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By Witchipedia, Symbols

What is a Corn Dolly: Home for the Spirit of the Grain

Updated on:

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Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)

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Reviewed by: Tina Caro

A corn dolly, also called a corn maiden, corn mother or old woman is a decorative object made from weaving grain stalks together. It is traditionally made of the final sheaf of wheat harvested preserved throughout the winter as a temporary home for the spirit of the grain until the following planting season when it would be plowed into the fields to ensure a good harvest.

The corn dolly may take human form or another shape including spirals, braids, crosses and more. Different regions specialized in different shapes and designs and had different rituals associated with them.

These rituals included processions, selecting specific individuals to cut or carry them, such as old men or old women, hanging them in particular places in the home or outdoors or keeping them in a cradle.

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More Information Online

The Guild of Straw Craftsmen
Dartmore Corn Dollies

Further Reading

The Golden Bough, James Frazer
The Complete Book of Straw Craft and Corn Dollies: Techniques and Projects by Doris Johnson and Alec Coker

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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