Corn has been planted, tended, harvested and consumed for centuries. It is with no wonder that there are many myths about the magical properties of this grain. In many parts of Appalachia there is superstitions surrounding corn. Some farmers believe that if you miss a row while you’re planting corn, someone in your family will die before harvest season. If you see kernels of corn lying in the road, it means company is on the way but if you brush the kernels away or bury them, your visitor will be a stranger.

During the early westward expansion of the nineteenth century, settlers in the Midwestern areas believed that if a girl found a blood-red corn cob among the yellow ones, she was sure to marry before the year was out. In Kentucky, it’s said that blue kernels found on a red corn cob it will bring the person who finds them very good luck.Some Native American tribes planted beans, squash and corn in an arrangement known as the “Three Sisters”.It ‘s sustaining ecosystem, aides each plant with it’s growth. It is believed that planting these plants together will bring happiness of the families, abundance, and community.

The Aztecs believe that in order to find the precious Cornstalk and deliver it to the people, the Feathered Serpent had to transform himself into a black ant and journeyed to the mountain of Bountifulness. He first brought corn to the home of the gods, and all of the deities enjoyed the food and approved of it. He then returned to the mountain for more but failed in his attempt to carry enough. The God Nanahuatl was sent for and he broke the mountain apart, allowing the rain spirits to carry corn and other food to the gods, and then given to mankind in reciprocation for human blood sacrificed to the Gods.

In Mexico, corn pollen was used to make rain.To produce precipitation they would toss kernels into the air. It is believed that when a person is ill, they should eat only corn, because it is the plant with the greatest life energy. Even to this day people of Mexico will hang ears of corn on the walls of their homes for protection. They believe that the spirits living within the kernels of the corn will protect them from demons. Healers in Mexico will perform divinations with grains of corn to diagnose illnesses.

In Many origins of the world it is believed that an ear of corn should be placed in the cradle of a baby to protect against negative forces. A bunch of cornstalks hung over a mirror will bring luck to the home. It is still practiced to this day over the world that red corncobs were burned on the doorstep of the home or even under the bed to speed up a difficult birth. Popcorn can be hung with cranberries and cinnamon bark on the Yule tree, and corn cobs are appropriate at Samhain and fall harvest rituals. Corn stalks, leaves, and corn silk are offered by some who follow the path of Santeria, Orisha and Elegua.

The symbolism of this hearty grain was a very important tool when used in Ritual. The use of corn in rituals can be used for growth and transformation. A single kernel of a tall corn stalk can be full of more kernels. It can be associated with self sustainability and fertility in both people and of the land. ( Demeter) Ceres was the Roman goddess of grain, specifically corn, and of the harvest season. According to Roman legend, she was the one who taught mankind how to farm. She is associated with agricultural fertility and a bountiful harvest. It is said that if you make her an offering to her, she will protect your crops from natural disasters such as flooding or blight. It is quite amazing how important this one piece of grain can symbolize Death and Rebirth in one’s life and belief system nationally and globally.

Rev. Bella Isis Shay