This last weekend this burner joined a celebration being held by another community that I have been told is very similar to queer burners. It is very likely some of the original people who brought us Burning Man were Faeries; or better known as Radical Faeries.
They too started off in San Francisco and sought land outside the city for the expansion of their mission that would, after many years, still be a hub of joy and liberation for many. While we have the Black Rock Desert, the Faeries earliest property purchased under their church was called Wolf Creek Sanctuary up in Oregon. Now they have several properties all over the world that celebrate their uniqueness.
Within our Burner community we do have a core of Queer Burners that are also Faeries and marry the two worlds almost seamlessly. San Francisco based Comfort & Joy are mostly members of the Radical Faery community with their amazing play on gender identity and radical self-expression.
One of the first things I heard someone say at the gathering, independent of the knowledge of my Burning Man present, was how much Radical Faeries value Self-Reliance. It’s not a unique factor in the world, but my mind immediately went to one of the 10 Principles: Radical Self-Reliance.
On the chores board I saw MOOP (Matter Out Of Place) as the top item on the page and again I saw something else that came from the Burner world. We know many Radical Faery-Burner people have been on Wolf Creek and the influence is there. It goes both ways.
The recent screening of James Broughton’s “Big Joy” (link broken) movie was all about Radical Self Expression and was featured at the Frameline film festival recently and San Francisco faeries took loving ownership of making sure people all over the world knew of this film. Seeing it at this Faery gathering was amazing.
While visiting Wolf Creek there were 2 people present who ever attended Burning Man including myself, but the influences are fairly evident and acknowledged by many members. Consider that just more than a year ago the president of their parent organization (Nomenus) was a burner.
As similar as the worlds are there are differences in philosophies more than basic principles. Many faeries are fairly witchy or hold to some spiritual ideals that reach well beyond what many burners hold on to, but that is not an absolute.
The largest difference, based on this particular experience, is that there is a significantly reduced focus on the party. Though the event I went to was a requested sober event, there were some (self included) that indulged. Chemical stimulants were no where on the property; it was much lower key than most burner occasions.
These really are apples and pears in they way they compare. Both are fruit, sweet and tasty, but the sensitivity and pulse of the community runs on different blood types.
The writer has been hanging out with Faeries for almost 2 years on a very part time basis getting more and more involved over the last year. This year started off with Faery celebrations like Saturnella, Beltane and most recently the SGRF (Spiritual Gathering for Radical Faeries).
The touching part of each of these communities is how closely knit many of the participants are and how much love of the environment and their spiritual siblings.
More from Toaster on his personal blog