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cult of desmond

on my way to #kiwiburn (the New Zealand #burningman), where i'll be part of Camp Desmond (aka Cult of Desmond, aka Camp Abundance).

basically we found a papier mache giraffe named Desmond, made up a divine identity, and centered our camp as a cult of worship to celebrate abundance. :sunny: :house_with_garden: :rainbow:


last year was our first year together, this year we're somehow became a proper "theme camp", still have no idea what we're doing but it's pretty fun to be silly, snug, and dress up!

here's some pictures from last year:

  • Desmond is the light! (so obviously we made him a shrine)


  • me, @rich, and @sarah feasting on freshly roasted pig flesh in the forest:


  • a random photo i found posted by the Kiwiburn organizers, playing frisbee on the paddock


be back in a week!


@mix %FlsXMkFlDXP+M5DGVfi95lt1Zwbv1EjzR8E0GP2JvtE=.sha256

run around that big fire naked for me will you?

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@Rich %B8nzhkCGsjJqc/jqyDYnhJx9sm6KlnvcqO9VTsvXDCI=.sha256

@April, I was raised in a highly restrictive not-quite-a-cult church, so I have big feelings about religions. My experience of Desmond, as one of his co-creators and beneficiaries is that he is pretty sincere, not a parody or joke exactly.

People in situations like Kiwiburn, i.e. situations designed for you to break through old norms, experiment with altered states of consciousness etc., are often highly susceptible to and attracted to 'higher power' / 'bigger purpose' / 'join my cult' narratives.

For me, the space we created under the Desmond story took that "higher power" magnetism and pointed it to practical psychological needs: you are already enough, we have enough, you are respected, your choices are celebrated, you are safe here, you will find more love when you name your needs, etc.

For what it's worth, I think a feeling of safety + some time gazing into people's eyes + hearing 'you are enough' + tripping on MDMA is much more effective therapy than any other psychotherapeutic or hallucinogenic experiences I've had.

And generally I am pretty :-1: on much of the burner thing, but I loved opening up our own little space for something that was profoundly meaningful for cynical me + a few friends + passers by.

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@dangerousbeans %+J7fQmnvpxhJRTKchiTKeF1XcQwZVRU5gk9q3zQMTbE=.sha256

@dinosaur at first I was a skeptic to the ways of Desmond, but I witnessed him held aloft in the inky dark sky, lit only by the roaring flames of the effigy, with some 30 naked people clambering to touch his pape mache form.

Now I believe

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@mikey %0mcDdxGD/+tESo0xhartZj/qvd7Vh/XHrJM4jWmJZrQ=.sha256

hey butts, i'm back from Kiwiburn!

now that i have some images to share, i'll start posting about my experiences: first my personal reflections, then what happened in the next chapter of Desmond.

personal reflections

i had a really nice time, lots of snugs and dancing and yum.


what i'm leaving behind:

i want to leave behind how i compare myself to others. i often see the expressions and hear the experiences of others and think: "i should be like that". there were many moments where i was given opportunities that i opted out of (feeling uncomfortable with stealing back Desmond, feeling like i wanted to leave parties early to be in my tent), which initially gave me feelings that i missing out for staying within my comfort zone and not pushing myself enough to be vulnerable. later i realized that my intuition is worth listening to (we had a procession, said prayers in a ceremony, and gave a gift offering to the camp who stole Desmond), even if it feels like i'm taking the easy path, i'd rather be me than be someone else. i want to not worry about taking a wrong step in a dance, that communication with sloppy conversation is better than no communication.


what i'm taking away:

i want to take away an appreciation for my energy. i noticed that i'm strong, stable, slow, and quiet, like the roots of a tree. i have a large energetic body and love to express myself in my own way (i like to dance and snug), i'm not very good at thinking on my feet in an unknown situation, i'm easily overwhelmed, i prefer to step back and have time to think, my emotions are steady and don't oscillate from very highs to very slows, i'm not very ecstatic and instead am more calm and focused. i want to learn more about how i give and receive energy so i can harmonize my notes better with others, so i can better understand how to amplify, accentuate, and attenuate my power.


what support i want:

i want others to support me by being a mirror for me to see myself. i initially learned this from my co-worker @Juliet: that the best a friend can provide you is an accurate reflection of yourself, so you can see how you really are, good and bad. i want direct feedback on when others feel i'm being true to my authentic self and when others feel i'm trying to be someone that isn't really me.


anyways, that's enough about me! :heart:

@Rich %qi7B9jyfTY2CkpUe4pBqfPccogR9fi9vCxlrd+vTfj4=.sha256

Seriously matey I've never seen you deviate from authenticity. However I wonder if you are truly embracing the full range of pretty floofy silky swirly fabrics that your heart knows are possible?

@mikey %ccjGMpCCuphPo5p3wc29CHxFp8t1lgh0Jf2QJlid9cY=.sha256

@rich i'm glad you can see my authentic self, i'm trying to learn more about them. :cat:

questions on my mind: what are their strengths? what are their weaknesses? how do they harmonize with others? how do they clash with others? how do i care for them? how do i play with them?

or maybe another way of saying: i have my own mental model of myself, but i'd love to have mental models of myself from everyone else's perspective.

@mikey %2XWy9uEptPAGF/+vraQKrM8jiK4g4AibMX7NLw3ejic=.sha256

I wonder if you are truly embracing the full range of pretty floofy silky swirly fabrics that your heart knows are possible?

@rich i accept pretty floofy silky swirly fabric gifts! :dress:

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@Rich %nl9MLN9PdkW5ctISWtDrSZs7iAR+Ub6i43pY/wgJsmc=.sha256

maybe one day we can go fabric shopping and @nati will show us how to sew those awesome pants which are basically a square folded in half with your legs poking out A and B and your hips at C:

------------      -----------     -----------
|          |      |⟍        |      ⟍ A     C|
|          |      |  ⟍      |        ⟍      |
|          |  =>  |    ⟍    |  =>      ⟍    |
|          |      |      ⟍  |            ⟍ B|
|          |      |        ⟍|              ⟍|
------------      -----------
@mikey %SYzYqZMM/CLFmLSvdxajqKsqlLG2SWzY4TgZ+VSaIpQ=.sha256


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