When my husband came home the other day, he met me in the garden and looked at what I was doing. “You always have to be different don’t you?” was his comment made with a grin. Yes, I always have to be different. I went to plant corn, the earliest I have ever put it in the ground, a whole month earlier in fact. But as I prepped the garden and thought of where I would grow this corn, my idea of square blocks went out the window as a voice said to plant it in a spiral, a mound in the center for the squash. The three sisters was the plan from the beginning.
I have three kinds of corn to grow this year and I can feel the excitement that there is no corn planted on the acreage around me. This is my corn year. The seeds were given to me at our corn gathering and honestly I had no idea how many seeds I had received of each variety. So here I was being told to plant in spirals. So I made a huge circle. No measuring, no calculating how much of a spiral I would need or if I would have enough seed. Just going with the flow here. So I made my circle, found the middle and made a good sized mound for some pumpkins to grow out from and started my spiral. The circle was roughly 13 feet across—good number I thought. As I started the spiral it just felt right, and easy. I liked it. Much better than a square or straight rows! Nothing in nature is really square you know, and nothing grows in rows unless we plant it that way. So it felt good as I added some soil concoction that adds all the good bacterium and fungi for growing in. It felt really good. The spiral started in the south and just happened to end in the North. No plans, just the way it happened. So starting in the middle I laid the seeds in the small trench, one by one, prayed over and thanked. Grateful for such a beautiful corn. The colors splashing out on the dark soil, reds, orange, white, yellow, blue. Beautiful. The variety is called Painted Mountain and is not really rare. You can get it in seed catalogs. Short season—70-90 days to dry corn. I want to grind it into flour. I can almost taste it as I lay the seeds in the ground with prayer. In the end I had the exact amount of seeds for the spiral I had made. Two left over that I tucked into the bigger spaces. I smiled to myself. When you listen to what the corn wants, it all works out. Just right. And so starting on the outside and working in reverse, I put the corn to bed, Thanking the Mother for sheltering this seed. It felt so good. Some water sprinkled above and the hopes of corn to grind into flour come fall.
Before I had gone to the garden, I had been asked to do Ceremony, which is a common enough thing in my Native belief system. In the middle of my medicine garden there are some crystals that are very special to me. They sit on a stump. But at the corn gathering, six special rocks had come to me from my friend Greg. Three were from my Great Grandfather’s old ranch, which this friend now lives on, actually in the very house my Great grandpa built—long crazy story that I’ll save for another time. These three rocks are so special to me. It is from a place that two different sides of the family had a connection to. They are big too, about the size of a cantaloupe. The other three are also special to me because they come from a place where one of my beloved Grandmothers has her seed Temple, where old varieties of seeds are being saved, cherished and kept going. All from the west in the sight of Mountains. The places that stir my heart. But also at this corn gathering some very sacred corn came into my hands. It had been kept by a tribe that did not want it shared with anyone outside of their tribe. Common enough these days. It was theirs and no one else could have it. But when it came into my hands I immediately felt that it had wanted to be free, because no man owns corn. Corn is a gift of our Mother and it belongs to her. I believe she set it free.
So here are six rocks which I had yet to decide where to place and a beautiful corn and they told me to make a ring with the rocks around my stump with the crystals, fill in some dirt and good stuff and plant the corn in ceremony inside the ring of stones. Everything fell into place months after the rocks and corn had come to me. The flow of Creator. But here I must tell you a story that was given to me in a vision long ago, before I can tell you what the ceremony was.
This vision is about the first corn coming to the people, and like all visions it can be argued if it is accurate. All I can say is it was very vivid and to this day I see it in my mind, played over and over again with the same clarity.
The people of Earth were starving. There was great hunger above ground and Mother was concerned that they would all die. So she sent from deep in the Earth a little person, a female, with a bowl of corn to feed them. From deep in the Earth, the little person made her way up to the surface, stepping out of a cave into the sunlight for the first time. She was, even in this very important mission, stunned by the beauty of the Above Ground. She went to the people and fed them the corn, the bowl in her small hands never emptying. Always more. When the people were full and rejuvenated to health, she taught them what they must do for Mother. They were to take all of the corn left in the bowl, and in ceremony, place it in the Mother’s breast, under the soil, in gratitude and love. Just as you would feed a friend or a relative food from your house. So now they were feeding the Mother who had fed them. Gratitude. The Little person did not feel like leaving yet, so she stayed with those who lived Above Ground. The seasons passed and then in Spring, someone noticed that where the ceremony had taken place, something was coming up out of the ground. Corn. It grew tall and produced more food to feed the people. Mother had gifted them again and fed them. So the ceremony was repeated, a giving back of all the corn they did not eat to the Mother out of love and gratitude. Feeding her.
Soon the little person grew blind, for she was not used to the sun, but still she stayed with them for the rest of her life until one day she died. Some time after that, the people grew scared. Every year the corn would grow from the place that the ceremony had occurred, and every year they would eat and then the rest would go to the Mother. But fear is powerful. What if Mother grew angry with them? What if she decided not to feed them anymore? They would starve. So they decided to save some corn back in case. They still did the ceremony, but instead of giving all that was left to Mother, they hid some and planted it in the ground themselves. The corn did not grow back the next year in the Ceremony place. But they had saved some and planted it. It grew, but yet it did not fill their bellies as well, and things sometimes went wrong like no rain or bugs that came to eat the plants. So they grew more scared and tried to make a better corn that would feed them in a better way, out living the droughts and bugs. They did this all out of fear. The Ceremony was eventually stopped as no one could remember why it was done in the first place. They were in control of their corn now, and they had forgotten that it was a gift from the Mother. The Sacred Hoop of life was broken.
So with this vision in mind, I was told to give this corn back to the Mother. The tribe who refused to share it was in fear. It was theirs and no one else would have it but them. Fear. Control. So as I was guided, the corn was placed in the Mother’s breast again—7 seeds. They were given to her in gratitude for the corn that she originally gave us, with no expectations of if it would grow. It was a gift to her and gifts should never hold expectations for something in return. The corn is Hers. It was never ours in the first place. That is just our Ego/Mind fooling us.
So think as you plant your garden—could you put the seeds in the ground with no expectations of growth or food? Could you gift them to Her and walk away ? The fear of lack is so ingrained in our minds. Feel what it would be like to live in total faith that you were taken care of, that nothing had to be controlled or manipulated. That something would always be there for you to eat. Be mindful when you plant this year. Try to let go of the fear that has controlled us for thousands of years and remember, no one owns the corn. It belongs to Mother and she will decide where it ends up.