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Pillars of the Saints: Burning Man 2011 Art Installation's video poster

Pillars of the Saints is an interactive meditation art project for Burning Man 2011- based upon the life Simeon Stylites. Read more

Imlay, NV Public Art
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pledged of $5,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on June 21, 2011.

Pillars of the Saints is an interactive meditation art project for Burning Man 2011- based upon the life Simeon Stylites.

Imlay, NV Public Art
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About this project

Thanks for checking out Pillars of the Saints. You are an integral part of helping bring this to fruition.

Our goal is to reach $5,000 by the June 21st. Help us get to our our goal by the Summer Solstice!

Vision for the Project

Shamans, Gurus, Prophets, and Saints through the ages have pursued inner peace in isolation and meditation. This project calls out the inner Saint, and the inner Shaman in each of us.

Initiation into the deeper ways of peace and joy is at times an uncomfortable and radical pursuit. Some of these examples are too dangerous to be repeated, and most are too radical to be practiced in today's quick service culture. Yet the examples carry a seed of value for adventurous seekers of the way of peace. The Pillars of the Saints is in honor of the radical mystics: the "Desert Fathers" and "Desert Mothers" of the 3rd through 6th century who sought peace and joy through isolation, meditation, and discipline.

The Pillars of the Saints honors the original Stylite (pole-sitter): Saint Simeon Stylites (388-459AD) who sought to live an excessively austere life believing it was the passage to finding the voice of the Spirit, and was the way to deepest fulfillment. Saint Simeon was one of the "Desert Fathers" of the 5th century, and was among one of the most severe ascetics. This project models his pursuit of peace by asking people to sit atop a pillar, and remain there staring into the barren desert until they have heard the voice of the Spirit.

It is a participative meditation project designed to initiate people into hearing "the voice of the Spirit," (which remains without description to allow the participant to interact from their own personal belief system.) 

Quiet, personal, unmediated contemplation on the brutal and barren landscape of the desert is meant to call a person deep into the secret places of the heart, and outwardly to the voices of the Spirit - undisturbed by the rantings of popular culture, and the busyness of life.

The entrance to the mission walls passes through pillars and arches of this earth which disappear as one moves toward the walls drawing a person out of this world and into the world of the Spirit. The walls of the "mission" represent a reverse of this physical world.  The walls are shaped like passage ways, and the negative space between the walls are designed to represent the pillars. Preparing for this meditation the participant will be faced with an altar of sacrifice, and be asked to consider which earthly struggles, fears, addictions, or worries need to laid aside prior to listening for the Voice of the Spirit.

Once the participant crawls down from the pillar with a message from the Voice of the Spirit it will be written upon the walls to be shared with other seekers of the Voice. We will use the experiences and words upon the walls to create a video project documenting the voices people hear.

It is our hope to draw the deep and intimate expressions of spiritual experience from the unseen, unheard, and un-communicated places out into the open, and into the realm of sharable experience.

How We Will Accomplish the Project

We have a team of 6 people (well potentially 8 to 10 now) who will be helping to build this project. This includes a contractor, a guy who built his own house, and a former circus performer - fire spinner - set designer and builder.

Prefab work will be done in Ohio and then it will be hauled out to Burning Man and assembled.

Where the Money Goes

We are planning for seven flames in the project. Six upon the wall, and an eternal flame altar in front of the wall. Propane and supplies to create the fire features will of course be a significant part of the funding this project. The amount of money we raise and number of flames will be directly related to the amount of money we raise.

There are associated travel costs with hauling the project to Black Rock Playa, and of course we would be remiss to mention that we will be bringing grasshoppers and wild honey for a midweek Prophet's Feast at the Pillars.

Costs for the project can be viewed more specifically on one of my blogs - here.

Join us at Burning Man!

For those of you who are going to be joining us at Burning Man you are invited to join us in making the documenting of this project. We will be hanging around the project in brown monks robes, or can be found at the Spirit Dream Interpretation Cafe Theme Camp.


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    3 backers

    Free dream interpretation by email, perhaps by phone, or live at Burning Man at the Spirit Dream Interpretation Cafe! (Plus big hugs!) And an invitation to join us at screenings for the documentary following this project. No kidding! Rewards for just a buck! You will also be able to follow our progress, development, and access photos and video clips online.

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    8 backers

    Everything above, and an invitation to the Prophet's Feast on the Playa. Oh yea, locusts and wild honey with a evening movie on the desert. If you don't make it to Burning Man we will have some parties to celebrate the project, and you will be invited.

  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    18 backers

    All of the above plus a DVD of the documentary of this project after completion

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    5 backers

    Ambient music meditation CD by David Gerard based upon the Pillars of the Saints project to go with previous awards.

  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    1 backer

    A bottle of mead - Nectar of the Desert Seers to go with all the above. We will hand it to you personally, or make sure it arrives at your home if you are not at Burning Man this year.

  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    1 backer

    All of the above, plus we will cut out a chunk of the wall with "words from the Spirit" and send it to you. (No guarantee that you will agree with what the Spirit says!)

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    0 backers

    Wow! besides all the above we are going to have to sit on those pillars out in the desert, and make constant intercessions for you.

Funding period

- (45 days)