This article was first published in 2015 in response to the years of drought in California.
Where would our lives be without the blessing of the precious life-giving rain brought by the clouds?
Do you ever look up at the sky and wonder- where is the rain?
In Chinese, the words ‘feng shui’ mean, ‘wind water’. The term Feng Shui refers to the balance and flow of these two essential elements which are necessary to maintain health and balance in our lives. This balance between wind and water in our weather cycles has been missing these past years. The absence of rain in California inspired me to share an ancient perspective and my personal experience about our relationship with weather.
Recently I was in the Highlands of central Mexico, in a village called Tepoztlan.
Tepoztlan is nestled in a sacred valley with beautiful rock beings watching over the village. Farmers on donkeys ride through cobblestone streets on the way to their fields. Bakers walk to the market with huge baskets of bread on their heads. A chorus of roosters, not only a few but hundreds, echoing through the valley, as early as 4 AM! The locals love fireworks, for all occasions, exploding them at all times of the day or night.
Tepoztlan is a second home for me. I have visited there two to three times a year since 2007 when I was initiated as a Granicera in the Nahua Weather Working tradition of Mexico. On one of these visits, I arrived with 50 other Weather Workers. The following morning, we awoke to rain, a beautiful welcoming from the Weather Beings. We had come together for the annual spring ceremonies, to welcome the rains return. Rain had not been in the forecast, but the Weather Beings still came out to welcome us.
Weather is not merely a meteorological event to measure and calculate.
The weather is a living presence; living beings who we are meant to engage with and relate to like people. The Weather Beings -Wind, Clouds, Lightning, Rain, Sun and Ocean – all work together to bring the blessings of water.
At one time, people had an awareness of how much their lives depended on the weather. Our lives still depend on the weather but we have forgotten the necessity of this relationship. Through ceremony, the Weather Beings were honored and respected for their generosity. Ceremony was an integral part of life. Many of the world traditions of working with weather have been lost. Fortunately the Nahua Weather Working tradition was not.
For thousands of years Weather Workers in the Nahua tradition have been going to a Great Goddess volcano being known as Iztaccihuatl.
She lies next to her husband, Popocatepetl, who is an active volcano. On this particular journey, we were a group of 60 Weather Workers plus children, a caravan of nine vehicles winding up the side of the volcano to 14,000 feet. The site of our ceremony is a beautiful, peaceful, place, with an expansive view. We can see Popocatepetl’s 17,802 ft high snowcap peak and Iztaccihuatl’s 17,342 ft high rock face, bare of snow.
The sky was blue. The sun was out, and it’s chilly at that elevation. The ceremony began with lots of copal smoke, prayers, and offerings of flowers, candles, fruit and bread. We were there at the beginning of the rainy season to call Tlaloc, the Rain God, to return with his precious life-giving waters.
The wind picked up. The clouds rolled in, and the temperature dropped. Rain and sleet arrived. There’s hail, then snow, thunder and lightning. We’re trying our best to hold on and not blow away. We had our feast and waited for the gods to have theirs from the offerings that we brought for them. We were wet and cold and it was growing dark, but the love we feel for the Weather Beings and each other kept us going. By the end of the ceremony Iztaccihuatl’s rock face was completely covered in snow.
Filled with joy and gratitude, we wind down the mountain in the dark, leaving the volcanoes and storm behind. But wait…the storm was following us, surrounding us with lightning, thunder and rain all the way back to the village. The people of Tepoztlan were overjoyed; the Weather Beings arrived home with us!
Over time, we have forgotten our relationship and deep connection with these Divine Beings, and we no longer relate to the weather as a living aware presence.
This is the heart of the drought. Through the absence of rain, the Weather Beings are asking us to appreciate their value and return to our relationship with them. Giving thanks to these Great Beings, acknowledging and observing their presence is the way back to balance.
Visit the Ocean and express your gratitude for her gifts of life and weather. Feel the Sun on your skin and thank him for his light and warmth. Look up at the Sky; observe the presence or absence of the Clouds. Listen to the Wind, feel how the Wind shifts and changes. When it rains, step outside, hold out your hand, allow the rain to touch your skin and say, “thank you very much”.
If you would like to take part in community weather ceremonies in Santa Cruz to welcome, celebrate and thank the rain, or come to a weather talk about our relationship with weather and the deeper roots of climate change, call Megan at 831-588-5424.
Megan Montero is a Granicera, also called a Quiatlzques, in the Nahua Weather Working tradition of south-central Mexico. She was initiated into the lineage of Don Lucio Campos in 2007, in Nepopualco, Mexico by Don David Wiley, the successor to the late Don Lucio. Megan leads community weather ceremonies in Santa Cruz and in Santa Monica, California to help reestablish a reciprocal relationship between humans and the weather spirits.