Besides putting your two hands together, let's agree there are many ways to supplicate to the gods. On April 7, 2017, I happened upon an offering, equal parts strange and fascinating, of fish skins, melon, salt, honey, and aloe left at the makeshift altar of the mountain by some imploring soul. I instantly wondered if all of it was placed there by someone associated with the "ritual walkers" I encountered last year around this same time.
Sure enough, four days after spotting that offering left at the foot of the mountain—a day shy of when I first saw them last year—I randomly heard the distinctive rattles of their maracas in the woods once again. It was no less arresting this time to see grown adults robed in animal pelt headdresses chanting in unison as they emerged from the woods of the Cherokee Trail, which was first blazed by the Boy Scouts in the 1950s.
A few separate bands of walkers were performing the same sacred ceremony to bring benevolent weather to the Southeast region which they have done every spring and fall for the past seventeen years. They camp inside Stone Mountain Park and circle the mountain seven times via the Cherokee Trail while chanting and occasionally stop to rehydrate with the help of a support person referred to as a monitor. The next morning they leave an offering of regionally sourced foods such a corn, beans, and fish at the top of the mountain. Whereas last year I met a timid monitor that seemed rather afraid to speak for fear of repercussions, this year 28 year-old Erin, of Asheville, was very engaging and genuinely appreciative that I showed an interest in what they were doing. So I provided her with my email address at this site should anyone from her group, the Council of Tsantawu, or the Sacred Fire Community with which they're associated, wished to email a statement about the group or the ceremony, but I have not heard anything further yet. I returned to the mountain early the next morning to see if I might see the offering they'd left at the top but didn't find any such altar. I only saw dozens of Dekalb County school children running up and down the mountain during their field trip, while their yellow buses waited for them in the parking lot below.