Each year, as the month of August winds to a close, more than 80,000 people meet in the Nevada desert for a now iconic event known as Burning Man. This event is one that people often have a difficult time describing and with good reason. It's a diverse event where artists of all stripes engage in a celebration of free will and freedom of expression. Though some might call it a "festival," which might have you thinking something like Woodstock or even Coachella, that really doesn't do it justice and participants balk at the term. How many festivals do you know that have an entire city built for them? Black Rock City is exactly that and is built around a month before the event each year. There is even an airport provisioned just a little bit away from the city. In 2004, co-founder Larry Harvey drafted the 10 Principles of Burning Man which might help you get some idea of what it's all about, if you're not familiar.
The First Burn
The Chip Witch's first Burn was in 1994.
In researching this, my assumption was that the original event occurred at the time of the first solstice (the given date is June 21st, 1986, though there are other indicators it actually began the year prior). The time of the summer solstice in '86 was 4:24 pm UTC or 9:24 Pacific time. This makes sense from an astronomical standpoint but anecdotes about the event vary and it was difficult to pin down the exact time. Given the event began as a bonfire party, I do lean towards dusk, but people in California are weird. In this case, however, that's a very good thing. Trying to imagine what, at the time, was just a small gathering on a beach burning this human wooden effigy tickles me, what can I say?
At the time, that one was only 8 feet tall, but The Man has been getting bigger every year as are the number of people attending the events. It would ultimately be moved to Nevada after a series of mishaps involving, of course, the cops, a misunderstanding resulting in the Man being dismembered by chainsaw while in storage and a Ryder moving truck.
I won't go into the original event chart too much but wow, the first thing I noticed was the Moon conjunct Uranus/Neptune in this chart. This tends to indicate a serious weirdness that doesn't always turn out so well, but when they do, it's pure magic. Mysticism, drugs and alcohol and a higher appreciation for the arts and other creative expressions tend to ignite under this overwhelming sense of imagination running free. There are, point of fact, a number of indicators that lean towards this original event being something of an impulsively taken action that may or may not have been initiated to cope with other things. Having said that, the potential for growth, change and definitely, innovation of community is also fairly evident in a big way.
In any case, this chart sets the stage for looking into the event charts for this year as we compare and contrast a few things within them.
What's Up in 2019?
Though there is much to be said about this inception chart, the Main Burn chart and the Temple Chart, as well as their interactions, let's focus on the Main Event to give you some idea of exactly what the tone for the week ahead will be.
I'm not sure I need to point out that this event, taking place the day after a New Moon in Virgo, is conjunct Mars and all of this is possibly fueled by a rebellious Uranus retrograde shaking things up. But, there, I did anyway. Both that New Moon and the event chart for the Main Burn itself have some intense and just awesome Venus influences which do indicate an on-the-whole pleasant cycle just getting started here. The ruler of this event chart, Mars, happens to be tucked there into the 6th house but, if you'll notice, that house is kinda packed? That would be a stellium, and the majority of the planets in that stellium are in Virgo, though it's not a sign based triple conjunction. Still, pretty intense.
Let's unpack that a little. In astrology, a stellium is where you'll have three or more planets in the same house or sign and it packs a hell of a punch. Astrologers argue a lot over whether a stellium is 3 or 4 planets: but astrologers argue over a lot of things and you can't take that too seriously. This stellium happens to involve Mercury, The Sun, The chart ruler Mars, Venus and The Moon. Rule of thumb in such cases, by the way: you've got to have two planets that aren't Mercury, The Sun, or Venus. Now, here's the thing about this - in electional astrology, the chart ruler is pretty important to begin with but, even if the rest of this chart was potent, this stellium means this area is the key area of note. The other thing about this is, these are all personal planets, meaning they have a much more obvious impact. Given this is an event that involves the burning of a huge effigy and is attended by thousands, that is a lot of intensely directed personal emotions of each individual there but also: damn near by-definition a concentrated energy of the times we live in.
You know, that's kind of a complex blend of energy, but it's also going to be combined with this heavy sense of purpose.
All of this happening in the 6th house, this kind of makes a lot of sense: usually when you've got a big focus on the 6th house it denotes a need for a break. Thing is, though, that's an awful lot of Virgo emphasis there, too. This particular burn could be a critical turning point, in either the event itself or for those attending it. All that focus tinged with things like anxiety over trying to be perfect, worries and otherwise can mean that downtime after the burn is entirely necessary before making any decisions based on the excitement of the week. Do not run off to Area 51 after this. Probably won't end well.
All that said, Mars being in Virgo tends to temper impulsive action with analytical skill. Not the strongest placement for Mars you could ask for, but not terrible. Though there is quite a bit to be said for this chart, looking at the Moon (it's in Libra), in terms of aspects and harmonics this looks really great. There might be a few surprises for people who've never been, but that sounds a bit on the "Duh" side - except those surprises will be in the side of those they care about that they're with. Chilling out and allowing the interplay of freedom and creativity to flow there should prevent any weirdness on that front, which brings us to the second part.
To see the outcome here, you look at the ruler of the sign it's in. Venus, also a part of that stellium and conjunct Mars, you pretty much cue the porn music. Venus's placements and aspects indicate a really nice attention to detail, beer goggles, overdoing it and well, engaging in a lot of acts of service, which ordinarily would all sound typical. However, in these cases, while I am aware of the theme of this year's event is Metamorphosis, it may well be deep change through romantic love and actually, not just something that winds up a lovely story to tell but something more longstanding.