Burning Man Opera 2004
Spiral Eye of the Celestial Falcon

Camp map

Spiral Eye Proposal
Set Up Party

Clean-up Plan

Images to illustrate Ann Hallatt's proposal, excerpted below,.
To get involved in helping build the sculpture or in planning the Egyptian-inspired performance/ceremony, contact Annie.

Structure (side view)

By Leonard Pitt. Model in wood, inspiration for a much larger version accepted by BM Org for the 2004 Vault of Heaven Burning Man.

Stereo photos (in "time for space wiggle") by Jim Gasperini, Cockeyed Creations.

Structure (front view)

Interactive component:

If built well, we should be able to make it roll.

The Celestial Falcon, with accompanying monkeys, representing the adoration of Ra at his rising in the east.

From the papyrus of Hunefer, Theban Book of the Dead. Early nineteenth dynasty

An Encounter with Pythagoras
by Ann Hallatt

Closing my eyes, I lie down on the crusty, real, physical, Black Rock Playa, once-moist lake now crumbling, dried by the summer sun.

I dream that I have joined Pythagoras in Egypt, where shores along the Nile move from flood waters to the dryness of the sun drenched soil just as the playa becomes solid for the season of the sun. Sitting in a temple beneath a huge stone carving, he tells me:

The Natural Phenomena, especially the phenomena of the astronomical world, may be expressed in mathematical formulas. Numbers are not only the symbols of reality, they are the very substance of real things. One is the point. Two is the line. Three is the surface, and four, the solid. Ten is the perfect number, because it is the sum of one, two, three and four—the point, the line, the surface, and the solid.

Arrangement of the qualities of odd or even as opposites are found everywhere in nature. The union of them constitutes the harmony of the real world. There are ten heavenly bodies—the heaven of the fixed stars, the five planets, the sun, the moon, the earth, and the counter-earth (a body under the earth, moving parallel with it, invisible to us). All these move in the Harmony of the Spheres.

The five planets, the sun, the moon, and the earth with its counter-earth, moving from west to east at rates of speed proportionate to the distance of each from the central fire, produce eight tones. These four tones create an octave, thus forming a harmony known as Musica Mundana or Music of the Spheres, the sound of which is so exquisite and omnipresent that it governs all temporal cycles, such as seasons, biological cycles, and all the rhythms of nature.
(More about the details of this musical system below, under the description of music.)

The Story

The stone carvings around us give human face to the power of the heavenly bodies. The Sun dominates as the Solar Disk, ATEN, who enters the sacred barque of a million years, and through the twelve daylight hours visits the twelve provinces of his kingdoms. Aten changes its name to RA at zenith and ATUM as it descends into darkness. The night voyager AUF (corpse) sails the 12 hours of darkness through the 12 provinces of the underworld in another boat, the mesektet or night-barque. Stars form the crew of the solar barque’s during the day, replaced at night by different stars. The invisible part of the world is filled with mysterious terror and invisible perils, including monstrous serpents and demons. HORUS, OSIRIS, and ISIS are present, as are the four female deities with frog heads and four male deities with snake heads who navigate. At dawn the gods drag up the barque and KHEPRI rises up once more.

The Art Installation

The sculpture will be built of wood in a spiraling pattern until all 48 pieces are joined, creating a spiral pathway fixed in time and space as a reference for contemplating the motion of the sun and the other heavenly bodies. Each of the 48 tetrahedrons will be larger then the previous one in all dimensions by two inches, starting with the struts measuring 24”: 26”, 28”, 30”, 32”, 34”, 36”, 38”, 40”, 42”, 44”, 46”, 48”, 50”, 52”, 54”, 56”, 58”, 60”, 62”, 64”, 66”, 68”, 70”, 72”, 74”, 76”, 78”, 80”, 82”, 84”,86”, 88”, 90”, 92”, 94”, 96”, 98”, 100”, 102”, 104”, 106”, 108”, 110”, 112”, 114”, 116”, 118”, 120”. The sculpture is anchored to the playa by 6 screws 2 feet in depth, preventing movement in high winds. The sculpture will be lit from four directions, powered either with solar panels or a small generator boxed away from the installation.

Isis holding a sistrum.

Temple of Seti I at Abydos.

"Ra, the sun-god, in the solar barque with the sun. Together they traverse the heavens on their daily course."

Papyrus of Ani from the Theban Book of the Dead.

The Performance

The Egyptian-inspired artwork depicting the travel of the Solar Disk will be the location for a reenactment of the Journey of the Sun through the Daylight sky into the Nighttime sky, later in the week (likely Friday evening). Musical accompaniment based on Pythagoras’ musical system will accompany the procession/performance. A papyrus boat mounted on wheels carrying the solar and lunar disks will circle the spiral sculpture, passing the circular opening, which represents the great Celestial Falcon whose right eye is the sun and whose left eye is the moon.


There are many levels of interactivity in this project. The sculpture itself changes as you walk toward and around it. The music of the spheres will be played live and recorded at the site. The public will be invited to participate in a procession/performance later in the week. Fire performance will be featured. A small representation of the Eye of the Falcon will be gifted to visitors as a souvenir.

Depending on just how strong the sculpture turns out to be, we may be able to roll it, so that the sculpture changes position from time to time. The public wil necessarily be involved since it will take many hands to accomplish this. In any case we plan to roll it to its final destination: on top of one of the large burn blankets (the Man or the Temple), where the Celestial Eye itself will be sent heavenward in the form of smoke.

What it Means to Me

The invitation to gaze at and ponder the Vaults of Heaven, has led me to reflect on the recent death of my father, on the last day of the year 2003, just as I was preparing my annual card gift. This became the sharing of the experience of accompanying my father into the underworld. With a photo of him at his solar peak in life, I included Hymn to Ra from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. The shape of the sculpture is a celebration of the spiral of Time, Space, Life, Death, Sound, Silence and The Harmonious Whole.

Set Up Party

great rite history and culture village of Atlantis mysteries of Atlantis music of Atlantis Atlantean Tarot