Monday, October 13, 2014

Alchemy OMG

Have you ever heard of Alchemy?
It's a regional version of Burning Man.
Never heard of Burning Man?
Clicky da HERE

TL;DR version? It's a huge tent city built in the desert full of art and expressions and amazingness, after which the main effigy is burned down in a symbolic rite (what exactly the symbolism is, depends on what you need it to be. I personally take it as, 'the impermanence of our efforts.'). It's a huge, week-long festival in which every single participant is expected to be utterly self-reliant (as there is NO buying/selling on site of anything), while caring for one another, expressing yourself, and leaving no trace when you leave.

Alchemy is a regional version. This year was my very first time attending any burn, so I was a little apprehensive about what to expect.
I'm normally almost an ultralight camper, but since one of the Principles is Radical Self-Reliance, I packed a LOT more than usual so that I wouldn't be That Guy who forgot something important. Thank Goddess for our truck, and the fact that Logan went up very early Thursday-day in the Ural with ours and M's tents and set them up for us, because M and I got there late Thursday night (9:30pm or so), I had to work until 3:30, and then wait for her to get off work. Thankfully, not onyl were our tents already set up, but our camp-mates had already made dinner so there was some for us. Pecan's hubby brought his Big Green Egg and a generator so he smoked amazing meats all weekend long, and my weekend started out with smoked pork butt and rum.
Yes, please!

I didn't wander as much as I probably should have, but I found myself getting overwhelmed a lot. I wandered during the day but stayed close to camp at night, except for the effigy burns. 3000 people got very overwhelming, even scattered across the whole farm (about 50 acres?).
Next year I plan on making myself venture out more at night. 

Our camp was wedged in between the sex tent (a big geodesic dome covered over and full of carpets, mattresses, benches, and baskets of condoms) and the BDSM dungeon tent, so there were some interesting views. My personal favorite was the guy in his late 50's, completely naked, who asked to use our firepit/grill to make sausages one morning. That man had bigger balls than me, to cook sausages in an open pan while naked. 
There was also a little brown-as-a-nut boy playing on the hill with a water fountain and moving rocks to cover the water, completely naked as well. He was adorable. A friend of mine set up their GIANT teepee tent on Silent Hill (no amplified sound or light), and I think i am going to camp there next year. Being just behind Circus Combustus (which is exactly what it sounds like) was rough. 

Friday I wandered a little with the MOOP Fairies I hooked up with- MOOP means Matter Out of Place and is what burners call litter and trash on the ground. (LNT- Leave No Trace- is taken very seriously. Theme camps get shamelessly trolled and lose out on placement options for next year if MOOP is found after they leave) MOOP Fairies are volunteers who walk around on what would be 'litter patrol' anywhere else. But instead of being PITAs like they are in 'default camp' (the real world), people all hugged the MOOP fairies, thanked them, and offered them drinks and food.

Friday night, Father Time (one of the effigys) burned, and there was a moment of hilarious irony as the arm holding the clock refused to burn through and fall like it was supposed to.

Saturday, I wandered a bit more. I saw where friend of mine set up drop boxes all over the farm where people could put in letters and packages to anyone else and he'd deliver them on his bicycle. He was also part of a huge theme camp called Brownie brothel that brought dozens and dozens of brownies and gave them away to people.

I cried hysterically on Saturday night when the main effigy burned- like, literally fell down I was crying so hard- and a random stranger came up and cuddled me and took care of me, and then when I was en route back to my camp, I was hailed by a group of people who cuddled me in front of their fire until I felt better. The best part? None of these people pushed their care-taking on me. The first man knelt down next to me, touched my shoulder gently, and asked if I needed cuddling or to be left alone. I couldn't speak at the time so just leaned into him and sobbed.
Rush, I miss you. You were supposed to be there. 

My friends from Knotley Crewe (A group who do shibari, the decorative rope bondage) suspended people from their geodesic dome and gave them their first experience 'flying', and 2 of them had their amazing steampunk pirate ship (a heavily modified golf cart) stolen by locals and trashed, and Logan and I are going to repair it while Lacey, the owner, is in Japan. 

I worked a shift as a Ranger and went 2 hours over my shift time directing traffic when the same assholes who broke Lacey's cart hit several vehicles in the parking lot and law enforcement had to come on-site to investigate. I had to tell people they couldn't go out to their cars yet, but most people thanked me for helping out even though I was giving them bad news, and offered me water and snacks.

Note: I didn't take any of these pictures. They came from a variety of albums on the Alchemy Facebook group
 Tent City

 Effigy burn, Saturday night

 Totally want this Vardo
 Pieces of the effigy- the entire thing is volunteer-built

 Main effigy burn

 Father Time
 Writing inside the effigy, hopes and wishes to be burned

 Random artwork people took for no reason other than to have it there

 Steampunk Pirate Ship!
 Effigy Build in process
 Father Time burning
 One of the temples set up
Logan on the Ural with a passenger,

I am still processing the whole thing, but it was seriously amazing. Pictures to follow in a minute :)

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