This is from Donna Henes’ The Queen’s Chronicles, a free e-newsletter that delights me every time it arrives in my inbox. To subscribe: click here and scroll down to the mailing list in the left column.
Throughout world mythology, the goddess of the good ground, the grain, the autumn harvest, has been appropriately portrayed as a knowledgeable mature woman of the world, mistress of all earthly domains. A matriarch. She is the Great Mother who sustains all her species. She was known as Astarte, Ishtar by the ancient Semites, Semele by Phrygians, Isis in Egypt, Demeter in Greece, and Ceres in Rome.
She is Tari Pennu to the Bengalis, Old Woman Who Never Dies to the Mandan and Mother Quescapenek to the Salish. To the Aztec, she is Chicomecoatl, to the Quechua Indians in Bolivia, she is Pacha Mama and the Huichol call her Our Mother Dove Girl, Mother of Maizea.
Queen of the Universe
Mother to the Stars
You birthed time in Your great Womb
Enlighten me with Your secrets
That I may know myself better
Guide me as I seek truths within and without
Teach me to overcome my fears
Nurture my growth as I seek the unknown
Encourage me to face challenges
I wish to share your knowledge
I am ready to learn without fear
Mother, Your daughter is here
While the Earth, Herself, is seen as the fertile mother from whom all life has issued, Her aspect as the spirit of the grain is celebrated in many cultures as Mother Earth’s child. This young one represents next year’s crop curled like a fetus gestating within the seeds of this year’s harvest.
Typically, she is the daughter, the harvest maiden, the corn virgin, although in Aztec Mexico and Egypt, the grain spirit was Her son. Also Aztec was Xilonen, Goddess of New Corn. The Cherokees called her Green Corn Girl. To the Prussians, she was the Corn Baby, to the Malays, the Rice Baby. In parts of India, the harvest maiden is Guari and she is represented by both an unmarried girl and a bunch of balsam plants.
The archetypal grain mother/daughter pair is personified in Greek mythology as Demeter and Persephone, also known as Kore, the Virgin Goddess. They illustrate two aspects, the mother and the maiden, of the same divine fertile spirit. Demeter is this year’s ripe crop and Persephone, the seed-corn taken from the parent. Like the seed sown in autumn, she symbolically descends into the underworld, torn from the breast of her mourning mother. And, again like the seed, she reappears, reborn, in the spring.
The harvest is experienced at once as a festival of life and a drama of death. In the fall, we commemorate the seasonal demise of the light as well as the plants, which provide us sustenance. Even as we glory in the great yield, the reward of our diligence, we mourn the death of the deity residing in the grain, killed by the cutting of the crops. At harvest, we honor She who died so that we might continue to live.
Despite the clear and rational necessity, there is considerable and understandable reluctance to scythe the last sheath of grain. For here lives the Great Grain Mother and Her child – She who has always fed us, to whom we owe our existence. Can we slash Her body with a sickle? Can we allow Her to be tread upon and trampled on the threshing floor? Can we cook and eat Her seed and feed Her broken corpse to the animals?
Would that we still revered the gifts of life and living bestowed upon us by our mutual Mother Earth. Well, WE do, I know. So what will we each do to spread and share that reverence, so that it becomes the new (old) norm? It is up to us, you know.
It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.
- Rachel Carson
With blessings for a plentiful and fulfilling harvest,
Queen Mama Donna
For spiritual nourishment, visit Dr. Susan Corso’s website and blog, Seeds for Sanctuary. Follow her on Twitter @PeaceCorso and Friend her on Facebook. And discover your own Inner Peace at, To Me Peace Is … What is Peace to You?