Once our camp is set up the best part of Burning Man began – encounters. There are many theme camps at Burning Man. Our camp is called Spirit Dream Interpretation and Café.
In the Coffee Dome we offer free mochas, espressos and lattes. It’s run by a man named, Ron and his wife Cookie. Outside of the Encounter Tent we give away free water. Inside we offer dream interpretations (someone tells us their dream and we offer an interpretation), life readings (we ask Creator for an encouraging and uplifting word for the person), spiritual cleansings (we ask Creator’s light to come and remove the darkness), etc.
You might wonder why it’s all free. At Burning Man there is a gifting culture that fits perfectly own philosophy of gifting. Whenever we do these types of outreaches, we never charge money for it. Freely we are given and freely we give. We also don’t use religious language. Some people come to Burning Man for a spiritual experience and so using non-religious language fits better. An example would be we use the word Creator instead of God or Creator’s Light instead of the Holy Spirit.
Watching someone’s life change or their life encouraged made it all worth it – the heat, the port-o-potties, the dust, etc. Some people come there and they haven’t been told positive things about themselves. They are changed when we say the things that reveal who they truly are. When burdens are lifted and their spirit is refreshed – it changed them. Some people come back with their friends and others come back every year.
I have many stories about these wonderful encounters, but it is a private thing that happened between us and I want to respect the privacy of those we ministered to. The team members come from all over the United States and one gal came from Scotland. Their various churches made gifts for us to give out to the Burners we have encounters with. It’s a way for them to remember their encounter. We gave out hundreds of necklaces and bracelets during the week.
I can tell you about an encounter I had when I came out of the port-o-potty. It appeared the hand sanitizer was empty and I forgot mine in the RV. A young lady asked if it was empty and when I replied that it was she said she thought she might have some. She shared hers with me. I was wearing a bracelet that looked like jewels to me. I took it off and said, “I would like to give you something. This bracelet reminds me of jewels. When you look at it I want it to be a reminder to you that you are a treasure to the Creator.” It was a quick word I heard when I looked at my bracelet. She was so touched and gave me a big hug. The smile on her face was priceless.
Stay tuned for more stories and pictures from the playa.
© Nadine Zawacki 2010
The picture above is Dr. Phil and Tom during an encounter.