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Sanctuary can usually be found near the medical tents. Image: Jonx Pillemer

Sanctuary is located near Off Centre Camp, between Ranger HQ and the Medical Facility.

This is where you will find peer support services. This might be for all sorts of difficulties – overwhelm from the environment, or baggage from the default world, challenging relationship issues brought to a head by the desert environment, unexpectedly difficult psychedelic moments, or community needs.  

There are compassionate volunteer peers available 24/7, keeping the service open from the Monday of Gate Official Opening, right through to the following Monday when most participants will have gone home. Sanctuary offers support for all participants of the burn.  

Sanctuary aims to be educational, preventative, peer driven and professional in our approach to supporting participants. People come in for different reasons, including  needing to talk through a situation, to ask for assistance from the Medics or Green Dots, and often Rangers will bring participants in to us for support.

Sometimes people come to Sanctuary and are connected with Rangers for practical assistance, or need medical support, allowing us to work with other volunteer groups as a team.

All Sanctuary volunteers assist in keeping the space zen, calm, accessible and presentable. Like all things burn-related, we encourage full participation and the sharing of the duties and workload.

Application and Volunteer Process

Application form

Once application approved

  • Step 4: Fill out shifts in approved role Via link from Sanctuary Team
  • Step 5: RSVP a volunteer training date Reply to approval email
  • Step 6: Attend training online, in person or at the event, and complete NDA
  • Step 7: Sign up on prompt arrival for shifts and report to your Harbour Master
  • Step 8: Arrive at correct time @ Sanctuary for your shift
  • Step 9: Volunteer again the next year once approval has been re-issued based on previous year Supervisor feedback

Going forward

Remain involved and think about joining the core team. Think about what you might have to offer to enhance the Sanctuary offering and suggest it for consideration

Characteristics of Sanctuary Volunteers

  • Compassionate listeners, letting people work out what they want to say in their own time
  • Insightful due to personal previous experiences that relate, or through learning to attend, using deep listening skills.
  • Self-aware and able to adapt self to changing situations
  • Respectful of the sexual and emotional boundaries of others, which may be very different to our own – consent in all things
  • Being aware of power dynamics, positionality and social systems that could negatively affect care and communal efforts, and being confident to raise these with members of the team appropriately
  • No sexism, racism or prejudices are acceptable in this group. Not for any reason.  Everyone is seen as individually contributing to the Sanctuary space, and to the burn, in their own way.  
  • Awareness of our 11 principles and volunteer responsibilities.
  • There is no room for our own agendas on spiritual, psychological/emotional states or ideologies.  The guests we support are central to our work.

The following criteria would be helpful for volunteers applying to work at the Sanctuary

✓ I have had personal experience with psychedelics

✓ I have had experience as a caregiver in psychedelic crisis situations

✓ I have professional experience in a psychiatric ward (professional nurse, doctor, therapist)

✓ I have a professional background in healthcare services

✓ I possess alternative/ non-western medical therapeutic or massage skills

✓ I have undergone CPR or first aid training

✓ I have an interest (academic/professional/personal) in psychology/psychedelic science

✓ I am linked to a harm reduction organisation

✓ I have prior experience volunteering in any capacity at a music festival

✓ I have been recommended by someone from a similar, or this, care service

✓ I have attended a previous edition of Afrikaburn, or an official Burning Man event

✓ I have attended MAPS/Zendo/Sanctuary training in the last 2 years

Volunteer roles


CuddleFish volunteers provide back-up to the on-duty Sanctuary volunteers, and there is a CuddleFish on duty 24/7 through the burn, to help with any team challenges or to be extra hands if things get super busy. This role is filled by dedicated core team members.  


Shift Leaders who have experience as Tangles (Sitters) and are there to be keeping it all going smoothly in Sanctuary. They manage the shift and allocation of guests to sitters in the space. They are supported by CuddleFish, and are in turn, supporting the sitters, guests and other volunteers in the space. This role is filled by experienced Sanctuary sitters who have been invited and trained up (similar to the ranger Tortoise) specifically. You will receive an additional invitation, when you have been approved for this role.


If you sign up to be a sitter who directly provides peer support to guests who are having a challenging experience, then this is you. Your official job title is "Tangle". We have Tangles on each shift and prefer a mix of genders and age to ensure comfortable allocation as guests may require.


Provides background help, feng shui magic and general Zen Mastery. The Zen Space Keeper helps with keeping the Tangles and Guests supplied with blankets, refreshments and chilled vibes by holding space, keeping the interior beauootiful and calm. A great role for those who are maybe new to Sanctuary, and would like a little more experience of the space before offering to sit (Tangle) with guests.  This role provides a fabulous service for the whole team through keeping the space organised, tidy and calm.  


Our welcoming Door Keepers assist our Harbour Masters with guest arrivals, as well as keeping the boundary of our space intact from noise, visitors or other possible interruptions to the serenity of Sanctuary. This can be a good role for new volunteers or if one-to- one peer support isn't your vibe, but you still want to support Sanctuary. Door Keepers greet and support people who are coming into the space, help the friends and family of guests, and help keep the space Zen-ful and not over-ful of people or noise. Often this involves keeping the literal home fire burning at our outdoor chill space and being a first-person smiling face when Tankwa’s guests arrive at Sanctuary.

To join the Sanctuary Team in 2023:

Have further questions about Sanctuary? Email Myszka at