Let Our Community Be the Wind that Carries Us!
by Ben Dodds
The Effigy - heart of the burn
- is a symbol prized for being created lovingly, with attention to detail, thought, creativity, and effort, and which is revered for just a few days before setting alive new beginnings in the act of becoming a powerful analogy.
It’s recognition by a community of people sharing in the essence of our humanity, of our knowledge and self-awareness that our lives are temporary and precious and which have meaning because of - not in spite of - the temporary
Being surrounded by a community of people who are, consciously or unconsciously, participating in the nurturing of, in the celebration of their brothers’ and sisters’ spirits in the ceremonial and poetic act of setting ablaze the past and recognizing that it is time to look ahead and to living as our best selves into the endlessly unfurling future, is the source of The Effigy’s power and significance.
Build-Master, Bobby Gittins, has been attending E11 since 2002. In 2006, he was invited to lend his woodworking talents to constructing more complex, creative, and sound effigies, a true labor of love he takes great pride in. Having seen the E11 community grow and become the envy of Burn communities the world over is something he attributes to Utah’s tight knit family values-oriented society. In some ways, he says, the Salt Lake City scene, though much smaller, is like the early days of the San Francisco Burn scene.
Volunteerism has skyrocketed. The Effigy Build Night used to see an average of eight to 10 volunteers. This year, they’ve been seeing between 30 and 50 people come to lend a hand.
“The community effort to build an incredible Effigy,” says Bobby, “that will be enjoyed for just a few days is so important for so many people. I’ve seen people leave ashes of loved ones, wedding dresses, a school desk, boxes of files and so many things to burn with our temple and Effigy. It’s a big lesson in temporary. The Burn signifies that chance to start fresh. It brings up a whole range of emotions in people.”
Bobby would like to recognize the talent and devotion of his core co-build team, Nick Poselli, Tyler Gittins, Joe Russo, Zach Gittins, Walter Brady, and, of course, his family who have devoted seven years of their lives to the project.
If you are interested in volunteering on the Effigy Build Project check out their Facebook page
or contact Bobby Gittins, 801.783.6875.