The first Temple on the Burning Man playa was created in 2000 when David Best and Jack Haye brought the Temple of the Mind. When their friend and fellow builder Michael Hefflin tragically died in a motorcycle accident, the Temple of the Mind became a memorial to him. Fellow participants at the event quickly began leaving remembrances of their loved ones as well, and the first Burning Man Temple was born.
In 2001 the Temple of Tears, another temple created by David and Jack, was brought to the Burning Man playa, creating an annual tradition that has become a fundamental part of Burning Man ever since.
At Blazing Swan, the Temple provides a space away from the hustle and bustle and is designed as an area of reflection and contemplation.
It is not a temple in recognition of any religion; it’s a neutral, non-denominational spiritual space where everyone can gather to share in the experience of remembering the past, honouring or cursing the present, and pondering the future to come.
It’s a safe space where everyone is invited to find and feel love, joy, sadness, anger, fear and any emotion that rises to the surface.
When the Temple opens, it’s a clean slate. By the end of the event it’s common to find sentiments of the loss of a loved one, but you can often find messages to others on joy, hope, anger, empathy, regret, determination and resilience.
On the Sunday evening (weather permitting) after the Effigy burn, the Temple is burnt, but unlike the Effigy burn, the Temple burn is a silent one.
You will find that in respect of the burn and the emotions of others, the burn is made in silence, for those attending as well as throughout Theme Camps and Mutant Vehicles all over the playa.