As I poke another corn kernel into the earth with my dirt-stained finger, I remember the sacred story of corn that Grandfather Fire told at our hearth a few years ago.
It was an amazing, deep story, with many layers. Grandfather also spoke about the story, showing us how we are humanity were changed by the gifts of corn and the other grains. The gifts of these plants transformed us from hunters and gatherers, moving from place to place.
As we became part of the cycle of planting, growing, harvesting and caring for the seed, we developed a deep relationship with the Mother Earth and learned that to have a good future requires patience and sacrifice in your life. A more settled life created more order for our peoples. Villages arose and great ceremonial centers were built. We had to learn to get along, with one another and with the sacred corn, with the weather.
In our fast-paced culture, these teachings are a profound reminder of the gifts that arise from slowing down, developing relationship, sacrificing the expedient for a better future. It can completely change who we are as a people, just as the hunters and gatherers were transformed into people who lived and worked in more permanent, orderly circumstances.
All this, contained in the seed in the palm of my hand.
Linda Felch is a traditional healer and administrator of a healing retreat center. She has been spending time around the sacred fire since 2001.