A Phoenix Rises At Burning Man

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Last year, this time, I entered into a foreign land, a new dimension of expression, and into uncharted territories of my soul. This place is a city called Black Rock City aka Burning Man. 

Image by: Michael Benisty

From the first time I heard about it, I knew I'd go when the time was right. I had gotten many wonderful offers, yet knew I could only go with a heart-centered tribe, and so I patiently waited until the universe presented my inner hearts desire to me. 

A soul brother named 'E' aka Erwin, appeared in my life and was what you would call, a quintessential 'burner.' I knew it was with him and our 'A-Fest' tribe with whom I'd experience this place with for my first time. 

This place isn't for everyone, and I'm not sure if I'll ever go again, but I was destined to experience what I did in this indescribable terrain, which is built from the ground up and then burnt down, every single year. 

My personal journey was very similar to the main spectacle of watching the 'Man Burn,' which is the event Burning Man gets it's name from. You spend all week there, experiencing every kind of thing you can imagine, and also not imagine. It breaks your consciousness open to a new kind of dimension, and then one of the final days, all circa seventy thousand 'burners' gather around the Burning Man, a giant wooden statue, to watch him burn to the ground, in honor of lessons learned and to make way for the new.  

In one day alone, I experienced a complete rebirth. 

It began with one of the most freeing experiences of my life at Dr. Bronner's Camp, where I stripped down - letting go of anything I wasn't born with, surrendering into deep courage to simply BE….BE EVERYTHING and all that I am in my purest form. Why we call that 'naked' I don't know, because in fact, it’s in that state in which we are most divinely adorned. 

And so I entered into a sacred baptism, where years of hating my body streamed out of me as I cleansed myself in what can only be described as a 'human carwash.' And even though I was surrounded by at least 20 other brave ‘naked’ souls, what I experienced was a divine soul transcendence. Feeling ONE with myself and the universe, it felt as if I was the only soul in existence being bathed by light and love itself from inside out, streaming through every vessel that pumps through me. 

I let everything that did not serve my highest expression go. I let it wash off of me and energetically stepped into a higher version of self love like never before.

Walking out of that experience it felt as if I was surrounded by a halo of light….around my entire body (Ps. I was 1000% sober). 

That night was the night ‘The Man Burned.’ It’s the event which bestows the name: Burning Man. 

Our entire camp gathered together through a sacred ceremony, and then, united in love, we proceeded onto the playa together. We followed the music and then it hit me. A sound that began to literally take over my body with ever one more movement I dared to express. The feeling was so beautiful, so existential, it scared me. It was so liberating and so painful all at the same time. What I was experiencing was ‘my first bold moves,’ after my ‘rebirth.’ I was taking my first few steps in this new and higher expression of myself.

I began to push through the fear of self expression, of ‘shining my light,’ and I danced like I’ve never danced before. Ancient moves swirled through my body from the times of Babylon in ancient Mesopotamia, to the time I witnessed being one of the light souls charging through time and space, past the Milky-way to enter into this dimension and be one of the light workers for the next many lifetimes to come. I’ve witnessed most of my ‘past’ lives through my past life regression study throughout the past 5 years, and in nearly everyone I’ve witnessed so far, I was captured, used, abused, and tormented for my light. 

All through which I finally understood - more deeply than words can describe, how VITAL it is for me - in this lifetime, to SHINE MY LIGHT and never let it be dimmed, nor taken over by darker forces or entities. 

And so I danced, no matter how painful and scary it was to express each brave big move. And like a snake charmer, the beats hypnotized my body to give way for my soul to let go of my body for the sake of experiencing what - permission of shining my light - feels like….again. It was a back and forth dance, of release and contraction, fear and love. 

Years ago, in one of my darkest moments, the Phoenix appeared in my life in the form of a spirit animal. Everything I created after it appeared, was based on its’ inspiring story of constant rebirth. 

My final collection at Central Saint Martin’s was based on the Phoenix, my art collages, my concept furniture pieces….everything! And it was this collage pictured here that I created, which inspired and also honored the Phoenix entering my life.


So, what was happening in this moment of ebb and flow at Burning Man, as the divine forces tried to charm my soul out of my body to surrender into LOVE…..
…..WAS the Phoenix literally becoming ONE WITH ME, showing me how to - SPREAD MY WINGS, and ascend out of the ashes. FOREVER. 

……So, with divine permission, I MOVED, I swayed, and I expressed my light, no matter how painful, no matter how scary. My arms spread out as wide and they could go, gracefully yet powerfully waving like wings to soar as high as I could go………
And it was perhaps one of the most transcendental experiences of my life, as I witnessed myself learning to release the fear, the pain, and every lifetime of restriction, to take flight into my new expression of LIGHT fully surrendering into LOVE. 

In Love & Light,

Leyla Salvade