Khandro Déchen presides over the clothes-burning ceremony at which the clothes of those who have taken gö-kar chang-lo ordination are incinerated. The fire is reflected in her face.
Ordainees come to the ordination ceremony in clothes which represent their old lives as non-ordained practitioners and the day after ordination their clothes are cast onto a ritual fire which is considered to burn whatever was left of their link with who they were before ordination.
In this photograph Khandro Déchen is wearing the Dorje Tröllö hat, which is always worn for the clothes-burning rite. This particular hat was inherited from the ’Khordong gTér tradition and designed by ’Khordong gTérchen Tulku Chhi’mèd Rig’dzin Rinpoche when he came to Cardiff in 1986. Chhi’mèd Rig’dzin Rinpoche designed several hats for Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen and they are worn on various occasions according to their significance.