"When I die I shall
soar with the angels,
And when I die to the angels, what I shall become,
You cannot imagine."
I didn't choose the angel thing. It's too trite and twee and not my style of spirituality ... I had never believed in or was interested in angels before 1996. But that year some unusal things happened - you might say that they chose me.
Sometime around March '96 Larry Harvey and I went out for coffee one night and during our conversation he asked me to be Beatrice (the angel of divine wisdom) from Dante's Inferno for Burning Man that year. I had already decided to do security - but I said sure - as long as the performance doesn't get in the way of being a Ranger.
Well - the performance never happened - but I did read the Divine Comedy and was awestruck by the things Beatrice said. I started to see that my role as a Ranger was more angelic (as a guide and protector) than any play I might be in.
I had premonitions about BM 96. I though they were about me - I thought I was going to die that year.
For the Burning Man show at SOMAR I wore all white and a pair of plastic wings... I was doing security (it was my first meeting with Boggman and Joseph, and Mary was stage managing Collapsing Silence) and the Guardian's review of the show began "It started with an angel..."
That show was amazing. My dad was playing Satan's lawyer - up on the throne with Flash and Kara and the sexy devil girls. I walked into the room and the hand with the wand struck. Very slowly I walked up the steps... and as I reached the top stair I put my hand on the side of my dad's head and he fell on his knees - all the devil girls fell at my feet and Poppa Satan bowed to me and kissed my hand. It was a beautiful theater moment.
In gearing up for Burning Man I found myself increaingly aggitated. I quit/got fired from Wired two weeks before BM. I saw it as tying up loose ends before I died. That night I went to the Dead Can Dance concert and had quite a spiritual experience.
The next day I went and saw Maggie and she said "You need to keep your energy closer into yourself - you are being too expansive and that attracts things you may not want." But on my way home I was being expansive - I was opening my arms out as I was cruising through the park on my bike. I felt something shift and immediately put my hands on the bars - went over a puddle at 3mph - slipped and fell. I tore huge holes in my knees and elbows. That day was spooky - the power went out in 3 states and the atmosphere was surreal.
That week I had a dream that I was being raped by a formless entity. I was accident prone and felt shadowed. I went back to Maggie the following week and said "There's something hanging around me..." She said "Let me make sure that you're not projecting." When her eyes opened she said "There is an entity that's attached to you - it is very large, and it's attracted to your rebeliousness." She cleared this thing by calling on angels - I had never seen anyone do something like this! I closed my eyes and there was a brilliant light, gold and lavender, and feeling I cannot describe. Joy. Protection. Beauty. I almost started crying.
And I actually did make someone cry a few days later - Clint Catalyst stopped by, and naturally we started talkeing spooky... and all of a sudden he looked at me and said "You are surrounded by golden light!" and tears (of joy) started streaming down his face. I felt this pulsing beauty behind my and GOODNESS all around me. He said "You are so protected right now." So the next day I went to Burning Man.
I'm not going to talk about Burning Man 96 - plenty has been said - but I will say this: not one person called me Jennifer the whole week. I was Angel from the moment I stepped on the Playa. I met Chicken John that week, and loved him from the moment I saw him - inexplicable. I threatened Jim Mason's life - quite funny. I fell out with Larry Harvey, but I bless his soul - I'm an angel now thanks to him. John and Vee and I became family, Mary, Joseph, Boggman and I all became friends, and wonderful things that have happened in my life - the AIDS Ride, becoming an EMT, my abilities as a crisis worker, and my new spiritual awareness (yes Michael Mikkel, there are things you can't see and wouldn't believe) came from that experience. Thank God.
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