Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mother Corn


Corn is, basically, a domesticated plant. It's a natural living growing thing like every other plant but it lives within the construct of human existence. Human beings supposedly "invented" corn -- at least the easy to eat variety native cultures were known to cultivate. But one thing I find interesting is that according to Aztec and Mayan creation myths, Corn supposedly invented us!

The corn we eat today is thought to be a hybrid of Teosinte, a maize that grows wild in parts of Mexico. Teosinte has very little food value in terms of human consumption. It has extremely tiny cobs and very hard, almost inedible seeds. But it hybridizes very easily, as all corn does, and when human beings discovered Teosinte plants that were good to eat they learned to encourage these plants and related species to grow by watering them and keeping competing weeds away. Seeds of the largest, strongest and more tasty plants were planted and grown again until the Zea Mays strain of Teosinte evolved into the plants we call Corn today.

Native American mythologies say that the Corn goddess herself taught human beings how to grow Corn and Aztec and Mayan myths point to the Corn God or Goddess as being responsible for the origin of the human race. And on one level that may be the case! The development of agriculture -- of human beings creating their own food sources with the help of elements of the natural environment -- was the turning point in history that truly separated humans from the animal kingdom. Gorillas and apes hunt, gather their own food, use rudimentary tools and even weapons. But, as far as I know, humans are the only animals that plant crops and cultivate them.

Agriculture was what turned little nomadic tribes of hunters and gatherers into communities of people tied to specific locations. And with more abundant food, the human population grew until communal campsites turned into villages, villages into towns. Eventually entire civilizations came into existence that have changed our world forever. Human beings may have learned to deliberately cultivate and breed corn but in another sense cultivated corn really did create us and it is very much responsible for the creation of the modern world as we know it today.
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I use Corn flower essence in my Doing New Things with Confidence flower essence aromatherapy perfume, available through my own Mama Love website and through my shop on Etsy.com.

2 comments:

Princess Caitlin said...

Corn is yummy.
I had yellow corn grits last night. YUM.

mary jane said...

what a cool post!
i think the US main crop these days is corn, to be created into ethanol for alternative fuel ... we have yet to see the cars that use ethanol...
but i LOVE your blog!
soooo cool!
xo
mary jane