As the lightning struck the fir tree shooting down its 60-foot length, it traveled through the ground and into me.
As a young boy, I was excited by the charge of the electricity flowing through me, the brilliant flashes of color, the loud cracking and booming sound and the flying pieces of the tree. This was a calling, but I had no elder to interpret it for me. I would wait decades to understand.
After graduate school, working in social change, social service, getting married, having children, I was blessed to meet and study with Eliot Cowan, who introduced me to an elder who accepted me as an apprentice in the tradition of the Huichol Indians of Mexico's Sierra Madres. The elder saw within me Huichol tonalli (soul pieces) and the need to pilgrimage within the Huichol homelands. During my first pilgrimage to a sacred site, the Cloud People came and spoke to me. They told me that I needed to go to Nepopualco in the Mexican highlands and speak with don Lucio Campos de Elizade, a granicero and Caporal Mayor (weather worker and elder) in the Nahua tradition.
Upon my arrival and meeting don Lucio for the first time, he told that he had seen me up in the clouds and that it was good that I had come. He said that I must get crowned (initiated as a weather worker) right away. The weather beings were calling. I followed his guidance and that of the weather beings and became a weather worker and learned from him until his passing in 2007.
I have continued to pilgrimage and be with my elders and travel each year to both the Huichol homeland in the Sierra Madres and the Nahua's Tepoztlán Valley to steep in these two ancestrally-related traditions. I've completed two distinct six-year apprenticeships and initiations as a Huichol mara'akame (one who knows). I continue to fulfill my life-long manda (duty) as a Granicero and have been initiated as Quiapequis (Nahua Healer) through years of apprenticing and pilgrimaging with don Lucio Campos’ successor, don David Wiley on the Tepahtiani (healer) path.
I live in the Pacific Northwest, a land of incredible abundance and home to a magnificent kakayari (deity that has taken land form) who has called me. As I follow the guidance of this kakayari, I am being helped to better understand the land on which I live and the way of life that has existed here since the time before time. I feel deep appreciation and honor to be of service to this place within the world.