The Temple

Dean Barlese, Spiritual Leader of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe at the Temple burn (Photo by Keenan Summers Reed)

The moment the first pieces of the Black Rock City Temple cross the threshold onto the playa, it becomes part of the living history of the earth upon which it will soon stand. Once constructed, its healing energies embrace all those seeking reflection, resolution, release, and renewal.

During the event, the Temple Guardians help provide a safe space so that everyone may have the experience and expression they need at the Temple. In return, a respectful consideration of the space, the land, and its people is asked of those visiting. Please be mindful of guidance about placing human remains at the Temple, and of the closing hours of the Temple to prepare for Sunday night burn. More on both below.

 Human Remains at the Temple

The Temple sits among our neighbors, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, who celebrate alongside us as we honor our loved ones in this venerable healing space. As inhabitants and caretakers of this land for centuries, the Paiute believe that leaving non-native human remains on native land adversely affects the living spirits within the Lake and Black Rock Desert. In the Paiute community, a person’s energy remains in their ashes. The Tribe takes great care in ensuring that this energy is protected and honored up to and including their final placement. Out of respect to the Paiute people and culture, it is asked that Black Rock City participants refrain from leaving cremated human remains at the Temple.

We are thus asked to find alternative ways to pay tribute to loved ones without leaving their remains at the Temple. One suggested option is to bring ashes in to absorb the Temple’s energy and embrace, and then remove them before the burn.

To learn more about the history of the playa’s original inhabitants and why this practice is important to their people, check out this podcast (“The Intersection + Burning Man”) and video featuring Dean Barlese, Spiritual Leader of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.

Sunday Pre-Burn Closing Hours

The Temple will stop receiving visitors at dawn on the Sunday before Labor Day, to safely secure the perimeter. Temple Guardian Offering Carriers will be on hand to place offerings on behalf of those who may need assistance after the Temple has closed. Please ask any Guardian standing at the perimeter to direct you.

The Temple closes at sunrise Sunday morning so that the Temple structure can be prepared for a safe burn. You are still welcome to view the Temple from beyond the perimeter during this time. The Temple burn is scheduled for 8pm PT on Sunday.

Gentle Reminders

Be respectful of photography at the Temple, as offerings are personal. YOU MUST ASK FOR CONSENT BEFORE DOCUMENTING SOMEONE’S EXPERIENCE IN THE TEMPLE. Most participants prefer to not have their tributes photographed, nor themselves photographed in a vulnerable moment.

Unlike much of the art on the playa, the Temple is not meant for climbing. It is structurally built to support offerings during the week, but equally constructed for its deliberate safe collapse. Do not climb.

Please refrain from smoking, smudging, or placing candles or incense inside the Temple. This will help ensure the Temple, its participants and their offerings remain safe until Sunday’s burn.

Thank you for your respect and mindfulness. To learn more about the Temple Guardians and how to volunteer, visit us here.