SOMETIMES A MOUNTAIN IS MORE THAN A MOUNTAIN
OUR ORIGIN STORY
In the year 2000, the land in north Georgia, and most of the southeast, grew parched. The entire region had been plunged into the worst drought recorded in the preceding 100 years. Crops were failing. Lakes were receding. Streams vanished. Aquifers were depleted. And the wells that had provided for the people began to run dry.
At that time, a woman named Sherry Boatright, born and raised in Georgia and who lived just outside Atlanta, traveled to a remote village called Nepopualco, in the Central Highlands of Mexico. There, she approached her teacher, a Nahua elder named Don Lucio Campos Elizade, and asked what could be done to mitigate the drought. The Nahua still live in small villages tucked amongst the tall mountains of this land. One of the traditions that is deeply held for them is their relationship and work with the weather spirits to bring rains and to calm destructive storms so that crops can grow and people are protected.
There would come a time in the world when the people would be in a bad way and the weather would turn destructive through droughts, violent storms, and flooding. This would be a result of great disrespect for the earth and the weather spirits on the part of the humans. - Nahua Prophecy
Ms. Boatright had discovered almost a decade earlier that she had the calling to work with the weather. These individuals are known as quiatlzques in Nahuatl, graniceros in Spanish or weather workers in English. There had been a prophecy amongst the Nahua people that when the earth was in a bad way and the unhappy weather spirits turned destructive with drought or storm, the souls of some of the Nahua quiatlzques would migrate to other places in the world so that there would be weather workers to help the people once again be in right relationship with the weather spirits and the land. The fulfillment of this prophecy had come to pass and continues to amplify daily with reports of floods, blizzards, tornadoes and other expressions of just how far we humans have strayed from being in right relationship with the earth and the weather spirits.
When Ms. Boatright visited her teacher, they sat in Don Lucio's dimly lit Consultorio. It was a cement block room with a dirt floor located in his humble family compound. Chickens roamed in and out as did his grandchildren. The women cooked on an open fire just outside. A single lightbulb was suspended by a frayed cord from the soot stained ceiling and a simple altar held, among other things, his beloved cross, candle and a ceramic vessel burning a fragrant incense called copal. She asked what could be done for her people.
Don Lucio Campos Elizade
He told her, seeing from a great distance in a trancelike state, to find a particular sacred mountain that had the capacity to speak to the weather spirits on behalf of the people living in the area.
Don Lucio, being 94 at the time and never having been out of the Ajusco mountains, much less to the United States, could not directly guide the work. Therefore he asked one of his most qualified former students and granicero, Don David Wiley, to help. Don David is recognized as a traditional “fire medium” in both the Nahua tradition (teotlixiptla in Nahuatl) and the Wixáritari (Huichols) of the Sierra Madres, (axhuatakame, spirit speaking man). He’s also considered an elder (tsaurirrakame) marakame (medicine man) in this tradition. In the Nahuatl tongue the spirit of fire is called Huehueteotl and the Huichols call him Tatéwari, or in English, Grandfather Fire.
Later in 2000, following the guidance of Don Lucio, Ms. Boatright and David Wiley respectfully visited Stone Mountain to see what this mountain's response might be. After they ascended this great being, they made the Nahua offering of copal.
With the fragrant copal smoke rising in the air, it began to rain, confirming Don Lucio's vision and instructions.
Grandfather Fire spoke about Stone Mountain, also known as Tsantawu, as originally being a sacred place shared by the three regional peoples, the Ani-Kituwah-gi (Cherokee), zOyaha (Tsoyaha or Euchee), and Mvskoke (Creek). These peoples no longer practiced their ceremonies at this mountain as a result of colonization culminating in the Indian Removal Act passed by Congress on May 28, 1830.
One of Stone Mountain's gifts was bringing rain. Grandfather spoke about the rituals, formulas and stories of the mountain being lost as a result of The Removal. He said that in order for the mountain to hear what was being asked for, the work would need to reintroduce something close to the original approach.
The weather worker sought counsel regarding contacting the Original Peoples of this work and was told that these peoples were still heavy from the many years of disenfranchisement and that to produce interest would require years of work while the damage from the drought would continue to persist. She was also told that the work needed to begin with descendants of those who colonized the land, a form of atonement for what had been wrought.
A decision was made to begin and Grandfather Fire provided the approach and protocols, which required women to begin and perform the work on a yearly basis. The work began in 2003.
After three years of practice and dedication the rains began to return and shortly after, the drought was broken.
Since then the region surrounding the mountain received an abundance of life-giving rain. The lakes were full and the streams were running. The harvests were plentiful. This continued until the fall of 2016 when Stone Mountain again plunged the people into drought. This drought was broken by a rededication on the part of the Stone Mountain Ritual Team to educate the public regarding the importance of bringing awareness, respect, and appreciation for the weather spirits and this sacred mountain.
When our work began, the Stone Mountain Daisies had disappeared due to the persistent drought. Once the rains returned, the beautiful flowers returned and continue to flourish on the mountain.
The women continued this work for many years on behalf of their people. After 14 years, the mountain allowed men to join the Ritual Team. Currently, the Ritual Team performs the ceremony each spring, aided by a dedicated Support Team, and returns in the fall to lay offerings of gratitude during the Harvest Festival. In this way, these ceremonies are building relationship with the mountain and bringing the beneficial weather to the region. This work demonstrates that petitioning and engaging nature actually produces a response.
When we begin to reduce the natural phenomena of the world into expressions that have no volition, we reduce our lives to a mechanical view of the world. When we recognize the world is alive we feel alive. When we regard the world as mechanical we feel disconnected.
The work with Stone Mountain is a miraculous tale of our times: modern people facing an epic struggle, the cessation of the rains, the disappearing lakes and streams, water for crops and drinking water, and nowhere to turn in terms of secular science. Then a door opens. Modern people turn to indigenous peoples who have never forgotten how to live in the world. Indigenous peoples have always known that we are a part of nature, not apart from it, that the world around us is alive, and that the weather spirits have volition. They have never forgotten that ancient ceremonies are part and parcel of keeping the world in balance.*
The Offer...The Opportunity:
A rich harvest for YOUR life
It was discovered that not only did this mountain provide the beneficial weather, it has a profound impact on the lives of those who perform the ceremony, known as the Ritual Team, and those who serve on the Support Team.
Participants describe having their hearts opened and developing a profound connection with divine. They have been able to live in a heart-centered way. Many have experienced physical and emotional healing, newfound abundance and a new or rekindled sense of well-being.
Participating in this work opens the door so one can truly feel alive and part of the world again...our birthright as human beings. Because of this it was decided that the opportunity to participate in this work should be shared with others. If you feel called to explore this work, we invite you to contact us. We also invite you to view the world through new eyes: as alive and generous; and we encourage you to cultivate this life-giving kinship in your daily lives.
*Our work is not affiliated with the EBCI