our Annual Pilgrimage

From 2001-2018, the Conscious Life Ecumenical Union made its annual pilgrimage to the Black Rock desert in Nevada to participate in the Burning Man Festival, an unusual gathering that draws people from all over the World. For one week at the end of August, we suspended the commercial aspect of our lives to celebrate the Spirit of Community.As a pilgrimage, Burning Man inspired us to be creative, communal, and self-reliant. The harshness of the desert playa and the diversity of people there challenged us with their extremes.

We met the challenge by creating Black Rock City, where the only things for sale are coffee, tea, and ice, and everyone is encouraged to give something away. The “giveaways” range from handmade trinkets to interactive experiences that are offered by groups called theme camps, participants who often work all year on their “gift.” Others offer monumental, collaborative works of Art, most of which will be burned to the ground in honor of the evanescent moment. And in the end, everyone sees to it that the entire city and all the Artwork vanishes without a trace. Black Rock city gives us hope for a world in which Community and Human Rites thrive, for cities where creativity and a gift economy replace violence and commercialism in a communal celebration of Consciousness.

To build Cleu Camp, we brought our bus, “The Rites of Man,” and gathered the necessary supplies, enough Water, Food, shelter, and giveaways for a week on the desert. We built the beautiful, colorful Starman Dome and the Cleu labyrinth, our art installation. Over the years, we gave away over 20,000 handmade Cleu pendants and welcomed dusty pilgrims to Cleu Camp to experience our guided meditation, the Cleu brainwashing, a reminder that you are the result of four great miracles, in other words, you are the Cleu!

Someday in the future, you may be able to visit Cleu Camp again on the playa and pick up a Cleu in person. In the meantime, we encourage you to stay in touch with us via the Cleu app and cleu.org. We hope you will find other sacred places to visit, perhaps making a regular pilgrimage to one of these special places. Pilgrimage is a mystical tradition. Whether it is a pilgrimage to your favorite tree, lake, desert, or mountain, you can find meaning in sharing it with your spiritual community. Celebrate your existence on Earth. Take time to be a pilgrim!

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