Here I will spin a totally true little tale about Black Rock City, Synchronicity and Sacred Reciprocity.
I am very fortunate to be so close to my two brothers. Steven (a.k.a. Mr N) is the oldest, I am the middle child (4 years younger then N) and Chip is the youngest (11 years younger then me). We are pretty spread out since Mr. N lives in Philadelphia, Chip lives in San Francisco and I live in Georgia. Chip is a veteran burner and whose first Burning Man was in 1995. In 1999 we all decided to go to the Playa together. We went for the adventure , the good times… but for us it was really about making pilgrimage together to our Mecca, the holy city of Black Rock. For us it was an intentional spiritual journey! We were fortunate enough to make that pilgrimage 3 times together (1999, 2000, 2002) and I’m sure more than one tale will be spun here about those trips.
Our intent began about a year before the trip. When the time came Steven & I flew to San Francisco to meet Chip and after a weekend of gathering we drove out to the Playa to spend 8 days in the dust. We stayed with Fleshlab and made a lot of new friends. One of our gifts to the community was “Adorning the Goddess” (we adorned Gods as well). For those who asked… first we would open a circle in sacred space. Then I would do a good bodywork and energy medicine session to prepare the canvas. We would sit and discuss design and colors and then proceed to do a full bodypainting. We were not artists or professional bodypainters… but we had good intent.
One young woman, in her early twenties, came to me and wanted a bodywork/energy session, she wasn’t really interested in the bodypainting. She had a beautiful energy to her, very friendly, warm and easy to talk with. Ends up she was a graduate student at M.I.T. in some technical field. She introduced herself as “Aum”. I asked her if that was a spirit name of given name and she replied given name. I chuckled and said “Hippy parents, huh?”.
She replied something like, “You don’t know the half of it!” and proceeded to explain to me that she had a sister, a year younger then her, with the same name. Well sort of the same name… while her name was “Aum”, her younger sisters name was “Om”. Both had the same name but with different spellings (there are two ways to spell Aum/Om). This was pretty hilarious to me! So we had a really nice bodywork session which she seemed to appreciate greatly. I saw her once or twice over the week and I have never seen her again since.
About 6 months later I was at the hospital assisting in a delivery that ran very late into the night (as usual it seemed). Around 4:00 am I finished and was hoping I could get home and get 1-2 hours sleep before starting the day of 25 patients in my office. So I went to the locker room and pulled off my scrubs, changed into my street clothes and went home.
When I woke up (about 2 hours later) to start my day I realized that I had lost a charm necklace I had been wearing around my neck for about 2 years. It was a black cloth strand that had 3 very small charms hanging from it. Three spiritual symbols that had specific significance to me then (and now). One was the Aum symbol; the second was a Dorje (Tibetan thunderbolt); and the third was a mushroom charm from Paul Stamet’s Fungi Perfecti.
Trying not to be attached (chuckle) I thought about how I had lost it and realized that several hours before when I was rapidly changing I had probably pulled it off with the surgical scrub top and it went into the laundry bin. I went to the hospital and looked for it without success. I spoke to the laundry people to keep an eye out for it. It never showed up and was gone forever.
Two days later I received a package in the mail… from Aum! This was pretty interesting to me because I didn’t even remember ever giving her my contact information. I sat down and opened the package to find my “Aumdoc Patch”. This was a completely hand embroidered patch made from scratch with great skill by Aum. On the patch were the 3 symbols… the aum sign, the dorje and the mushroom !!!!!!!!!
The synchronicity almost overwhelmed me!
I came to realize that when I was doing her bodywork session in Black Rock City, I was not wearing a shirt but I was wearing my necklace which was dangling from my neck. Whenever she was on her back and I was working over her she surely had a clear view of the charms and took note.
I was pretty floored by the synchronicity of receiving her gift at that time. She truly understood the ethics of GIFTING and Sacred Reciprocity! It was deeply endearing and moving to me that she took the time to make this gift for me… it was obviously a lot of work, requiring great skill, for it to turn out the way it did. I immediately recognized it as my “Aumdoc Medicine Patch”and it holds great significance to me to this day. It now resides on my “old man’s sweater” which is my multi-patched and embroidered comfort sweater (from “Dan Stevens” circa 1955) that I wear in the evening at home.
Thanks Aum !