by Patricia Kaminski
Recently we convened for our annual staff retreat here at FES, enjoying a lunch featuring foods from Terra Flora, and our regional community.
A highlight was having Nicolasa Torrres Ortega and Filiberto Ortega prepare the Hopi corn we grew here in our gardens for tamales. How wonderful to have the blue corn ground fresh and whole to make such delicious tamales, according to the traditional method of preparation.
Like the ancestors who cultivated the Hopi Blue Corn, we consider it to have a sacred presence on our land. The corn creates a strong elemental force field anchoring and aligning the whole of Terra Flora.
Corn has always been revered not only for its nourishing food, but for its ability to create a unique connection from spirit to earth and back again. The more common name for corn is the Native American word “maize,” meaning universal mother, or she who sustains life.
Among the grains, Corn is distinguished by its great stature (generally 8 feet / 2.5m , and up to 15-20 feet /4.5 – 6 m) rapid summer growth, and generally robust nature. Also distinctive to Corn among the grains, is the fact the flowers are monoecious, having separate male and female flowers on the same plant.
The female inflorescence (the “ear”) is found in the leaf axils, enclosed in large leaf bracts. Its spikelets form eight to 30 rows around the familiar “cob.” Protruding from the tightly enclosed ear are the “styles” of the female flower, which form the beautiful corn silk. Each style leads to an ovule and must be fertilized by a pollen grain from a corn tassel, in order that the ovule to develops into a mature kernel of corn.
We know that Corn has been systematically cultivated in the Americas for at least 5000 years, This wondrous plant has flourished through an extraordinary co-creative relationship with its human caretakers. Its seeds are too tightly enclosed in their husks to be dispersed by the wind, birds, or other non-human means. Left to itself, Corn will drop its ears to the ground, and produce closely clustered plants, that will choke themselves to extinction. Corn needs the human being to plant it with the proper spacing.
We can look at the Corn plant as an archetype of how the human being attains balance while living on the Earth. This balance involves a vertical relationship between Heaven and Earth, as well as the horizontal social relationship of one human to another. Like the Great Mother, for whom Maize was named, the key to these relationships is one of loving nurturance and harmonious cooperation.
When we are able to respect and care for the Earth on which we stand, we find the right vertical orientation between Heaven and Earth. When we can warmly acknowledge others around us, we are increasingly able to embrace rather than retreat into our own egoic structure.
Thus the Corn essence is of great significance in an urban society where we can feel crowded or confined, creating feelings of hostility or alienation. With the Corn essence we can find the internal “space” that we need, while remaining connected to others. The Corn essence also helps us to find the key to vertical balance which is so easily destroyed in an artificial environment that disconnects us from the right relationship to the Earth.
The corn is truly a sacred substance and yet, like tobacco, this substance has been turned through the forces of modern materialism into its very opposite. The modern version of corn is grown with huge amounts of fertilizers and other chemicals. It is genetically modified so that its very life force is altered. The resulting product has been processed into high fructose corn syrup and other derivatives that cause harm rather than health. Even worse, corn is fed to animals in confined feedlots, when these animals are meant to graze on living grass. The illness introduced into these animals requires a constant stream of antibiotics, and other chemicals that then pollute local waterways.
More than ever we need to return to a sacred relationship with Corn and take its living essence into our bodies and souls. This affirmation by Patricia Kaminski captures its healing message:
I walk in balance between Heaven and Earth.
I remember my bond with the Earth.
I share the Earth’s healing nourishment with all whom I meet.
Purchase Corn flower essence here.