Synchronicity at Burning Man

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.
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Synchronicity at Burning Man

Post by sugarlarry » Tue Aug 17, 2004 11:09 am

Anyone experience synchronicity at Burning Man? I’ve had a few experiences with it myself, as have a few friends. It almost makes me think that something weird is going on out there in the desert.

The first was in ’98 when a friend and I were in the open playa. We found an old school desk, and thought it would look great if we put a nice red apple on it. Later on that night we met some guys who were filming in the desert. They said that they had run out of water, and were starting to feel dehydrated when they came across a desk with an apple on it. They thought it weird that they were lucky enough to find an apple in the middle of the desert, and were suitably blown away when they found that they met the people who had placed it there.

The second example straddles two years. I and a friend had to hitchhike to Reno, and scored a ride from two women. We had a blast on the trip down, and they were nice enough to drop us off at the airport. The next year as we drove up to the gate, who should be there to take our ticket but the woman who dropped us off at the airport. The last person we saw the previous year was the first person we saw the next. Weird eh?

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Post by Simply Joel » Tue Aug 17, 2004 12:26 pm


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Post by JezebelinHell » Tue Aug 17, 2004 12:29 pm

***insert Twilight Zone music here***
"The future is a whore, she promises herself to everyone."

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Post by stuart » Tue Aug 17, 2004 2:55 pm

Anyone experience synchronicity at Burning Man?
no, but I sure would not mind running into some older police tunes out there.

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Post by robbidobbs » Tue Aug 17, 2004 6:49 pm

For having a population of 30K+, it's a teeny, tiny town.
Moments of "Oh my fucking gawd!" are normal. Don't panic. Enjoy them.

The flipside of this is...
How many items I realize I should have brought, once there.
How many times I get lost, really for no good reason.
How many people I say, "find me at such-n-such" place, and we never hook up.
How many times I am amused, pleased and somewhat surprised, because I didn't come to BRC with expectations in the first place.

Magic? Feh.

Maybe this should be in the Old Timer's thread.

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Post by diggum » Wed Aug 18, 2004 11:14 am

always freakish events of synchronicity out there.

two years ago, as we're all pulling up to the gate, one of the virgins says out loud, "I think I know someone who's gone to this before - I think I took her job when she left the company." The greeter we met 2 minutes later turned out to be her.

last year, i was part of a fire safety team for a full-body burn event on saturday night, however I had not been able to find the other folks involved all week, no matter how hard i tried. giving up, I resigned to try to find where the event was even though I'd miss the runthroughs. within minutes, one of the crew drove up in a pickup truck as if he knew exactly where I'd be.

Also last year, some friends of ours from NYC were there, but we hadn't seen them at all, and had no idea where they were camping. My wife and I talked about how it would have been nice to see them, too bad. Then, we walked through Center Camp for the only time all week, and almost tripped over them.

So, someone is listening....

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Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Aug 18, 2004 11:55 am

Oddest thing that happened to me?
Gifted one of my crocodiles my first year to a Ranger who had found another one on the playa while windsurfing there before. So somehow one of my art works got there before I did. Not earthshattering, but still a little nicely cosmic.

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Post by Ivy » Wed Aug 18, 2004 12:12 pm

A few months before BM last year, I agreed to tailor a suit made out of twister mats for a guy who posted on He was from the Bay Area and I'm in SoCal, so everything was done through shipping; he sent me the Twister mats and, when finished, I shipped the suit to him before BM. We had vague ideas of possibly running into each other but nothing concrete.

I was working in the cafe during the burn and it was dead slow until after the man fell. Then bunches of people started coming in. A guy walks up to my register wearing a suit made out of Twister mats.

"Nice suit," I said.

He answered, "Thanks."

I said, "I made it."

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Post by ReverbSF » Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:25 pm

Synchronicity is all around us...

During the really nasty dust storm last year, (Sunday, I think) our kitchen structure had 3 of its main metal poles bent beyond repair. We were totally hosed and had given up on having a kitchen. 10 minutes later, our new campmate arrived from DC, a friend of a friend of a friend, etc... She had never been to BRC before and had no idea what to bring so all she had was a bag of clothes and 3 pieces of PVC piping to "try to build a camp structure" (what???) Guess what? The pieces of PVC fit perfectly around the bent kitchen poles and the kitchen held all week. We had an extra tent we weren't using and viola!

Don't fry bacon naked.

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Post by Sensei » Wed Aug 18, 2004 5:20 pm

I heard a story on NPR once about these two academic types who went to Switzerland for some sort of meeting. (Ok, I'm real vague on the details, this was years ago.) They ran into a colleague who also happened to be there (Switzerland), but for an entirely different reason. This peaked their interest in coincidences, and they began an informal study. They concluded that for every 'coincidence', there are dozens, even hundreds, of similiar 'coincidences' that don't quite happen...

When I think about this too long, I lose the ability to blink my eyes in unison.

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Oh, my list is endless!

Post by DancesWithElves » Thu Aug 19, 2004 8:19 am

Synchronicity happens SO much at BM, I start to miss it when it doesn't! (Which becomes a viscious circle, so I must reset.)

One of my favorites: Walking along a back street in the quiet pre-dawn hours, headed back to my tent to get ready for a Greeter shift. Someone's just starting up "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" in their dome. I watch for a few minutes, thinking that it's quite appropriate. Several hours later, during my greeter shift, (to my greeter station, of course) up pulls the convertible Caddy, with a guy in THE outfit, complete with glasses, hat, cigarette-in-holder, he IS Johnny Depp in F & L! I ask him where he's camping, he has no plans, so I point him in the direction of the dome, hope it blew their minds!
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Post by dave_at_winterpeg_ca » Fri Aug 20, 2004 11:29 am

the list is huge..
heres some favorites.

carrying around way too much stuff in 2002 including a deck of cards that needed to be dry, and running into someone who asked me if they could give me something, it was a plastic soap box.

losing my hat in hour 2 of buring one day halfway on the other side of the festival talking with someone telling me i had a sunburn on my head and theres an extra hat at their camp tied up - it was mine. (i had never been remotely close to this area in the first 12 hours of being there when this occurred)

having a conversation with someone over a smoothie who lived in costa rica. turns out we talked about music, and it was someone i had conversed with before who at one point lived in my hometown..

blah blah the list goes on

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Post by theCryptofishist » Fri Aug 20, 2004 11:32 am

dave_at_winterpeg_ca wrote: a smoothie who lived in costa rica
Dang--I didn't know smoothies could last in that tropical heat.

Who's at least a little sorry for that.

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Post by dana » Fri Aug 20, 2004 2:51 pm

Here's a quote:
'When synchronicities are happening, the Archetypes are at play in your reality.'

Most of the examples are not really amplified synchronicities which seem to reverberberate to some other space and time, but rather more just outrageously cool coincidences. My first year, in showing up last minute without all the things I really needed, I had a bike to use within minutes of looking compliments of the bike guys. The people camping right beside me were several young Osteopathic medical students, so I spent part of my time tutoring them in manipulative technique and medical school/residency survival tips. ...Again just cool coincidence, but seemingly part of the 'unseen' pattern of causality.

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Post by Stormy » Fri Aug 20, 2004 7:00 pm

I loved reading these stories. I can't think of any for myself, but for the interesting twists of fate that bring people together as friends and lovers at BRC.
Be the change you seek in the world.

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Post by typewriter » Wed Aug 25, 2004 4:30 pm

My first burn, I hitched from Reno Airport with some unknown guys from New York. The plan was for me to FM radio my group to hook up with them. they had the shade, food, bikes, artcar, chairs....

Upon arrival, my radios turned out to be cheap crap and borrowing good ones revealed my camp frequency was unmonitored (later found out they *changed* it... nice!)

I asked the guys who I hitched with if I could leave my stuff while I searched the city (had no clue to the likely futility of such a venture), I walked towards the man.

My group was EXACTLY ONE RADIAL BLOCK away. The FIRST camp I walked into.

only later would I realize how lucky I got.
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Post by typewriter » Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:06 pm

My first burn, I hitched from Reno Airport with some unknown guys from New York. The plan was for me to FM radio my group to hook up with them. they had the shade, food, bikes, artcar, chairs....

Upon arrival, my radios turned out to be cheap crap and borrowing good ones revealed my camp frequency was unmonitored (later found out they *changed* it... nice!)

I asked the guys who I hitched with if I could leave my stuff while I searched the city (had no clue to the likely futility of such a venture), I walked towards the man.

My group was EXACTLY ONE RADIAL BLOCK away. The FIRST camp I walked into.

only later would I realize how lucky I got.
I pledge allegiance to the flame
Of the united camps of BlackRock
And to the autonomy for which it stands
One nation, under the influence
With liberty and dust storms for all

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Post by morgbert » Mon Aug 30, 2004 8:44 am

During my second burn I was holding down a roof tarp on a neighbor camp during an outrageous storm. After about 20 minutes I couldn't take it anymore and fled to the shelter of a passing art car. The driver was dressed in a moth-eaten Santa suit, so when I brought him back to our camp to hang out my friend and I dubbed him Nasta, and we all hid in our tent ingesting mind-alterers and laughing at the rain.

Two years later, I was walking across the desert with the same friend when we got caught in another huge storm. We sought refuge in a dome, and after 15 minutes another person came in out of the storm-- Nasta, of course. Now I always expect him when there's weather.

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Post by newdawn » Sat Sep 11, 2004 10:43 am

My first year, I helped a few people get out to the playa. Didn't know them beforehand, but had a wonderful time and we really liked each other.

Fast forward 2 years, and I'm talking to my girlfriend about how I miss these people. We walk up to a line for some camp, and right in front of me is one of them. We hug.

I still miss another person to whom I gave a ride, a woman whom I'm resolved to never seeing at BM again, chalking it up to just that first year's experience. While I'm sad, it also just makes sense. How hard is it to find friends on the playa, especially when you plan on meeting them?? Very.

The whole week goes by; I've mentioned her a few times, concluding to my girlfriend that she's probably just not on the playa.

Fast forward to the burning of the man that year. In the darkness some women right in front of me is seemingly staring at me. After 30 minutes, she finally says my name. It's her. My girlfriend tells her I'd been wondering about her for days.

Fast forward to this year. My wife (same as my girlfriend the year before) is recounting this story to a friend as we walk around on the playa -- our first night out. I wonder aloud if I'll see her this time. We are saying this at 5am as we're heading into center camp in that first-night, nothing-to-do-might-as-well-hit-center-camp kind of way. My wife goes into center camp while the other friend and I hit the porta-potties. We come back, and who is my wife talking to, at 5am, but the same woman.

Synchronicity is not just some random coincidence out there on the playa. It happens so often, it's freaky, but fun.

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Post by Lydia Love » Sat Sep 11, 2004 8:04 pm

ok... this blew my mind totally... but isn't on the same level as some of the stories shared so far.

I had to go into town on Friday. I was waiting for the bus and pretty competely bummed about it when a fellah asked if I had an extra cigarette. I looked at him and something behind the big sunglasses and under the hat was very familiar. The name lept right to my tounge.

It was the boy I had the biggest crush EVAH on in the 8th grade. In Montana. We got to spend the bus ride having a very nice conversation.
It's all about the squirrels.

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Post by redstar » Sun Sep 12, 2004 12:15 am

It's 2003, Thursday before the burn begins, and I am getting onto a plane in Sydney Australia to fly into San Francisco (I am sick, and quite cranky). Some time during the flight I am waiting with a few other people for the bathroom. I am standing behind a woman who has amazing tattoos that I can see. I want to talk to her but feel tired and sick, so I don't. At immigration in San Francisco, she is in line in front of me, but I still don't talk to her.

Tuesday of the burn, I am out in the middle of nowhere hanging out with a friend in one of the big art cars. Someone else comes up, I look at them, and it's her, the girl from the plane.

She says: "I knew you were a burner".
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Post by vividvortex » Thu Sep 23, 2004 12:30 pm

I was in the middle of butt fuck nowhere trying to find some friends i just mets' camp and I'm walking (no bike) in the middle of the day heat so far away from my camp, I couldn't find my new friends so i started on my journey back to my camp...just when i was thinking "man i wish i could get a ride"...someone in a furry motorcycle comes up and says "do you know where mars is at" i said "i think it's over there no, over there, wait i dunno." we shared a laugh and just when he was getting ready to drive off he says "do you wanna ride" i say "actually yeah" and we drive off! but get this... my birth name is mars! and when we finally introduced ourselves he said "see, i was looking for you..." Eduardo from Italy, thanks for the ride!

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Post by actiongrl » Thu Sep 23, 2004 3:16 pm

'97- I was walking and my hair was flipping around. I said, "Man, I need a hairband." I looked down and one was on the ground.

also '97 - I said I really wanted some Jack Daniels. Nurse concurred. Moments later a man walked up and said, "HEY! You have cigarettes! I'll give you this half-full fifth of Jack for just one smoke!"

2000 - (off playa) went to Reno with Marian for our annual pain in the tuchus Reno supply run for Mecca. Driving around we were getting too filled up on stuff and didn't know how we were going to fit the things we still needed to get. As we were discussing it from a parking space, Danger Ranger pulled up in a truck. Saved the day.

Same trip, coming back many hours later, we pulled off the highway and onto the entrance to the event. Flipping on our radios, the first thing we heard was, "Has anyone seen Actiongrl or the Jackrabbit?"

I have about a gazillion of these stories. I don't believe in coincedences, and I think the more you pay attention to synchronicities, the more of them you see. On the playa, there are so many, I think that I've come to accept them as totally par for the course.

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Post by theBrooke » Thu Sep 23, 2004 4:02 pm

There's been a few... but this one stands out.

Tuesday night this year.. the dust was craptacular.. a preview of Wednesday I guess. We (me my girl and 3 newbs), were somewhere around Lush on the 2:00 side, and needed to hit camp (9 and Saturn). We were drained, and hungry... Weather is a b*tch right? So we start our trek across the open playa, and I thought aloud "you know what would be perfect right now?"... proceeded to tell my virgins about an Ambulance I had run across last year. It was called the Ambience Ambulance, they setup in the middle of nowhere usually... great pillows, and people. We all agreed that would be awesome. We continued for about 10 minutes and who did we see? That's right. It was so amazing, their emergency chill technicians were the best, good conversation, big fluffy place to relax, and warm grilled cheese sammiches. It was almost like I asked, they came.


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Post by kikidelosfeliz » Thu Sep 23, 2004 4:15 pm

Despite bringing more than thought possible, ran out of water on the third day. While lugging back ice from Campartica, neighbors walk up and said someone had given them a huge amount of water and did we want 30 gallons?

Met amazing man, forgot to get his coordinates in real world, lived somewhere in another state. Searched web, asked friends, not much to be found, turned it over to playa gods. A week or so later, he called, after road trip odyssey around the west, wondering if he had landed anywhere close. Turns out he was...two blocks from my front door.

Told friend I wanted to see Mutaytor at the fair this weekend, having somehow missed them the night of the burn, gotten a bit distracted. She said oh, I have free tix for you, come on over.

Okay, so maybe more acts of love and generosity than synchronicity, but it feels like the universe is providing.
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Post by Spokes » Thu Sep 23, 2004 4:49 pm

Okay, a bit long but here's a couple:

We had an interactive project in Dreamtime where you could write a word on a disk, hang it on a tree and take a word disk with you that somebody else wrote. The inspiration for the project started from an episode where Booker encountered a Word of the Day poster made for somebody named Brianna that lived behind a closed door at an apartment complex where he had weekly yoga lessons. The word on the poster was Nadir. Each week that he went to yoga class the word remained unchanged and it was driving him crazy. With our encouragement, he changed the word. The next time he went to yoga class the poster was gone. The word tree and a word of the day board in our camp evolved from that episode.

So I was telling Eli that story while she and I were populating the word tree with words and she said “Oh, well I guess we should put Nadir on one of the disks” and she did.
Some time later, and unbeknownst to anybody in Dreamtime, the Nadir disk blew off the tree and became moop down the street. A stranger picked it up, found her way to Dreamtime in Whee!ville where there were 120 or so inhabitants, walked up to Booker and said “I guess this belongs to you?”

Another project we had was to tell stories, real traditional or otherwise. (Kind of like we’re doing here.) The main story telling time was Friday afternoon. I had learned a story from South America called the Green Lizard that was about a person giving his love and good will to a friend by way of a lizard that he caught, held to heart and passed on to his friend. When his friend opened his hand the lizard had turned to an emerald which helped the person solve his problems and which he later returns to the friend where it transforms back to a lizard.

The day before I told this story, a guy walked up with a cloth bag and told me to reach inside and grab a gift. The gift that I grabbed was a small box with a green and black stone inside. Also inside was the suggestion that I apply a good dose of positive energy to the rock and pass it on to another person.

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Post by regynalonglank » Fri Sep 24, 2004 3:27 pm

when i was on playa i came across a young man who was very distressed, and as i spoke to him he told me that he was without a place to stay that night, his sleeping bag had been stolen, he just found his fiancee fucking some other guy, and he was not a happy camper. I told him that he could stay in our pillow pit at DOTA, and that he should cut his girl some slack, cuz it is burning man after all...he was not convinced...wandered off.

when i got to reno about 3am on monday night he was there...on the art car, i mean rail car thingy in circus circus, and he was telling someone about burning man, and how much fun he had there, and what a great party it was, and how he and his girlfriend had such a great time...

revisionist history. my favorite kind! i kept my mouth shut and walked away...

/ \

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Post by YerNotDaBossOMe » Fri Sep 24, 2004 4:40 pm

I left Sunday morning after the burn, driving a 34' motorohome. I had a guy who was going back to LA with me to share the driving (750 miles). At the last minute he decided to stay. It was still kinda early but I was hoping to see scads of people looking for rides. I found one...going to LA.
There...I said it and I'm glad!

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Post by chineseobelisk » Sun Sep 26, 2004 11:34 pm

I saw Deepak Chopra speak a couple of years ago, and he seemed to be very big on the idea of syncronicity. He couples it with the notion that as concious beings we have an infinite potential to manifest our realities.

Thease ideas tie into Sanskrit, the oldest written language apparently, in which it is not possible to say 'I want' or I wish for' or anything like that because the power to manifest was so great that you may conjure up an elephant (or something worse) at a very inopportune time.

I have had similar experiences of 'synchronicity' at times other than Burning Man, such as after an extended hike in the mountains, or even during a long road trip, (and once after a very powerful vision, but I wont tell you about that 'cause you'll think I'm crazy).....

Anyhow....I submit that this apparent rash of synchronous events is happening simply because we find ourselves in an unfettered environment that alows us to be more in touch with our power as conscious creators of our immediate (and extended) environment than we are used to on a daily basis.

Wouldn't it be great if we could unclutter our off playa existences to the point that we could create, with consciousness, the events of our every day reality?
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Post by kikidelosfeliz » Mon Sep 27, 2004 12:16 pm

Walking down the sidewalk with my dog, wanting to see someone in particular, not sure where to find them. Asked for a sign, which way to turn. Picked up scrap of ripped up paper on ground (still on moop patrol), which had remains of sentence printed on it saying ..."Go Home!" Following this clear directive, I headed home. A few minutes later, the person I want to see rings my doorbell...

So, at the risk of "conjuring up an elephant or something worse," (love that image, obelisk!), please universal great goodness, help me find a way to manifest all that creative flow jumpstarted on the playa in a way that puts food on the table and clothes on my kid, and surrounds me with the kind of wonderful, open, kindhearted people I want in my life.
cognitive dissident

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