Corn Mother  

Posted by Stella Clark

Corn Mother Image
ACCORDING TO LEGEND, CORN WAS THE FOOD OF THE GODS WHO CREATED THE EARTH, AND STORIES OF THE "CORN MOTHER" AND OTHER HARVEST GODDESSES ARE TOLD BY MANY CULTURES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, AND BELIEFS AND CUSTOMS VARIED GREATLY FROM PLACE TO PLACE IN THE EUROPEAN COUNTRIES AND AMONG THE AGRICULTURAL TRIBES IN NORTH AMERICA. THE GREEK GODDESS "DEMETER" WAS A "CORN MOTHER," AS WAS THE ROMAN GODDESS, "CERES." IN SOME PLACES A "CORN MAIDEN" OR "CORN CHILD" REPLACED THE "CORN MOTHER." SHE IS A SYMBOL OF THE GREAT GODDESS WHO BIRTHS THE FERTILE FIELD. SHE GAVE LIFE AND IS SAID TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ORIGIN OF MAIZE. HER SPIRIT WAS SAID TO DWELL IN THE LAST SHEAF OF GRAIN STANDING IN THE FIELD.

THE ARCHETYPE OF THE "CORN MOTHER" PLAYS AN IMPORTANT PART IN HARVEST CUSTOMS ALL OVER THE WORLD. IT IS ESPECIALLY POPULAR IN THE FOLKLORE OF EUROPEAN COUNTRIES. IN NORTHERN EUROPE, PEOPLE HONORED THE CHANGING SEASONS BY CREATING STRAW FIGURES OF THE "CORN MAIDEN" AND BURNING THEM. THE AUSTRIANS ALSO HAD A "CORN MOTHER" DOLL FASHIONED FROM THE LAST SHEAF OF GRAIN CUT IN THE FIELD AND THEN BROUGHT HOME TO THE VILLAGE IN THE LAST WAGON.

CORN WAS A STAPLE IN THE DIET OF MANY NATIVE AMERICAN PEOPLES, SO THE STORY OF ITS ORIGINS IS ONE OF THEIR MOST SACRED... FOOD AND ECONOMY ARE ONE, SO "CORN MOTHER" IS NOT SIMPLY THE SOURCE OF FOOD. SHE HAD MANY ROLES. SHE WAS NOT JUST AS A BRINGER OF CORN AND AGRICULTURAL FERTILITY, BUT WAS ALSO REVERED AS A CREATOR, LEADER OF TRIBAL MIGRATIONS, PROTECTOR, HEALER, AND CULTURE-BRINGER/TEACHER. THEY PRAYED TO THE "CORN MOTHER" AND TOLD STORIES OF THE BIRTH OF THE WORLD THROUGH SCATTERED CORN SEEDS.

"NATIVE AMERICAN PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING NOW THAT I AM ABOUT TO EAT, O GREAT SPIRIT, GIVE MY THANKS TO THE BEASTS AND BIRDS WHOM YOU HAVE PROVIDED FOR MY HUNGER. PRAY DELIVER MY SORROW THAT LIVING THINGS MUST MAKE A SACRIFICE FOR MY COMFORT AND WELL-BEING. LET THE FEATHER OF CORN SPRING UP IN ITS TIME AND LET IT NOT WITHER BUT MAKE FULL GRAINS FOR THE FIRES OF OUR COOKING POTS, NOW THAT I AM ABOUT TO EAT. "

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