Tag Archive: corn


Goddess Sakwa Mana

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“Blue Corn Maiden” by Cher Lyn

“Sakwa Mana’s themes are prayer, communications, cycles, harvest, health and joy. Her symbols are the color blue, corn, prayer sticks and pine. The Hopi Blue Corn Maiden, this Goddess participates in the Soyal festival by carrying a tray of blue corn and spruce bows, both of which represent the Goddess’s ongoing providence, no matter the reason.

The Zuni and Hopi gather in kivas today and celebrate Soyal, the winter solstice ceremony of the Zuni and Hopi. They celebrate in order to comfort and bring happiness to the old year so that the new one will be filled with earth’s and Sakwa Mana’s bounty. Several customary activities today are fun to try. First, offer the gift of a feather to a friend. This ensures them of a new year filled with health and joy. To invoke Sakwa Mana’s blessing on the gift, pack it with a few pine needles. Over time, the feather will absorb the Goddess’s aroma and disperse her power each time it’s fanned in ritual.

Making a sun shield brings victory in your life over any darkness holding you back. To create a simple one, cut out a round piece of paper and decorate it with your creative vision of the sun. Either keep this with you or put it in a predominant spot in your home. When success comes, burn the paper with a thankful heart.Finally, find a fallen pine twig outside and attach a small feather to it. This represents both the Goddess and your wish for a gentle voice in prayer.”

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

Gilbert-Atencio-Blue-Corn-Maiden

“Blue Corn Maiden” by Gilbert Atencio

According to Hopi legend, Blue Corn Maiden was the prettiest of the corn maiden sisters. The Pueblo People loved Her very much, and loved the delicious blue corn that She gave them all year long. Not only was Blue Corn Maiden beautiful, but She also had a kind and gentle spirit. She brought peace and happiness to the People of the Pueblos.

One cold winter day, Blue Corn Maiden went out to gather firewood. This was something She would not normally do. While She was out of Her adobe house, She saw Winter Katsina. Winter Katsina is the spirit who brings the winter to the earth. He wore his blue and-white mask and blew cold wind with his breath. But when Winter Katsina saw Blue Corn Maiden, he loved Her at once.

He invited Her to come to his house, and She had to go with him. Inside his house, he blocked the windows with ice and the doorway with snow and made Blue Corn Maiden his prisoner. Although Winter Katsina was very kind to Blue Corn Maiden and loved Her very much, She was sad living with him. She wanted to go back to Her own house and make the blue corn grow for the People of the Pueblos.

Winter Katsina went out one day to do his duties, and blow cold wind upon the earth and scatter snow over the mesas and valleys. While he was gone, Blue Corn Maiden pushed the snow away from the doorway, and went out of the house to look for the plants and foods She loved to find in summer. Under all the ice and snow, all She found was four blades of yucca.

She took the yucca back to Winter Katsina’s house and started a fire. Winter Katsina would not allow Her to start a fire when he was in the house.

When the fire was started, the snow in the doorway fell away and in walked Summer Katsina. Summer Katsina carried in one hand fresh corn and in the other many blades of yucca. He came toward his friend Blue Corn Maiden.

Just then, Winter Katsina stormed through the doorway followed by a roar of winter wind. Winter Katsina carried an icicle in his right hand, which he held like a flint knife, and a ball of ice in his left hand, which he wielded like a hand-ax. It looked like Winter Katsina intended to fight with Summer Katsina.

As Winter Katsina blew a blast of cold air, Summer Katsina blew a warm breeze. When Winter Katsina raised his icicle-knife, Summer Katsina raised his bundle of yucca leaves, and they caught fire. The fire melted the icicle.

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“Corn Maiden” by Hrana Janto

Winter Katsina saw that he needed to make peace with Summer Katsina, not war. The two sat and talked.

They agreed that Blue Corn Maiden would live among the People of the Pueblos and give them Her blue corn for half of the year, in the time of Summer Katsina. The other half of the year, Blue Corn Maiden would live with Winter Katsina and the People would have no corn.

Blue Corn Maiden went away with Summer Katsina, and he was kind to Her. She became the sign of springtime, eagerly awaited by the People.

Sometimes, when spring has come already, Winter Katsina will blow cold wind suddenly, or scatter snow when it is not the snow time. He does this just to show how displeased he is to have to give up Blue Corn Maiden for half of the year.

 

 

 

Sources:

Firstpeople.us, “Blue Corn Maiden and the coming of Winter“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Brownielocks.com, “The History of the Soyaluna (Soyal, Soyala, Sol-ya-lang-eu)“.

Great-spirit-mother.org, “Corn Mother creation story“.

Lyn, Cher. Mysticartmedicine.com, “Blue Corn Maiden“.

Pyramidmesa.com, “The Revenge of Blue Corn Ear Maiden“.

Also see my previous posts on Yellow Woman, First Woman, Selu, Corn Mother, and Iyatiku.

Goddess Yellow Woman

Corn Maiden by kelpie2004

“Yellow Woman’s themes are nature, providence and animals. Her symbols are yellow items, green items and embroidered items. This Pueblo Goddess of magic, agriculture and the hunt is also the heroine of many local stories, having taught humans important sacred ceremonies. Today She helps us remember these rituals and reintegrate the into our lives. Art depicts Yellow Woman wearing an embroidered blanket-dress, a green mask (revealing Her connection to nature), and a white mantle. Sometimes She appears as a Corn Goddess and other times as a witch, bear, or ogress.

This is a time of the Buffalo Dance, which honors nature and mimes, and ancient hunting ritual thought to ensure a successful hunt. This dance is a type of sympathetic magic that also appeases the souls of the animals about to be captured.  For our purposes, this equates to a kind of ritual mime in which we enact our hopes as realized, asking Yellow Woman to guide our movements so they will manifest in magic.  For example, to improve self-love, give yourself a hug so you receive that energy. For relationships, open your arms wide so they await the right person (figuratively receiving a ‘good catch’, which is in Yellow Woman’s dominion too!)

To improve awareness of the significance of ritual, eat corn today or wear yellow, white, and/or green clothing. Embroidered items also please this Goddess.”

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

Hopi Hemis Kachin Mana Kachina

From The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky: “Southwestern indigenous aboriginals and pueblo peoples – the Arikara, Pawnee, Cheyenne, Mandan, Hidasta, Abnaki, Cherokee and Huron – see corn as a Goddess. Corn Woman encompasses the figures of Corn Mother, the Corn Maidens, and Yellow Woman. They all relate to corn as a sacred being who gives of Herself to Her people to sustain them and nourish them. The Arikara Creator God, Nesaru, fashioned Corn Mother from an ear of corn which grew in heaven.  Corn Mother then came to earth and taught people how to honor the deities and to plant corn.” [1]

“Corn Woman or Maiden who is a figure in many stories. She may appear as a kachina mana, that is, a female kachina. At Cochiti, for example, Yellow Woman kachina wears a green mask and has Her hair done in butterfly whorls on the sides of Her head. She wears an embroidered ceremonial blanket as a dress and an all-white manta over Her shoulders. Yellow Woman tends to be a stock heroine in many stories, taking on a wide range of identities, including bride, witch, chiefs daughter, bear woman, and ogress.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Americanindianoriginals.com, “Kachina Dolls: Their Meaning and Tribal Development – Corn Maiden Kachina Doll“.

Marashinsky, Amy Sophia. The Goddess Oracle, “Corn Woman“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Jukiewicz, Carol E. Groups.yahoo.com/group/indigenous_peoples_literature, “[indigenous_peoples_literature] Yellow Woman stories“.

Kachina-doll-shop.com, “Kachina Names & Meanings“.

Nagoda-Bergquist, Susi. Coyoteandanotherone.com, “Yellow Woman, The Moon“.

Redaspen.blogspot.com, “Evil Kachina and Yellow Corn Woman“.

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Yellow Woman.

Yellow Woman Stories [PDF from boblyman.net]

Yellow-Woman—talking-points [Female Archetypes and “Yellow Woman” DOC from TeacherWeb]

Goddess Meme

 

“African Spirit Series II” by Ricardo Chávez-Méndez

“Meme’s themes are ghosts, joy, health, offerings, longevity and the harvest. Her symbols are beer and corn. The Ugandan creatrix of life, Meme was also the first woman of the region. In Her human form She taught shamans the art of healing, and She continues to be called upon to aid in all matters of health and well-being.

The Misisi Beer Festival in Uganda takes place right after the millet harvest, with a plethora of beer, plantain, bullock and chicken. Any of these foods can be added to your diet today in thankfulness for Meme’s providence.

Follow Ugandan custom and join with your family or friends. The eldest member of the gathering should pour a libation to the ground in Meme’s name and then offer the rest to those gathered. This mini-ritual ensures long life and unity for everyone. It also ensures a good harvest the next year (of a literal or figurative nature).

To inspire Meme’s health or request her aid in overcoming a specific fall malady, carry a corn kernel with you today, and consume corn during your dinner meal. Bless the corn beforehand to ingest this Goddess’s vitality.

Alternatively, take a small bowl of beer and place a finger into it. Channel your negativity and illness into the beer (visualize this as dark, muddy water leaving your body), then pour it out to disperse that negative energy and give it into the Goddess’s care.”

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

I couldn’t find anything at all at first on today’s Goddess.  I thought that Meme was perhaps another name for the Goddess Mawu at first, as She is described as a supreme deity and creatrix of the universe and life; or even Her daughter, Gbadu who was the first woman that Mawu had created…or even Nowa – an African shaman Goddess.  I finally did though come across Meme’s name while doing a search in Google Books.

“Mother Nature IV” by Anthony Burks

In African Mythology, A to Z, Meme is mentioned under an entry on about a god named Adroa.  “Adroa is a god of the Lugbara people of central Africa. Adroa has two aspects: one good and one evil. He is the creator of Heaven and Earth, and he appears to those about to die. His good and bad aspects are depicted as two half bodies: the evil one is short and coal black while his good aspect is tall and white.” [1]  “Adroa created the first man and woman – a pair of twins, Gborogboro [‘the person coming from the sky’] and Meme [‘the person who came alone’].  Meme gave birth to all the animals and then to another pair of male-female twins.  These first sets of twins were really not human; they had supernatrual powers and perform magical deeds.  After several generations of male-female miraculous twins, the hero-anscetors Jaki and Dribidu were born.  Their sons were said to be the founders of the present-day Lugbara clans” (Lynch & Roberts, p. 4).

 

 

 

Sources:

Lynch, Patricia Ann & Jeremy Roberts. African Mythology, A to Z, Adroa“.

Wikipedia, “Adroa“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Middleton, John. Lugbara Religion: Ritual and Authority Among an East African People.

Newuganda.com, “Lugbara People and Their Culture“.

Wikipedia, “Lugbara Mythology“.

Goddess Annapurna

“Annapurna’s themes are providence, prosperity and charity. Her symbols are corn and grain.  This Indian grain Goddess is kind and charitable, providing to those in need. According to tradition, Annapurna watches over the world’s storehouses when supplies wane, and over the storehouse of our soul when our spirits hunger.

The United Nations created World Food Day to draw public attention to the world’s food problems and promote cooperation among people to battle hunger and poverty.

Today is an excellent time to give some canned goods to a local food pantry or shelter, especially corn or grain products. The canning process preserves Annapirna’s energy for providence to help those less fortunate turn their lives around in powerful ways, or at least to reclaim some sense of dignity. Say a brief prayer over the goods before giving them away so the Goddess’s blessing will inspire renewal for those in need.

To keep Annapurna’s providence in your home, take any grain product and sprinkle it around the outside perimeter of the dwelling. The birds will carry your need to the Goddess. If you must perform this spell indoors, sweep up the grain in a clockwise manner and keep it in an airtight container to preserve its positive energy. Release a pinch of this to a northerly wind any time you need money quickly.”

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

“Annapurna or Annapoorna is the Hindu Goddess of nourishment. Anna means food and grains. Purna means full, complete and perfect. She is a form of Parvati [who is one of the numerous forms of Shakti], the consort of Shiva. Annapurna is eulogised in Annada Mangal, a narrative poem in Bengali by Bharatchandra Ray.

Annapurna is the Goddess of the city of Kashi (now known as Varanasi, U.P., India). Kasi is also known as the City of Light. Ka means the cause, a means the manifestation of consciousness, sa means peace and I is the causal body. Kasi is also the place which causes consciousness to manifest the highest peace of the causal body. And She is the Supreme Goddess of the City of Kasi.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “‘Food giver’ was the name of this ancient Indian Goddess whom some scholars connect with Rome’s Anna Perenna.  A common household deity, often depicted enthroned and feeding a child from a full ladle, Anapurna was especially significant to the city of Benares, where harvest festivals honored Her.

The Hindus, finding it necessary to systematize their complex pantheon, called Her a form of Durga or of Devi, but She retained Her rulership over food production and distribution” (p. 48).

One of Her myths says that “once Goddess Parvati was told by Her consort Shiva that the world is an illusion and that food is a part of this illusion called maya.

The Divine Mother who is worshipped as the manifestation of all material things, including food, became angry. To demonstrate the importance of Her manifestation of all that is material She disappeared from the world.

Her disappearance brought time to a standstill and the earth became barren. There was no food to be found anywhere and all the beings suffered from the pangs of hunger.

Seeing all the suffering, Mother Parvati was filled with compassion and reappeared in Kasi and set up a Kitchen.

Hearing about Her return, Shiva ran to Her and presented his bowl in alms saying, ‘Now I realise that the material world, like the spirit, cannot be dismissed as an illusion.’ Parvati smiled and fed Shiva with Her own hands.

Since then Parvati is worshipped as Annapurna, the Goddess of Nourishment.

Annapurna has many names. The Annapurna Sahasranam presents Her one thousand names and the Annapurna Shatanama Stotram contains 108 of Her names. She is variously described as:

  • She who is full, complete and perfect with food and grains
  • She who gives nourishment
  • She who is the strength of Shiva
  • She who is the grantor of knowledge
  • She who takes away all fear
  • She who is the Supreme welfare
  • She who manifests truth and efficiency
  • She who is beyond Maya
  • She who is the cause of creation and dissolution
  • She who is adi sakthi

Physically, Annapurna is described as holding a golden ladle adorned with various kinds of jewels in Her right hand and a vessel full of delicious porridge in Her left. She is seated on a throne. In some depictions, Lord Shiva is shown standing to Her right with a begging bowl, begging Her for alms.

It is said that She does not eat a morsel unless all Her devotees have been fed in Her temple.

She is worshipped through the recitation of Her thousand names and her one hundred and eight names. The Sri Annapurna Ashtakam composed by Shankaracharya is chanted by several devout Hindus around the world as a prayer for nourishment, wisdom, and renunciation. Before partaking of any food, Hindus chant the following prayer:

‘Oh Annapurna, who is always full, complete, and perfect. Beloved energy of Lord Shiva, for the attainment of perfection in wisdom and renunciation, give me alms, Parvati.

My mother is Goddess Parvati, my father is the Supreme Lord Maheswara (Shiva). My relatives are the devotees of Lord Shiva, and the three worlds are my Motherland.’

The Annapurna Vrat Katha containing stories of Her devotees are also recited by Her devotees.

The most well-known temple dedicated to Goddess Annapurna is in Varanasi, U.P., India. Adjacent to the Sanctum of the Goddess is the Kasi Viswanath temple. The two are separated by only a few yards. Annapurna is regarded as the queen of Varanasi alongside Her husband Vishweshwar (Shiva), the King of Varanasi.

In the temple, at noon time, food offerings to the Goddess are distributed to the elderly and disabled daily. During the Autumn Navaratri food is distributed on a larger scale.

The other famous temple is Annapoorneshwari Temple, situated at Horanadu in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, where evening prayers are held after the devotees are fed. Another famous temple of the Goddess is situated in Cherukunnu, Kannur, Kerala.” [2]

“The Annapurna Ashtakam is one of the shlokas or hymns to Dea or Devi in Her personification as Annapurna, composed in Sanskrit by the great eighth century enlightened sage (jnana), vedanta philosopher, religious reformer and monastic Sri Adi Shankara.” [3]  Click here to view a beautiful rendition of The Annapurna Ashtakam on Youtube (It’s in 2 parts).

 

 

Sources:

Eternalfeminine.wikispaces.com, “Annapurna Ashtakam of Sri Adi Shankara“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Anapurna”.

Wikipedia, “Annapoorna devi“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Bharath.K. Bharathkidilse.blogspot.com, “Annapoorneshwari Devi“.

Chatterjee, Aparna. Ayurveda-florida.com, “Annapurna Devi“.

Hindudevotionalblog.com, “Sri Annapurna Ashtakam Lyrics and Video Song“.

Festivals.igiftstoindia.com, “Annapurna“.

 

Goddess Çhicomecoatl

“Çhicomecoatl’s themes are fire, providence, energy, community, abundance, fertility and strength. Her symbols are hot spices (especially chili peppers), corn and fire.  In Mexico, this Goddess presides over maize and all matters of plenty during this time of harvest. Çhicomecoatl is also the hearth Goddess and provides warmth, energy and fertility in those in need. Her fiery, strong character is depicted vibrantly in artistic renderings in which Çhicomecoatl bears the sun as a shield.

Around this time of year, people in New Mexico celebrate The Whole Enchilada Festival in which they enjoy a day of taste-testing a ten-foot-long enchilada in a communal atmosphere, and you might like to follow suit.  The hot spices in enchiladas (or other Mexican foods you like) motivate Çhicomecoatl’s fire within for physical and emotional warmth. If you’re sensitive to hot peppers, add corn to your diet today instead. This invokes the Goddess’s strength and fertility.

More simply still, Çhicomecoatl abides in any fire source. So, light a candle first thing in the morning to welcome Her into your home today. For portable magic, carry matches or put a lighter in your pocket. Throughout the day, light a match or the lighter when ever you need a boost of energy or vitality, or when you need to improve your communications with those around you. This action also draws Çhicomecoatl’s attention to your financial needs.”

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

“In Aztec mythology, Chicomecōātl (‘Seven snakes’), was the Aztec Goddess of agriculture during the Middle Culture period. She is sometimes called ‘Goddess of nourishment’, a Goddess of plenty and the female aspect of corn. Every September a young girl representing Chicomecōātl was sacrificed. The priests decapitated the girl, collected her blood and poured it over a figurine of the Goddess. The corpse was then flayed and the skin was worn by a priest.

She is regarded as the female counterpart of the maize god Centeōtl, their symbol being an ear of corn. She is occasionally called Xilonen, (‘the hairy one’, which referred to the hairs on unshucked maize), who was married also to Tezcatlipoca.

She often appeared with attributes of Chalchiuhtlicue, such as Her headdress and the short lines rubbing down Her cheeks. She is usually distinguished by being shown carrying ears of maize.” [1]

“CHICOMECOATL” by ~marffi89

“This maize Goddess of the Aztecs had many forms, as many as did the growing corn: She was a maiden decked with water flowers, a young woman whose embrace brought death, a mother carrying the sun as a shield.  One of the most popular divinities of ancient Mexico, She was depicted wearing a four-sided headdress and carrying a magic corncob labeled ‘forgiving strength.’  It is possible that Çhicomecoatl was originally worshiped by the residents of central Mexico who preceded the Aztecs, and that Her rites in their era were less bloody than the Aztec sacrifices of young girls in Çhicomecoatl’s name” (Monaghan, p. 85).

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Chicomecoatl”.

Wikipedia, “Chicomecoatl“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Key, Anne. Matrifocus.com, “Chicomecóatl: Goddess of Sustenance“. (HIGHLY RECOMMEND!  As always is the case with MatriFocus, a great in-depth article)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Maize Deity (Chicomecoatl)“.

Cherokee First Woman

“Cherokee First Woman’s themes are spirituality, Universal Truth, unity, cleansing and abundance. Her symbols are all animals and plants.  This Goddess appears in Cherokee myths as an ancestress to the tribe and creatrix of all animals and plants. After the world was first inhabited, Cherokee First Woman continued to give birth to one child a year (this child may have symbolized the new year). Additionally, She motivates the earth’s bounty and generates abundance to sustain us through the months ahead.

Around this time of year, Cherokee tribes often hold a festival of offerings meant to celebrate their unity with the Sacred Parents and reunite them with this power. One custom easy to follow is that of exchanging clothes with a loved one; this symbolizes oneness among humans, the Gods, and each other.

Washing in running water today (shower or tap) will cleanse away any barrier that stands between you and the Goddess. If you hold a formal ritual today, place a bowl of water near the circle where each participant can rinse their hands to invoke Cherokee First Woman’s blessing and purification. Finally, drink a tall glass of spring water today to release this Goddess’s spiritual nature, rejuvenation, and abundance into every cell.”

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

“Corn Dawn Maiden” by Marti Fenton (White Deer Song)

Cherokee.org recounts the legend of Cherokee First Woman: “After the Great One had created the Earth and all the plants and animals, he created a tall brown man with beautiful straight hair to help Him on Earth. The Great One placed the strong, brown Cherokee man in the beautiful Smoky Mountains.

After a time the Great One remembered that although each man sometimes needs to be alone, each man would also need companionship to be his best. When the Cherokee man was sleeping, the Great One caused a green plant to grow up tall over the heart of the man.

The plant had long graceful leaves, an ear and golden tassel. As the plant grew, a beautiful, tall, brown woman began to appear at the top of the stalk. The man awoke and helped the beautiful woman down from the corn stalk.

Over a period of time, the man and woman built a home and planted the kernels from the corn. The turkey, a sacred bird of the Cherokee, showed the woman that the corn was ready to eat. When the man came in for supper, she pulled an ear of roasted corn from the pot and offered it to him. He began to eat the first corn of Spring.

The first woman was called Selu or Corn Woman.

NOTE: This is only one legend of how woman came to be on this earth. Because we are brothers of the Iroquois, we have a story very similar to the Sky Woman story.” [1]

 

 
Sources:

Cherokee.org, “Legend of the First Woman“.

 

Suggestion Links:

Firstpeople.us, “The Legend of the First Woman“.

Francis, Robert. Manataka.org, “Four Important Cherokee Stories“.

Gly.uga.edu, “The Story of Corn and Medicine“.

Native-languages.org, “Legendary Native American Figures: Selu“.

Neutrallandscherokee.com, “Cherokee Story of Creation“.

Wikipedia, “Cherokee Mythology“.

Goddess Baba Yaga

“Baba Yaga” by ~sgorbissa

“Baba Yaga’s themes are the harvest, rest, providence, thankfulness and cycles. Her symbols are corn sheafs, wreaths of wheat, corn, rye and wild flowers.  This Lithuanian/Russian Goddess of regeneration, Baba Yaga is typically represented as the last sheaf of corn in today’s festivities – Obzinky. As both young and old, She reawakens in us an awareness of time’s ever-moving wheel, the seasons and the significance of both to our Goddess-centered magic.

Follow with the tradition and make or buy a wreath or bundle of corn shucks or other harvest items. Keep this in your home to inspire Baba Yaga’s providence and prosperity for everyone who lives there.

For breakfast, consume a multigrain cereal, rye bagels or wheat toast. Keep a few pieces of dried grains or toasted breads with you. This way you’ll internalize Baba Yaga’s timeliness for coping with your day more effectively and efficiently, and you’ll carry Her providence with you no matter the circumstances.

Feast on newly harvested foods, thanking Baba Yaga as the maker of your meal. Make sure you put away one piece of corn that will not be consumed today, however. Dry it and hang it up to ensure a good harvest the next year, for your garden, pocketbook or heart.

Finally, decorate your home or office with a handful of wild flowers (even dandelions qualify). Baba Yaga’s energy will follow them and you to where it’s most needed.”

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

“Baba Yaga” by Hrana Janto

Patricia Monaghan writes that “the ‘old woman’ of autumn was called Baba by the Slavic inhabitants of eastern Europe, Boba by the Lithuanians. This seasonal divinity lived in the last sheaf of grain harvested in a year, and the woman who bound it would bear a child that year. Baba passed into Russian folk legend as the awesome Baba Yaga, a witchlike woman who rowed through the air in a mortar, using a pestle for Her oar, sweeping the traces of Her flight from the air with a broom.

A prototype of the fairytale witch, Baba Yaga lived deep in the forest and scared passersby to death just by appearing to them. She then devoured Her victims, which is why Her picket fence was topped with skulls. Behind this fierce legend looms the figure of the ancient birth-and-death Goddess, one whose autumn death in the cornfield led to a new birth in spring” (p. 65).

“Baba” by Karlen Tam

As explained by Freya: “Usually, Baba Yaga is a frightening Witch who lives in the middle of a very deep forest, in a place which is often difficult to find unless a magic clue (a ball of yarn or thread) or a magic feather shows the way. The old hag lives in a wooden hut on two chicken legs (sometimes three or four legs are described). Usually the hut is turned with its back towards a traveler, and only magical words can make it turn around on its chicken legs to face the newcomer. Very often, the hut revolves with loud noises and painful screams that make a visitor cringe. This serves to frighten the reader, showing the hut’s old age, and to show that Baba Yaga does not care about her hut’s well being. It is also fascinating that some fairy tales describe the hut as being a unique evil entity: firstly, it has the ability to move on its chicken legs. Secondly, it understands human language and is able to decide whether and when to let a visitor enter its premises. Finally, the hut is often depicted as being able ‘to see’ with its eyes (its windows) and ‘to speak’ with its mouth (its doorway). I also cannot help feeling that the hut is able ‘to think’, and one can observe these thoughts as wild powerful clouds of steam emerging from the hut’s chimney. What powerful imagery!

Baba Yaga’s hut is often surrounded by fence made of human bones and topped with human skulls with eyes. Instead of wooden poles onto which the gates are hung, human legs are used; instead of bolts, human hands are put in; instead of the keyhole, a mouth with sharp teeth is mounted. Very often Baba Yaga has her hut is protected by hungry dogs or is being watched over by evil geese-swans or is being guarded by a black cat. The gates of Baba Yaga’s villa are also often found to be guardians of Yaga’s hut as they either lock out or lock in the Witch’s prey.” [1]  (You can click on the [1] to finish reading the imagery).

“Baba Yaga” by ~lpeters

She quite reminds me of another well known Goddess, Kali.  Freya goes onto explain: “Baba Yaga is a Slavic version of Kali, the Hindu Goddess of Death, the Dancer on Gravestones. Although, more often than not, we consider Baba Yaga as a symbol of death, She is a representation of the Crone in the Triple Goddess symbolism. She is the Death that leads to Rebirth. It is curious that some Slavic fairy tales show Baba Yaga living in Her hut with Her two other sisters, also Baba Yagas. In this sense, Baba Yaga becomes full Triple Goddess, representing Virgin, Mother, and the Crone. Baba Yaga is also sometimes described as a guardian of the Water of Life and Death. When one is killed by sword or by fire, when sprinkled with the Water of Death, all wounds heal, and after that, when the corpse is sprinkled with the Water of Life, it is reborn. The symbolism of oven in the Baba Yaga fairy tales is very powerful since from primordial times the oven has been a representation of womb and of baked bread. The womb, of course, is a symbol of life and birth, and the baked bread is a very powerful the image of earth, a place where one’s body is buried to be reborn again. It is interesting that Baba Yaga invites Her guests to clean up and eat before eating them, as though preparing them for their final journey, for entering the death, which will result in a new clean rebirth. Baba Yaga also gives Her prey a choice when She asks them to sit on Her spatula to be placed inside the oven: if one is strong or witty, he or she escapes the fires of the oven, for weak or dim-witted ones, the road to death becomes clear.” [2]

As Fiana Sidhe explains: “Baba Yaga is a very misunderstood Goddess. She is not just the stereotypical wicked witch. She often appears as a frightening old hag, but can also appear as a beautiful woman who bestows gifts.

She is wild and untamed but also can be kind and generous. Even in Her haggard form, Baba Yaga has many gifts to share.

Baba Yaga is the old crone who guards The Waters of Life and Death. She is the White Lady of Death and Rebirth, and is also known as The Ancient Goddess of Old Bones. The old bones are symbolic of the things we cling to, but must finally let lie. When we experience a death, darkness, depression, or spiritual emptiness in our lives, we journey to Baba Yaga’s hut, where She washes new life into us. She collects our bones and pours the waters on them, while She sings and chants and causes us to be reborn. She destroys and then She resurrects. Baba Yaga symbolizes the death of ignorance. She forces us to see our true, darkest selves, then She grants us a deep wisdom that we can attain by accepting the dark shadows within ourselves. We can only receive help from Baba Yaga by learning humility. Her gifts can destroy or enlighten us.” [3]

I absolutely love this explanation of Baby Yaga as the Wild Woman written by Sr. Dea Phoebe: “So, while She is certainly a dark Goddess, a death Goddess, and may even seem ‘wicked’ in ways, Baba Yaga is hardly the villain of Her stories. But also, Baba Yaga is not a nice, clean, civilized Goddess. In the story of Valalisa the Wise, triple Goddess imagery repeats throughout – in Valalisa and her doll’s white, red, and black clothing, (colors traditionally associated with the Maiden, Mother, and Crone,) in the repetition of threes throughout the story (three colors, three enemies in the stepfamily, three riders, three tasks, three questions, three pairs of hands) and in Valalisa, (the maiden beginning her journey), her mother (who has given Valalisa gifts to guide her), and of course, in Baba Yaga as the crone. As a denizen of the deep forest, Baba Yaga is the wild aspect of the psyche, what Estés calls [in her book Women Who Run with the Wolves] the Wild Hag or the Wild Woman —not the gentle grandmother that bakes you cookies and tells you stories, but the stern grandmother that might just smack your rear with a spoon and tell you to smarten up! She is not pretty to look at, and she represents the deepest mysteries of death. No wonder she has a reputation of a scary old witch!

“Baba Yaga” by *MarkTarrisse

When we work with Baba Yaga, when we take that path into the deep forest to face the mysteries of death and emerge with the light of wisdom, we also face the wild aspects of ourselves. They may not be pretty, they may have long stringy hair and iron teeth and a wild cackle, but they also hold mysteries our more civilized day-to-day selves never think upon. Baba Yaga is not tied by social norms and mores. She flies about in yet another symbol of transformation; She wipes away the signs of Her passing so you’re never sure if She’s really been there. She’s rude, She’s crude, and She lives in a hut that doesn’t have the manners to sit down and stay like we expect a house should—and you can bet She enjoys all of this. She is less concerned about what is civilized and polite than what is true.

When you find yourself in need of true wisdom, when you find yourself being too nice, too polite in the face of ongoing boundary violations, when you find yourself stagnated by the expectations of others, it might just be time to retrieve your Wild Woman (or Man.) It might be time to brave the forest and meet Baba Yaga.” [4]

ASSOCIATIONS:

Astrological Sign: Scorpio

Colors: White, red, and black

Gemstones: Garnet, bloodstone, tourmaline, smoky quartz

Goddesses: Hecate, Hel, Kali

Goddess Aspect: Crone

Festival Date: January 20

Herbs/Flowers: Patchouli, sandalwood, geranium

Moon Phase: Waning/Dark

Other Names: Baba, Boba, Baba Den, Jezi Baba

Sacred Animals: Snake, cat

Season: Autumn

Symbols: Mortar and pestle, broom

Tree: Birch                                   [5]

 

 

 

Sources:

Arteal. Order of the White Moon, “Baba Yaga“.

Freya. Realmagick.com, “Baba Yaga: A Demon or A Goddess?

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Baba Yaga”.

Phoebe, Sr. Dea. Order of Our Lady of Salt, “The Goddess and the Wheel: Baba Yaga – Wicked Witches and Wild Women“.

Sidhe, Fiana. Matrifocus.com, “Baba Yaga, The Bone Mother“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Goddess-guide.com, “Crone Goddesses“.

Mydailygoddess.blogspot.com, “Baba Yaga – Wild Woman“.

Oldrussia.net, “Baba Yaga“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Baba Yaga: cross the shadow side – then come out!

Russianclub.com.ua, “Baba-Yaga“.

Russiapedia.rt.com, “Of Russina origin: Baba Yaga“.

Sacred-texts.com, “Baba Yaga“.

Weed, Susun. Matrifocus.com, “Baba Yaga Stories“.

Wikipedia, “Baba Yaga“.

Goddess Selu

“Selu’s themes are the harvest, the weather and growth. Her symbol is corn.  This Southeastern Native American corn Goddess planted Her very heart so people wouldn’t go hungry. Corn sprouted from it. To this day, Her spirit teaches us how to refertilize the earth to bring us the sustenance we need.

In this primary festival (the Fiesta de Santa Clara) among the Pueblo Native Americans, Santa Clara replaced Selu, the spirit of the corn, when Christianity took hold. For the Pueblo, corn is a staple, so as the sun reigns in power they dance for rain and evoke the Corn Spirit for every portion of the crop’s growth. Following this tradition, if it’s raining today, go outside and rejoice in Selu’s growth-related energy. Dance with a bit of cron (or eat some beforehand) to invoke her powers for progress in any area of your life.

If your region has needed rain lately, try drumming for it while scattering corn kernels mingled with pine needles on the ground. The corn and needles act as a gift to the Godedss and the sound they make is a kind of sympathetic magic to draw the rain.”

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

“Corn Dawn Mother” by Marti Fenton

“Selu is the Cherokee (Tsalagi language) name for the Corn Mother who is worshiped by nearly all Native American tribes. She is called by many names but almost all literally translate to ‘Corn Mother’ ‘Corn Maiden’ or ‘Corn Woman’ (see my July 2 entry on “Corn Mother“). Often the name the Corn Mother Goddess is known by is used as the common word for ‘corn’ as well. Selu is the Goddess of the Harvest of course, but also wisdom, magic, hunting (as the wife of Kanati the God of the Hunt,) and various other domains. She was often the most honored ‘Mother’ Goddess among many tribes including the Cherokee.

The Aztec called her Chicomecoatl and She was their the Goddess of Corn and of all Fertility (of crops, livestock, wild animals, and people’s own fertility.)During one month the Goddess of ‘maize’ (Corn) was the patron deity in the religious celebrations. The main corn blessing rite was led by many Priestesses each carrying seven ears of corn wrapped in fancy cloth on their backs, wearing fancy make-up and feather decorated dresses. At the setting of the sun the Priestesses threw colored corn into the crowds, symbolizing the Corn Goddess Chicomecoatl’s blessing the tribe with fertility for the coming harvest season.

The Hopi called Her ‘Qocha Mana.’ That tribe also has one of the most beautiful Corn Woman tales. They say that it took place long long ago. The men of the village had went out on a hunt. It was mid-winter and there was only a little food in left the village. The women and children stayed behind to wait their return. The men were due to return in three sunsets time but got lost in the snow storm. The menfolk were gone for 20 sunsets instead and when they returned home, all the children ran out to greet them. The men were happy to see the children but were perplexed that their wives and sweethearts were not coming out to greet them. As they entered the village, they found all of the women dead. They rationed the food out to only the children thus sacrificed themselves so that their children could live on. The village shaman told the men ‘We must dance the Dance of Thanksgiving, for the bounty we have returned with’. The men protested, ‘How can we have a Thanksgiving Dance with all of our women dead?’ The Shaman simply said, ‘Trust in the Gods.’

“Corn Dawn Maiden” by Marti Fenton (White Deer Song)

As the men prepared for the Thanksgiving Dance that night the Creator came to the Shaman. She told him to do something unbelievable. She told him to bury all of the women. Furthermore, She directed for the women to be buried together in a single shallow grave. The next morning all of the woman were buried as directed by the Mother Goddess. That night, the men and the children danced the Thanksgiving Dance with heavy hearts. The Creator caused a great sleep to come over the village and sent a wonderful God to the village. The God was tall handsome and entertaining comical fellow who played a flute. He went to the grave and started to play his flute. He bent over the grave and as he played, tears feel from his eyes. These tears became seeds of corn as he played and cried. At the end of 20 sunsets our Creator said to him, ‘Kokopelli, you shall forever remain hunched over as a tribute to the maidens who will forever be known as the Corn Women. Your tears of sympathy have become seeds of lifegiving corn.

Thus, it is told that the Hopi shall never go hungry again for Kokopelli and the Corn Women have given the tribe life through the sacred corn.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Cyber Temples of the Gods, “Selu’s (the Corn Mother’s) Temple“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Britannica Online Encyclopedia, “Corn Mother“.

Cornmother.com, “The Corn Mother“.

First People – the Legends, “Corn Mother – Penobscot“.

Goddessrealm.com, “Corn Mother Goddess of Nourishment“.

Goddesses and Gods, “Goddess Corn Mother“.

Hrana Janto, Illustration & Illumination, “Corn Maiden“.

Native-languages.org, “Legendary Native American Figures: Selu“.

Raine, Lauren. Threads of the Spiderwoman, “Corn Mother and Collaboration“.

Return of the Corn Mothers

Sidhe, Fiana. Matrifocus, “Goddess in the Wheel of the Year – The Corn Mother“.

Tanith. Order of the White Moon, “Corn Woman, Goddess of Nourishment“.

Two Worlds, Waynonaha. Weed Wanderings, “Wise Woman Wisdom…Corn Woman“.

 

Corn Mother

“Corn Mother” by Marjett Schille

“Corn Mother’s themes are abundance, children, energy, fertility, harvest, health, grounding, providence and strength. Her symbols are corn and corn sheafs.  Literally the spirit of the corn in Native American traditions, Corn Mother brings with her the bounty of earth, its healing capabilities, its nurturing nature and its providence. This is the season when Corn Mother really shines, bountiful with the harvest. She is happy to share of this bounty and give all those who seek Her an appreciation of self, a healthy does of practicality and a measure of good common sense.

Around this time of year, the Seminole Native Americans (in the Florida area) dance the green corn dance to welcome the crop and ensure ongoing fertility in the fields and tribe. This also marks the beginning of the Seminole year. So, if you enjoy dancing, grab a partner and dance! Or, perhaps do some dance aerobics. As you do, breathe deeply and release your stress into Corn Mother’s keeping. She will turn it into something positive, just as the land takes waste and makes it into beauty.

Using corn in rituals and spells is perfectly fitting fort this occasion. Scatter cornmeal around the sacred space to mark your magic circle or scatter it to the wind so Corn Mother can bring fertility back to you. Keeping a dried ear of corn in the house invokes Corn Mother’s protection and luck and consuming corn internalizes her blessings.”

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

“Corn Mother, also called Corn Maiden ,  mythological figure believed, among indigenous agricultural tribes in North America, to be responsible for the origin of corn (maize). The story of the Corn Mother is related in two main versions with many variations.

In the first version (the ‘immolation version’), the Corn Mother is depicted as an old woman who succors a hungry tribe, frequently adopting an orphan as a foster child. She secretly produces grains of corn by rubbing Her body. When Her secret is discovered, the people, disgusted by Her means of producing the food, accuse Her of witchcraft. Before being killed—by some accounts with Her consent—She gives careful instructions on how to treat Her corpse. Corn sprouts from the places over which Her body is dragged or, by other accounts, from Her corpse or burial site.

“Corn Maiden” by Marti Fenton (White Deer Song)

In the second version (the ‘flight version’), She is depicted as a young, beautiful woman who marries a man whose tribe is suffering from hunger. She secretly produces corn, also, in this version, by means that are considered to be disgusting; She is discovered and insulted by Her in-laws. Fleeing the tribe, She returns to Her divine home; Her husband follows Her, and She gives him seed corn and detailed instructions for its cultivation.

Similar Native American traditions of the immolation of a maternal figure or the insult to and flight of a beautiful maiden are told to account for the origin of the buffalo, peyote, certain medicinal herbs, and the sacred pipe.” [1]

“Lammas” by Wendy Andrew

“Corn Mother is also known as Corn Woman, Corn Maiden and Yellow Woman. A variety of versions of this Goddess show up in a variety of cultures around the World, including Europe, Egypt, India and the America’s. Some of the more well known Goddesses are said to be Corn Mother’s, including the Celtic Cerridwen, the Egyptian Isis and the Greek Demeter.

The Corn Mother is the nourishment aspect of the Goddess and is most commonly associated with grain harvest. She is the Mother Goddess who nurtures those around Her with food and is the conceptual representation of ‘what we will reap we will sow’.” [2]

Sources:

Britannica Online Encyclopedia, “Corn Mother“.

Goddessrealm.com, “Corn Mother Goddess of Nourishment“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Cornmother.com, “The Corn Mother“.

First People – the Legends, “Corn Mother – Penobscot“.

Goddesses and Gods, “Goddess Corn Mother“.

Hrana Janto, Illustration & Illumination, “Corn Maiden“.

Return of the Corn Mothers

Sidhe, Fiana. Matrifocus, “Goddess in the Wheel of the Year – The Corn Mother“.

Tanith. Order of the White Moon, “Corn Woman, Goddess of Nourishment“.

Two Worlds, Waynonaha. Weed Wanderings, “Wise Woman Wisdom…Corn Woman“.

Goddess Iyatiku

"Corn Dawn Mother" by Marti Fenton

“Iyatiku’s themes are Earth, the harvest, providence, health and weather.  Her symbols are corn, beans, seeds and soil. Iyatiku is the Pueblo corn and underworld Goddess who protects not only future crops but the future in general by safeguarding children. During the early months of the year, Iyatiku extends arms of compassion to embrace us with nurturing support, just as the earth nurtures seeds.

If you have a garden, today is an excellent time to dance on the land and invoke Iyatiku’s blessings on your crops or flowers. The Pueblo and Hopi Indians have spirit dancers waltz around the land to instill the crops with energy through sacred movements.

The Hopi also plant beans on top of underground ritual rooms called kivas, which house Iyatiku’s nurturing energy. When children go into kivas for rites of passage, they emerge as adults thanks to the Goddess’s care and guidance within.

Using this symbolism to foster maturity or any other of Iyatiku’s attributes today, go today to some place close to the earth, taking a bean with you. Plant the bean, then sit on top of the ground covered with a blanket (a mock cave/ womb/ kiva). Meditate here, focusing on the bean, the rich earth below you and the earth’s generative energy. Allow Iyatiku to meet you in this sacred space and begin manifesting what you most need.”

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

Iyatiku is the corn Goddess of the Keresan Puebloes. From shipap, Her underground realm, mankind first ermerged, from there infants today are born and tither go the dead. To provide food for them, She plants bits of her heart in fields to the north, west, south, and east. Later the pieces of Iyatiku’s heart grow into fields of corn. The Cochiti Puebloes regard Mesewi as the hero who had led the ancestors of the tribe out of shipap. [1]

Click here for further information on Her titles and variants.

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