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The Ancient Indigenous Art of Rainmaking

By Azriel ReShel on Wednesday January 8th, 2020

Can We All be Rainmakers?

The Zulu say:

He who brings rain, brings life.

The ancient art of rainmaking was once practiced all around the world. It represented the sacred relationship between humans and the Divine. The deep connection between Earth and cosmos, an innate and intimate understanding of the elements, and the essential nature of the universe.

It wasn’t something extraordinary to be able to communicate with the cosmic force and command the elements. It was natural. This relationship kept the Earth in balance and through sacredness and respect for the Earth and the Divine force, maintained harmony and the right order of nature.

Connection to the Elements

To understand these sacred traditions is to understand the extraordinary sacred connection Indigenous people have with the land. That intuitive understanding and knowing about life, which gives them knowledge of where water is, weather patterns, animal behavior, and the messages nature is giving them. Having lived in cities for so long, many of us have lost this understanding and connection to the natural world.

Shamanic rainmaking ceremonies are thousands of years old and were once practiced all around the world. A man or woman who had a gift or predisposition to rainmaking would be trained for many years, developing skills and a deep relationship with the elements and weather. Rainmakers were taught the practice from a young age and it was often seen as a calling, much like a medicine woman or seer.

What can we learn from these rainmakers and is it possible we can all become one, in some way?

African Rainmaking

In Africa, the rainmakers were considered to be rainmaking priests and priestesses, and some African tribes even had rainmaking clans.

A ‘rainmaking’ center, where African shamans would call on the gods to send rain, was discovered in Southern Africa by archaeologists in 2013 while investigating rock art. Researchers confirmed the hilltop sacred site of Ratho Kroonkop was full of evidence of rain control fauna. It is believed that the San people used this site to conduct rituals for rain and that when farmers came to the area they would hire the San shamans to call on the skies to open up. Researchers say the shamans would have climbed up the hill through the fissures in the rock, and then lit fires to offer animal remains to the gods as part of their ceremonies.

African rainmakersAfrican rainmakers were considered priests and priestesses, and they conducted rituals. Photo by Ethan McArthur

Maurice Iwu, Nigerian professor of pharmacognosy (the study of medicinal plants) in his Handbook of African Medicinal Plants, says that the process of rainmaking is complicated and differs enormously from place to place.

The Igbo people burn sacred herbs and call on the rain god with broomsticks: the Koma rainmakers live in caves and restrict their drinks to milk, and only drink water publicly to initiate rainmaking ceremonies.

He says rain falls when the ancestors and gods are pleased.

Rain is viewed as a sacred and phenomenal gift from God, the most explicit expression of God’s goodness, providence and love. This important herald of creation serves as a first sign (droughts and flood) of the anger of the creator. Rainmakers represent the people’s contact with the blessings of time and eternity, a link between humans and the Divine. The rainmakers do not rely exclusively on their spiritual powers; they are well versed in weather and environmental matters and may spend long periods of apprenticeship acquiring their knowledge.

Indigenous Australian Rainmaking

In the moving and beautiful movie Putuparri and the Rainmakers, the rainmaking tradition of the desert dwellers of the Great Sandy Desert – some of the most arid country on the entire planet – documents the ancient rainmaking practices of the Australian Aboriginal people.

We are shown a small wet spot, which was once the waterhole cared for and inhabited by the inland tribes before they were forced off their land by the white cattle station owners.

When a rainmaker, Spider, comes to the spot forty years after he left his birthplace, calling to the spirit of the waterhole, Kurtal, and cleans out the spot, the clean fresh water bursts straight up, filling the waterhole once more. He does a rain dance, communicating with the spirits of the land, and then tells everyone to clear off fast. They drive away and an enormous lightning storm quickly approaches, drenching the parched red desert earth.

Traditional rainmakingWater bursts straight up, filling the waterhole once more. Photo by Albert Renn

Anthropologist Daniel Vachon, who joined one of the expeditions to their desert homeland in the Great Sandy Desert, shared his experience:

They had literally made rain in one of the driest parts of Australia and they were known as the rainmakers.

Indigenous Australians cared for the land in ways we can only imagine today. They understood how to live in deep harmony with nature and to care for country so it flourished, and rainmaking was part of this.

Later in the movie, on finding his grandfather’s home country’s waterhole polluted, Putuparri says that country is like a lost soul with nobody to look after it. This moving statement could be applied to the whole planet right now. We are not taking enough care of the Earth and everything is out of balance. We need to return to the old ways and listen to our Indigenous brothers and sisters who know the right way.

Native American Rainmaking

Among the best-known examples of weather modification rituals are North American rain dances, which were performed by many Native American tribes, particularly in the South West area of the country.

It is believed that the Native Americans often tracked and followed known weather patterns, and also offered to perform rain dances for settlers in return for trade items. In particular, the feathered masked rain dance of the Zuni people of New Mexico has been well documented. These dances were passed down by an oral tradition. While these indigenous dances may look like ornate ceremonial practices, they were performed as potent rituals. The rain dance is performed to bring rain and growth to the land and the crops. When the land is dry and rain is needed for the plants, they dance and play instruments so they can wake up Kokopelli, the God of fertility and rain.

Asian Rainmaking

Wu Shamans in ancient China performed sacrificial rain dance ceremonies in times of drought. They also acted as intermediaries with nature spirits who were believed to control rainfall and flooding.

In Thailand, there is a curious tradition of the cat parade, a ritual used when rain hasn’t come for the rainy season, where Thai farmers bring a female cat in a basket and join a parade through the village. Water is splashed on the cat when the parade goes through someone’s house. It is believed the cat’s meow, when it gets wet, will bring rain.

We are all rainmakersWe can all affect the weather and are responsible for living in harmony with the Earth. Photo by Marek Okon

Beyond the Legend

So is rainmaking only the stuff of legends and shamans? Or can we all learn to harness our own energy and positively influence the planet around us? In the world of modern materialistic science, nobody is supposed to be able to make rain. And yet people are. Even non-shamans are making rain.

American Matt Ryan, coined ‘the rainmaker’, claims to be able to bring rain. He has been hired over the years by farmers to bring rain.

I know how to go about making rain. The first is the shamanic or spiritual way. It uses intention, prayers, medicine objects, ceremony to help an individual connect with an unseen force of nature that produces clouds, rain, thunder and lightning, winds and other weather phenomena.

Matt Ryan learned from Sun Bear, who he reveres as a rain man of the first degree.

The weather seemed to follow him where he went, and there were many, many instances as he traveled the country for years. Not that it was grey and rainy wherever he was, but that if rain was needed, it would come. He broke many droughts just by arriving. Other aspects of the weather, such as the wind, gentle breezes or strong blows, seemed to mirror his needs. And there were a few thunder and lightning shows I was very lucky to see.

Sun Bear said that he worked with ‘the Grandfathers’ – an invisible, spiritual consciousness, a being of sorts; one that worked with humans and the weather. He said they’d been doing it for thousands and thousands of years.

You Are a Rainmaker

The art of rainmaking is still practiced today in a few places in Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and wherever some knowledge of the old way remains.

While these indigenous rainmakers were all trained and had a talent for rainmaking, we can all affect the weather. I remember hearing my teacher Amma, the hugging saint, speak at a retreat some years ago. She emphasized the need for us all to deal with our anger and fear, and to remain peaceful as much as possible, as she warned she could see dark clouds of anger and fear around the planet; causing disharmony and disruptions in the natural world. She told us that excessive anger from humans was causing natural calamities, like earthquakes and floods.

So, in a sense, you and I are rainmakers too and we have a responsibility to our planet to live in a peaceful way, in harmony with ourselves and others. This is one of the best ways we can each contribute to the health of our planet and its future. Make sure your words, actions and thoughts bring peace to all you meet and you will be supporting peace in the world.

How do you feel about this article? Join the conversation.

Azriel ReShel

Writer, Editor, Yoga Teacher & Healing Facilitator

 

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39 Responses to The Ancient Indigenous Art of Rainmaking

  1. Thanks for an interesting article,
    I come from Eastern Uganda, from a tribe known as Banyole. we have rainmakers called “Abagimba” these guys are so amazing with their power of rainmaking, a mix of roots, guards and pottery. I remember very well during the 80s when there was a famine in East Africa because of drought. these guys became a bit greedy by asking for cows to make rain. they had turned down one cow and they annoyed the whole village and a multitude of people attack them. these rainmakers begged the crowds to stop beating them for immediate rain; the crowd listened and stopped flogging the rainmakers.
    to our surprise the rainmakers made the rain in the midst of the dry season and crowds were cheering as they dispersed.

  2. So good to read this!!

    I’m sure the rain in Australia now has been “made” by a wonderful warm-hearted human – compassion for the animals…

    Lots of Love,
    Natali

  3. I was once told by a psychic that, in another life, I was known as “one who could call the wind”. I am hoping this latent talent also includes rain. On two occasions, I held an intention, and respectfully asked that rain stop for a short time, only if it would not impact others negatively. The timing was a little off, but the rain did stop. Being science -minded, I don’t except this as truth, but am eager for further investigation. Please keep the e-mails coming. I would love to participate in a study.

  4. I feel very encouraged after reading this informative article.
    For several months now my wife and myself get out of bed around 3 am and spend 20-30 minutes in prayer to the universe. We have read about studies being done that show water has memory and can have an affect on who and what it comes in contact with. Each morning e ask that the 2 litre jar of water in front of us on our small altar with candles around it become charged with the energies of PEACE, LOVE, HARMONY, TRANQUILITY, JOY, HAPPINESS, GRATITUDE AND COMPASSION.
    We ask of that water as it evaporates to share those energies with all other water molecules it mixes with. We ask that therefore the whole atmosphere should become charged with those energies. We ask that every person who breathes in or consumes even the tiniest amount (we are 70% water) will become imprinted with them, and that all vegetation, all rivers, lakes, oceans and ice be likewise become charged with those energies.
    When you think about it, we are ALL totally dependent on water and we exchange it with nature
    When we walk in the forest we touch a tree and make the same intent, asking that via the water in its trunk and its roots and the moisture in the ground, the tree will share the energies with all vegetation in the forest.
    And now after reading the above article, we must now include rainfall intent. Thank you Uplift.

    • This is so inspiring and exciting to read Brian! Thank you so much for sharing 😀 The power of intention is quite amazing, please keep up the great work!

      Much love,
      Team UPLIFT

  5. Hello there,
    I have been following my travel over 90,000 km this summer and into autumn, and wherever I go, it rains slightly, usually at night, and when I leave it pours.
    Consequently I am in Australia now. The rains have helped ease the wildfires and I have had a bit of a break from the craziness of life in Canada whilst helping others here, sending out fuel cards and wearable neurotechnology to those in need.
    Forecast is set to have a lot of rain when I leave next week. I find this phenomenon remarkable and now intend to travel and live my life with weather and land conditions always at the forefront, as I have been given a gift, I think after my last near death experience two years ago in which I broke my back, including my T12 which caused my rib cage to stop expanding and my lungs to not work properly. My son rescued me and he attests to seeing bright light for 10 seconds around us. So fascinating and I will continue to do my calling here until my time on earth is done. :). Peace to you all!

    • Thank you for sharing this fascinating story Heather! And thank you for your intentions to continue this good work 😀 A gift indeed.

      Much love to you on your journey (journeys!)
      Team UPLIFT

  6. I really enjoyed this article. I read something many years ago about someone calling the rain on the Taos reservation in New Mexico. I tried it and it worked. For many years I have been inviting the rain or snow. My kids think I’m crazy, but when one of them visited home for Christmas recently from the desert and wanted snow, I had a conversation with the elements and we had 6 to 8 in of snow while he was here. The original weather forecast for the week was sunny and clear all week … So I guess my invitation was accepted.

    • It’s wonderful to hear you had a natural propensity towards this Kianne, and even more so that you trusted it! I think we are capable of far more than we often can imagine…

      Much love to you and keep up the good work 🙂

      Team UPLIFT

  7. Love your article 💖 Yes, we have forgotten who we really are and our connections to All That Is! But take heart for we are in the Great Awakening.

    I’d like to correct one very mis-used word these days! There is a hidden agenda to describe Every Native people as Indigenous which has a specific meaning not applicable to many groups. Your article needs to call Australian Aboriginal people by their correct definition for calling them indigenous would put them in a classification of “Nation within a Nation” yet they were and ARE the original people who NEVER signed any Treaty with the Invaders! Hawai’i also never had a Treaty with the usurpers of their internationally recognized Nation-State (Country) The Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands – Ko Hawai’i Pae ‘Aina. There the native people are Kanaka Maoli/O’iwi .. Aboriginal

    Mahalo nui (Big thank you) for looking into this and changing the way you see things. Wrongly defined words can cause huge harm internationally when absolutely no harm was meant. But you are an author and understand these things 😁 Aloha me pumehana

    • Love your article! Thank you Susan. I intuitively thought a few years ago when they were being called Indigenous that it was not right.We are in the age of enlightenment and the truths will keep coming out.Ho’opono’opono to the energy that likes to create dis-harmony.

  8. Thank you for such a informative article. and yes many of us are natural rainmakers. I had an elderly neighbour who asked me a question one day, which made me chuckle, “Don’t you find it annoying that when you wash your car, half an hour later it’s raining?” I replied “Yes it is, but then I don’t have to water my garden for the rest of the day. He laughed, and then went on to say “I’m not a nosey neighbour, just observant. But each time you do bring the hosepipe out, it rains., and not just once, everytime!” I have learnt to live with it, and work with it. Blessings to all and keep those “Rain prayers going for Australia”

    • I love this Sharon! Thank you for sharing, and please keep up that great work bringing the rain! 😀

      Blessings,
      Team UPLIFT

  9. Thank you for putting together all that information, it is a wonderful article. I also love Amma and have visited her ashram in India. I remember once when I was at a Rainbow Gathering in Greece the person I sat next to and I stopped the rain from falling on the hundreds of people who were sitting in a circle about to eat their supper by asking and praying together, we held the rain off and when everyone had eaten it started and everyone ran for shelter. These days I hold sacred sound baths on the equinoxes and solstices, I believe I have come back to help remember the ceremonies and bring back sacred reverence to the land and all the beings, seen and unseen. I have many friends in London who are doing the same thing, the Collective Consciousness is waking up. It’s good to be different, we need a different attitude to life to make the change back to peace and harmony, we all have the same blood and breathe the same air. We cannot eat money, there has been enough bloodshed for no reason, we are of the land and we must take care of her.

    • What a beautiful calling Emma. Thank you for following it and doing your heart’s work. And thank you for sharing 🙂

      Much love to you on your journey,
      Team UPLIFT

  10. I am joining all who have the thought consciousness to bring rain to Australia. This has been on my heart. Let us join in thought and make it happen. Sending Love and rain to Australia!

    • Thank you Rhonda, I can sincerely say on behalf of our Nation and it’s people, plants and animals, we really appreciate it 🙂

      Much love to you,
      Team UPLIFT

  11. My grandmother was able to call upon a breeze when a breeze was needed I witnessed this as a child but didn’t fear it cause it seemed normal to me.Sending rain to Australia could be a possibility if enough people embraced the idea as reality and nothing less. Plants animals and the cosmos offer all of their being so must we,rain connects us all. A gesture of offering over a map may help Australia regain its balance.

  12. I remember calling the rain to come a couple of times as child, and the rain came. Once as a student I remember doing it as well, but then started feeling that I was just being silly… then I grew up and forgot about it……until now. I didn’t realize it was a “thing” all over the world…..I’d like to bring the rain to Australia, to all the fires, if I could.

  13. Like the information you have here and would like to know more thank you muchly for the email and look forward to a new addition to my lightning. Merry Christmas to you and your family’s stay safe god bless you and your family hope you have a good day.

  14. What about the Islamic rain prayer? Definitely a connection between man and the divine is established. I have twice witness 2 prayers at different times and rain will fall within hours after the prayer.
    The angel Mikhail pushes the clouds where the Almighty wants rain to fall. It is in the Qur’an. Check it out.

  15. I think i can make it rain iam crazy but i know in my heart i can just afraid to tell anyone what do i do

  16. Great Article & it is very true Rainmakers are born everywhere every day, when we are born we are in balance with nature & the nature of those around hasn’t influenced them in undesirable ways, as we age we develop a thicker skin & many lash out simply because nobody is capable of teaching anyone how to be of the one those lessons are born & learned within each of us every moment of every day, agree with another child of creation that any selfless act should happen & it will it can take from 72 to 96 hours to manifest but it will happen if you both will simply know it will you will manifest that selfless thing into reality.

    • To: Pamela Towksjhea Eager to learn how to make it rain. Can you tell me anything I can do to make it rain? [email protected] Years past I found an article on the internet that I think was very informative but I cannot find it now. I would like to learn.

      • I really enjoyed this article. I read something many years ago about someone calling the rain on the Taos reservation in New Mexico. I tried it and it worked. For many years I have been inviting the rain or snow. My kids think I’m crazy, but when one of them visited home for Christmas recently I had a conversation with the elements and we had 6 to 8 in of snow while he was here. The original weather forecast for the week was sunny and clear all week … So I guess my invitation was accepted.

  17. thanks azriel, lovely story, I have met several Australian aboriginal rain makers, or in bali, dukans, who stop it raining, so that ceremonies can be undertaken. Your whole article was interesting however the very last part about from Amma, about emotional clouds resinated very much with me. I live in hunter valley with many mines, and all the old people say that the rain and weather here has changed because of these holes. I feel the earth is not happy here, and when we leave the valley both Andrew and I feel a change in the atmosphere, and a taste in the wind, that reminds us of that not all the earth is as broken and damaged as the hunter valley, just look at how much has already been mined, and these holes will stay there. No one here wants to care because all of their jobs are in creating these ulcers in the earth. look closely at the picture and see how close the mines are t the rivers. one mine has approval to mine up to 2 metres!!! from the stream bed. how can that not be damaging. I pray for the waterways in the Hunter Valley on water day.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5376cfa02e714fa663f3ffa2333218e3d2ea41b06dd35c869b32bafe6cecce5c.jpg

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