Though billed as a celebration of artistic expression, the annual desert Burning Man Festival incorporates countless elements of ancient idolatry. Recent festivals have been plagued by unusual deaths that seem linked to its central figure, a euphemist representation of ancient human sacrifice.
Ten Days in the Desert
Monday was the last day of the ten-day Burning Man Festival held in the Nevada Desert. What began over 30 years ago as a small campfire gathering of California artists evolved into a massive annual festival bringing almost 70,000 people to the middle of the desert in Nevada.
The festival has certainly evolved from its humble beginnings over 30- years ago when 20 artists gathered on a Beach in San Francisco. The annual event is now a high-profile gathering that attracts over 70,000 to its isolated desert location.
Billed as a cultural gathering, the festival attracts artists and celebrities, culminating in the eponymous ceremony in which a large wooden effigy of a man is burned. This ceremony referred to by Druids as the ‘wicker man’ is almost universal amongst pagan cults and evolved as a replacement for human sacrifice.
This pagan reference came true in 2017 when a man died after running into the flames. Death appeared again at the festival on Thursday morning when a 33-year-old New Zealand man was found unconscious in his van. High levels of carbon monoxide were found in his blood and police labeled his death “suspicious.”
Idolatry and Celebrating Sin
Touted as a secular event, many of Burning Man’s major elements are rooted in idolatry. Regular Burning Man installments are a Temple to the Hindu goddess Shiva and a 70-foot long seven-headed red metal dragon on wheels. The dragon, named for the ancient Egyptian god Abraxas, was clearly intended to reference Satan as described in the Christian Book of Revelations. The massive camp is set up to form a massive pentagram in the desert.
This year features many different mini-camps including one titled “The 7 Sins Lounge” which has appeared for 18 consecutive years. The 7 Sins Lounge bills itself proudly:
But NIGHT brings what Sinners WANT – Flaming Libations and the ever popular WHEEL of SINS! Spin this brightly painted carnival wheel to expose your Sins again and again! (will it be Greed? or LUST?). Our highly skilled and dedicated staff will happily deliver absolution & encouragement with a FIRM hand, sending you dancing forth to SIN ANEW!So come earn your “Get Out of HELL Free” card and remember: Start your SINS at 7!
Several of the camps are dedicated specifically to promiscuous and public sexuality including an “Orgy Dome.” This aspect of the festival was emphasized when the Australian celebrity disc jockey Flume performed a sex act on stage in front of the entire crowd.
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The Resurgence of Idolatry Sign of Imminent Redemption
The appearance of thinly-veiled idolatry at a mainstream event does not come as a surprise to Rabbi Yekutiel Fish, an expert in Jewish mysticism who blogs in Hebrew under the title ‘Sod Chashmal.’
“Idolatry is most certainly alive and well today,” Rabbi Fish told Breaking Israel News. “It does not appear so blatantly as it did in the Bible with wanton acts and passing babies through flames or with idols. These people think they are cultured and modern but all of the elements of idolatry that predated Mount Sinai are present in what they claim is a secular festival.”
The rabbi sees the resurgence of this ancient evil as a positive sign.
“Before the light can be revealed, darkness has to increase,” Rabbi Fish said. “We are at the moments preceding the revelation of the light of Moshiach (Messiah), the light of truth. All those who are attached to darkness have to fight with all their might right now. And as they do this, it becomes even more clear that what they are holding on to is silliness, lies that have no permanence in the world. They are acting like silly little children.”
Idolatry is most certainly on the rise. A study by the Pew Research Center in 2014 found that 0.4 percent of Americans, or around 1-1.5 million people, self-identify as Pagan, meaning there are more Pagans in the U.S. than Presbyterians. This has taken on a political note as an internet initiative called people together to use black magic to curse President Trump.
It is All About Politics: Left-Wing is Idolatry
Rabbi Pinchas Winston noted that politics are currently sharply divided along religious lines and these post-modern manifestations of idolatry are exclusively associated with the political left-wing.
“That is because the left-wing is idolatry,” Rabb Winston told Breaking Israel News. “All politics are driven by the heart even though ideally this should not be the case. Rather than decide politics by reason and logic the right-wing is the yetzer hatov (the inclination for good) and the left is yetzer hara (the evil inclination). By yetzer hara we mean something that is self-serving. It exists to pull you away from God and to fulfill a desire. Serving God means rising above your desires to do things in a Godly way.”
“Leftists may claim to be publicly minded but they do so in a self-serving manner meant to make them feel God. Cain was the first leftist. The only thing he cared about was that something inside him hurt. He didn’t want to work to fix it or work for God’s favor. The essence of avoda zara (idolatry, literally service of the strange) is that you take the result without working for it. The right-wing has a work ethic and the idea that you get what you deserve. The left-wing rejects this and demands equality of outcome. The left is saying that it is not valid to work harder and get more so it is justified to take from you. Religious people recognize that God required everyone, rich and poor, to give charity according to their means.”
Rabbi Winston noted that every year the festival is held in the most inconvenient place possible; the middle of the desert.
“The zohar explains that the reason the Torah was given in the desert was that the desert was the home of the sitra achra (evil, literally ‘the other side’),’ Rabbi Winston said. “The Jews are commanded to use the Torah destroy the sitra achra at its roots. In the Bible, people who wanted to do idolatry went out into the desert to do so.”
It may seem strange (or perhaps not) but many mainstream celebrities attend Burning Man. Four years ago actress Susan Sarandon drank the ashes of psychologist and LSD advocate Timothy Leary. Heidi Klum, Will Smith Jared Leto, and Elon Musk have attended in the past. Paris Hilton was in attendance this year.