Have you ever seen a person at a festival or a party that has gone completely over the edge? Someone spiraling so far off the road to reality, they’re like a human car crash; you’re afraid to look at them but you cannot look away.
I witnessed this at Strawberry Fields Festival. Paramedics were chasing after a completely deranged guy while he ran from the river, into the bushes, screaming so loudly it was as if he was giving birth to a demon.
I never thought I would understand what that guy was going through. And then I did.
After collecting our tribe; Mumma Africa, Red Breast and Impy, who has landed fresh from Melbourne. We enter the now unrecognisable desert with an accompanying 7000 Afrikaburn punters. We surrender our burn virginities with a ceremonious gonging of the Virgin Gong and a dust angel.
It’s burn time baby, prepare for the madness.
Imagine you’ve snuck down that hole with Alice. You heard that wild bitch going on about talking teapots and now you wanna see it for yourself. Entering a Burn is like entering a Wonderland.
As we step onto the Playa* our eyes are greeted with a rainbow of costumed beings, towering art installations and free roaming mutant vehicles*. The distant thud of a base invites you to it’s dance floor. Organised madness is all around. Adults and children alike have a gleam in their eyes; we are all grown children set loose in the ultimate playground.
And then that’s it, a quick visit to the Playa morphs into an entire night filled with techno, and unlegislated debauchery.
Waking up on a half deflated air mattress and wondering vaguely where Zimbabawia slept, I begin to shake off my dusty hangover – always easier at a festival. I assess my amazing costume selection which Impy has HANDMADE, and find my eyes gravitate towards pink, it’s Barbie day. While scoffing breakfast into our bellies the tribe decides that today shall be a psychedelic day. Excluding Mumma Africa – she is our non-trippy-tripper.
Zimbabawia and I stretch to prepare for the day.
Returning to the Playa we delight in the perks of this moneyless society; free coffee at Aliens, Sangria at Buyadonkey, pancakes Purple Pancake Palace.
While dipping in and out of the different theme camps I feel the prickle of electricity building in my body. I am pulsing with energy, it channels down through my body and arrives to my sex, where it ignites a fire. I start to sensually rub my womb where the current it strongest, I think I’d better go to the CEXx* camp, I need to fuck, right now. I sputter to the girls when they notice my wandering hands.
Recognising that there is no point trying to stop me when I’m in pursuit of some sexual fulfilment, they wish me good luck. I walk a mere 5 metres then halt. Instead of my sex, my chest is now alight. A warm orb is glowing where my heart is, it’s so big and warm that it feels like the golden egg from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The egg swivels around and points away from the Sex Ex tent and back towards the girls. I know what the egg is telling me: I must remain with my tribe.
Weren’t you were going to get sum? I was, but there’s a golden egg in my chest and it won’t let me leave. Fair enough. And onwards we journey.
The rest of our day is pure manifestational magic.
Zimbabawia guides us on a spiritual journey, we honour Mother Gaia acknowledging the ground we are journeying on. We look at the desert moon, who visibly waits, ready to emerge when the beating sun is gone.
My sexual energy returns, coursing through my veins, and pulsating in my cunt. Anytime I drift too far from the tribe, the egg grows hot and forces me to return to my girls once more. This forces me to deal with the arousal whilst in company, I desperately rub breasts and abdomen. Hysterical at my behaviour Zimbabawia instructs me to Take it off! Not needing to be told twice, I yank off my bralet giving myself better access to my warm titties.
We make it to You Are the Only One; our favourite dance-floor and for the first time that day we disperse. I am transfixed by the DJ and stare at him furiously while rubbing my breasts.
Time is moving rapidly and the sun begins to set, I suddenly feel self-consciousness of my behaviour. Paranoia quickly takes over and I remove myself from the dance-floor. Spotting Impy and Mumma Africa, I rush towards them, Impy calls out You see, this is why we need to have a notebook – to write it all down.
I am completely bewildered, how does she know what I’m thinking? I turn around, and who appears but the Prince walking right towards me. I run to him, Here I am he says as I reach him. We kiss and I collapse to the floor in a fit of laughter.
Here he is!
Mumma Africa and Impy come over Do you two know each other? We do. Replies the Prince, while they look down at me literally ROFLing in the dust. Before they can ask what I am doing I jump to my feet and run towards the sunset.
I have now entered the fifth dimension. I am that guy.
The following explains what I saw there, and what that looked like to the outside world.
As I run towards the sunset I became aware that all the divine synchronicity in my life has not been coincidental. Angel like women came to me and told me that I’m from the stars. That I am a star who was born on earth, and that with my true love I will return to the stars.
A man finds me deep in the desert, wailing on the ground, after trying to speak to me he realises I am in trouble. He throws me over his shoulders, and carries me back to the Playa. The girls, who have been looking for me, spot my bare ass flung over some guy’s shoulder. They freak out. The Green Dot* has been radioed and with the help of the girls they manage to get me into the car, and towards the Sanctuary*. Writhing and screaming in agony.
My refusal to believe what the angels are telling me, prompts them to take me through a tour of my life; I see myself being born. I listen to my Mum sing to me from my cradle. I run as fast as the wind so buoyant on my youthful legs. I sit on my Granda’s knee laughing as we watch Tom and Jerry together. Time catapults forwards and I’m at his funeral wailing for the unfairness of his untimely death. Another leap forwards and I’m being thrown onto my bed as the German undresses me, I throw chortle throwing my head back in delight. Now we’re at Revolver and I’m watching him take another girl home. I scream in agony from the pain in my heart. “Let it go” the angels urge me.
Inside the Sanctuary the girls watch on in horror as I deal with the demons of my mind. They are utterly unaware of what is happening to me (on the inside); all they can see is their friend transforming from an ecstatic laughing childlike-creature, to a screaming-tortured-soul. They are helpless, and trippin their dicks off.
Grandmother Willow (the tree from Pocahontas) grabs hold of me, she tells me to breath, tells me my name: ‘Charlotte’. She says I’m okay, that I can come back now.
It’s Zimbabawia, somehow she can enter my universe, in the form of a tree. As she coos me, telling me truths I slowly regain enough strength and grasp reality.
I finally come back. The relief on the girls’ faces is painful. They have just witnessed a living nightmare in the form of their best-friend. They are scared for me. They are scared of me.
Returning to the campsite we are all shaken and disturbed in our own ways. Impy wants me to talk about What happened? Where did you go? What did it mean?
I don’t know what it meant, I don’t know how to find the words to explain what the fuck just happened.
Visiting the medical team for a checkup they tell me it was dehydration. I had had a full bottle of water in my backpack but I hadn’t taken one sip, for in an entire day, in the desert.
Dehydration…that’s all it was…
Thank you to my tribe, and the amazing Sanctuary team, for guiding me, gently, back to earth. I am forever grateful. And will never again judge ‘That guy’.
‘Collapsing into conscious depths’ image by the magical: @starbloom916
*Playa: an area of flat, dried-up land, especially a desert basin from which water evaporates quickly. This space is used as the centre of Burn festivals.
*Mutant vehicle: ‘A motorized conveyance that is radically, stunningly, (usually) permanently, and safely modified. Larry Harvey likens Mutant Vehicles to “sublimely beautiful works of art floating across the playa like a Miro painting.” Licensed by the DMV, these vehicles are an important part of the Burning Man experience.‘
*CEXx: ‘A consensual, educational, Xploration of seX. A camp focusing on workshops and talks during the day, and discrete, sex-positive camp at night.’
*The Green Dot: ‘Green Dots are the Sanctuary‘s mobile crew who are there to catch you if you wobble out in the wilds of Tankwa Town. Green Dots cruise the dust keeping an eye out for participants who are lost or overwhelmed by their experiences or environment
*The Sanctuary: ‘A calm place of safety where anyone having challenging experiences in the dust (and at our events elsewhere) are able to be helped.‘ ❤ ❤