by Sir Andy (with some words/help from the legendary Prof. Johnny Breakwell)
Do you have the quiet strength to be a Temple Guardian at Burning Seed?
Some might say the Temple is the soul of a Burn - a place for quiet reflection, a place to be a human, to find and lose your emotions, to connect with yourself and with others whether friends or enemies, strangers or estranged. I reckon it’s all these things and more. That’s just my 2 cents.
The Burning Seed Temple’s cool and quiet significance on the Paddock is matched only by the heat and passion of the Effigy - in this year of Deep Space they are the Moon and Sun of our little forest Burniverse.
Whether you agree with that or not, one thing on which we might collectively nod is that the Temple is a turning point - both literally (it Burns on the last night of Seed - sob!) and figuratively... that is, we all know there’s heaps of meaning attached to the Temple for us and for those around us, it just depends where you are on that spectrum.
Evolution of the Temple
Now, turning points are pretty much Standard Operating Procedure at Burning Seed - for individual participants and for the event itself. Every year we all learn something new, we evolve right? 2015 was no exception and one of the most significant turning points came with our understanding that we all gotta do more for the Burning Sed Temple to:
- communicate and educate about the Temple’s significance and meaning;
- protect the space and the people who attend it.
Quiet and Introspective
The emphasis and whole intent of the Seed Temple has always been quiet and introspective - as distinct from the focus of pretty much everything else at Seed which is tipped towards self expression.
However in 2015 there was a noticeable change in atmosphere around the Temple and the Temple Burn in particular, and some incidents (graffiti on the structure, noise during the Burn) leading to valuable community discussion between newer and veteran burners about what exactly the Temple means to us as a Seed community.
As Australians we’re no strangers to the concept of holding and sharing our silence for a moment with a community. It’s a rare Aussie who hasn't experienced at least one moment of moving silence during an Anzac service for example. We know about the power of context and ritual.
Temple Guardians - Step FORWARD!
Some of you veteran Burners out there will be aware of the Temple Guardians of Black Rock City at the Big Burn in Nevada - this crew has been in place since 2002 and they do an awesome job of watching over the structure, listening to and engaging with those who visit, and contributing broadly to helping everyone evolve their interaction with this sacred space.
So in the grand tradition of this mighty DO-OCRACY that we call Burning Seed we’re looking to YOU to create a new volunteer crew dedicated to holding the space of the Temple, protecting the structure and those who visit.
It’s intended that the Burning Seed Temple Guardians will work on shifts to support Temple visits, protect artefacts and the space and educate about its significance. They won’t be there to make or enforce rules; rather to watch quietly and act appropriately and skillfully when necessary to protect the safety and sacred space of the Temple and those in and around it.
At Black Rock City they talk in terms of “a philosophy that calls for using small pushes from a great distance. Sometimes your look, your soft words, or even just your presence is all that is required to hold the sacred space of the Temple. When we do interact with participants, we do so with love and respect. We carry the sacred space of the Temple into every interaction, using our connection with the grounded, serene space to guide and shape our interactions with participants.”
OK I’m so IN - what next?
If this sounds like you then please support the community vision for an awesome Temple Guardian crew at Burning Seed in 2016. We’re looking for a Temple Guardian Team Lead as part of the Civic Services crew. The Team Lead will be responsible for building and developing the crew ahead of the event, working with Civic Services and with the Crew Wranglers.
If you can spare a couple of hours a week pre-Seed and a few more hours a day on-site you’ll be working on key projects including recruitment, developing crew training and guidelines, and engagement with other teams including Rangers and the Fire Art Response Team (FART).
If you can’t take on the Team Lead role but you are keen on doing a shift or two on-site as a Temple Guardian that’s equally AMAZING! Register your interest at the Community Crew page, go visit and engage with the Temple Guardians’ Facebook Page, or check out this awesome video about the Temple Guardians at BRC for some inspiration.
For more on the history of the Temple check out the Evolution of the Burning Seed Temple.