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  • Writer's pictureLona

The Dark Goddess Rising - Burning Man

I thought I was ready for Burning Man. I really thought I understood what to expect, and what I would see, and how it would all come together. How silly I was. No amount of explanation will prepare you for the beauty and destruction that Burning Man is. I've been to many festivals, even several camping ones. I've been to raves, and art installations, and I've even bungee jumped off a bridge. Nothing in the world is like Burning Man. And this is where I discovered the seat of my Dark Goddess power.

First off, everything is given as a gift at the Burn. Every art piece, every pancake, every post card, every workshop. It's all free. You just pay for your ticket to the Burn, and if you join a camp then you pay those camp fees, whatever they are. After that I didn't spend a dime. The idea is that you gift what you want, then you take other people's gifts. There's no exchange, or it wouldn't be a gift. My gift was my workshops. And I joined a camp that was specifically designed to give workshops! I was a part of Naked Heart, which is a part of Anahasana Village. The village built 7 domes to gift workshops in. I found them on google and knew absolutely no one else in the camp.

I originally wanted to give two 2.5-hour workshops, but one of mine didn't get scheduled because they ran out of room on the schedule. So, just a few days before I was leaving for the Burn I only had one workshop on the schedule. Then I got an email that a veteran teacher wouldn't be able to make it and was asked to fill the spot with something similar. Two days before I was leaving for the Burn I decided to add a Tantric Magick workshop to the list. Now I had two to prepare for, and the clock was ticking.

One of my goals for this event was to learn to become a better teacher and learn new ways to teach. This really affected my outcome because a day after I got there a meeting was offered to anyone who wanted to learn how to teach the emote-a-thon. I had never heard of this event, but I thought, "well, this is what I came here for so I might as well try". Wow, I am glad I did!

I learned that my camp, Naked Heart, had been formed specifically to hold the container for the emote-a-thon to happen. This is the event that started it all. And in this meeting, I learned how it would go. Basically, the masculines and the feminines would separate. The masculines learned how to hold space for the feminines to express their full range of emotions. They couldn't talk, must hold eye contact, and stand in a way that was non-threatening. The feminines would connect with their inner power and learn how they can express their emotions. There were almost no limits on how she could express herself, unless she wanted to put her hands on the masculines. Then she need only ask permission. They would come back together and one feminine would stand up and get three minutes in the center of the circle to express her emotions in any consensual way she wanted directly to one (or more) of the masculines. Anyone she chose would join her in the center of the circle for the three minutes. This short definition makes it sound interesting, I'm sure. But seeing this in person was a life-changing experience.

You can't teach an emote-a-thon unless you've been in one and after hearing what it was and how people talked about it, I was so hooked. I took the one the next morning and got my three minutes. For days after it, I thought about my three minutes at least every hour. I struggled to think of or talk about anything else. They were looking for more feminine hosts, so I said yes. And that's how I got myself into teaching three workshops at the Burn! I taught for over 8.5 hours on 3 different days!

But something else came out of that workshop. Something I hadn't been in touch with for a long time. My rage. My anger. My sadness. My regret. For 3 minutes I didn't hold back. A response I had carefully developed over years in my teens of not being able to control it. 16-year old Lona had no help. She held secrets that broke her. She was desperately trying to fill the father-shaped hole in her life with sex. Abandonment triggered her frequently. She just thought if one man could like her that she would be safe. But she was not safe. In fact, getting closer to destructive men made it all worse. She became hyper independent, hyper sexualized. The rage welled up inside her and burst out wherever it could. But for three minutes in that workshop over 60 people witnessed that rage. To finally be witnessed in it was overwhelming, and vulnerable.

Then I got to learn the value of Naked Heart and why it was created. I struggled for days trying to integrate that vulnerability. And at every turn, even though I showed up solo, I was supported, I was listened to, I was held so gently by souls who barely knew me. The crux of Naked Heart came to fruition in me. It was the container that could hold the depth of the emote-a-thon. I was held and safe and loved, even though that workshop tore me apart from the insides. Thank you to all the sweet souls who made that possible. And in one of the many conversations I had about it, it finally clicked. I had asked the universe to show me the seat of my true power this Burn. This was my wish to the universe. I found that 16-year old me is that power. Learning to embody that rage, and to find ways to allow it to be felt is my power.

I had locked away 16-year old Lona, afraid of her and all she had done. I began to heal and I moved even further from her. She was a shadow of my past, something I didn't need to think about much anymore, because I was healing. I learned along the way that emotions aren't good or bad, they just have something to tell you. And still I didn't let my rage out. If I felt rage, I would be quick to transform it into something else, or find the lesson. But to actually allow myself to feel all that rage and express it? No, I didn't want to go back to who I was. Because rage to me was never-ending. What if I let it out and it never ends? But how could I be living in my full self if I was locking away this one part of me? I couldn't. And that means that this part I was locking away was where I was locking away my power.

Little Lona is my Dark Goddess. She is everything we try not to be in proper public. She is vengeful, and violent, and hurt. And she is my everything now. I birthed this Dark Goddess and realized my power this Burn. I will no longer be the tepid Goddess, lightly dipping my toes into the Dark powers. I am going to be working in the coming months to allow myself space to feel rage and express it. To reconnect with the story of Little Lona and her feelings. To make sure I've felt all that rage. Then to integrate her into my life. This is hard work, and I know it will be for my highest self.

Finally, I needed a name for this Dark Goddess in me. Something I could call her that would help me connect. Everyone on the playa (the dusty lake bed that we create the city on) can give themselves a new nickname. A playa name. I wanted mine to come from someone else. On the final day I had volunteered to take people all day to the bus stop in my car with their luggage. All day I carted people across the playa to get them back home safely. My last ride of the day told me my playa name was uber for getting everyone where they needed to go. I immediately liked it just for the story. But I also knew I was looking for a name for the Dark Goddess. I tried it on her, and she really liked it. So, everyone, please welcome UberLona, my Dark Goddess.

INSPIRED ACTION: Your power is hiding behind whatever you're most afraid to show the world. Ask yourself what ways you can express these blocks. Find places that are safe to express your full range of emotions. Find people who can hold it. Start to uncover why you are so afraid of this part of you. Journal about what it would be like to let it out. Everyone's story is not like mine, but you have your own story, you have your own pains and regrets and mistakes. Embrace even these parts of you. Let them show. And shower them with love.

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