Brazilian RC’s Altar of Intentions Tests Whether Water Absorbs Feelings

Water is pretty special. You’re mostly made of it. You need 1.5 gallons of it per day at Burning Man. It’s one of not very many substances that can be found naturally in solid, liquid and gaseous form, which is certainly remarkable. It’s not surprising that some people believe water has even more remarkable properties.

Do you remember that study about how water absorbs feelings? If not, here’s a refresher. In the ’90s (remember those?), Dr. Masaru Emoto had a bunch of people beam their feelings into bottles of water, which were then frozen, and the molecules were analyzed for crystal formations. The crystals turned out beautiful! They’re certainly different from one another. The “I will kill you” one certainly looks ugly. What does it all mean? Maybe it wasn’t entirely conclusive. Cool idea, though!

The idea was certainly cool enough to inspire Daniel “Devas” Strickland, the Burning Man Regional Contact from Brazil, to perform a similar experiment inside of his 2017 Black Rock City art installation, the Altar of Intentions. The Altar centered on a toroidal water chamber illuminated by LEDs into which visiting BRC residents would inevitably transmit their vibrations, which Daniel would then document with the help of Akiko Stein from the actual Emoto Institute. “The goal is to capture how the energy of interaction between art and observer is affecting reality,” Daniel says.

(Photo by Murilo Ganesh)

So, how was this whole experiment set up? First, the chamber on the altar whirled the water into a vortex, which seems to help. Daniel describes its effects thusly:

“The vortex dynamics are the fundamental motion which makes ‘reality’ possible. [It] is the primary movement from the universe, present in everything that exists in the physical, energetical, and spiritual realms with high energy concentration.”

The altar was up on a platform, and people gathered around it and emanated all sorts of stuff. “During the whole week, I could see hundreds of very deep interactions around that water vortex,” Daniel says. “The feedback couldn’t have been better, from people hugging the water tank to a wedding that happened there on Wednesday. Watching that couple full of love getting married there was definitely a confirmation that the altar was doing its job.”

To make his measurements, Daniel took two samples from the water, one before the event started and one on the fifth day. Once the data had been safely collected, the Altar began to shoot fire through the water, which is just dope. I guess after the samples were taken, it was okay to be a little more loosey-goosey with the energy hitting the water.

I mean, I’m not trying to say I know what crystals mean, but look at these pictures. The water collected before the Burn started looks like this at 200X magnification:

After five days of Burning Man, it looks like this:

The after-crystals look way more crystal-y than the before crystals, if you ask me.

How does Daniel interpret his findings? “The results of the pictures taken by Akiko Stein in my point of view show the big mix of emotions and intentions sent to that water,” he says. “Instead of one totally symmetrical pattern when specific intentions or ceremony is applied, the result from the Altar of Intentions is a juice of many different free intentions from hundreds or thousands of people in their magic week at Burning Man.”

Now that the Burning Man world knows what it’s all about, Daniel plans to bring the Altar of Intentions 2.0 to Black Rock City in 2018.

About the author: Jon Mitchell

Jon Mitchell

is the publisher of the Burning Man Journal, the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter, and the Burning Man website. His playa name is Argus. He co-wrote a big story about spending 24 hours at the Temple of Juno in 2012. He’s been a Burner since 2008. Email:

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