Celebration of the Corn Mother

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There were many cultures and traditions throughout Europe that celebrated the cutting of the first and last sheaves of grain. One such celebration is the festival of‘Lammas’ (Saxon word meaning loaf-mass).

This was traditionally held on the 2nd of August or on the Harvest Full Moon and lasted for one month. Fires would be lit on sacred mounds such as Silbury Hill at Avebury to rejoice in a successful harvesting and gathering of the crops and to honour the Corn Mother for her gifts of abundance, which would sustain the people through the coming winter months.

The great Mother Goddess, the grain mother, Mother Earth was known by the Greeks as Demeter ‘Meter’ meaning Mother and ‘De’ is a delta or triangle representing the female genital sign.

She was known as the Abundant Mother, the Barley Mother, The wise one of the Earth. Demeter’s spirit was believed to be in both the first and last sheaves of corn to be cut and that it was she who first gave us corn and crops to bless the land. The Mother was the ‘Great Provider’ bringing fertility, growth, nurturing, abundance, harvest and community.

It was during the Lammas celebrations that Corn Maidens (Corn Idols or Corn Dollies as they came to be known), were fashioned out of the last sheaves of corn to be cut. These would be gleefully taken back to the home and kept in a place of honour, usually above the fireplace. These Corn Maidens were often adorned with colourful ribbons or dressed in ladies’ clothing.

Many people believed that when the crop was harvested, the Spirit was made homeless. Corn Maidens were made to provide a winter dwelling place for the Corn Spirit until spring returned.

Corn Idols were often given as a wedding gift to bless the couple with fertility and abundance, or to bless a new home.

Lammas was also the time for handfasting ceremonies to take place. Now increasing in popularity, handfasting is an old form of sacred wedding / union that symbolizes the couple’s commitment to come together as one.

The ceremony involves the wrists being loosely bound together with a cord or ribbon – also known as tying the knot” (quite literally) making the pledge to last a year plus one day, which can then be renewed every year thereafter.

Below is a selection of Gods and Goddesses that I have made using the techniques demonstrated in my PDFs

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