Our herbs in witchcraft series this month is all about corn. As a staple food of some indigenous Americans, it has a long history. Let's dig into corn's healing and metaphysical properties.
I can honestly say that an ear of fresh, sweet summer corn dripping with butter and generously salted is one of the very best foods I've ever eaten. There is no dignified way to consume corn on the cob, but I do not care. The sheer bliss of eating it drives all thoughts of decorum from my mind. If you've never had your face covered in corn juice with butter dripping down your elbows, you're not even living.
This grain plays a role in the colonial mythology of America, but it was feeding people long before the concept of Nebraska came to be. I just know that corn has some powerful properties worth exploring beyond its deliciousness.
Healing Properties of Corn
When I was a kid, I was told corn was a vegetable, but turns out it's actually carbs. Corn is technically the seed of a grass. It makes sense when you look at it. That means nutritionally, it's a powerhouse for fiber and energy. The kind that we eat is also particularly high in sugar compared to other varieties. It's basically natural candy.
This whole grain also has plenty of vitamins and minerals like potassium and vitamin A which can support your heart and immune system. Blue and purple corn are also high in antioxidants.
Corn silk, those little threads inside the corn husk, are used in herbalism. The fresh silks can be dried and used for tea or tinctures. This is used to cleanse the unirary tract to fend off bladder infections. The potassium present in corn silk is also effective for kidney health. It's also good for controlling blood pressure and bloating.
Legends abound from indigenous peoples of the Americas about the power of corn. The dance of the Corn Maidens was said to have turned the Zuni tribe from war to farming, bringing peace and prosperity. The Zuni and the Hopi called corn Zea Mays, which translates as "cause of life" or "our mother." Clearly it was central to their survival and their spiritual beliefs.
Now, the English word "corn" has historically been used to mean a variety of hard grains, so some Western mythology about corn may not actually be reffering to the plant we know today. For example, the Corn Mother, who often plays into the mythology of the wheel of the year, may represent a variety of grains. This archetype can be found amongst multiple cultures. She is sometimes quite fierce, representing the balance of life and death, one giving way to the other.
Deities associated with the Corn Mother include Demeter, Isis, Ezili Dantor, and the Virgin Mary. The sign of Virgo is tied to the myth of the Corn Mother, as well. Once Christainity became established, the corn mother started to be depicted as a terrifying hag who hid in cornfields waiting to steal children.
Corn carries feminine or receptive energy and is tied to the elements of fire and earth. It's ruling planet is the Sun. It's known to carry the energy of abundance, luck, prosperity, and fertility.
The easiest way to use corn in your spellwork is to add dried corn or even popcorn kernels to spell jars or charm bags. Use them to call in abundance and bring some fiery Sun energy.
You can use the corn husks to make a money doll. Craft your doll at the new moon, and tie it with green yarn, adding a cash bill within the doll. Visualize your corn husk doll pregnant with wealth. Wrap her in velvet and hide her in a safe, dark place where the money can grow. At the full moon, burn the doll, focusing on your intention to manifest the money she grew.
Recipes for Kitchen Witches
I've already waxed lyrical about my love of corn on the cob. I also love to cook with corn and cornmeal. Here are a few recipes to honor the energy of corn and bring that power of fertility and abundance into your kitchen.
- Cornbread-Topped Chili Mac
- Vegan Sweet Corn & Roasted Bell Pepper Soup
- Corn & Green Onion Biscuits
- Chicken Corn Chowder
- Cheddar Corn Soup
- Bacon & Corn Risotto
- Cheddar Habanero Corn Bread
- Skillet Cornbread
- Lemon Polenta Cake
- White Cheddar Polenta Souffle
The energy of corn is full of light and joy. That's certainly how I feel when I'm eating it. I hope you find lots of new ways to work with corn in your kitchen and in your witchcraft practice.
- The Practical Herbalist
- The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft by Judika Illes
- Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells by Judika Illes