Susan Sarandon acted as the unofficial high priestess of Burning Man this year, and she’s been Instagramming up a storm. The annual music festival, which takes place in the Black Rock Desert of Pershing County, Nevada, sits three hours away from the nearest town. This year, the festival feared that a pesky bug infestation would ruin a good time for everyone. In addition, the country sheriff vowed to crack down on nudity, which certainly puts a damper on the celebrations.
Luckily, Sarandon was around to bring a sense of occasion to the festival. On Saturday evening, she took part in a memorial ceremony for the high priest of LSD, Timothy Leary, who died in 1996. Sarandon carried his ashes through the desert to the temporary, 60-foot temple built for the festival. This service capped off the evening of the titular burning of the giant “man” effigy. The burning is meant to cleanse visitors who leave notes inside the temple, and presumably Leary’s newfound presence only adds to the effect. Sarandon said a few words to the press:
“I think he’d be so happy. I think he would have loved the chaos [of Burning Man]. He would have loved it. And all these people honoring him with LSD. When I went to Burning Man last time, that’s when I thought I’d bring him back here.”
Interestingly enough, Sarandon has held onto Leary’s ashes for all these years. She was one of several friends who were gifted with portions, but most of the recipients released their portions to be blasted off into space in 1997. Sarandon was so devoted to giving Leary a proper send off that she helped build the temple this year.
Ceremony spectators were reportedly caught unaware of what was happening, as Sarandon didn’t make an announcement about Leary’s ashes until after she carried them into the temple, which was set ablaze as part of the ceremony. Sarandon Instagrammed several photos of the fiery infernos of the festival as well as some general scenic views. This festival looks pretty soothing, right? If not for the bugs, I’d already be staring at next year’s calendar.