Thousands of people wearing bizarre costumes dance around a huge burning effigy that represents Celtic human sacrifice. Scattered around the pentagon-shaped camp are various makeshift temples to pagan gods. Moving through the crowds is a huge seven headed serpent. No, this is not science fiction or even a pagan festival held in some far-off land. This is the annual ten-day Burning Man Festival that will be held in the Nevada desert in three weeks.
Every year, the Burning Man Festival takes place in the late summer in Black Rock City – a temporary city erected in the Black Rock Desert of northwest Nevada. First held 32 years ago in 1986 as an intimate artists’ gathering on Baker Beach in San Francisco, the festival now attracts more than 70,000 attendees every year.
Though the organizers claim the festival is not religious in nature, there are several elements that appear regularly at the festival that are firmly rooted in idolatry. A 70-foot long seven-headed red metal dragon on wheels named for the ancient Egyptian god Abraxas, is clearly intended to reference Satan as described in the Christian Book of Revelations. Festivals have also featured a papier-mache sculpture of “Lord Shiva Natarja,” a Hindu god described as “the cosmic ecstatic dancer.”
The festival culminates in the eponymous ceremony in which a large wooden effigy of a man is burned. This ceremony, referred to among Druids as the “wicker man,” is almost universal among pagan cults and evolved as a replacement for human sacrifice. This symbolic element came closer to its origins last year when a 41-year-old man committed suicide by throwing himself into the flames of the Burning Man effigy.
Rabbi Daniel Asore, a member of the nascent Sanhedrin, noted that the elements of ancient idolatry are clearly present in this modern-day gathering.The camp is carefully designed in a semicircle contained within a pentagon But when viewed from the air, it becomes clear that the angles are connected by lines creating a pentagram, the universal symbol of witchcraft and black magic.
“They are going out to the desert to recreate the giving of the Torah but they have replaced Mount Sinai as the focal point with the symbol of Satan,” Rabbi Asore told Breaking Israel News. “These people are not atheists. They are idolators. The difference between atheism and idolatry is that atheism denies God while idolatry is an attempt to replace God. They are trying to replace God.”
This year, the festival is going to be a strange mix of pagan worship and high-tech with the theme being “I,Robot,” focusing on artificial intelligence (AI). This theme will be reflected in the centerpiece structure, a massive wooden spiral temple dubbed Galaxia dedicated to the Greek goddess, Gaia. Galaxia is a name taken from a science-fiction novel by Isaac Asimov. In New Age mythology, Galaxia is the mother goddess corresponding to the Greek goddess Gaia, but on a higher galactic level. In mythology, Gaia is the personification of the Earth and the source of immortality. The worship of Gaia figures prominently in Neo-paganism.
“Technology is not, by nature, necessarily evil but it is often used as a temptation to distract people from the truth, to tempt them away from God by telling men they are greater than God,” Asore said. “In the case of artificial intelligence, this is clearly true. They will deny that God rules their lives but they welcome artificial intelligence. Even now, we carry around devices which ‘remind’ them of what they must do. It tracks their every movement and even tells them where they should go, when they need to leave, and what roads to take. This is not an aid. This is already bordering on mind-control.”
“The people who create this technology and the people who use it will deny that their intent is mind control. Truly modern people who were atheists would reject pentagrams and idols and believe there is no controlling power. The aspect of mind control comes from the idolatry giving control to dark forces.”