carol drumming August 2009

Corn Mother
Her Blessings & Her Teachings


Dear Friends,

This summer Susan and I did a five-day rafting trip down the Green River in Utah. We had been invited to offer shamanic activities appropriate to a River Journey group most of whom were novices to the practice of shamanism. In preparation, we both journeyed to see what guidance Spirit might offer us. In my first journey, Corn Mother introduced herself to me and said she was very important to this trip and we should plan to focus on her. I saw clearly her form with her body as a cob of corn and the husks wrapped around her as a beautiful dress or light blanket.

She informed me "This is my time."

corn dollIn her journey Susan saw corncobs and knew that somehow corn would be a significant shamanic object while on the River.

Weaving these and subsequent journeys, we decided to find some dried corncobs, and other materials, with the purpose of creating Corn Doll fetishes. Neither of us had worked before with Corn Mother yet her Presence in my journeyed coupled with the simultaneous 'corn' journey of Susan, persuaded us this focus was the path to follow.

Corn Mother of the Canyon

On the first morning with River, I looked to the Canyon walls and was simply stunned to see that the entire canyon was a tableau, a vast mural, of Corn Mothers, side by side, with their skirts splayed at the base of the walls.

One image I had arrived with was that of Corn Mother shaking her body, especially her skirt, and releasing corn kernels to the world. We had not mentioned our Corn Doll activity to the group but as She began displaying herself within the walls, we shared our journeys and our craft project with the Circle. Now everyone was looking in wonder as we moved with River.

I mused aloud: "How did I NOT see Her ten years ago when first I rafted this Green River? She is everywhere here!" For me, it was one of those marvelous epiphanies in understanding that 'when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.' Clearly we were in a Temple of the Corn Mother.

The trip was also one of those times when a decision to keep faith with messages and visions from Spirit World is rewarded. And, as it turned out, the day we chose to craft our Corn Mother Dolls was the one day when such crafting was possible: otherwise we were visited by many biting insects, strong winds, and rain. It was as though Spirit spread a blanket of Sunlight beautiful under which we could honor one of Spirit's Wisdom Keepers.

Journeys and Foretellings

Ostensibly unrelated to Corn Mother yet key to appreciating the Powers of the OtherWorld: the second day on the River, Susan journeyed and saw Eagle plucking from the waters someone who was drowning.. We wondered if this was a cautionary or warning message in which the events would NOT happen if we took the necessary precautions. Or was this a journey with other meanings? In any event, we took heed to respecting the unpredictable ways of River.

Our last morning we floated towards debarkation flooded with powerful images and deep gratitude. We were following the other rafts when we noticed to our left a woman's boat had overturned and she was frantically trying to upright it and climb inside. But she was caught in a serious whirlpool and her efforts had clearly exhausted her. Our guide yelled to her to let go of the boat and float down toward us... so we could toss a line and pull her to safety. It took a while before she was willing to release her upturned boat, trust her body to River's flow, and float towards us. Once she was close, Susan tossed the safety line and began pulling her in... however, she was too heavy and the effort required three of us to lift her up and into our raft.

In the moment of my assisting Susan, the image from her journey flashed through my consciousness with a new clarity. To wit: Eagle is a Guardian Ally for Susan so Eagle 'used' Susan to pluck from River... the one plucked from the waters was not of our group yet was one of us (human). The fact this happened in the last thirty minutes of our journey with River offered us a fine example of trusting messages from the OtherWorld. 

Both our journeys and our dreams were the primary routes for deeper appreciation of trust and the interweaving streams between the many Worlds.

And for the novices in our River group, I cannot imagine finer teachings about the power and reality of shamanic perception than those River offered us this summer. And, in restrospect, I perceived the plucking from the waters as an extension of the great Mothering Spirit... reaching out to one of her drowning children and rescuing them.

Corn Mother's Story

Yet Corn Mother was just beginning to work and teach me. From her home in the Canyon, she wandered forth to appear many times in my Summer workshops. She revealed her kinship alignment with WhiteBuffalo Woman, Iniskim, BearMother, her Sisters Squash and Beans. Over this Summer she revealed ways in which She has given of herself to the Earth community and entrusted her care to the Humans of this community.

I have come to know the stories of Her life through legends passed from ancestors and from Her activities in my DreamWorld. She passes freely through etheric realms and has spread Herself around the whole Global Body.

In both Spirit and Body, she is highly mutable and is the signature example of both shamanic shapeshifting and transformation. Her very body exudes her wisdom and teachings. To hold one kernel is to touch her Soul Mysterious. To pass several kernels to one another in Circle is to sense her great fertility: from the One Many - from the Many One.  To see Wind blowing through her many selves in a corn field reminds one of Corn Mother Dancing. Every appearance of her, including her wizened being in late Fall is a profound reminder of Earth's abundance manifested in this single Great Plant Mother.

And part of my commitment to Her is to speak of Her, encourage others to share their stories, and try to see what wisdom She is offering us Now, for our times. She is still so new to me that I am hesitant to write of Her. When I seek to describe Her, my prose fails to photograph her elegant beauty. Yet She urges me to try and so in this newsletter I scratch my first notes.

I continue to inquire:
"Why are you appearing so strongly NOW?"
"What do you wish me...or us...to hear?
"What is your role in the Council of Wisdom Keepers?"

Who is CornMother and how did She come to occupy a place of such awe, respect, and honor that all peoples celebrate Her wherever Her plant body is found. One can source these stories by surfing the internet or reading any good book on Corn. Throughout different cultures, there is an amazing similarity in the many stories.
The essential threads:

Once She dwelled with Her grandchildren and from Her own body each day, She shook forth the corn that provided food through all seasons. Her children were not content just to receive Her provisions: they HAD to know the source of Her corn, Her fertility, and the sweet food they found so delicious. Full of growing curiosity, they 'peeked' into her private smokehouse (hut) and watched as She shook Her skirts and rubbed Her self - releasing baskets of kernels....and they saw that it was Her very own body providing their daily nourishment. They were filled with disgust and would not eat of Her food again. She now must die and leave them - yet in the midst of Her sacrifice, She still cares that with food they shall be provided.

So in Her dying moments, She leaves instructions for them of what to do with Her body: this includes burying Her in the ground and Her promise to return in the Spring as corn plants. She solicits from them their promise to plant in a particular way and to always save the best plants of each year's crop - to use those kernels as seed for the next year's crop. Thus does do the Grandchildren and Grandmother Corn make a covenant that will ensure respect for Her and provisions for all future generations. This is the essential universal story line.

The Green Corn Dances and Corn Harvest activities celebrate this agreement with Corn Mother. They occur all over the world where corn is found - in these days that means almost everywhere.

I became intrigued with Her story and even more curious as to why She was stepping forth just NOW. As I mused on Her, She unfolded herself to me through continuing dreams and journeys.

Kernel Wisdom

To share Her story and some kernel teachings is another way of honoring her... my way of giving a platform upon which She can step.

I paused just now and gathered a small handful of kernels from a basket on my desk. I spread them out on my tabletop, then in my palm... closed my eyes and sought from Her:
"What are the seed thoughts you offer this afternoon?" 

And the seeds speak for the One from whom they come:

    I am the very sweetness of Earth... eating me, you become sweetness too.
    Take good care of me... my body is my goodness transmuted to substance for Earth's creatures.
    I am of the One who gave Her life to provide for Her children and their children's children.
    I am the One who dies and returns to Earth so my body may be replenished or renewed again.
    I give my life so that you might live... and yet I do not die; with your loving care, I will return again and again.
    I am a Plant Teacher teaching the ways of transformation, dying to an old self so the New might be born.. trusting that through dying comes rebirth...
    As Grandmother Corn, I teach of community... look at my body and see... there is space and place for every kernel and each kernel lives in community with the others...
    There is enough of Me for everyone but not enough of Me to waste...

As I drop the seeds back into the basket, I am aware we are moving towards the early harvest season... soon there will be Autumn's brown-dry cornstalks in the fields. I have enjoyed sweet fresh corn from her body since late Spring.

Someone has said "we are what we eat"- if  so, I am Corn Mother too... her seed thoughts are birthed within me. As Harvest approaches, may I go to my hut and meditate... sort through the fruits of my being... twist and shake, shake and twist and rub my entire body till I have gathered a basket of offerings to share in the feast of this year's yield... in the dancing and shaking and letting fall to the ground, may I take some seeds in my palms, hold and feel and look within... finally choosing the most vigorous of them and plant these seeds for the little ones coming who have not arrived yet to their planet home... but they can come and they can be fed because we keep and kept our covenant with the Great Corn Mother and Her larger community too.

May I remember Her special relationship with Turkey and Deer and tell their stories too... gather up images of Squash and Beans and Corn Stalks together entertwined... supporting each other with the best of companionship throughout their growing days... they are Her's too... and old White Pine has a special place at the honoring table for food and shelter did White Pine provide when Corn Mother just had to spend some time hidden in the ground... all these, they are Her children too... and grandchildren... Corn Mother's work is really never done... nor is mine... nor is yours... nor is our shamanic community's but working together has always made for laughter in the Corn Fields... while birds and insects gather round to hear us sing... we keep working in the fields as She does too till comes our own last act and we answer Her last kernel note:
When you lay down your body,
for it's work is done, have you left
provisions for those still to come...

Offerings of the Morning

I shall return to musings with Her from time to time yet I cannot stop my writing just now 'till I comment on the cob of corn and basket of seeds to the right of my computer, before my eyes...

bright yellow gold nuggets
hanging out together in a woven round container...
a long rounded body of many yellow kernels...
bright as a candle needing no fuel to burn
Corn... the word is related to Kore,
And to Korn...
These are related to bright yellow and to Sun...
Corn = Sun-in-the-Earth
When eaten by me -
Sun in my belly...

        And I just smile broadly with these wonderful relations and community of meanings Corn Mother offers me...

Now it is time for the morning's last offering:

Take this cob of corn and this basket of kernels,
quietly open my door and step out to the Land...
Three feet from me, rabbits, birds,
and a hiding squirrel are just waiting
for the sound of kernels finding ground
then can they pop nuggets into their bellies
or their throats and take them elsewhere,
hiding them for the months ahead and they too,
are planting Sun in the ground with their own stories of how Grandmother Corn is still around...

With gratitude to GrandmotherCorn...
May I see Her in the fields
May I eat Her in the days...
May I share Her with the others
Whether they be close or far away
Joy... joy... joy...
Such joy sweet,


More Information

  • Complete information about  workshops can be found at Carol's website or will be sent to you upon request.
  • These workshops welcome commuters as well as residential participants.
  • Partial scholarships are available and can be applied for when registering.

To register for one or more workshops with Carol, contact the Coordinator  for Shamanic Visions:
Pirkko Miller at Pirkko@embarqmail.com

P.S. We invite you to visit our Home Page to see if there are other shamanic activities listed there in which you might be interested.

Or if you wish to join in a Circle, check our Global Circles web page to see if there is one in your area. If not, then please start one because Circles can be powerful places of support for each of us on the shamanic path.



Copyright © 2019 Carol Proudfoot Edgar
Not to be reproduced without permission