What’s a Burner? ~

Bubbles at Lakes of FireCapturing the idea of a Burner is probably one of the most difficult things that could be asked.  Of course, we could give a laydown of the generally accepted ideas and observable actions, but to really understand the true essence of a Burner it must be learned through experiential knowledge.  That’s the key: Go and See.

To be a Burner is to attune to a lifestyle that daily recreates the realizations learned from attending a Burn with the ultimate desire being the achievement of a personal freedom that is uninhibited from judgment or scrutiny.  It is unique for each person, but at its core, the Burner is an individual who espouses to each of 10 principles and endeavors to bring these principles to the default world.

Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Decommodification, Gifting, Immediacy, Leaving No Trace, Participation, Radical Inclusion, Radical Self-Expression, Radical Self-Reliance.

Substantial focus is given to the 10 principles and Burners are in constant search for a way to incorporate each principle into daily life. They will often inject themselves into situations where there’s an opportunity to act out or demonstrate one of the ten principles. Perhaps, this “injection” is in the form of joining a community program (Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Participation), being open and outreaching (Radical Inclusion, Radical Self-Expression, Participation) to a stranger or someone in the throws of being pressed (i.e. repressed, suppressed, depressed… all the pressed) or providing help or aid to a friend or stranger in need (Civic Responsibility, Immediacy, Gifting). In any case, the Burner acts out of a belief in humanity and understanding of the beauty and love that can be fostered by following the 10 principles. The Burner believes in this, not out of blind faith, but from the experiential knowledge garnered while participating in the experimental community established at Burns.

In addition to the physical acting out of the principles, Burners are also encapsulated by the metaphysical and euphoric experiences culled from attending a Burn. There’s something special that happens at a Burn that most any Burner would find hard to describe. Most would simply go with an explanation like magical or life-altering; It’s challenging to put words to something so intangible yet so readily known. How can one express the love emanating from every participant? Or, how can one accurately describe the emotions invoked from being truly accepted, completely free from judgement? In fact, what is it to be completely accepted? This is the epitome of being a Burner: the recreation of unconditional love, acceptance and freedom as the standard in life.

The Burner experience and life is unique to each Burner. There are so many subtle and profound pieces to this puzzle. But, in the end, it makes a fine tapestry. In the videos to the right of this column, we ask veteran Burners what it means to be a Burner and what Burning means to them. Take some time to watch, you’ll be glad you did.

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