Creation: Origin of corn

Indian corn

Flesh of the corn maidens

“It is well, ” replied the strangers, “yet life you did not bring. Behold!” and they set apart eight days, during which they danced and sang a beautiful dance and prayer song, and at the end of that time, they took the people of the Seed Clan to the valleys. Behold, indeed! Where the plumes had been planted and the Tchu’-e-ton-ne placed grew seven corn-plants, their tassels waving in the wind, their stalks laden with ripened grain.

“These,” said the strangers, “are the severed flesh of the seven maidens, our sisters and children. The eldest sister’s is the yellow corn; the next, the blue; the next, the red; the next, the white; the next, the speckled; the next, the black; and the last and youngest is the sweet-corn, for see! even ripe, she is soft like the young of the others.

“The first is of the North-land, yellow like the light of winter;
the second is of the West, blue like the great world of waters;
the third is of the South, red like the Land of Everlasting Summer;
the fourth is of the East, white like the land whence the sun brings daybreak
the fifth is of the upper regions, many-coloured, as the clouds of the morning and evening;
the sixth is of the lower regions, black as are the caves from whence came we, your older, and you, our younger brothers.

“Brothers indeed we be, each one to the other,” said the people to the strangers, “and may we not journey together seeking the middle of the earth?” “Aye, we may,” replied the strangers, “and of the flesh of our maidens you may eat, no more seeking the seeds of the grasses and of your water we may drink, no more wondering where we shall find it; thus shall each help the other to life and contentment. Ye shall pray and cut prayer plumes, we shall sing, and dance shall our maidens that all may be delighted and that it may be for the best. But beware! no mortal must approach the persons of our maidens.”

“Thenceforward, many of the A’-ta-a and the Seed Clan journeyed together, until at last the Sun, Macaw, and some other clans-people found the centre of the world; while others yet wandered in search of it, not for many generations to join their brothers, over the heart of the Earth-mother, which is Shi-wi-na-kwin, (or the “Land of the Zuni”).

“Day after day, season after season, year after year, the people of the Seed Clan and the A’-at-a, who were named collectively the Corn-clan, prepared, and their maidens danced the dance of the thla-he-kwe, or “Beautiful Corn Wands”, until their children grew weary and yearned for other amusements.

About Running Elk

My given native name, Running Elk, was bestowed in 2008 as I took my first steps as a fully fledged Medicine Man of the Zuni tradition. A most unlikely candidate for the role, my journey as a healer began some four years prior. The detour onto the shamanic way was most unexpected, yet has been one of the most rewarding challenges to date.
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