Sustainability in Our Times

Traditional Wisdom for Sustainability in Our Times

goldenrod clouds asheville weather workers

By Erin Everett, with Amy Haynes

On Sunday October 1, 2017, I hope you'll join us in gathering to celebrate the Rain, Clouds, Sun, Wind, and Thunder. Recently, all of us in our area and those south of here had a close brush with a very expressive Weather Being. This force in the world was known as Irma. With storms before and after her affecting so many, she got my attention since early predictions had her heading for Asheville, my home town.

As Irma approached, I felt many things. Fear came up (especially when I saw the trajectory predicted to be heading right toward Asheville!). That fear was also like a thrill, knowing that this storm had something for us. Concern for our relatives who were directly in Her initial path came up. As my emotions flowed through me, then came the engagement. “Hello, Irma, what are you saying? What gifts do you have for my people? Are you just here to wreak havoc, or is there something more?” Most of my conversation was with feelings and impressions, not words. As the discussion continued over the days the storm was building, I deepened my understanding of my place in relation to the storm.

Similar to many traditions, the wisdom in our Nahua weather work path is that the world is speaking to us and is actually in dynamic relationship with us all the time. How do we open to these interactions?

It starts with listening and feeling. Every time we stop and breathe deeply the living presence of the world, every time we give thanks for rain and feel the support of that beneficial weather soaking into our bones, we're taking a beautiful step in that dance with the alive, aware world.

That's what our Harvest Festival is all about. The Weather is speaking to us, all the time. In coming together as a community to feel and acknowledge the gifts of weather that we receive in our prosperous land, we are speaking back. Perhaps that conversation is the most sustainable thing we can do to bring balance in our times.

Erin Everett is one of a group of people in the Asheville area who have been called, initiated and trained in the unbroken lineage of quialtzques (weather workers) of the Nahua people of central Mexico. She has been a weather worker for over 15 years.

Learn more about our Nahua tradition.

Weather Poem 3

Weather Poem

It is a strangeness how a little rain
can turn autumn woods from lovely to magnificent
sandy grass glassing to translucent
baby green oak trees grow on you
beeched yellow yearns deep to turn ultraviolet
sourwood salmon swim in bloody seas
and maples flame to their hearts’ content
dripping clear serum
It’s not just dirt washed away
but a new lens added to see that water runs our veins
even as leaves die
and trickle away

 by Asheville weather worker Andy Weatherly, who has had several of his poems published in national journals.

More poems...andy weatherly asheville weather workers

 

Join us for our Harvest Festival!

Give thanks for our beautiful weather: Join us for our Harvest Festival!

Asheville weather workers Harvest Festival
Asheville Weather Workers Harvest Festival

Mark your calendars for Sunday October 1!

In the times of our ancestors, communities benefited from those who specialized in creating mutually supportive relationships between human people and the forces of weather - Wind, Cloud, Thunder, Lightning, Rain, and Sun - also known as the Weather Beings.
The Asheville Weatherworkers are a group of Asheville-area people who have been called, initiated and trained in the unbroken lineage of weather workers of the Nahua people of central Mexico. For a traditional experience of gratitude and celebration of the bountiful weather, come join us for our Harvest Festival.
Asheville weather workers
Asheville Nahua-lineage weather workers Adam Laufer and Amy Haynes enjoy a job well done, admiring flower offerings made to honor Iztaccihuatl, our sacred mountain in Mexico. Iztaccihuatl's partner, the active volcano Popocatepetl, is showing his approval in the background!
 

 

Event details and directions.
 

How do you relate with weather?

Western North Carolina is a lush, beautiful land. Let's give thanks!

Join us Sunday, October 1, 2017.

Asheville weather workers
Two of the Asheville weather workers, Erin Everett and Adam Laufer, with the offerings to the Weather Beings brought by the community
The wind, rain, sun, lightning, and clouds are forces so much bigger and more powerful than we are, and changes in weather directly affect our lives and health. We all feel this. How do you relate with the weather?
When rain comes after a dry time, do you go out and dance as your garden is watered? Does awe and respect hit you as thunder rolls and lightning flashes? Do you feel helpless and shaken by the weather extremes we're seeing in many parts of our world? The weather is varied and expresses many emotions. Come to our Harvest Festival, bring all of your feelings about these tumultuous times, and offer them in this gratitude ceremony to the ones who most need to hear them: the Weather Beings.
The Weather Beings are speaking - let's let them know we're listening and acknowledging their voices. Join with us to do what human groups across the world have done throughout time. At this event, we'll pray with all our Hearts, offering our gratitude for what we have – community, connection, and beautiful, nourishing, abundant weather.
Harvest Festival Asheville Weather Workers
Weatherworkers Andy Weatherly and Amy Haynes in the Sacred Fire Council House near Asheville during our Harvest Festival.

Harvest Festival Details and Directions

Harvest Festival 2018 Details and Directions

2018 Traditional Weather Harvest Festival
Saturday, October 6, 2018

Please arrive at or before 11:30 am for the ceremony, which goes from 12 noon to 4:30 pm.

Asheville weather workers Harvest Festival

Learn more about our 2018 Harvest Festival and our spiritual tradition.

Please bring:

  • Offerings for the Weather Beings. Each person attending, please bring all three of these: fresh whole fruits, cut flowers, and bread. Local is great, if you can find it.
  • A potluck item to share reflecting the abundant harvest. You may choose to bring a mug for your use to save on paper cups.
  • Clothing to fit the weather throughout the day and afternoon.
  • Family and friends who want to celebrate with us. This is a kid-friendly event!
  • Your interest and open heart.
  • Please bring a donation for the Harvest Festival.
  • Please bring a donation for our beautiful Sacred Fire Council House, the venue for our festival.
 
Directions to Sacred Fire Asheville and the Sacred Fire Council House:

Please park at 90 Rocky Hollow, Weaverville NC.

• From Asheville, take I-40 to I-240 to 19-23 (aka I-26) North towards Weaverville.
• Exit # 15: Jupiter-Barnardsville.
• Left off exit ramp onto Jupiter Rd.
• First right onto old 19-23 (possibly no road sign).
• Go ½ mile, veer to left onto Locust Grove Rd (blue sign for Baptist church).
• Go 1 ½ miles, turn right onto Rocky Hollow (gravel road).
• Proceed to the 5th drive on the left, # 90 Rocky Hollow. Marked with a "Park Here" sign to the Parking area to the left of the A-frame house. From parking area, walk left up to the fire structure on the hill to the left of the parking area. Someone will greet you there and tell you what’s next!

Learn more about our 2018 Harvest Festival and our spiritual tradition.

Our Leader and Our Tradition

Our Caporal Mayor, don David Wiley

We offer our deepest thanks and respect to our caporal mayor, also known as temachtian, don David Wiley. He leads us with courage, insight and patience since our tradition's previous leader, his predecessor don Lucio Campos, passed away in 2005. Don David leads over seventy of us quiatlzques (the Nahuatl name for female weather workers) and quiapequiz (male weather workers). We do our work at our home regions in Mexico, across the USA, in Canada, and in the United Kingdom.

To learn more about don David Wiley, please visit his website.

 

don David Wiley granicero Asheville weather workers
don David Wiley
don Lucio granicero Asheville weather workers
don Lucio Campos

Our Nahua Lineage

The following information is from don David Wiley's website, keepsthefire.org
The area of the Nahua people of the central highlands of Mexico, the homeland of our weather work tradition.
The area of the Nahua people of the central highlands of Mexico, the homeland of our weather work tradition.

The Nahua

The central highlands of Mexico are home to the largest population of the indigenous peoples known as the Nahua. Concentrated in small villages scattered throughout the mountains and valleys of this land, the Nahua have practiced their time-honored traditions that see the natural world as alive and sacred. After the Spanish Conquest and a period of colonization in the early to late 1500’s, the Nahua learned to protect their traditions through hiding and blending their views, ceremonies and processes with Catholic symbolism and approaches (syncretism). For instance, many of their annual cyclic ceremonies are masked behind Catholic saint celebrations. These ceremonies are performed in order to maintain the natural order and ask for blessings and support from a variety of divine expressions. They believe that sickness can be the result of a disruption of the natural order and are known for their use of shamans, often called tepahtiani or curanderos, where they employ rituals, herbs, cleanings (limpias) and ritual sweat baths, called temezcallis to treat a wide variety of illnesses.

Asheville weather workers
Sacred offerings in the tradition of the qualtzques, or Nahua weather workers

The Path of a Granicero

In the days before and during the arrival of Europeans these people were known in the Nahua villages as a quiatlzques, or someone who makes “watery” arrive or a quiapaquiz, someone that makes moisture rise up and inundates the land. Today, in Spanish they are more likely to be called trabajadores del tiempio (“workers of the rain-time”, or tiemperos for short), graniceros (“one who works with hail and storms”) or pedidores de agua(“petitioners for water”). In the common use of English they are simply called “weather workers.”

Being called to this path begins with a clear sign that a person is being asked to act as an emissary between the weather gods and the people. This can come from surviving a lightening strike, special dreams or unusual illnesses. Once the calling is authenticated by an elder granicero, sometimes called a caporal mayoror a temachtian, the tiempero will undergo a process of initiation and learning in order to bring rains or intervene when strong storms arrive.

 

Read about Casa Xiuhtecuhtli, the home of our tradition.

About our 2017 Ceremonial Leader

About this year's ceremonial leader, Erin Everett

Erin Everett Asheville Weather Workers
Erin Everett and Adam Laufer

Erin Everett was initiated as a quiatlzques (person who makes water arrive) in the Nahua tradition of weather work in May of 2003 with her husband, Adam Laufer, and also with her Asheville compadres Amy Haynes and Douglas Haynes, among others.

Like the other weather workers in this tradition who live across the USA and in the UK and Mexico, she returns to the homeland of the tradition in Mexico each year, often twice, to participate in ceremonies to "turn on the rain" at the spring beginning of the rainy season and to "turn off the rain" in the fall. In addition to learning to be a ceremonial leader and temezcalli (sweat lodge) leader, she is being trained by her teacher, don David Wiley, to be a tepahtiani (medicine healer) in her Nahua tradition.

Asheville weather workers
Asheville weather worker Erin Everett

In addition to her work in Mexico, like the other Asheville-area weather workers, she works ritually with the weather of our local area to ask for balance and abundance for our crops, forests, animals, plants and people. Community support is crucial to the work of all of the weather workers, and the yearly Harvest Festival brings a wonderful opportunity for people of the community to participate with the weather workers to give thanks for the generous abundance of the Weather Beings.

At 2017's Harvest Festival, hosted by all of the Asheville-area weather workers, Erin will be the ceremonial leader at the altar. Please come out and support her and all of us weather workers. We look forward to seeing you at our Harvest Festival on October 1! 

Event details and directions.

Weather Poem 1

Weather Poem

Asheville weather worker Andy Weatherly has published some of his striking poems in national journals. Enjoy!

 
rain tinkles on tarp overhead
and feeding the fire
not in challenge or anger
but feeding the night
even as the rain rocks it to sleep

More poems...

Asheville weatherworker Andy Weatherly
Asheville weatherworker Andy Weatherly, at our sacred mountain in Mexico during our spring ceremonies. 

Weather Poem 2

Weather Poem

The clouds are calling
pinking my attention
slating for my ticket to ride
roiling along closing reaching stretching
a column of vapor for me to ascend
greet the clans
pay homage to the sacred peaks in their company
and light the sunset
into new imaginations
But the bear trailing my scent of
chocolate is intrigued curious hungry
politely requesting me to pay my toll
for my sojourn in his woods
to honor the treaties we wrote
in the time before time
So honoring the sovereignty of my body
and the gravity of the black bear
I surrender
and return home

 by Asheville weather worker Andy Weatherly, who has had several of his poems published in national journals.

More poems...andy weatherly asheville weather workers