in the game of a change in how the system works.

Well, that’s the official story, anyway. You can read about it at the BJ or the RGJ. BMOrg knew about the waiting room since early in the planning process, but only chose to tell Burners about it by slipping it into a last-minute reminder email…in the name of transparency.

According to BMOrg, there was only one problem: Ticketfly opening the waiting room at 11:30 insterad of 11:45.

Ticketfly did not anticipate how the safety net would interact with the waiting room, and proceeded to open the expected waiting room at 11:30 am, 15 minutes earlier than we’d agreed and publicized. This waiting room was open for 35 minutes, still ending at 12:05 pm. Unbeknownst to us though, the roughly 3,500 people that arrived in the “safety net” period were given preferential placement ahead of everyone else to buy tickets and vehicle passes.

The full story of what went wrong includes some key details that will need to be addressed to avoid these problems in the future.

A summary of the main problems reported:

  • The sale “officially” starts at 12:00. BMOrg modified this to start at 12:05 for people in a “20 minute waiting room” that officially started at 11:45. This announcement of a new method (get in even earlier than 12 and get tickets) went out at the last minute, and not to everyone
  • The waiting room was actually open earlier than 11:45
  • Some people who waited in the waiting room for 20 minutes or more did not get tickets
  • Some people who logged in after 12:05 got tickets with no queue
  • BMOrg asked people not to open multiple browser windows. Each time you did, you increased your chances of getting tickets.
  • The code involved in the waiting room system made the process vulnerable to hackers trying to outsmart the system.
  • After the last ticket was sold, there were still many people waiting in the queue, who were forced to stay there for at least an extra half hour.
  • It appears that tickets that were “refreshed” – put back into the pool because a transaction was not completed in time, or a credit card failed – were not then offered to the people who were waiting the longest. Instead they were offered to whoever logged in the most recently. I say this because of reports that people logged in after 12:20 and got tickets, while others logged in to the waiting room before 12 and didn’t.

The entire ticketing system is a big black box. Is there even one person that knows how BMOrg’s code AND Ticketfly’s code AND Queue-It’s code works? If so, then maybe they should be taking responsibility for these annual clusterfucks.

One of the great ironies of Burning Man is how fiercely BMOrg fight against transparency, now that profit has been removed from their activities. They will say they don’t because they got a friendly to write a puff piece in Philanthropy magazine. YMMV. Apparently, one of the outcomes of this year’s Global Leadership Conference was “Radical Transparency”:

Our leaders are advocating transparency because it reduces Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, a.k.a. FUD. Keeping things secret allows for FUD to spread and we all know how our community loves a little drama.

Something tells me “leaders advocating transparency” really means “Regionals are being forced to implement Burner Profiles”. But I’ll keep my mind open – maybe BMOrg 3.0, of the people, for the people, by the people, really is “coming soon”. Personally, if we’re going to have an 11th Principle I vote CONSENT. Gratitude is a good one. Transparency is not a Principle of Burners, it is simply a fundamental requirement for a non-profit that wants to raise tens of millions of dollars from wealthy donors. Unless you’re the Clinton Global Initiative, of course!

A disconnect between BMOrg’s words and actions is par for the course, and the ticketing system gets more opaque every year. To figure out what really happened in the Ticketing black box, we have to do some investigation. Fortunately, we have some very competent technical engineering talent within the Burner community, and by taking in the comments from Burners about their experiences, we can attempt to deconstruct what really happened. It may not be perfect, but it’s the only option we have in the circumstances.

The night before the ticket sales started, BMOrg sent out a last minute email, announcing a change of plans. I guess up until then, they had no idea that there may have been high demand and a high server load. Not to mention that many of the Burners were probably high too.

In anticipation of high demand and a high server load, a 20-minute waiting room will open Wednesday, March 23 at 11:45am PDT. Actual sales begin at 12:05pm PDT.

Opening multiple browser tabs won’t improve your chances; when the sale opens, everyone in the 20-minute waiting room will be assigned a place in line that is not related to when they entered the sale. Anyone who joins after 20 minutes will be placed in line after those already in the queue.

A Balanced Perspective described this well:

In actuality, what occurred is the opposite of what the Borg stated. Black is White. Any people whom opened their browser window prior to near to 11:35am, and waited for the sale at 12:05pm, gained near to 7,000 tickets. In addendum, any people whom opened their browser window after near to 12:04pm gained tickets. In addendum, any people whom opened a new browser after 12:05pm gained tickets. Few Burners whom obeyed the Borg gained tickets. How might it be possible for an organization to screw the people whom desire to obey them in such a horrible manner?

He makes another good point, which is that if this was a one-off, we could dismiss it as coincidence. But it’s been every year since they announced their “transition”. These ticketing problems should be seen in the context of everything else that has been changing at Burning Man this decade:

  • the shift to a “mall of participation” featuring vending machines at the Man base,
  • tourist packages being promoted on the official site,
  • “ironic” timeshare sales with brochures handed out in a market at the Man base,
  • Directors running multi-million dollar hotel camps with sherpas,
  • the art budget shenanigans where the money spent on the Man and related infrastructure is now accounted for as “grants to artists”, and we’re told that has increased compared to past years
  • the massive increases in ticket costs over the past few years,
  • and of course the frequent tweaks of the system which every year have been pushing secondary market prices higher.

Without getting too bogged down in the technicalities, let’s try to break down the 2016 Main Sale problems.

Shaggy Skier offers some detailed analysis at Reddit:

TicketFly allowed people into the ticketing system before the queue opened sometime around 11:30. These people were given an authenticated session on the ticketing system and thus bypassed the queue once tickets went on sale. { I’d bet my left nut on this }

The waiting room / queue (aka a company called “Queue-It”) handled queue placement based on unique cookies assigned to the browser upon hitting their website, and not your secret access code (aka “promo code”). This meant opening multiple independent browser instances increased one’s odds. { I’d bet my right nut on this one }

Professional scalpers absolutely know about the later, and probably the former flaws. Profit motive … motivates people.

Here we have Problem 1: people were allowed to enter the system before it officially opened.

This raises the question: did someone deliberately put these “back doors” (or loopholes) in the system, so that insiders – either at Ticketfly, BMOrg, or Queue-It – could get in before anyone else? Or once again, did BMOrg change their system and it “accidentally” made it way better for scalpers those who knew the loopholes?

According to reports online, not everyone was sent the email about the Waiting Room. Was this selective, sent only to “preferred” Profiles? Why else did some people not receive the email?

Shaggyskier on Reddit:

 

The devil is in the details. From the URL that redirects us back to TicketFly we can see they’re using a Queue-it feature called Safetynet. We can read about Safetynet on Queue-it’s website:

The SafetyNet feature constantly monitors your website, auto-queueing excess users when website capacity threshold is exceeded. End-users within website capacity limits do not see queue numbers. The SafetyNet feature can be implemented as a small JavaScript on your site (like e.g. Google Analytics).

Or in other words Queue-it will keep passing people through to TicketFly, and authenticating their session cookie until the website gets busy enough to be ruled ‘at capacity’. See the problem now? The website doesn’t start getting busy (and/or the queue wasn’t manually enabled) until it gets close to sale time! Anyone who clicks in before then gets an authenticated session on TicketFly’s server – and will no longer be sent to the queue.

I can personally state that Queue-it passed me through to TicketFly (thus authenticating my session) as late as 11:25am, and a friend recognized the same thing happened to her. My friend clicked early on her own accord to “make sure the IT department wasn’t blocking the site”. How many people did that?

“But I did click the link before the queue got going and I got an ‘Invalid Promo Code’ message?”. That’s right. You did. Your promo code was still set to only be valid from 12:05 onwards. If you re-clicked your link, or re-entered your code after 12:05 then you have tickets right now since you still had an authenticated session.

So if you got there early – like, before it was supposed to be open – you got a code to get tickets, because you bypassed the Safety Net in the queueing system. As the waiting room filled up, those codes were allocated via the queueing sytem; by the time the system processed its way through to the end of the queue, all tickets had been sold.

Meanwhile, people logged on at 12:20 and got tickets. Maybe by that time, server load had died down and the queue was not so crowded; meaning the “very early” and “very late” people got processed differently. That’s Problem 2.

Problem 3, is that the cookies used by the Queue-It system were not linked to UserID. Opening more browser windows got you more cookies, which got you more chances to get in to buy tickets. This calls into question yet again the role that the Burner Profile actually plays in this process. In the past we have speculated that it could be used to favor Virgins over Veterans, something that is supported by the strangely consistent “40% Virgins” ratio we have had ever since this new ticket lottery process began.

Problem 3 is particularly bad because it is the complete opposite of BMOrg’s instructions that opening more browser tabs would not give you more chances. While technically this statement could be true depending on the browser and OS, in general opening new browser instances, and running different browsers at the same time definitely made a difference.

Problem 4 is a consequence of Problem 3. The system had no way to differentiate humans from Browser sessions. If one person with one code opened up 10 browsers, it thought that was ten people in the queue. Each one had to be processed individually, before moving on to the next. The system would have wasted a lot of time rejecting sessions that timed out before completion. How else to explain a 30 minute delay between all tickets being in baskets, and the sold out message? Most people should have been able to check out in minutes once they had tickets in their shopping cart.

Problem 5, the “little green man” is not really showing you accurate information. When the time gets down to zero, there is no guarantee you will be able to buy a ticket. It is just looking at all the sessions, and making an estimate of how long it will take to get to processing you. This appears to be based on the size of the queue and your place within it, and not the number of tickets remaining. If this is true, the queue would seem to be getting shorter but then suddenly get longer again as a bunch more people got in the queue; you would seem like you were close to the front, when really you had no chance – which definitely happened last year.

If the Little Green Man’s position is tied to the queue, not the number of tickets remaining, then the LGM is bullshit.

Even when all the tickets have been sold, the system is still processing these queued sessions. People see the man moving, and think there’s hope. The reality is, for regular people logging in to buy tickets after noon (the original instructions), there was almost no hope. The best way to get tickets was to figure out a way around the rules.

They did at least reduce the time wasted by Problem 5 from last year. Instead of waiting up to 2 hours in the queue before being notified that no tickets were remaining (but you could still make a donation), this year it seems to have been more like 30-45 minutes.

We are told we need this convoluted system to prevent scalpers – that is, selling $397 tickets above farce value. Meanwhile, BMOrg are selling a seemingly unlimited number of tickets for $1207. Wake up people: THEY ARE THE SCALPERS! If you really want to stop scalping (0.6% of ticket sales), link IDs to tickets. To stop insiders with large blocks of tickets selling them on the secondary market for profit, link IDs to tickets. It’s pretty basic. But nothing like this has ever been tried. Instead, we have the opposite – a system that started off as brilliantly suited to boosting secondary market profits, and over the last few years has been refined and improved even more to make it a wet dream for anyone wanting to sell tickets for more than $397 farce value.

Low income tickets are still available, but processing them has been delayed 3 weeks:

Heads up: there’s a delay in processing Low Income applications. Normally we strive to respond to applicants within eight weeks, which means the first wave of applicants would have been notified by the end of April. Unfortunately some behind-the-scenes hitches will cause a delay of 2-3 weeks.

What “behind-the-scenes hitches” could there be? Surely the method of processing Low Income Ticket applications does not change from one year to the next? Maybe they need to see how many more VIP tickets can be sold in that time?

A few selected comments from Burners on this year’s ticketing SNAFU:

Alex:

I was in the queue five minutes before the start, then sat in the queue, then sat until there were no more tickets available…

Two of my friends clicked on the email link after 12pm, got straight in and purchased tickets. I’m happy for them

BCool11 says:

Our friend jumped into our 8 person group chat at probably 12:10 and asked us “hey sorry i’m late i’m on the screen that asks for a code”

we pretty much tell him he’s SOL because he didn’t register for an access code. My girlfriend give him her access code since were all waiting in line. I tell her that she may lose her place in line if he uses it on his end.

Literally 2 minutes later he responds back that he has checked out and tickets and vehicle passes were purchased. No one else of our 8 person group got through. He literally put in the code and was pushed through to the checkout page. It really goes to show that there are flaws in this system

23 replied:

If you’d given him your other codes he could have repeatedly purchased your group’s tickets.

Pinthead:

I truly believe people in the waiting room had a huge disadvantage and if you followed the rules they suggested entering the waiting room at 11:45 and never refreshed, closed your browser or opened up another link you where just screwed.

Snakelee:

So two years ago, the OMG sale allowed for queuing 30 minutes before the sale started. My wife and I both tried to get tickets and I noticed that we could queue up really early, so we both queued and we both were given the option to buy. Lots of people from our camp tried to buy in that sale and none of them got in.

Then, that method hit the main sale this year. I know multiple people in our camp queued really early and got them, but I didn’t queue until 15 minutes before and wasn’t able to get tickets. So basically, I think this happened 2 years ago for OMG and then it was routed out to the main sale. I didn’t try the OMG sale last year, I bet they did it this way and have some experience with this method of sale.

I bet that they won’t have this patched for the OMG sale this year and it will be scalper central at 11:29:59.

GHKMasterRace:

After reading all this shit im gonna start being an asshole and getting tickets how ever I can. 

zz_z:

That’s pretty much what you have to do, our camp had 50 people in it last year and only two people got through the main sale this year. The system is broken.

Conclusion

This “waiting room” was a trap. The bottom line is, if you followed the official last minute instructions, and joined it between 11:50-12:00, you reduced your chances of getting a ticket by an order of magnitude.

The idea that “ticket sales start at 12 but people who get there before 12 can buy them first” is silly. It either starts at noon or it doesn’t.

Why not follow the Principle of Immediacy? Start the sales at 12:00:00, and process them on a first-come, first-serve basis. When the last ticket is sold, whoever is at HQ watching $14 million cash hit the bank in 30 minutes or less could immediately send out a Tweet (100k followers) and a message on the Burning Man Facebook page (1 million). It’s pretty fucking simple.

If the Ruling Group were Satanists, they would delight in laughing at the suffering of all these Burners trying to follow the rules, jumping through senseless hoops, and wasting an hour or more of their life just to experience disappointment, disillusionment, and bitterness. But, hey, maybe there’s some other motivation for this sort of thing now happening every year. Maybe, like they say, they did a great job and it’s all just Burners and Ticketfly’s fault.

How was your ticket experience this year? Did your camp get enough tickets? Please share in the comments.

Founded On Fire Magick

Fest300 has just published a lengthy interview with Burning Man Founder Crimson Rose. Are they the new Voices of Burning Man?

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.””

Burning Man Darren Keith Processional

In this photo by Darren Keith, note the Devil Horns on all the keepers of the sacred flame, who stride like giants above us in their Procession to The Man

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.

The Man looked a little different back in 1986

The Man looked a little different back in the early days

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.

The flame that Burns the man is lit in a magickal cauldron named El Diabla. Image: Dust to Ashes/Flickr

The flame that Burns the man is lit in a magickal cauldron named El Diabla. Image: Dust to Ashes/Flickr

Image: Blip.TV documentary on Helco

Image: Blip.TV documentary on Helco

“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]

mcsatans

Image: Geek Times

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.

2014:

 The Magickal Symbols Are Displayed, The Occult Ritual Can Commence

Brainwashing: the New Billionaire Obsession

Creating God in the Digital Age

Satanists With Guns

2013:

Magic On A Grand Scale

2012:

Seeking Divine Truth at Burning Man

Finding Jesus at Burning Man – a Christian perspective

“Theater in a Crowded Fire” – Spirituality, Burning Man, and the Apocalypse – Neo-Paganism

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

 

 

Ticket Hell [Updates]

Did you get your tickets in the Individual Sale? Or did you miss out, like 60,000 other dejected Burners?

According to BMOrg, 80,000 Burners registered for the sale. It sold out in about 80 minutes.

I tried to log in from the email link, the moment that my network time-synched clock turned 12:00:00. It didn’t work, so I tried from profiles.burningman.org. Both finally worked, at 12:00:56. I was in, minute one! I thought maybe I had a chance.

The predicted queue was “more than an hour”. I hoped that only meant 61 minutes. Last year tickets sold out in about 40 minutes, so that wasn’t great news.

Next, “the ticket sale is paused”. Many Burners started to report getting the same message. It seems that Burning Man broke Ticketfly, at about 12:06.

esteban hernandez screenshot

They got it back up and running, then released the queue again.

Vehicle passes were the first to sell out. 12,000 were offered. They went in less than 49 minutes.

Then, before it even began, it was over.

Burner Gaurang reported tickets being sold out at 1pm.

At 1:21pm PST, @bmantickets tweeted:

At that time, I was in line, with “more than an hour” as my wait. Then, it reduced – only 50 minutes. Anyone would think that they still had a chance, since the line was reducing.

this is what my 3 windows said, 1 minute before tickets sold out

this is what my 3 windows said, 1:20pm PST

Screenshot 2015-02-18 13.29.14

this message on ePlaya was 1:24pm PST

Screenshot 2015-02-18 13.32.23

Things improving. Still looks like a chance 1:32pm PST, 11 minutes after sold out Tweet

It was not until 15 minutes later, that the Ticketing system delivered the bad news officially:

Bad news! 1:35pm PST, 14 minutes after they actually sold out

Bad news! 1:35pm PST, 14 minutes after they actually sold out

Then, the screen changed. Suddenly, although I could not buy tickets or vehicle passes, I was being asked to make a $40 donation to the Burning Man Project. As many of those as I want. No thank you.

Through at last! 1:43pm PST

Through at last! 1:43pm PST

Assuming that everyone bought 2 tickets, means 20,000 people today got through this system successfully. And even 40% of them faced disappointment and challenges ahead, when they could not buy a vehicle pass. Burning Man said that there were more than double the number of registrations, as there were tickets. 80,000 people chasing 160,000 tickets, from a pool of 40,000 tickets.

At least 60,000 people missed out today, an entire Burning Man’s worth. Not only did we miss out on getting tickets, but we all wasted between 81 minutes (when @bmantickets announced they were sold out) and 96 minutes (when the queue message changed from waiting to sold out) of our valuable time.

The 2014 Black Rock City Census estimates the median Burner income at $51,000. This means that an hour of time for the average median Burner is worth $24.52 (based on a 40-hour work week). 96 minutes of time across 60,000 Burners adds up to a waste of $2,353,846 – in order for BMOrg to make $18,360,000, or $226,666 per minute.

96 minutes of 60,000 Burners’ time is the equivalent of 4000 days, or 11 years.

Just the 14 minutes between tickets selling out (1:21pm from Tweet) to the queue being updated (1:35pm for me), multiplied by the 60,000 people who waited in vain, is 840,000 minutes: 14,000 hours of Burner time were completely wasted, just in failing to shut down all the queues the moment that tickets were sold out.

It Creates So Much Negative Energy – Is That By Accident or Design?

There are many other events in the world that sell out quickly. Usually, that happens in just minutes. Burning Man is the only one with this incredibly convoluted system of Burner profiles and queuing. The system seems custom-made to create disappointment on a massive scale.

First, the $800 VIP tickets – which bring no benefits over regular tickets – remind many Burners that others have more money than them. Money to Burn. These used to be there as Christmas Gifts, and to enable lower income Burners to get tickets, but now they are released after the holidays are over and support far fewer low income Burners and art than they could. So disappointment is created around the holidays, not being able to Gift them at the main time of Gifting; and disappointment is created among the low income Burners, who have to beg for a ticket with essays and paperwork.

Next, the Directed Group Sale tells the vast majority of Burners that they’re nothing, not cool enough or “in” enough to be on the Guest List. And even people who are on the list, get disappointed when they can’t get tickets.

The process of registering for the sales before they start, creates a whole bunch of disappointed Burners who didn’t get the memo and logged in too late to register and are SOL.

Then the Individual Sale just created 3 disappointed Burners, for each one that is elated to get a ticket. It’s particularly frustrating because we all got there in the first minute, and before that did all the right things, jumped through all the right hoops, made the profiles and registered and made sure there was money in the bank and our credit cards were ready – and all of that was for nothing.

Many Burners who managed to get tickets today still missed out on getting a vehicle pass. There is now some confusion whether all 27,000 vehicle passes have been sold, or if there will be another 1250 in the OMG sale.

BMOrg’s whole approach to ticketing brings tens of thousands of people together at once. For an hour and a half they are waiting in hope, only for everyone to be devastated at the same moment. Only a select few are “lucky” enough that their connection got through at the right time. The luck trickles out over 80 minutes, but the vain hope lingers another 15 – then BOOM! Everyone gets the bad news at once. Sorry, you missed out – but hey, you can still donate to us!

Burners are made to suffer again in line at the Gate, and Will Crawl. Hours in the sun, with no shade. Lines that move ridiculously slowly, and don’t move fairly. Unreasonable requests made against people in wheelchairs.

WHY? Why make us go through this? Why make Burners suffer?

It’s positively Satanic.

hqdefaultWhich would be easy to laugh off, if this was “just a festival” or “just a rave”. Something where Satanism had no place. Instead, Satanism has played a major role in Burning Man’s history from the get-go. Satanists take delight in the suffering of others, it is one of many elements in their religion.

Burning Man has been created to take place inside a Pentagram, and is based on the rituals of ancient death cults. Danger Ranger said “we’re Satanists with guns” and Evil and the Devil featured prominently in the very first themes. Burning Man’s life as an LLC began with a takeover by Helco, a malevolent corporation. At the “Hell Yes! Hell No!” party, they handed out contracts to people to sell their souls to the Devil.

In Larry Harvey’s own words:

It’s one thing to laugh at the thought that something so old fashioned-sounding as a soul might be acquired through an act of purchase. Many modern comedies have used this plot. However, it is quite another thing to be accosted by a person who earnestly offers to buy it.

helco eplaya 1996Customers were offered contracts closely typed in nine-point font on legal-size sheets of paper. The font grew ever smaller as the text progressed. Entitled “Standard Short Form Contract For Purchase of Soul”, this legal handiwork appeared to cover every possible contingency. It was authored by an old friend of mine, Doug Holloway, an attorney. As a reward for parting with their souls, ‘sellers’ were allowed to ascend the steep stairs of a dark and sinister multi-tiered throne that projected a full three stories overhead. On a stage beneath its summit sat Satan, played by Flash. As part of our satiric scheme, Satan was understood to have lost his position in the midst of corporate reshuffling. No longer CEO of an underworld empire, he now served as a corporate spokesperson. He had become to Hell what Colonel Sanders is to chicken. Cheerfully bearing up in this role, Flash allowed each customer to sit on his lap. He invited them to whisper their most secret wishes and desires in his ear.

about this photoAfter receiving a bright red lollipop, they descended a second set of stairs on the opposite side of the platform. Near the base of these stairs, we stationed the Soul Sucker, a Rube-Godbergesque sculpture by Al Honig. It was purportedly designed to physically suck each soul from its human body (in reality, its seat vibrated) and deposit this commodity in a second and quite beautiful sculpture by Paul Windsor. Entitled The Stupa of Limbo, it was said to function as a kind of spiritual settling tank. (It was a very elegant piece, composed of opened books, lacquered and laid out in tiers surrounding a glass water tank. Later that year, it appeared in the desert.) One important fact that customers were never told was that, according to the terms of HELCO’s contract, the lollipop was their sole payment for their souls. We also left it up to them to realize that this sugared treat was saturated with cinnamon that would burn their tongues.

you still get the lollipop...

you still get the bright red lollipop/sugared treat…

Just like BMOrg’s “Minister of Propaganda” is supposedly an ironic title, and yet that’s exactly what they do…isn’t it ironic that Satanic elements played such a big part in the foundation of Burning Man, and particularly with the later creation of BMOrg. The unique systems they’ve designed for profiling, ticketing, and queueing fail to solve problems that have been solved many times over by the ticketing industry. Instead they have the side effect of creating mass suffering and disappointment.

It’s conceivable that this side effect is merely accidental, the result of poor design or a lack of empathy for the customer. There is no doubt that the other consequences of this system have been to deliver BMOrg tens of millions of dollars every year, allow them to keep pushing ticket prices up, and ensure there is the healthiest possible secondary market. Anyone gifted tickets, is gifted something that is worth a thousand dollars or more and easily tradeable. Insiders given half a dozen tickets and vehicle passes, therefore get a nice little bonus if they need some cash. The $800 pre-sale sets the after market price nicely.


The “Open Market”

BMOrg says:

keep an eye on the open market for them — they’ll be out there

Right now, on StubHub there are 380 tickets available, with the cheapest going for $1030. There are 112 vehicle passes, for $250 each. Burners who got tickets today but missed out on vehicle passes are basically forced to go to Stubhub and pay above face value for a vehicle pass. Either that, or carpool, Burner Express, or fly in.

For a system that we’re supposed to believe has been designed to prevent scalping – which isn’t a problem anyway – it sure is amazing how this system really seems to facilitate scalping.

Perhaps there is nothing sinister to any of this, it’s all just accident and coincidence. Maybe the wasting of 11 years of Burners’ time this year was necessary to enable 16,000 virgins to have a transformational experience. We are saving the world with Burning Man, leave no trace, the waste of 100,000 hours of Burner time is a small sacrifice to make in the name of (non-)profit. And if you don’t like it, start your own!

Next, is 60,000 disappointed Burners trying their luck with STEP (4000 tickets last year) and OMG (1000 tickets this year).  Your odds are 1 in 12 – in other words, there is a 92% chance that you won’t get tickets in those sales. Good luck, Burners.


[Update 2/18/15 5:50pm]

I wrote about the ticketing system and the algorithms behind it last year: 60% Veterans.

It appears some Burners figured out a clever “hack” to circumvent the system.

ticketfly tip

There is more discussion of this at Reddit.

It wasn’t even as complicated as that. Clicking the emailed ticket link several times would sometimes get to the real ticket ordering page. If you can jump straight to the ordering page by clicking the link they told you to click on, then I wouldn’t call it a cheat, just a really dumb issue with TicketFly. It sounds like some camps took advantage of this to get tickets before people who trusted the queue system (protip: don’t), which is distasteful.

Other Burners used Javascript hacks to get into the queue before everyone else.

One determined Burner, when told that tickets weren’t available, decided to try again and make a donation…which then worked.

donation tickets lead to more

[Update 2/18/15 6:40pm]

The Voices of Burning Man discusses the vehicle passes:

fewer VPs were made available (12,000) in the Individual Sale than tickets (40,000) and some of you were able to purchase a ticket (or two) but not a VP. But the good news is that the ratio of purchases of VPs to tickets was actually really good today — 36,000 tickets were sold before the 12,000 VPs sold out.

If you didn’t get one, please know that you’ve still got options:

  1. Vehicle Passes will be sold in the OMG Sale. In fact, there will be more VPs available than tickets. For those who have not purchased a VP from us yet, there will be an option to register to purchase just a VP — so if you didn’t get a VP in the Individual Sale, you’ll be able to register to purchase one in the OMG Sale.
  2. A lot of folks bought a VP not knowing if they need it or not, and will be looking to offload theirs. Ask around, and keep an eye on the open market for them — they’ll be out there.

So there you have it, Burners. BMOrg are now encouraging you to participate in the “open market”.

Some Burners were not impressed.

  • Avalanche

    You can’t take an art exhibit, a hexayurt, a sizable enough tent, a slushie maker, a shade structure, a bar, or booze on an bus.

    Presumably this is why last year there was more taking and less gifting, more RVs, more PnP camps, bro hackers, sparkle ponies, and party children.

    Inane.

  • RW

    Oh yay,
    Those of us with tickets and no VP may have to wait until just DAYS before we go to know if we are going to have our own transportation, sleeping area, food, water, bathroom, for those with medical issues, and the ability to leave earlier than most do, due to work schedule.
    This just seems to get worse and worse every year. Soon all the planners and responsible burners will just give up and stop attending, and the playa will be left with the thieves and beggars, because that is all that are going to be interested in this type of situation.

  • Highland Walker:

This type of decision ensures that: 1) Burning Man gets less money; 2) scalpers get more money; 3) Burners have to pay more and/or go through more hassle to get there; and, 4) there will be no fewer vehicles at the Burn than last year. Brilliant.

[Update 2/18/15 6:50pm]

Burner Dave posted this screen shot to our Facebook page.

20 donation

It appears that there is some kind of selection going on. Not all Burners are the same, according to this process. Some Burners were asked to make a $20 Donation, and others (like myself) were asked for $40. Was this based on number of prior burns? Country?

40 donation

[Update 2/18/15 7:42pm]

Vivid Seats has tickets from $760, and plenty of ’em:

Screenshot 2015-02-18 19.42.39Stubhub has plenty, Vehicle Passes are skyrocketing:

Screenshot 2015-02-18 19.44.37

There are hundreds on eBay as well, where tickets start at $1100 and car passes are now $350. An arbitrage opportunity, for any Burners chasing paper…

Screenshot 2015-02-18 19.46.29

Monty Python sold out the 20,000 capacity O2 arena in 43 seconds

This is Why Concert Tickets Sell Out In Seconds – looks at insider scalping by Bieber’s management

Why Your Favorite Concerts Sell Out – looks at Ticketmaster and the bots that make money from it

[Update 2/18/15 8:02pm]

Coverage of the sale in SFist

The Rolling Stones scalp their own tickets

[Update 2/18/15 8:42pm]

Here’s another hack Burners used today, thanks to Burner Gaurang:

Replace tickets.burningman.org with ticketfly.com in the email link they sent and you bypass the queue

http://tickets.burningman.org/purchase/event/758499
(wait in BM queue)
=
http://ticketfly.com/purchase/event/758499
(by entering this you bypass the queue)

[Update 2/18/15 10:34pm]

LiveForLiveMusic says Burning Man sold out in less than an hour and people are pissed.

[Update 2/19/15]

Thanks to reader delicious for sending this in.

For $750, you can get a bot that will buy tickets for you at TicketFly. As many as you want.

Screenshot 2015-02-19 12.19.33

The Magickal Symbols Have Been Displayed. The Occult Ritual Can Commence [Update]

photo: Eric Zumstein/Flickr

photo: Eric Zumstein/Flickr

Embrace went up yesterday in a ceremony rich with transhumanist symbolism. Humanity got to witness fire start in their eyes, explode into their brains, then blow a hole through the top of their heads before the two figures – man, woman, trans, whatever Alpha and Omega symbolized to you – were gone completely in about 20 minutes. More than a quarter of a million dollars, 170,000 lbs of timber, just incinerated. Sacrificed, in the name of Big Art.

Today’s a new day. The big one. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 8, with a ritual procession. Then, at 8:45 Fire Conclave will present a spellbinding performance of twirling fire, hot dancers, and thumping primal drums. At 9:15, the Man burns.

The video feed this year is being brought to us in mobile HD by the Desert Wizards of Mars. Yes, really.

2013 final web

The whole concept of Burning Man is modelled on Ancient Babylonian Magick called the Rites of Eleusis. Using a combination of magic mushrooms and LSD, which was synthesized from a bread fungus, the wealthy elites of olden times were able to control the entire population of their cities. This stuff has worked for thousands of years, and Burning Man is the latest and greatest incantation and incarnation of it.

Don’t believe me? Read below for some of Larry Harvey’s writing about all of this.

From CEO Maid Marian’s public profile:

Her first love and escape from work is her two sweet-tempered kitties, and her second is her level 80 fire-specced Blood Elf Mage.

Familiars and avatars. Fire and blood are the elements of her Mage.

The producer of this bewitching event loves cats. Her art car is a cat.

marian cat-car

This Skull and Bones tree has been on display all week in front of First Camp:

bone tree burning manIt spends the rest of the year at their work ranch, next to a giant occult mask.

bone tree skull ranch-burning_man4

Here the Magickal Symbols are today, all wheeled out and symbolically presented for the world on the HD UStream feed. This is what we get to see before darkness falls and the warm-up starts.

familiar tree wand

The Familiar (L, art car), the Witching Tree (C, white sculpture), and the Magic Wand (R, Control Tower)

 

The camera pulls back just wide enough to get all 3 symbols in. The Control Tower to the right, much loved last year, has been all gussied up this year. People are climbing in it and looking out from the platform at the top. It looks like a Shake Weight with a rapier stuck on the end, but it also looks like a magic wand.

The symbols have been displayed, the ritual can commence, the ceremonies can begin.

Remember, good people. Harmony is stronger. Black magic thrives on chaos, it loves to breed discord and mistrust. White magic is unity, truth, love. Connection to source, Universal Infinite Love is our power. We don’t need no magic ritual connection to artificially intelligent False Idols in a re-creation of ancient rites of death, rebirth, and control.

human-mandala-2011

 

 

 


 

The Cremation of the Crop

 

“By the power of your fellowship…Dull Care is SLAIN!” – from the Bohemian Grove Cremation of Care ceremonial effigy burn. The crowd cheers “Murder! Murder! Bring fire!”

 

In the Year 2000, Internet counter-culture personality Alex Jones, who broadcasts his show Infowars.com with the tag line “if you are receiving this transmission, you ARE the resistance” – crashed Bohemian Grove. After doing some on-site reconnaissance, he decided to just walk through the gates and bluff his way past any security. In conjunction with UK filmmaker Jon Ronson, he got some never before seen footage of the Bohemian Grove’s Cremation of Care ceremony.

His associate was quite disturbed after the experience. “When you’re in the patriot movement, you hear rumors about stuff like this going around. You don’t know whether it is true, well it is. I saw it.”

Jones broke it down in his usual succinct manner: “you’ve got death on this black boat bringing a pallet with a papier mache person, they take it over and they burn it for some idol, some Owl god, it looks more like a demon, it’s got horns up there and they just call it an Owl… We’re not supposed to worship Jesus or anything…it’s worship the Owl God”.

Robed lamplighters conduct a ceremony, leading up to the lighting of the effigy. It is the high point of the Bohemian Grove’s midsummer encampment, occuring half way between its “Low Jinks” opening and “Hi Jinks” afterparty. Jinx is a word from witchcraft, a jinx is a spell. To “jinx” something is normally interpreted to mean to put a curse on it that will make it radiate bad luck. A fundamental principle of magic that is agreed upon by both sides, light and dark, is karma – if you curse something, you curse yourself. That is why white magicians say prayers and cast positive spells – the only consequence of their goodwill is more luck and happiness and goodwill in their own lives. White magic leans more toward the acquisition of wisdom and a general feeling of faith and trust in the universe. The Black form is concerned more with the acquisition of power and is reflective of a basic faith in oneself. Black magicians revel in pain, and torment, and suffering. In evil. That is why their occult rituals always happen in secret, and why they organize themselves in secret societies, often quite literally under ground in caves.

Everything is permitted, and nothing is true, said the Magicians of Chaos.

The lamplighters are commanded, “Bring fire! “

 The Owl Moloch responds, in a voice recorded for the event by famous broadcaster Walter Cronkite:

BohemianGrove5 buddha

I prefer Buddha to Molech. The Grove has both

 Fools! Fools! Fools!

When will ye learn..

That me ye cannot slay?

Year after year ye burn me in this Grove

Lifting your puny shouts of triumph to the stars

But when again ye turn your faces to the marketplace

Do ye not find me waiting as of old?

Fools. Fools. Fools to dream ye conquer Care 

Year after year within this happy grove. Our fellowshiop bans thee for a space,. So shall we burn thee once again this night,

And with the flames that eat thine effigy, we shall read the sign

Midsummer sets us free!

Ye shall burn me once again? Laughter

Not with these flames

Begone dull care. Fire shall have its will of thee!

Once again, mid summer sets us free!

 

Midsummer is the ancient Druidic term for the Summer Solstice, the same Pagan and astrological event that Burning Man was started to celebrate.

The use of wording is interesting. “Fellowship” has Masonic overtones, and brings to mind Lord of the Rings, a book most certainly based on knowledge of the inner workings of The Man, the secret society networks of the Round Table groups. Larry Harvey’s father was a Freemason, and his brother was in their DeMolay youth lodge.

“Ban” means to cast out, to forbid; but there is another sense of the word. “bann”, like Banner, is a flag that would be used on the battlefield by Celtic soldiers of the Robert the Bruce Braveheart type.

“The banns” is a term for a proclamation of an alliance, a partnership such as marriage. It is seen as a celebration in Pagan culture.

a notice read out on three successive Sundays in a parish church, announcing an intended marriage and giving the opportunity for objections

“Care”, the effigy of Molech, their god of wisdom and blood sacrifice, calls out three times that they are FOOLS. No-one objects. This is the bann, between the Grovers and The Man. Their effigy, their giant statute.

So “our fellowship banns thee for a space” is saying “our fraternity is proclaiming our partnership with you for this event, we will be joined together in this celebration”. When they burn Care, they are becoming one with it.

When you burn The Man, you don’t become one with it, anymore than burning an Owl at Bohemian Grove removes care from the world – or from these participants. It’s an excuse for a party, but it’s also a mass ceremonial ritual, symbolizing The Man as being between the people suffering physically in the dust, and The Gods, towering above them with the power of shock and awe. We look up to it on a pedestal, with a fire so hot capturing all our energies, that if we get too close to it we could burn. The power to kill, and we are powerless against that. The only thing we can do is respect its power, and be humbled by how great The Man is. Before everyone goes back to their lives, working for The Man. Obeying all the rules of The Man.

Why can they burn Care at the Grove? Because they are the owners of The Man. The ones building the hives to control us like to go to Burning Man. Bohemian Grove is for the owners of the hives like Google and Facebook and Apple that we’re all glued into – and the ancient bloodline families that own them. Many Grovers also attend Burning Man, and have from very early on in the event’s history.

satan man 1986 baker beach

The first Burning Man effigy on Baker Beach, 1986. Note the horns and the flared hips, giving it the appearance of Cernunnos, Baphomet, or Pan.

The conceptual structure of the Burning Man is ritual. Rather than “Dull Care”, their idol is called “The Man”. When they burn the Man at Burning Man, they are celebrating their freedom and independence. Free to be who they want to be and do what they want, without the expectations and pressures and responsibilities of “The Default World”. In fact, The Man is reprogramming their minds with lessons and impressions that it wants them to return to the Default World with, and spread out to those around them.

At Bohemian Grove, when they burn Care, the captains of industry and government and academia and the arts, the Generals of The Man, can forget about their responsibilities and just party for a bit. This occult ritual goes back to the Cult of Dionysus, also known as Bacchus. The Dionysian mysteries combined ritual, costume, repetition of phrases, rhythmic beats and music, smoke, lighting effects, fire, intoxication, hallucination. The whole society were expected to participate in the Mysteries at some point, even slaves. Over time, as religious oppression pushed the so-called “Pagan” religions underground into secret societies, the selection of candidates to indoctrinate became more strategic. Over time, the ancient orders became more exclusive and powerful. Their focus on being male-only removed them from the need to deal with issues of primogeniture – hereditary title. A Man would be chosen based on the judgement of other men. The Society would hold the wealth and continue the man’s power after he died, because by replacing a Man’s place within the secret society, replacing his larger position in the outside world became a fait accompli.

At Burning Man, when they burn The Man, the elements are all the same as Bohemian Grove, because they are the same as the Dionysian Mysteries. Fire and darkness. Lamplighters, costumes, masks, symbols, robes, ritual. Rhythms, dancing, lights, drugs…an entrancing and intoxicating spectacle. The feeling of being part of something exclusive and special, not available to “regular” people in the outside world. At Bohemian Grove, The Man gets to burn Care, then party without it; at Burning Man, We The Burners get to burn The Man: for one night, anyway.

There is only one remotely similar event to Bohemian Grove and Burning Man in the US, the Pagan ritual burn called Zozobra. It started shortly after Bohemian Grove. The idol they burn is called Anxiety rather than Care. Almost all the other pagan effigy burns in the country are related to Burning Man as regional events, or spun out from Burning Man’s networks. It is only Burning Man and Bohemian Grove that share so closely the concepts of theme camps, alternate names, a ban on commerce, emphasis on theater and lectures, ritualizing of the effigy burn, and extreme decadence.

Both events were modeled on, and inspired by, the Rites of Eleusis. Gordon Wasson was Vice President of Public Relations for JP Morgan. In the official story, he “discovered” magic mushrooms, and got them on the cover of Life magazine through a chance meeting at the Century Club, the East coast version of Bohemian Grove. In the less widely publicized version, which comes with FOIA-requests and other evidence, Wasson’s expeditions were financed by the CIA’s MKULTRA program. Wasson wrote a book with Albert Hoffman, the “inventor” of LSD, called The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries.

Thomas Hardy wrote in The Cutting Edge Magazine:

“Burning Man offers a no-holds-barred “Woodstock” style festival where neo-pagans, wiccans, transvestite entertainers, curiosity seekers, and old hippies can go to trance, perform rituals, burn sacrifices to deities, fornicate, and otherwise ‘express’ themselves freely.”

Brian Doherty is a historian who has studied Burning Man for a long time, and wrote a book on it, “This is Burning Man”. Writing in Reason magazine in 2000, he said:


outhtere in here
To many long-time attendees, the festival has turned away from its promise as what underground social theorist Hakim Bey calls a “temporary autonomous zone”-a place where a chosen few could create a new, free social order outside the purview of dominant authority… The agencies that sign off on Burning Man’s permits have come to see the festival more as an opportunity than as a problem and have thus forged a relatively easygoing relationship with the openly danger- and drug-filled event.

To Harvey, Burning Man is more than just a party. But he’s vague about exactly what it represents. Harvey talks a lot about the meaning of the event – the word sacred comes up often-and he once wrote an article in the neo-mystic magazine Gnosis in which he compared Burning Man to Rome’s ancient mystery religions. But it’s hard to be sure what he wants to come out of the event. In fact, he’s proud that the event’s central symbol-the Man-is enigmatic. “We never say what the Man means,” he points out. “He’s just there to provide a unified focus for the community. It could become a wonderfully coercive tool politically-like, ‘The Man doesn’t like that, the Man says …… We could make The Man The Man, right? But he stands beyond the social circle, like a god or the prospect of war, something that unifies everyone.”

The mystery religions are linked to the Cult of Dionysus, and can be traced back to the even more ancient rituals of Mithras. Bacchanalian revelry outdoors is a big part of it.

The path of paganism goes back to the same theology that the ruling elites have been following, worshipping, in secret rituals for centuries.  “Man is God” is the occult belief behind the New Age movement, Paganism, Luciferianism and Satanism. The Church of Satan was founded in San Francisco, next to the Presidio Military Base – just like Burning Man. Satanists do not worship the Devil as a separate being that gives them orders. Rather, They themselves are the God. Satanism is the true essence of the Mystery Religion, the religion of no religion. There’s nothing at its core, just an Abyss. An empty void of nothingness, in which nothing is real and everything is one.  Similarly, Pagans and Burners do not directly worship the devil as their Lord and savior. “The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing us he doesn’t exist”, says Kaiser Soze in the movie The Usual Suspects. That is the Devil’s goal, to make man believe that neither god nor the devil exist. The core belief of the New Age, that you will find to be widely held at Burning Man, is Self is God. The belief that Man is God transforms people into a vehicle by which They can drive humans into perpetual conflict under the guise of “saving the world”.

In 2014 Burning Man published a “book club” cultural discussion series on their official blog. The entire basis of the series was “The Death of God”.

If Burning Man is more than just a party, like Larry says, then what is it exactly? What experiments are going on, socially and spiritually, within this pentagon-shaped petri dish?

In the summer of 1995, as the tenth effigy burn was approaching, Larry Harvey reflected on the rituals in the magazine Gnosis. He published the story under the name of Darrel van Rhey, but later admitted on his own web site that he wrote the article. In the past Burning Man have always denied having any awareness of the movie “The Wicker Man”, but that is not the same as denying any awareness of Druids and their rituals. This article clearly exposes that not only were the founders aware of the occult, it is a fundamental element in this fire magic event which takes place inside a Pentagon, with a .666% circle touching the edges of the pentagram within it.

Although Darryl van Rhey is beleived to be a pseudonym for Larry Harvey, he interviewed Darryl in 1999 and 2000 – according to official Burning Man blog. He was photographed with him in 2004  – again, according to Burning Man, since this photo is from Danger Ranger’s Flickr. In 1995, he wrote in Gnosis magazine. If this didn’t come straight from Harvey himself using DVR as a pseudonym, then it was certainly straight from the horse’s mouth to Darryl’s pen. Rearrange the letters of “Darryl Van Rhey” and you get “ND Larry Harvey” (ND presumably stands for nom de’plume). In his 2000 Reason article, Doherty attributes Larry Harvey as the author. Erik Davis also attributes the article to Harvey.

Larry Harvey himself, writing on his own web site, claimed he was the author of the story – obviously oblivious to the other articles there where he had therefore interviewed himself:

We concentrated on the desert, instead. We no longer needed to publicize ourselves in San Francisco and could now rely on ticket revenue from the Burning Man event. The title of our performance that year was Mysterium. It was subtitled The Secret Rites of Burning Man. This was accompanied by a memorable motto: “Let’s put the cult back into culture!” It focused on the idea of fertility…I had been reading literature about the many Mystery religions of the ancient Greco-Roman world. The participatory character of these ancient religious movements intrigued me. Earlier in the year, I’d written an article for Gnosis, a San Francisco-based magazine.

The Revelation of the Method serves to make the magic more powerful. The true meaning of the event has been deliberately obscured from those who willingly participate in its rituals – which is the way of the dark wizard. Harvey tells us that this amibguity is not by accident, but rather has been very carefully calculated. A smoke screen, smoke and mirrors. A glamor.

 


 

In the following story from Gnosis Magazine 20 years ago, the emphasis is our commentary. The article is presented in its entirety, so that no-one can claim the author is being quoted out of context. On the contrary, Mr Harvey references this piece in his own writings on his company web site.

 

The Burning Man: A Modern Mystery

by Darryl van Rhey [aka Larry Harvey]

Gnosis Magazine Summer 1995

On Labor Day weekend in early September, thousands of people will converge in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Somewhere near the center of this awesome space – reputedly the largest flat expanse of land in North America – they will erect a giant effigy. The Burning Man, as it is called, will tower over a spontaneous community, a miniature civilization complete with clubs and cabarets, several radio stations, and a daily newspaper, The Black Rock Gazette. The masthead motto of this journal sets the tone of the ensuing weekend. “Welcome to Nowhere”, it reads, “Its name is whatever you name it. Its wealth is whatever you bring it. Next week it will be gone, but next week might as well be never. You are here now”.

Throughout the festival that follows, people indulge their whims and creative impulses. However they choose to express themselves – through costumes, dance, sculpture, or the construction of elaborate theme camps – they are encouraged to do so in an environment where distinctions like “professional” and “amateur” or “audience” and “spectator” soon become meaningless. By day the campground is a colorful community of tents and fantastic shelters with flags and banners flying in the wind. By night it is transformed into a dreamscape as artists craft light, sound, neon, and the primal element of fire into luminous spectacles.

On the final evening of the festival, participants join in a grand promenade. Dancers bearing torches lead them to the Burning Man along a pathway flanked by monumental spires. Clamor, cries, and high pitched ululations are succeeded by a hush as the four-story figure is ignited. Then a wild pandemonium ensues as lapping flames engulf the torso in a solid sheath of fire. Mounting upward, they ignite a fuse: fountains of fireworks spew out of the giant’s head. Most animate now, at the moment of his demise, he soon shudders, and the three-quarter ton figure comes crashing to the ground.

Organizers shroud the meaning of this celebration in a cloud of calculated ambiguity.

Pressed to explain their intentions, they cite a simple doctrine. “The Project never interferes with anyone’s immediate experience”. Participants are urged to create their own interpretations.

The weekend might be described as an avant-garde art festival, a ritual enactment of creation and destruction, or an exotic free-wheeling party.

Yet, to the student of religion, these rites suggest a time, a place, and a social setting that has precedents in ancient history.

Throughout the classic period of Western civilization, there existed a diverse spiritual movement that is known as mystery religion. The mystery cults, as they were called, arose within a new world order. The conquests of Alexander and the subsequent spread of Roman rule throughout the Mediterranean world had greatly expanded the scope of classical civilization. Stretching from the shores of the Atlantic to the Caspioan Sea, it occupied a vast cosmopolitan domain, teeming with commerce and hosting the ideas of many cultures . Immense allocations of men and monies had displaced entire populations. The citizenry of the empire, uprooted and heterogeneous, now congregated in large urban centers. Within this sophisticated and self-conscious milieu, huge societal gaps separated rich from poor and urban from rural populations, and intense economic specialization further divided the classes. It was a world, in other worlds, remarkably like our own.

Arising from this complex milieu, the mysteries derived from diverse sources. Traditions drawn from many cultures flowed like tributary streams into the great Mediterranean basin, bringing with them the worship of Isis and Osiris of Egypt, Mithra of Persia, and the Anatolian Great Mother. Yet the mystery cults had much in common. All were grafted onto the stock of agrarian fertility festivals – relics of a prehistoric past – yet were essentially urban in character. They typically employed theatrical parades and pageants to attract a pool of individuals who might share little else in common, and they were organized as lodges. Membership within a cult implied broad equality with fellow mystai or initiates.

Ceremonies often took the form of pilgrimages. Participants removed themselves to sacred sites. Mystai sang and danced to flutes and cymbals, others wore masks and sported strange attire. Such celebrations might take many days, and while they lasted, class distinctions were dissolved. “Persons who are being initiated into the mysteries throng together at the outset amid tumult and shouting”, wrote Plutarch of the Eleusinian mysteries celebrated near Athens, “but when the holy rites are being disclosed and performed, the people are immediately attentive in awe and silence.

Such initiations were performed by firelight at night in enactment of a central myth of death and rebirth. They were often highly theatrical performances, and, unlike the tribal traditions from which they sprang, placed a unique emphasis on personal choice.

Many people probably attended the festivals simply to have fun. Intense, ecstatic and immediate, the rites did not stress doctrinal belief, but valued toward show and inward feeling. Artistotle states the mysteries weren’t about a teaching, they were initiations focused on direct experience.

The mystery cults, long a dominant form of idol worship in the late classical world, perished with the fall of Greco-Roman civilization. Yet the modern immolation of the Burning Man, surrounded by impromptu rites of celebration, forms an arresting analogy. The parallels are striking, fire, sacrifice, pilgrimage, visionary spectacle, egalitarianism, revelry, recruitment from an urban population, direct experience opposed to doctrinal belief, and central to it all, a myth of death and rebirth.

Organizers of this modern mystery disclaim any conscious plan to reproduce the past. Yet it might be that culture itself, is responding to the changing needs of our society. As students of ritual understand, the past and present rotate on a single wheel of time.

 


See Live-Blogging the Burn for all the occult references that happened at this year’s re-enactment of the Magickal Mystery Rituals.

[Update 8/31/14 2:22pm]

Thanks to Curt.Net for sharing these images he created.

virtuvius curt

the man pentagram curt

 

The description of Bohemian Grove ceremonies is from the recording in this documentary, filmed secretly at their annual event.