projects and information for david best's temple building crew

The Temple of Juno

Image (c) Spencer Jones


The 2012 Temple of Juno was a return back to our traditional style of temple that our community is familiar with, that we have built over the years as David Best's temple crew.

The temple grounds incorporated a large central temple building sitting within a 200'x200' walled courtyard. The courtyard was accessible by four entrances, one on each of the temple sides. Benches lined the exterior space, and surrounded the temple. The scale of the central temple building was smaller than the last few years of the temples, but instead was the most detailed temple we have built. Intricately cut wooden panels and shapes covered the courtyard walls as well as the interior space and the altars.

The temple's large enclosed exterior space, along with its interior structure and altar space was intended to address the needs of our community, to reflect and meditate in private.

Why 'Juno'?

This year's temple was known as 'The Temple of Juno'. Why the name? The theme for this year's Burning Man event was 'Fertility 2.0'. Juno was a Roman goddess who had many roles and epithets; among those that she held were as a fertility deity and overseer of childbirth, a protectress of women and the community, and a preserver of marriages.


The proposal for the temple was written in January and approved in March. Meanwhile, David was doing drawings of the temple and crew communications were starting. The drawings were then handed off to the architect and engineer to figure out how to build the structure as pictured.

Construction began in May in the Bay Area, mostly at our workspace in Windsor. Work parties began on June weekends, and ramped up to nearly every day by July. Many volunteers participated in the pre-playa construction - some for a few sporadic days, some nearly every day we were out there.

In Windsor, the inner structure of the temple was carefully framed in cedar in order to make even the structural elements of the temple beautiful. The sections were then disassembled and flat-packed for the trip to the desert. Fence sections were designed and engineered and prototypes created. Decorative pieces were sorted and elements created from the small pieces were created and boxed.

We left for the desert on August 7 for surveying, and work began on the playa on August 10th. The sections were reassembled then decorated and wired for lighting. Part of the first section was destroyed by some of the strongest winds to hit the playa in years during the first week before it was fully assembled and was quickly redesigned and rebuilt. After nearly 3 weeks of heavy construction in the harsh sun, wind, and dust of the desert, it was opened to the public on Monday August 27.

Event and Burn

The Temple of Juno lived for one week as the community brought their memorials, weddings, rememberances, and mementos of life transitions; they wrote and placed them in the interior, on the altars, and on the temple grounds. Following the traditional ritual of immolation to release all that which had been brought to the temple, it was burned to the ground on Sunday September 2, 2012.

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