"One with Nature" by Lee Bogle

“Oniata’s themes are recreation and good sportsmanship.  Her symbols are early-blooming flowers and snow.  Oniata, an Iroquois Goddess, embodies what it means to be a good sport. According to legend She came to live with the Iroquois, who found Her beauty distracting, so much so that men left their families just to catch a glimpse of her radiance. When Oniata found out about this, rather than getting angry with the men, She left the earth. The only trace of Her beauty She left behind was the sprouting of spring flowers peeking out from melting snow.

Plant some early blooming seeds today so that when they blossom, Oniata’s good humor and temperament can also bloom in your life.

In Ottawa, Canada, people take this opportunity to enjoy the last remnants of winter by celebrating Winterlude and participating various sporting activities (especially skating) and by making snow sculptures. Try the latter activity yourself; perhaps create a flower out of packed snow to honor and welcome Oniata.

If you live in a warm climate, you can blend up some ice cubes to a snowy consistency for sculpting, and make it into a snow cone afterward to internalize the energy!

Or, consider going to an ice rink for a little rest and relaxation. Return outside and appreciate any flowers nearby. Oniata lives in their fragrance and loveliness.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Onatah (pronounced ‘oh-nah-TAH’) is the Iroquois Goddess of corn. She is the beloved daughter of Eithinoha, or Mother Earth. Her name actually means ‘Earth’s daughter’ or ‘of the earth.’ The Iroquois people are originally from what is now New York State. Along with beans and squash, corn was a major staple of their diet.

The story of Onatah is an interesting one. One day, Onatah was kidnapped by the Lord of the Underworld. Her mother became frantic, searching all over for Her. But She couldn’t find Her. She had no help, because the sun god was hibernating for the winter. While Onatah was missing, the crops failed to grow. When the sun god finally woke up, he joined the search and figured out where She was. He heated the ground until it split open, and Onatah was able to escape. With Onatah back, the earth flourished again.

But the spirits of the Underworld missed Onatah, and when the sun god fell asleep again, they recaptured Her. And so the story continues every year, over and over again. When Onatah is in the Underworld, nothing can grow. Spring will only come when She is rescued again.

Does this story sound a tad familiar? Reminiscent of a myth regarding a certain bride of Hades? Well, yes, it does sound remarkably like the story of Persephone and Hades. It stands to reason that every culture that lived in an area with four seasons probably has a story like this. Onatah’s is simply a variation of a theme.” [1]

“Another legend says that men, attracted by Oniata’s loveliness, fought over Her.  When the Iroquois women complained, Oniata explained that She never wished for men’s attentions.  To ensure that the men would return to their families, She left the earth, leaving behind only spring wildflowers.” [2]

Click here to read The Story of Oniata found in The Legends of the Iroquois as told by “The Cornplanter” © 1902.