» Home > In the News

Primordial Ritual

14 September 2022

Unusual post from The Conversation – see https://phys.org/news/2022-09-highlights-primordial-human-ritual.html … which concerns people getting together in Nevada to dress up in colourful costumes, ride carnival like vehicles, and parade with spectacular light displays and interactive art displays. What is going on? We might also ask what are carnivals and parades, in general, around the world, all about. Is it a primordial ritual as the author at The Conversation claims? It sounds almost Veikovskian – connecting with a collective human memory that is largely subsumed but just below the surface. See Velikovsky’s Mankind in Amnesia for details. It may also be more closely similar to the ideas of Irving Wolfe, one time professor at Montreal University. He wrote a long article on the effect fear of catastrophism had on prehistoric societies, pointing at certain oddities in marriage ritual and rites that even society in the modern world still preserves. These are related to a primordial collective memory of terrible things that occurred within the historical past.

In The Conversation piece, we learn the participants call themselves Burners, and they report strong feelings of connection with each other during the festivities. These people, we should note, he says, identify as non-religious yet they participate in what are deeply spiritual experiences, in their view. However, the ritual appears to resemble some religious activities, not exactly laid out in the PhysOrg report. Funnily enough, the origin of the annual event seems to be in hippy like gatherings. These people reject religiosity yet appear to have created a substitute. It began in San Francisco back in 1986, so it doesn’t have much of a pedigree. The link to burning an effigy appears to be somewhat akin to Caesar’s report of ancient Briton burning a wooden wicker construct in the shape of a human, or giant. The modern version also involves an effigy in human likeness that is ritually burnt at the end of the festival.

It seems the originator of the event had an avid interest in anthropology, and The Conversation author is an anthropologist, hence the macabre interest. Of course, catastrophism doesn’t figure in his analysis but those schooled in Velikovsky may note a parallel. Fire ritual was common in ancient pagan religions, and may have an origin in comet airburst events. The inclusion of flashing lights and the idea of setting alight an effigy, may be a re-enactment of primordial events in the sky, in which landscape fires and intense heat with an origin in blast played a role. One such event, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, has actually been preserved in holy writ.

Skip to content