Corn Mother creation story


Dear All,

An example of a Native traditional Creation Story involving the feminine creative aspect follows.

Gerlinde

"Many of the earliest known creation stories are of a Great Mother: a female giver and nurturer of life, the Goddess of animals, plants, and humans, waters, earth and sky," writes author Riane Eisler.[1]

This concept of a Great Mother is also reflected in numerous Native creation stories. An intrinsic respect for women in their society also complements their belief that the Native Peoples' origin stems from a Woman or Female Spirit(s).

Corn was a highly valued staple in the Americas and together with the other vital crops of beans and squash, the grouping was named the "Three Sisters, Our Supporters" in accordance with the belief that the plants also embodied female spirits. Mother Corn Herself, the nurturing Creatrix and Sustainer, was held in the highest esteem as shown in the following creation story.

"Once all living things were in the womb of Mother Earth. Corn Mother caused all things to have life and start to move toward the surface of the Earth. With Corn Mother's help, the people were born onto the surface of the Earth, but because the people did not know how to care for themselves, they started to wander...Finally the Arikara came to a beautiful land where they found everything they needed to live. A woman of great beauty came to them and the Arikara recognized her as the Corn Mother. She stayed with them for many years and taught them how to live and work on the Earth and how to pray. When she died, Corn Mother left the people a corn plant as a reminder that her spirit would always guide and care for them. The Arikara say that the beautiful place where they learned to live was the valley of the Loup River in Kansas." An Arikara story

Female spirits were also considered integral to daily and ceremonial life. The Hopi, Cherokee and Arikara, believed in a Corn Mother who gave birth to them and also created the land that sustained them. Cherokees say they came from the breast of Corn Mother(Selu, who died so that maize would spring from her body and give life to the people. The Iroquois believe that they were born from the mud on the back of the Earth, known as Grandmother Turtle... For the Sioux, White-Buffalo Calf Woman gave the people the 'Gift of the Pipe and Truth' and the first mothers of all the Tewa Pueblo people were called Blue Corn Woman, Summer Mother, White Corn Maiden, and the Winter Mother.[2]

According to the teachings of Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, "It is the Mother Who created the universe. The Father was just a Witness to the whole show. It is She That makes it beautiful so that He sees the show, that He becomes the spectator, because She loves Her creation." (Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, The Mother, 1980)

The Holy Spirit (God the Mother) gives birth to the Creation: "And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep and the [Holy] Spirit of God [the Mother] was moving over the surface of the waters." (Genesis 1:2)

"The spiritual understanding and gender preferences in this material is based upon the teachings of Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, who says that the Holy Spirit is God the Mother. God the Mother is actually very present in the scriptures, where She is usually called Holy Spirit or Wisdom. According to Shri Mataji God the Father is the Witness who watches God the Mother do all the work of Creation. For example, here is John 1:1-5 written according to Shri Mataji's teachings. You will clearly see God the Mother in it now:"

"In the beginning was the Word [the Omkara of the Adi Shakti] and the Word was with God [God the Father] and the Word was God [God the Mother]. She was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Her, and apart from Her nothing came into being that has come into being. In Her was Life and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." (John 1:1-5)

"By the Word of the Lord [by the Omkara of the Adi Shakti] the heavens were made and by the breath of Her mouth, all their Host." (Psalms 33:6)

http://www.holyspirit-shekinah.org

The sacredness of Mother Nature and Her provident care of humanity is so beautifully expressed in the poetry of songs sung and prayers offered to Mother Earth in the Native tradition:

"There are six colours of corn: yellow, white, blue, black, red and speckled. And each colour stands for a direction: north, south, east, and west, up and down...White is for the east, where the sun rises, and the blue is for the west. In a ceremony, when they're about to blow tobacco smoke and incense to the six directions, they sing the song of corn and growth, and here is one:

Ha-o, my mother, ha-o, my mother,
Due west, blue corn ear, my mother,
Due eastward, blooming blue-bird flower,
Decorate our faces, bless us with flowers,
Thus being face-decorated,
Being blessed with flowers,
We shall be delighted, we shall be delighted.
Ha-o, my mother, ha-o, my mother.
Due east, white corn ear, my mother,
Due south, red corn ear,
Due northward, blooming maiden blossom,
Due above, black corn ear, my mother.
Due downward, blooming sunflower,
Due below, sweet corn ear, my mother,
Due upward, blooming, all kinds of flowers."

Agnes Dill, Isleta Pueblo

A gentle reminiscence of the age-old ways tugs at the heart as these recollections of the sacredness of Mother Earth and Her bounty are expressed by Her grateful children:

"But for me, I cannot forget our old ways. Often in summer I rise at daybreak and steal out to the cornfields, and as I hoe the corn I sing to it, as we did when I was young."

Maxiwidiac or Buffalo Bird Woman, Hidatsa, 1921


"Before I go out to my field, I sing a song...My cornfield has a prayer...I offer corn pollen to Mother Earth...I use Corn Pollen to communicate with the Holy People."

Ramos Oyenque, San Juan Pueblo, 1995

References:
[1]Eisler, Riane. The Goddess of Nature and Spirituality. In All Her Names: Explorations of the Feminine in Divinity.edited by Joseph Campbell and Charles Muses.HarperSanFrancisco, New York, New York 10022,ISBN 0-06-250629-3 p.5
[2]Green, Rayna, The Encyclopaedia of the First Peoples of North America. pp. 49, 97. 1st Canadian ed. Groundwood Books/Douglas&McIntyre, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2R4, 1999. ISBN 0-88899-380-3 pp. 49,95,96,97.



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