Photos from our Traditional Weather Harvest Festival on September 20, 2020
Both new and returning people, including seven young people between the ages of 10 and 17, joined us to celebrate the bountiful gifts of Rain, Sun, Thunder, Lightning, Clouds and Wind on September 20. The day started cold and cloud-covered, and as our ceremony went into swing, the clouds dispersed and the bright sunlight emerged with some gentle breezes caressing us.
Please enjoy these photos. Thank you to photographers Annie, Sally and Lisa.
We also want to thank Sacred Fire Asheville for hosting this event, and also our volunteers and the 33 people who took time out of their Sunday to celebrate the abundance we have received from the Sky. Even in COVID times, our seasonal ceremonies continue on!
"Very meaningful, peaceful, humbling and reassuring that 'we are not alone' in our struggles. Thank you for the efforts in preparation and so smoothly presenting the events as they unfolded. Look forward to next year!" —Jim & Martha Branden, new participants
"It was lovely and well thought out. Thank you all." —Annie Menzer
"This event is vital to my sustenance and well being and to nourishing my soul and my connection with nature and the weather beings in particular. I am immensely grateful for every aspect of this event from the giving of gratitude and offerings to the prayers and shell trumpeting." —Elizabeth Kelly
"The beef stew and cake were amazing. Grandfather Fire gives us the capacity for gratitude, the weather beings give us a reason to be grateful. THANK YOU" —Lisa Lichtig
"Just fantastic. Your attention to social distancing made social distancing straightforward and integrated into the programming. The set up, flow, prayers and community were soul nourishing. The weatherworkers attending demonstrated leadership, dedication and gratitude. The blue skies and gentle breezes only added to the magic of the day." —Olivia Woodford
"Despite the challenging times we are living in during 2020 it was so nourishing to be in community for the Weather Harvest Festival this year.
I felt such gratitude to the weather workers for their immense commitment and the courage of all the community members that showed up for the day on the beautiful land of Sacred Fire.
All aspects of the event felt well communicated to me as a volunteer and attendee both prior to and during." —Sally Casper
"I enjoyed it, and it felt good to have the opportunity to give back and give thanks for the weather." —Jim Lindsey
"I love being with community and sharing in this prayerful ceremony of the Weather Workers. Wonderful day, wonderful event!" —Lisa Kolk
Called and initiated in the age-old lineage of quiatlzques and quiapaquiz (weather workers in the Nahua native tradition of Central Mexico), we Asheville Weather Workers are a group of people who have devoted our lives to our work with Weather and community. Attend this event to take part in these valuable traditional ways of making relationship with the Rain, Sun, Lightning, Wind and Clouds.
Ancient Native traditions are being revitalized and recognized anew in these times. These ancestral ways have held the balance between us human beings and the world around us for many ages. Now, in 2020, these eternal ways of working with the world can be rediscovered and practiced to unite all of us as a community, as we gather and give thanks for the balanced weather that provides the sustenance for us to live good human lives.
The gifts of Weather are easy to take for granted, unless we face drought or flood. Instead of waiting to be reminded, this year, let's gather on the beautiful, lush land of Sacred Fire Asheville, offer fruits from our harvest, eat and drink together, and express our gratitude for all the good things in life that are so easily lost. This is a way to honor the living world for the gifts that fill our lives every day.
WHEN: 11:30 am on Sunday, September 20, 2020
WHERE: Sacred Fire Asheville, just north of the city of Asheville, NC
WHO: Adults and children are welcome! Please register each person attending.
Please wear a face-covering when arriving at this event. COVID recommendations will be observed.When you arrive, our event leaders will walk you through a process to ensure we enjoy our time together and prioritize everyone's safety at our event.
Learn more about our tradition in this short video:
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.
Your own water or beverage in a bottle to keep hydrated throughout the afternoon.
Food for your own lunch. This year, we will not share a potluck meal, as we have in the past. However, gluten-free beef stew and a vegetarian option will be provided, so that you can choose to share a nourishing cup of stew with us!
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! **Please make sure that each person is registered, as our attendance is limited.**
Your interest and open heart.
If you haven’t already donated, please bring a donation for the Harvest Festival and the beautiful Sacred Fire Council House, the venue for our festival.
Photos of our Traditional Harvest Festival of 2019!
The 30 people who attended our Traditional Weather Harvest Festival participated in a unique opportunity to connect with the weather and offer gratitude, just as human beings have done throughout time.
This year's ceremonial leader was one of the six Nahua-tradition quiatlzques (bringers of rain), also known in Mexico as graniceros (workers with hail), or tiemperos (workers with the times of wet and dry). Amy Haynes led us through the ceremony with humility, grace and eloquence. Thank you, Amy!
The event also featured heart-opening stories, poems and context offered by our group, as well as a joyful toast and an abundant potluck. What a wonderful celebration and a fitting tribute to the many gifts of the Rain, Clouds, Thunder, Lightning, Wind and Sun!
Please watch this space and join us for our next Traditional Weather Harvest Festival, which is an annual event. Also, consider joining us for the annual Day of the Dead ceremony hosted by Amy at the end of October 2019. Stay tuned for details.
Join us for our Fall Weather Ceremonies in Mexico!
[Excerpted from the newsletter of our tradition's teacher and caporal mayor, Don David Wiley.]
In late Fall, many who are initiated in the Nahua rain tradition - known as Quiatlzques (“bringers of water” in Nahuatl) or Tiemperos (“workers of the rain time” in Spanish - gather at their sacred altar and special sites in the central highlands of Mexico to “conclude the rain season” and give gratitude for the rains that provided for us during the growing season. A time-honored set of ceremonies to close the doors on the rainy season to allow time for sleeping, dreaming, and germinating to prepare for the next season of rain, this set of ceremonies is deeply important for the balance with the spiritual presences of weather.
Once they are initiated into this ancient, yet living, tradition, Tiemperos, also called Graniceros (one who alleviates hail and storms) work as a bridge, or conduit, between the over-arching and extensive power of these spiritual beings and the humans who inhabit the earth.
It was shown long ago that this relationship provided the pathway that humans need to receive the blessing of the rain through wind, clouds, lightning, and all the existing expressions of weather. And since all peoples have experienced the destructive ability of weather, having this reciprocal connection is a fundamental necessity to mitigate storms that allow for better living.
We are part of a continuous linage handed down through Don Lucio Campos to the present Temachtian or teacher, Don David Wiley. This path is recognized as a calling and as such it requires a life-long commitment of devotion and learning in order to provide both beneficial weather and spiritual understanding.
Please join us for our ceremonies on November 3 & 4 2019.
Please arrive at 11:30 am on Sunday, September 22.
Throughout time, ceremony has always been one of the important ways that human beings recalibrate ourselves to the living world around us.
At our Harvest Festival, you’ll . . .
hear a story,
join us in a potluck meal,
and make traditional offerings to thank the Rain, Clouds, Thunder, Lightning, Wind and Sun for the gifts of weather that have brought us our harvest.
Giving thanks for the gifts we’re given in our lives is such an important part of being human. Come join us to experience this simple and rich ceremony that has its roots in the timeless connection between human beings and weather.
This time of year reminds us that death remains a natural and important part of the cycle of life. In our Nahua tradition of the Central Highlands of Mexico, November 1st is named the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos), a time in which the veil between the living and dead is at its thinnest and an auspicious time to honor and celebrate our loved ones who have died. Amy Haynes, Quiatlzques in the Nahua tradition, will lead us in creating a traditional altar to provide us with an effective opening to express our gratitude and love for those who have crossed, to share in any lingering grief and to receive their blessings and wisdom.
Day of the Dead Celebration Thursday, Nov 1 st, 2018
Led by Amy Haynes, Quiatlzques (worker with weather for the benefit of her village) in the Nahua tradition
(RSVP by October 30)
We will gather at the Sacred Fire Asheville Council House to create a traditional altar to celebrate the lives of our loved ones who have passed on. After opening the space, we will share a potluck meal inside the home of our firekeepers, Lisa Lichtig and Patrick Hanaway. The rest of the evening will be spent back at the fire sharing our stories or listening in silence. Prema Sheerin, one of our community’s traditional healers and head of the Sacred Fire Community’s Death and Dying Council, will be in attendance to share her wisdom.
If you wish to honor a family member or close friend who has died more than 1 year ago you may set a place for them on the altar. Place settings must be for adults who passed prior to November 1, 2017.
4 – 6 pm: Arrive to set up your section of the altar. You will create a place setting to entice your loved one to join the celebration. Bring a photo of the person to be honored along with a sample of their favorite food and/or beverages. You may also bring miniature representations of their hobbies and passions. An example would be if they had a favorite car or truck you could bring a matchbox version of it. In discerning what to bring – be guided by the image of a place setting at a festive banquet. Some cut flower bouquets and candles will be on the altar but you are welcome to bring your own in addition to those provided.
6 pm: Share a potluck meal. Please bring a dish.
After dinner: Time around the fire to share and to listen. At a certain time we will depart the Council House together leaving the altar intact until Saturday morning.
Nov 3rd (Saturday) 10 am: The altar will be formally closed. This will be the time to retrieve your altar items. If you cannot be present for the closing you must let Amy Haynes know in advance so other arrangements can be made. Items will not be held after the clean-up on Saturday.
RSVP by Oct 30 so the space can be prepared as needed. You are welcome to come to the potluck and spend time around the fire without setting a place for a loved one.
RSVP to: Amy Haynes, firstname.lastname@example.org. There may be a delayed response to your RSVP as she will be away from email until Oct. 19th. If you need directions to Sacred Fire Asheville, please let Amy know this when you contact her.
HELP will be needed so please indicate your willingness/ability to help with set up Thursday or clean up Saturday when you RSVP.
DONATIONS to defray costs and support the Council House will be gratefully accepted.
What a Beautiful Day of Weather, Ceremony and Celebration!
In our spiritual tradition that originates with the Nahua people of the Central Highlands of Mexico, the six local quiatlzques (workers with weather on the behalf of our village) invite people from all walks of life who live in the Asheville area to a Traditional Weather Harvest Festival each year. This year, on Saturday, October 6, 56 people attended, from age 1 to 80s, and the festivities were full and fun, with drumming, dancing, traditional offerings, friendship, heartfelt prayers and the presence of Sun, Clouds, Wind and, just as we were packing up, a beautiful, gentle Rain to add to the celebration. To learn more, explore our website www.ashevilleweatherworkers.org
As people began to arrive for our annual Harvest Festival, where we celebrate the Rain, Clouds, Wind, Lightning and Sun in an ancient and timeless way, the clouds arrived, as well. In our experience, by sharing our gratitude for the Harvest with the elemental forces of Weather, we continue an important cycle of relationship between the human people and the Weather Beings.
After all, our farmers' abundant harvest feeds the people of the Asheville area, and without balanced weather, the food they grow and raise would wither on the vine. Because of that critical and beautiful dance of Rain and Sunlight, our area is rich and abundant with food and clean water to support everyone who lives here.
As the ceremony and festivities ended and we packed up the last decorations to take them home, the heavy clouds that had gathered to celebrate with us rewarded us with some gentle Rain. A perfect ending to a rich and emotional day of community and sacred connection!
A few weeks ago, I got into a discussion with my old friend, a long-time environmentalist. He made clear that sustainable solutions for today’s problems of environmental degradation, like climate change, will come from more and more advanced human-created technology.
I admit that I’m generally of a different opinion.
If our human mind has gotten us into the pickle we’re in, doesn’t it follow that we need some help? Where is the wisdom we’re seeking? Someone’s got to know how to solve the problems that more and more growth, production, industry, technology have gotten us into.
When I go for a walk outside, I experience ancient trees in a beautiful, balanced relationship with the ants that crawl up their bark, the lichens that make their home there, the rain that falls and the sun that shines on them. I learn from more recent modern scientific discoveries something that ancestral people have said before: forests, trees, streams, sky, mountains and more are interrelated in a way that shows a special livingness. Plants host a type of awareness that enables them to protect each other, nourish each other, support each other and die with something that seems like grace.
Where is this wisdom and balance for my human brothers and sisters? Is it just for plants, weather and animals? Or is there a way for us humans to find balance, too?
Our culture as modern people seems to have a different trajectory than what’s going on with the trees, stones, and the other animals in how they are in the world. For example, you won’t find a tree saying to its neighbors, “I know! Let’s create a new way of photosynthesizing that will innovate the food market!”
Those ways, both for trees and human people, that have worked in the past are sublimely suited to this world that we share. Those ways are successful because, over countless years, these interrelationships have been naturally established. When we speak in these terms regarding what we learn, and when we conserve for a good future, we call that wisdom, which represents something similar to those tried and true ancient tree-ways.
When I went to Mexico for the first time, I brushed up against village people who were living in similar ageless ways, the tried and true ones that have worked for millennia for human beings. As I return to those vibrant, dynamic villages, I continue to learn a great deal. These are not wealthy people, trying to make their lives more comfortable by the minute. Instead, they live simply and sometimes ruggedly, with lots of relationships with others who have their backs. They learn relationship skills early, in order to ensure that they will be taken care of well and can care for others.
And, how do they interact with the divine natural world? At certain occasions of the year, when the feeling of those living, natural times of intersection are near, such as the begin-rain time or the begin-corn-planting time, they put their time, comparably meager resources, and energy into celebrating and honoring those key relationships through ceremonies, engagements with the world around them to which nature responds in turn. And for them, the ceremonial cycles are like breathing. Why would you cut yourself off from your exchange with the world that happens when you receive oxygen from the plants around you? Why would you refuse to exhale the carbon dioxide that is needed by other living creatures and which is your natural exchange for the gifts you’ve received?
My brush with ceremony on that first trip south changed me. It was hard to integrate with the world-view that I had been taught. But, as the years have gone by, this work, like the ancient but ever-relating dance with life has become as welcome and natural as my breath.
So, back to my old friend. He seems to be saying that more technology will solve things like climate change. After all, in his mind, without technology, what do we have?
My response is that technology is our reaction to something missing in our lives. It seems like we need to build something artificial, like an artifact, to solve a problem. However, these solutions often produce new problems which then need additional solutions, and so forth. What if we go back to something tried and true by seeing that some things may not need artificial solving? Maybe we need to just understand “nature” and therefore move into relationship with it as those sustainable and wise cultures did before. I find, like the elders, that this works amazingly well.
And if you would like to experience this, please join us at our annual Traditional Weather Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 6 at Sacred Fire Asheville. My husband, Adam, and I, along with my fellow quiatzlques (ones who work with weather for the benefit of their people) who are part of this time-honored tradition from indigenous Mexico are hosting this event. We will be celebrating the rains and the bounty these great living expressions as wind, clouds, lightening, sun and rain have produced through the bounty of crops and water for drinking.
This event is free, kid-friendly, and open to all. And it is our birthright to be in good relationship with the living, aware world around us. When our dance with the world is a joyful, coordinated one, our fields and farms thrive and our people are fed and live together in good community once again.
Learn more about our Harvest Festival, including what to bring to offer back to the Weather Beings, who have been so kind to us this year. When you want to share true, practical sustainability, the simple act of giving thanks makes all the difference.
Erin Everett and her fellow quiatzlques are taught and initiated in the Nahua weather working tradition from the central highlands of Mexico. They work during the year asking for beneficial weather for the Asheville and western NC area, and they return to their spiritual homeland in Mexico every year to renew their connections. Their fall Harvest Festival is an opportunity for people from all walks of life in the Asheville NC, USA area to join them in celebrating the weather and the harvest.