The Sacred Calling of Corn

Corn has always been sacred- as food, medicine, spirit guide- to cultures throughout the Americas. It is only our modern culture which has turned corn into a commodity that has been abused and vilified. Corn asks us to begin to reclaim our sacred reciprocal relationship. I ask you today- what can YOU do today to begin to bring corn back into health and sacredness?

Zuni Corn Maiden Kachina by Robert Cachini

Recently I was clearly called by the spirit of Corn to offer a community ceremony to begin to reconnect with and heal the relationship we as a culture have with the Corn Plant.  At this community ceremony- offerings of corn, tobacco, handmade stylized corn ocarina, corn husk dolls and prayers were placed on the altar as a on offering to the spirit of corn.  And each member of the circle that night asked the spirit of Corn what they could do as an individual to transform their own awareness and relationship with Corn- as a food and as a being of sacred wisdom- and what comittments they would make to the Corn spirit to bring the awareness of the Sacred medicine and wisdom of Corn back into our culture.

Listen to : Why We Must Honor the Spirit of Corn by Darcey Blue– From Honoring the Corn Mother Ceremony at the Institute for Shamanic Arts

I took these beautiful offerings from the altar and the heartfelt messages and respect each of us has for Corn as a being of wisdom for our culture and time, to be buried in the Earth as completion of this ceremony.  A physical act to honor this plant spirit in a meaningful way.

Spirit of Corn Altar
Spirit of Corn Altar

But little did I know that the Corn spirit would take me on a much longer journey than I anticipated.

I had planned to travel to the top of the mountains here in my Southern Arizona home, and bury this offering with prayer and gratitude to this plant spirit that has been increasingly present and insistent with me.  “The time is NOW” she is saying.  “The medicine of Corn can heal much in this troubled world- but the people must be reminded.”

What makes a plant an ally?  What calls to us as ways we connect with our plant allies?  Why physical offerings to a non physical spirit?  There are so many reasons we choose to make offerings to any important guide in our life- be it Mother Mary, the Virgen de Guadalupe, the spirit of Corn or the spirits of our beloved ancestors.  To each of us, the reasons are unique and meaningful to us personally.  For me, the offerings made to the spirit of Corn, ground me in awareness of my connection with Spirit all around me, to the Earth who is the original Ancestor.  And ask of me to make a journey, in spirit, and in body.

Ancient memories, spirit and land of the Corn Maiden

Corn took me to New Mexico.  Spontaneously, or perhaps by a guidance from the Spirit of Corn, a dear friend and I decided that we both needed, rather desperately, a short vacation/retreat from our daily lives, and we hopped in the car and drove north to the land of the Zuni in New Mexico.  I, by a gentle nudging intuition, wrapped the bundle of Corn offerings, and placed it in my basket.  I didn’t know why, but I got the message- the corn offerings needed to be made in the land of a people who deeply, viscerally and continously- even today- worship and understand and honor the spirit of Corn.

So we drove- 6 hours north, into the beautiful land of mesas, pinyon, juniper and sagebrush- to the heart of the land of the Zuni people, and that still holds the whispers and spirits of the ancestors of that land- the Anazazi and Pueblo peoples- that lived there, and grew and honored corn for thousands of years.

And we walked- for hours, down steep rocky washes, and through dry grass and fragrant trees- listening to plants, listening to stones, making offerings to the spirits of that land, until we came to a place where the women of those ancestors, in their time, ground their daily corn on the sandstone ledges.  And – there- that was where the offerings to the Spirit of the Corn were made.  Buried in the sacred ancient earth- with song, and prayer and gratitude.

Tree Gold – Pinyon Resin Medicine

And their were gifts from the land- plant medicines, stone allies, and a sacred reminder for me to carry at all times, of my connection and calling to honor the Spirit of Corn every day in my life.

Zuni Corn Maiden

And even as we began the journey home, I felt the presence and insistence of the Corn Spirit even stronger.  She is asking, she is wanting to be heard.  There is much healing to be, there is much work too. I know not where it will take me – what more will be asked- but I know, with every cell of my being, that it will be meaningful, deep and healing- for me as an individual- as a healer- and for the world around me.  And I am in humble gratitude.  To the land- to the Corn-to the Ancestors- and Spirit in All to be here, doing this work – not just by words on a page, or a small circle- but taking this work into the physical world, with my body, with my song, with all of me.