I had a really good, somewhat difficult, hugely re-energizing and reawakening experience at Burning Man this year. I’m circling closer and closer to whatever I’ve been searching for in my life.

H picked me up from the SF airport and we spent most of the way back talking about his recent DMT trip and, of course, the upcoming festival in the desert. I spent the evening at c’s place of work, getting progressively drunker, until…yeah. I don’t remember the rest. Boo. Apparently I was a little pushy/molesty with c, which bothers me first of all because respecting boundaries is hugely important to me, and secondly because I have no sexual agenda towards her. Anyway when she resisted I apparently said she was giving me mixed signals and then stormed off to lock myself in a spare bedroom, only to jolt awake at six thirty the next morning, wondering how I got there and why the door was locked.

Not the greatest start to the journey, but at least I managed to get my stuff together, help load the car, and get in the back seat before the hangover hit. C and I arranged a rideshare with a wonderful woman from Santa Cruz, and she and c were both very sympathetic to my condition despite its self-imposed nature. We got to Reno pretty quickly, and then we were–hoorah!–on the approach to Gerlach, almost there…

A ridiculous number of hours later, fourteen maybe? we had crawled through the vehicle approach and the five hour wait at Will Call, and c was being escorted through her virgin ritual by an adorable Greeter named Girl Scout. The Playa! We made it! But…what? We’re getting pulled over? No plates showing. Yeah. I had wondered about that. Apparently the camper we were driving needed a separate registration than the truck.

Fortunately they let us off with a warning. We found Hushville and a nice man at the gate got us situated. Exhausted from our travels (and the fact that it was five in the morning) we quickly constructed our tent and dove inside just as hail began to fall. That’s right, hail on the Playa. Also a great deal of rain.

We woke to a world of mud. Heavy, thick mud that accumulated endlessly on our shoes, so that each step became heavier and heavier. Like we were golems trying to rise from clay, the earth pulling us back into it. I was worried that first morning, trudging around among a whole host of muddy, deflated people, that this Burning Man might not be quite like last year’s, but then we saw some people doing mud slip-n-slide, and all of the lovely plastic bag duct tape fashion boots. Then Center Camp reopened (it got hit by lighting and the electrical system failed, so they had to close down for a while) and the roads started to dry and they began to let people in again.

This Burn’s theme, for me, was rediscovering self. Who am I, what do I want, what do I have to give? I think it’s time for me to develop my own sacred tradition. Not one that others should follow–just one that serves me in my pursuit of love. C and I participated in an “Identity Alchemy” workshop and one of the things I identified about myself was my desire to be a holistic person; my reluctance to focus entirely on any one part of myself for improvement. But with nothing to center my efforts, I’ve been feeling more and more aimless, diffuse, and confused. I think some of my false dichotomies have been: real v. unseen, spiritual tradition v. independence, belief v. self-reliance.

There’s a very real hunger in me to connect with something larger than myself. The answer was not a return to the religion of my childhood, but it’s also not to completely ignore that need, or try to find it in the physical world alone. I was paying closer attention this time to the magic of Burning Man vis-a-vis the magic I’ve seen over the past several months, seeking something more in my life in Utah. When I talk about magic I mean a combination of synchronicity, awareness, and the sense (and evidence) of being led in a certain direction. I’ve seen enough to feel strongly that there is a guiding force in this life that we can intentionally align ourselves with. I want to align myself. I want to know more.