The Power of Prayer at Burning Man
Every year, 70,000 people come together to build Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis at the center of Nevada’s beautiful, remote, and inhospitable Black Rock Dessert. This is Burning Man. With its reputation for extensive psychotropic use, explicit nudity, flamboyant art, and a philosophy of radical self-expression, Burning Man may sound like the city of sin; but there is an intangible beauty and peace that permeates the playa.
Burning Man is a space where radical inclusion, civic responsibility, ecological accountability, non-judgement, and a loving gift-economy all take center stage.
At Burning Man, the permeating notions of non-judgement and inclusivity offer a radical shift in consciousness. All walks of life—all ages, nations, colors, and races—are given an opportunity to stand in unity while celebrating their diversity. It’s a place where all are united in honoring each other’s beauty.
The true gift of Burning Man is that is leads many to envision a world in which radical acceptance of diversity can lead to world peace.
If it can be done with 70,000 people, why not 7 billion?
This year, for the first time in Burning Man’s history, First Nations Wisdom Keepers from across Turtle Island had a platform to share their voices, wisdom, stories, and prayers. The Power of Prayer was the result of listening to the calls of elders and Wisdom Keepers from Standing Rock crying out for the preservation Mother Earth.
Over the course of the week, many prayers were made and much wisdom shared. Around the sacred fire, the heartbeat of the drums echoed the call for Global Unity. Amidst the sharing, the voices of Wisdom Keepers emerged in the foreground answering the question, What is prayer?
Here are a few of their thoughts:
“I understand prayer to be our immutable right from the Creator to enhance our spiritual cognition and teachings to live with his Created Nations, including the air, water, and land beings, truthfully and sacredly.”
Renee Smokey, Pauite
“Prayer means the ability and willingness to be in constant communication with all that is, and celebrate the life given to us through song, dance, words of love, gratitude, and honor!”
Robert White Mountain, Lakota
“Prayer is an opportunity to connect our spirit and heart with Almighty Creator. “
Gentle Thunder, Dine & Navaho
“Prayer is an etheric action, a bridge between thinking and manifesting, a simple, highest-intention thought. It is etheric because we can’t see it, smell it, or touch it, but we know it works. It is the bridge we cross after we think of what we want, what we need, or what we must have to continue our mission on this planet. It is a simple thought of the highest good intentions to ourselves first, then to everything that exists.”
Jose Frederico Munoz, Mayan Chortie
“Prayer is joining our hearts and minds together and facing to the four corners of the universe to show respect and gratitude to all living beings from each direction for their contributions to humanity; then facing and reaching up towards the Sun, recognizing it gives light and warmth like a good father to each and every living being alike; then reaching down and touching the Earth that provides food, clothing, and shelter for all living beings alike, like a good mother and realizing we are all brothers and sisters.”
Mazatzin Aztekayolokalli, Kickapoo & Chichimeca Aztek
“Prayer is a meeting place of source energy. It’s the place where we meet with all that is, all that was, and all that will be. It’s the expansion place of perception in which we become in alignment with the above, the below, the inside, the east, the south, the west, the north, and the way of beauty.”
Andrew Ecker, Apache & Irish
“Prayer is a way to check into our center and connect to the place where we are in alignment with everything around us.”
Beth White Mountain
“From the mother earth it rises, the essence of spirit within, a calling to all that is of question, to be brought and offered to the divine creator source.”
“Prayer is a way of life. Prayer is powerful. Prayer is who we are. The teaching of my prayers and spirituality come from my grandfather, a full-blooded Chumash Native American who was once the chairman of my tribe. For over seven years I have followed my grandfather’s footsteps. I have made it my life’s goal to pray with all nations and to lift the vibration of Mother Earth to restore her to full health.”
Dennis Romero, Chumash
“Acknowledgement of the water, four-legged, winged ones, and our Mother Earth is one of many ways our Paiute People, through songs, protocol and blessings, demonstrate prayer.”
Myron Dewey, Paiute & Shoshone
“Prayer is the Black, the Red, the Yellow, and the White coming together as one. To protect mother earth and the protect the waters. We are praying for the next seven generations to be taken care of.”
Grandmother Patricia Richards, Italian & Chinese
“Water is life! Our most sincere form of prayer, is our tear. Sometimes words alone cannot express what is in our heart. That is why we carry the gift of song. My prayer for our future is sincere. My prayers are for all living things on this world because we are all connected. We are connected between all that once were, and those yet to come. My prayer is for peace. My prayer is from a place of love.”
Dan Nanamkin, Nez Perce & Colville Tribe
As payers ripple beyond the playa, there is an invitation to contemplate our own relationship with the creator and all beings on this planet. We can start by listening deep within and hearing the call of Mother Earth.
- Indigenous Medicine & Culture,
- Nature Conservation,
- Self Cultivation,