The notion that Burning Man is some kind of modern Dionysian mystery ritual isn’t wrong, but it misses the point that actual Dionysian mystery rituals were pretty bloody affairs. People got hurt, sometimes killed. Confronting the divine is as likely to be a brutal process as it is joyous one: we dare not look at the burning bush, or forget that Kali wears a necklace of skulls. Wander out into the playa at night and you won’t just find beautiful bodies dancing in a ring of fire: you’ll find lonely souls, lost and confused, wandering through the desert as they crawl through an existential crisis.
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