Occupy Origins: From Burning Man To Wall Street. ~ Ian MacKenzie

This year was my third visit to Black Rock City, the temporary city that manifests every summer in Nevada.

I rarely take out my camera at the event, having learned from previous experience that it’s almost impossible to capture anything close to the energy and magic that is Burning Man. After meeting author Darrin Drda, I made an exception.

I encountered Darrin through his free workshop, a metta meditation designed to connect Burners with ourselves and the work we are called to do in the world. At this time of great change and crises, it has become our duty to rise to the challenge, rather than retreat into dullness and the illusion of security. Coincidentally, 17 days after my interview with Darrin, the Occupy movement erupted onto the world stage. While many are still asking “what do they want?’ and “where did they come from?” – those of us who have been immersed in the consciousness shift immediately recognized: this is what Burning Man looks like when it attempts to manifest in the “default” world.

As Eva Ensler, author of ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ said recently when speaking about the Occupy movement:

“What is happening cannot be defined. It is happening. It is a spontaneous uprising that has been building for years in our collective unconscious. It is a gorgeous, mischievous moment that has arrived and is spreading. It is a speaking out, coming out, dancing out. It is an experiment and a disruption.”

To be clear: this is NOT to say that Burning Man directly “led” to the occupation of Wall St, but it has clearly been a creative source of incubation for the paradigm shift that is rippling around the globe. From the Arab Spring, to the environment activists, to the legions of yogis, all these energies now have the opportunity to emerge from their silos, and truly see each other and their common cause.

We have much to learn from each other, and it all starts with the profoundly simple invitation: “Welcome home.”


Ian MacKenzie is a filmmaker and media activist from Vancouver, BC.  He is co-producer of the upcoming feature documentary Occupy Love, directed by Velcrow Ripper.   Learn how you can support the film here.

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Zero Boy Dec 17, 2011 5:43pm

Welcome home comes from the Rainbow Gathering. The roots of the burn can be traced to the rainbow gatherings. As a participant in Burning man and Rainbow gathering it is nice to see how the seeds of 40+ years of gatherings landed at Zucotti park. I encourage OWS and Burners to go to the National rainbow gathering this summer. I am happy to see the parallels of these and other types of Temporary Autonomous Zones have become a movement that has struck a chord with all types of people. The whole process that I saw at Zucotti park has been making many Rainbows and Burners smile and reflect that what they have been doing has had a deep impact.
I use to tell people when they asked what the gatherings were like. "It's boot camp for radicals."
Keep up the good fight and may peace and evolution prevail!

Tanya Lee Markul Dec 9, 2011 2:41am

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Tanya Lee Markul Dec 8, 2011 11:28pm

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