The lords of the thunder in the divine cave

Dreamers of rain and hail

31 JULY 2017,
Popocatépetl
Popocatépetl

And the volcano proclaims:

«I am Zencapopoca because I ‘smoke’ for some moments, but my ancient name is Tlachihualtepetl, well-known by the early men. I have contemplated the ‘inner life of the time’, and with it, the life force existing in all beings fulfilling their vital cycle. However, my life goes slowly; my nights are longer and my dawns shorter, but in my dreams, I guard the dreams of men and their actions. They say that my last awakening was in the 820 A.C. when suddenly, I became conscious of myself.

»Presences from other ages have been attracted by my fertility; by the storms coming from my bowels; called by the treasures inside me, so they offer me infinite prays.

»But in every epoch there have been men which perceived the ‘God’ that exists eternally in their souls, and in all creatures, so they stopped to pray to the god of the air; because they, themselves, are air in substance, they stopped to pray to the god of the water, because it flows through their veins full of joy; they stopped to summon the fire because in their eyes, the eternal flame shines against the darkness. They stopped to look outside, and now, they realize that the true path is inside their heart. Because I am with them, and they are with me.

»I use ‘the time’ to enter the ‘mind of mankind’ and envision their deepest desires. That’s why I appear in the dreams of a man who believes in me, to hear his petitions and manifest mines…»

I have had a fascination for the fairy tales and magic ‘phenomena’ dating back to my early childhood. Shamans, wizards, hexes, unnatural beings, and ancient legends were always in my imagination. My grandpa used to teach me everything he knew about the folklore and the mysteries of our land, and I engaged deeply with my ‘strange’ lessons during my dreams (or nightmares). However, it was in my travels to the ‘places of power’ that introduced me to the sacred ‘enchantments’ found in the environment.

It seemed that every village or antique place had something abnormally hidden to show. I was completely mesmerized by this ancient believes that remained for centuries waiting to be discovered. As I grew older, this fascination changed from dream to ‘perceptible reality’.

On June 16, 2017 I went to Tetela del Volcán, a little town very close to a mystic revered volcano: the Popocatépetl. I came to meet the Weather Beings; they are often in contact with special characters called graniceros, “weather workers” in the tradition of the native people of Mexico’s Central Highlands.

Like a foreigner in my own country, I felt elated, eager, and not completely sure of what I was about to experience. As I mentioned, I had a strong spiritual relationship with the unseen since I was a child, but my eclectic research was no research at all.

Now, I was speaking with individuals which «had the power to call the storms, control the thunder, and change the weather» in that tiny settlement of Mexico.

Graniceros are people who are struck by lightning and survive ‘the ordeal’, in order to carry the obligation of serving the weather spirits. Being struck by lightning is considered to have the gift of controlling the elements of nature, and curing unusual illness or some other afflictions. After surviving, the person shall commit to the local group of graniceros, in a ceremony where the rain spirits are summoned to attend the induction.

The most important shrine of these groups is precisely a cave on the side of the Popocatépetl. When the obligation arrives, each granicero makes a journey to this divine shrine and asks for good rains; at the end, he gives thanks to the spirits for all the blessings they have done.

The day I participated in a ceremony, we approached the cave and built a cross from wood to greet the spirits. Then the principal servant, called the ‘mayor’ prayed:

Sanctified Spirit of God who dwells in the sacred shrine of Popocatépetl,
and keeps the gates of heaven.
You manifest your glory over the seas and the mountains.
God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, you will be our guide and our protector on this day…

Then, the other participants joined in praises and the ‘mayor’ continued:

Holy Cross, now lightning struck.
In this place of God, we are awaiting good weather, tempests, and storms,
You are the one who suffers for us, beloved father, receive this relief that we have bring to venerate you
on this day…

He spoke slowly and in Náhuatl, a home-grown traditional dialect. I was spellbound by the translation but even more moved by his presence. He was old, weathered and grounded like the mountain we were walking. The shrine was alternately silent and full of happiness; and his warm voice seemed to open a connection to something timeless. Outside of the volcano, the world appeared completely unfamiliar to me, dirty, poor and wildly hostile. But something about his presence felt familiar, comforting, and strong.

Then the mayor started to sing, inviting the spirits to attend. In the meantime, each granicero entered the cave making the sign of the cross with a censer, and praying the weather spirits individually. The shrine was decorated with fresh flowers and everybody leaved an offering to the ‘Cross’ and the weather beings, made of bread, fruit, chicken with ‘mole’, alcohol and tobacco.

More than a symbolic remnant of the forced conversion to Catholicism, a Cross holds a magical doorway for communication with the myriad entities: Coyolxauhqui, the Goddess of all skies; Quetzalcoatl, the Wind god, whose serpentine body rushes high above in a stream of air; the countless cloud children born from the Sun and Great Mother Ocean; Tlaloc, the Rain god, whose sensitivity to emotion, intention and balance guides him as he shares his invaluable gift: the water that sustains life.

The weather ceremonies are a powerful time for self-reconnection and transformation. The granicero’s family comes together in an intricate dance of love and faith. The absolute challenge, expense of travelling and pulling it all together is an evidence of their devotion and their teachings: our sacrifice is a crucial part of what we offer to the gods.

In the volcano, the sky above me, (populated by plentiful ‘Weather Beings’ maybe), swirling with storms, circling the planet, appeared impossibly huge for me. Timeless, elemental manifestations were there before we open the eyes to our existence.

And the volcano proclaims:

«They say that gods live in the skies or in the earth. We know they dance across the universe, traveling between worlds to absorb the essence of creation. I know they combine all the elements in their wish to bring life, where only death existed.

»But only a god has the power to control the lightning and the storm; only a god knows how to be hurricane, blizzard, and thunder at the same time. There is heaven and hell inside a god, everything that exists, from the stars and galaxies, to the light we see, and everything that will.

»The one who shall dominate that god has the world in his hands and a powerful ally in his heart. I am the key (and the path) to the brave one who wants to try such a fierce accomplishment».