In the closing of our ceremonies, bundles of corns are passed around the circle. These gifts are given to honor the participants and nourish their visions, feed their dreams. The bundles are something tangible which hold the ceremonial energy and blessings, a way to carry home the ceremony and all the intentions and prayers, to remember and reawaken the feeling, any time any place, of the sacred space we co-created and the heartfelt connections we shared.
Over the years, I’ve been delighted by the stories I’ve heard about the beautiful ways people so lovingly carry the bundles into their lives. Corn bundles are placed on personal altars, under pillows, on bedside tables, on desks, on the dashboards of cars. Bundles are carried for days in backpacks, purses and pockets. Some bundles are unwrapped and the blue cornmeal is sprinkled on the ground to offer blessings to the Mother Earth, to ask Spirits for guidance and help. Some people gather up a couple extras, even a handful of bundles, to pass along as gifts to beloved friends and family. The medicine of Grandmother Corn ripples into and out far beyond our ceremonial circles.
In coming to know Grandmother Corn, I’ve experienced her as an immense feminine power and presence, a guide for understanding and experiencing boundless nourishment and everflowing abundance. In her physical existence, Corn has long been a sacred food, a primary source of sustenance in traditional diets in the Americas. Though current farming and food mass-production systems have denatured this plant and altered corn’s natural nourishing elements, the reverence for Corn is evident in ancient art, stories, and ceremony in diverse cultures.
The spirit of this plant, the Spirit of Corn, has shown me about the boundless abundance that exists in the web of life, connecting and flowing within and between our bodies, spirits, hearts and minds. This vast sharing of abundance provides nourishment for all Life so there is flourishing and thriving. No one is excluded. No one is undeserving. There is never not enough. If we open our hearts, we’ll see.
Here’s an excerpt from “Grandmother Corn,” a story I wrote a few years ago:
She came on the waters, traveling many miles and many moons on a wooden raft bound with sinew and vines. Attentive to every sound and sight and smell, she searched along the shore for signs of the villages she’d seen in her dreams. Grandmother knew the people were hungry. She’d seen the rippling effects of their fears. Guided by her visions, she followed the currents of the wild waters, carrying bundles of ancient medicines for those calling to her.
Drawn to the laughter bubbling up from beneath a canopy of trees, she came upon a group of children playing where the river meets the land. Grandmother drifted into the cove, chanting her Greeting Song. With wide-eyed curiosity, the children waded into the waters, giggling and holding each other’s hands. They pulled the raft into shore, staring at the old woman who’d come from Upriver. With her long silvery hair, wrinkled dark skin and green eyes shining like stars, she was unlike anyone they’d ever seen.
The old woman and the young ones were soon playing together like long-lost friends, splashing in the waters, painting their faces with mud. The children drank in the grandmother’s love as if they were famished. They breathed in her joy, filling themselves up. They devoured her stories and songs. When the sun began to soften the late afternoon sky, Grandmother waded into the river, listening to the currents pulling at her feet.
She gathered up a bundle from the raft, her every move followed by a circle of curious young eyes. Sitting on a boulder, the old woman cradled an emerald green turtle shell in her lap. The children gathered around, trying to get a closer look. Humming softly, the grandmother lifted up layers of furs to reveal a mound of woven pouches tied with ribbons of vine, all tucked inside the bowl of the turtle shell.
Calling them each by name, Grandmother handed every child a pouch. She told them stories about the sacred bundles of corn they held in their hands. The children listened intently to the instructions for planting. Grandmother taught them the old ways of blessing the soil, of calling in the sun and the rains, of making offerings to the Spirit of the Corn.
The children danced in celebration, feeling the abundance take root and come alive inside their own knowing. With the gifts of the corn, they would always be fed – all the people, all the land, would forever be fed. With Grandmother’s corn, even their dreams would have space to grow. No more empty bellies and hungry hearts.
(read the whole story in UnLeashing Love, a free ebook…click here)