Participate in an Original Way of Celebrating the Harvest
Photos: Lisa Lichtig and Patrick Hanaway
By Amy Haynes
An ancestral home provides that grounding, that sanctuary for people who are part of a spiritual tradition. It provides to the tradition-holders a place to stand, to be rooted in and supported by that tradition. Casa Xiuhtecuhtli, in Tepoztlan, Mexico, is just such a home for those of us initiated as weather workers in the Nahua tradition, with don David as our caporal mayor (ceremonial leader). Each year we journey to Casa Xiuhtecuhtli, where we open our hearts, come before the Weather Beings as we really are, pray for our people and our lands and return home with the blessings of the Weather Beings to be shared throughout our local communities, helping all our relations. This cycle of gratitude, of giving and receiving is what allows us to belong, to be at home.
Prior to 2006, don Lucio de Campos was the caporal mayor; the ceremonies were held on his land, at his altar. He died in 2005, passing the title of caporal mayor to David Wiley. There was a period of transition before the new caporal mayor’s altar was firmly established at Casa Xiuhtecuhtli. Since that time, we have built a beautiful temple to house the altar. We continue to make enhancements and to maintain the land in a way that is welcoming to the larger community. The altar is no longer the personal property of one man or one family but now belongs to a community, enlivened by the deep connection of don David to the Weather Beings.
In order to purchase and maintain this special – and now sacred – land, each weather worker personally made a pledge to help sustain it financially. We are doing so in conjunction with the mara’akate, members of the Huichol-lineage medicine path, whose sacred temple (tuki) also resides on the land, bringing its blessings of connection and healing to the community.
All monies collected, minus the costs of hosting the Harvest Festival, will be donated to the Casa Xiuhtecuhtli fund to meet our pledge and help pay for this special land. We greatly appreciate any help you can give us.
I look forward to seeing you at the Harvest Festival!
Amy Haynes for the Asheville weather workers
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. For more info or to make a donation to Casa Xiuhticuhtli, email email@example.com
Douglas Haynes, an Asheville weather worker since 2003, offers his comments on his path and his work.
What is a weatherworker?
A weatherworker is a conduit between the weather beings and the community of people in an area. Weather moves toward and through an area. Each area has a personality that attracts certain flows of weather. Weatherworkers give gratitude for the rains and the abundance of the weather.
Another part of this: weatherworkers ask for temperance and livable conditions and for there to be abundance for the people. Every year, each weatherworker goes to Mexico to be rejuvenated. It takes about ten days of ceremony and ritual to accomplish this. We get energized and ask that our areas have another year of gentle and beneficial rains. We ask that the weather beings go easy and work with the people.
What's the point of being involved in a traditional path?
A traditional path is one that moves me closer to nature – a place that allows me to know myself in my surroundings. My traditional path helps me understand my role in community. This brings me the understanding of the beauty and importance of nature which feeds my people physically and emotionally. When I see how nature interacts with the people, I see the embrace of a great being giving and receiving, I see our people able to live and breathe and eat and have abundance. When I experience the simple beauty that stands outside my window, I also experience a vast and awesome entity that controls our fate and freely allows me to live in what ever way I choose. I find that nature allows that as long as I respect the consequences of my actions. Take, deplete – give, receive more.
By Erin Everett, with Amy Haynes
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?
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.
by Asheville weather worker Andy Weatherly, who has had several of his poems published in national journals.
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.
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!
Read this recent article with don David Wiley, our tradition's leader, about the re-emergence of weather ceremonies in different parts of the world during our time.