Over 300 San Diegans gathered in the boulder-strewn, high desert mountains near Jacumba, to celebrate Desert Rising; a three-day consciousness-raising festival held over the October 12 weekend.
Though it is best described as a version of Burning Man, organizers stated they didn’t burn anything, nor have any alcohol or drugs (other than some natural, now legal herb). Attendees brought small RVs, or slept in their cars, or set up tent camps in the Desert View Tower’s Boulder Park area.
“It’s a hippie fest for sure,” said one visitor who had stopped only to see the famed tower, where the event was held.
“The desert represents pureness, where everything exists from nature,” said co-organizer Gabrielle Schultz, of Encinitas. “Our purpose is to seek a higher consciousness and to be in gratitude.” She pointed out because the area is in a “vortex of good vibes,” everyone was in a very happy, natural high.
Booths displayed handmade crafts, sold books, offered organic food, or taught class on yoga and meditation.
Perhaps the most intriguing booth was Carlsbad’s Nick “Moonbeam” Bradvica. Bradvica shared his just-published writings of first eleven chapters of the Bible’s books of Genesis in which he divided into stanzas of five lines each. Each stanza contains exactly 40 syllables.
“The first four lines of each stanza have a rhyming scheme, the last line does not, ” said Bradvica. “It’s been a labor of love,” he said; he worked on the project for eight years. Bradvica pointed out that Genesis 1-11 is the story of creation, the fall of mankind, and the arrival of Abraham; the patriarch of Islam and Judaism, and Old Testament Christianity.
“This pattern of 40 further emphasizes the significance of biblical numerology – raining for 40 days and nights, the 40 years of the Israelites wondering the desert, and the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert,” said Bradvica.
As a final Sunday ceremony, the group meditated, chanted, and prayed while receiving an individual, hands-on blessing from a smiling, singing, female guru. I was invited to join the meditation and was moved.
Co-organizer Schultz married into the family of Dan Schultz, who has owned the historic landmark tower and surrounding Boulder Park for 15 years.
The three-story Desert View Tower, completed as a roadside attraction in 1928, is located 100 feet east of the San Diego/Imperial County line off I-8, at the In-Ko-Pah exit. At 3,000-feet in elevation, overlooking the Imperial Valley and the Salton Sea, in 1980 it was accepted as a National Historic Landmark for its structural art and as a California State Historical Landmark. California recognizes the Mountain Springs Station, about 1,000 feet directly below the tower, as the site of the first road from the valley over the mountains into San Diego.
- Saturday, April 20, 2019, noon to 11:59 p.m.
Desert View Tower,
The next Desert Rising will be held over Earth Day weekend, April 19 – 21, 2019. However, every Saturday at 7 pm, a meditation is offered at the site.