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."
In 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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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:
you appearing so strongly NOW?"
"What do you wish me...or us...to
"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
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.
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:
the very sweetness of Earth...
eating me, you become sweetness
care of me... my body is
my goodness transmuted to substance for Earth's
I am of the
One who gave Her life to
provide for Her children and their children's
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
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
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
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
provisions for those still to
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...
And I just smile broadly with
these wonderful relations and
community of meanings Corn Mother
bright yellow gold nuggets
hanging out together in a woven
a long rounded body of many
bright as a candle needing
no fuel to burn
Corn... the word is related
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...
Now it is time for the morning's
With gratitude to GrandmotherCorn...
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,
and a hiding squirrel are just
for the sound of kernels finding
then can they pop nuggets into
or their throats and take them
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...
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
Joy... joy... joy...
Such joy sweet,
- 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
- Partial scholarships are
available and can be applied
for when registering.
register for one or more
workshops with Carol, contact
the Coordinator for
Miller at Pirkko@embarqmail.com
P.S. We invite you to visit
Page to see if there are
other shamanic activities listed
there in which you might be
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.