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
Thank you for your interest in attending our 2020 Harvest Festival!
You are welcome to preview these plans for COVID-time safety for all attending our event.
As of September 4, 2020, NC Governor is approving gatherings of up to 50 people outdoors. We do not plan to host this many people at our event. Physical distancing ( at least 6 feet) and face covering requirements remain in effect.
Wear a cloth face mask (not a scarf or fleece) over your nose and mouth inside all public settings and outdoors when you cannot maintain at least six (6) feet distancing from other people with the exception of family or household members.
If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 the past 2 weeks, please stay home.
Our ceremony will take place outdoors in a large grassy field area with plenty of space for everyone attending to maintain physical distance while fully engaging the experience. When you arrive, please initially wear your mask. Our event leaders will walk you through a process to ensure we enjoy our time together and prioritize everyone’s safety.
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.
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.
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.
On October 6, 2018, join us to celebrate the weather and the bountiful harvest! This is an event where people of all walks of life can gather and celebrate. The 6 people in the Asheville NC area who have been initiated and are committed to the path of the quiatzlques, or Nahua-tradition weather worker, are hosting our annual Traditional Weather Harvest Festival. This year’s leader, Adam Laufer, has been a worker with the weather of the Asheville area since 2003.
“Gratitude is the root of our well-being. Come celebrate a non-commercialized Thanks Giving and give offerings to the weather beings for their continued presence in our lives.
Even if you are going through a rough patch in your life or feel the fear so evident in our modern age, this simple ceremony of gratitude can change the course of how you interact with the world on a daily basis.
I invite you to come participate in this Nahua ceremony that has been continued for thousands of years to see what the act of giving thanks can do.”
Participate in an Original Way of Celebrating the Harvest
What is the traditional Nahua quiatlzques (“bringer of water” or “weather worker”) Harvest Festival about?
First of all, it’s for everyone, no matter your faith or non-faith, tradition or non-tradition. This type of celebration is for all human beings. Led by Asheville-area folks who have been initiated, trained and steeped in an ancient way of interacting with the world, it’s an opportunity for the people of Asheville and western North Carolina, from all walks of life, to join together and celebrate the bountiful harvest in the very old-fashioned way of our ancestors.
Who should we thank for the abundant rain and its dance with the sunlight? How should we show our appreciation for the rich soil that has blessed us with food for our tables this season and always?
In our Nahua tradition—a living, unbroken spiritual lineage with its center in the Central Mexican Highlands—the answer is as crystal-clear as the rain that has blessed our land this season. Since the Rain, Thunder, Wind, Sun, Clouds and Earth are so generous in bringing us the nourishment we need, we look forward each fall to this Harvest Festival, where all attending take a moment out of our busy lives to celebrate and thank them.
If you look back in history, all of our ancestors had reciprocal relationships with the living world around them.
That includes both the Cherokee and other ancestors who lived on this land and each of our own great-great-great-great grandparents in our bloodlines. Living on the land in their communities, they intimately knew the Sky who brought the Rains so the food plants and animals would grow healthy to feed their village. These were the most practical of people, not distracted by technology or global events. They knew that, if their relationships with the Weather were ignored, their villages would lack the basic human needs that would ensure their survival and thriving. For us human beings, today as it has always been, our well-being depends on good relations with the living community of beings.
In a world of reciprocal relationships, when human beings once again remember their place in the cycles of life, does Climate Change have a place?
Perhaps the pendulum swings of hot/cold, flood/drought and species destruction around us today can be seen as a reaction, in a way, to an imbalanced relationship between human beings and the living world. We’re waking up to realize: we depend on the help of the Weather. The Rain, Sun, Clouds and Wind can be seen as benefactors whose generosity allows our lives to continue.
The good news is that beginning to turn the tide can be easy and lots of fun: it doesn’t take much effort on our parts to lend our voices and hearts to being grateful for the inherent wisdom and balance expressed by the natural world. That’s what our Harvest Festival is all about: a traditional celebration and giving-back to the living world around us for our lives, for our harvest, for the nourishing food and clear water that we human beings cannot produce ourselves.
We all benefit from the abundance of the world. So, please join us on October 6 to give thanks, in a simple and ancient way, to “all our relations.”