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Corn: Growing, Healing & Magick Uses

Updated on:

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Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)

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Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Corn (Zea mays ssp. mays), or Maize is a native American grain. The word corn once referred to any old grain. Most old European references to “corn” (such as the corn dolly) actually refer to other types of grain.

Folk Names Corn, maize, give of life, sacred mother, the seed of seeds

Corn was domesticated more than 5000 years ago in Mexico. It is descended from a native grass called teosinte Zea mexicana. Wild teosinte has a few edible grains but ancient peoples must have selectively grown those plants with the most grains for many generations to finally get corn as we know it today.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Corn is an excellent companion plant, as it provides support to beans by acting as a natural trellis, promoting healthier growth for both crops.

When considering corn for consumption, be aware of GMOs, as they are prevalent in the market; opt for non-GMO varieties to avoid potential health concerns.

Harvest corn when the kernels are plump and filled, and store it properly to maintain its freshness; freezing or canning are popular preservation methods.

Corn possesses magical attributes, often associated with abundance and fertility, making it a potent symbol in various cultures and rituals.

Symbolism of Corn

Corn is a symbol of rebirth and therefore of life itself. Its cycle is a path that marks a real passage from shadow to light: we saw it with our strange grain, cradled by the clods in the darkness of December and under the snow of January, which is now a lush green tuft.

The ear of corn, precisely because of its shape and the richness of the contents it contains, is the symbol of fertility.

In Greek mythology, Demeter, the Goddess of crops and agriculture, is represented with her forehead surrounded by a crown of ears of corn. This plant symbolizes the cycle of rebirths.

Since the cereal remains buried underground before being born in spring, it represents the analogy of the passage of the soul from shadow to light. It is also the symbol of fertility.

In fact, in Greek mythology, Demeter is represented by her forehead, which is surrounded by a crown of corn ears.

Demeter featured image

Below are the widely recognized symbolic meanings of corn.

Folklore AspectDescription
Native American LoreCorn holds a central place in the mythology and folklore of many Native American tribes. It is often regarded as a sacred gift from the Great Spirit, symbolizing sustenance, fertility, and abundance. Corn plays a significant role in creation stories, agricultural rituals, and ceremonial practices, where it is honored through songs, dances, and offerings. Various tribes have their own legends and traditions surrounding the origin and significance of corn, emphasizing its importance as a source of nourishment and spiritual vitality.
European Folk MagicIn European folk magic, corn was associated with prosperity, protection, and fertility. It was believed to attract good fortune, abundance, and blessings when hung above doorways or placed in the home. Corn husks were used in protective charms, cornmeal was scattered around the threshold to ward off evil spirits, and corn kernels were carried as amulets for fertility and luck. Corn was also incorporated into fertility rituals, harvest celebrations, and offerings to agricultural deities in ancient European cultures.
Colonial AmericaCorn played a vital role in the survival and prosperity of early American settlers, who relied on it as a staple food crop. It was cultivated by Native Americans long before the arrival of Europeans and was quickly adopted by colonists for its nutritional value and versatility. Corn became a symbol of resilience, ingenuity, and self-sufficiency in colonial America, where it was used to make bread, porridge, cornmeal, and other staples of the colonial diet.
Table 1: Corn Folklore

Productivity

In essence, corn represents the idea of ​​progress and constant improvement: whether it is personal growth, career advancement or financial stability, the symbolic meaning of corn encourages us to strive for a better future.

It reminds us that growth and success require hard work, patience and dedication, just like the process of growing corn. It inspires us to stay productive, strive to progress, and continually work towards our goals.

Abundance and prosperity

The symbolism of corn as abundance and prosperity is rooted in its association with a bountiful harvest. A successful corn harvest offers a rich harvest, which symbolizes financial stability and material wealth.

In spiritual terms, it can also represent happiness, contentment and a sense of fulfillment. This symbolic meaning serves as a reminder that there is always something to be grateful for, as well as indicating that with hard work and dedication one can achieve wealth and success in various aspects of life.

Fertility and life

The high yield of corn fields is considered a symbol of fertility: in many cultures it was believed that corn brought good luck and blessed couples who hoped to have a child.

For people hoping to start a family, the symbolism of corn serves as a reminder that life is a cycle of growth and renewal, and that the arrival of new life is a time to celebrate and give thanks.

The resurrection

The resurrection meaning of corn is associated with the idea of ​​rebirth and renewal: corn grows year after year, symbolizing the cyclical nature of life, with death followed by a new beginning.

Symbols of Lughnasadh

It is a festival that celebrates both God and Goddess, a time of both feminine and masculine principle, but also a time of transition; it is linked to the theme of death and rebirth, reminding us that everything is born and everything dies and then is reborn; the

The Wheel of the Year is at the peak of fertility but is also at the beginning of slow decline. On the longest day of the year, and therefore in the Light, there is already the seed of the beginning of the dark part of the year.

On this day, sacrifice is not seen as a death but rather as a rebirth. It is a celebration with two souls linked: on the one hand, fertility, love, and abundance, on the other, death, and the arrival of the cold season. 

The ear of corn, the sacred plant of Lughnasadh, dies under the sickle, it is true, but it is reborn as bread and above all as seeds, the promise of a new life transforming again into corn and then into flour and therefore into bread that will nourish the next year; the Goddess herself, in her abundant and prodigal Mother phase, is present as a reaper of corn, of souls and of life, like Crona who kindly leads life into death in order to recreate Life again.

Magical Attributes

Corn is associated with the sun and the element fire. It is feminine in nature.

Corn and cornmeal is a popular offering for harvest rituals, shamanic rituals and rituals honoring Nature.
Corn and cornmeal are useful in spells related to luck, prosperity, and abundance.

Healing and Magickal UsesDescription
Nutritional BenefitsCorn is a nutritious staple food rich in carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It provides essential nutrients such as vitamin C, folate, potassium, and magnesium, making it a valuable addition to a healthy diet. Corn is often consumed as a whole grain, cooked or roasted, and used in a variety of culinary dishes, including soups, stews, salads, and side dishes.
Medicinal PropertiesCorn silk, the fine threads that cover the ears of corn, is used in traditional herbal medicine for its diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. It is believed to promote urinary tract health, reduce inflammation, and support kidney function. Corn silk can be brewed into a tea, taken as a supplement, or used topically as a poultice to treat various ailments.
Magickal SymbolismIn magickal practices, corn is associated with abundance, prosperity, and fertility. It is used in rituals, spells, and offerings to attract wealth, success, and blessings into one’s life. Corn husks, kernels, and cobs are used as symbols of fertility and prosperity in magickal workings, rituals, and altar decorations. Corn is also associated with the harvest season, autumn equinox, and agricultural deities in pagan and Wiccan traditions.
Table 2: Healing and Magickal Uses

Healing Attributes

Corn silk is used in a tisane or dried and powdered in tablet form as a diuretic and for supportive treatment for urinary tract infections. It is said to be helpful for preventing kidney stones for those people who are prone to them.

Corn silk is also touted with health benefits preventing high blood pressure, lowering blood pressure and regulating blood sugar as well as general anti-inflammatory benefits.

People who take diuretics or medications to regulate blood pressure or blood sugar should approach corn silk with caution. Pregnant and lactating women should not use corn silk.

Growing Corn

Corn should be planted during the first phase of the moon when the moon is in CancerPisces or Scorpio and when soil temperatures are at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night, plant corn seeds in rows about a foot apart and at least five deep and five across. Choose a very sunny location with well-draining soil.

Corn does very well sown directly in the ground. If you want to start your corn early, you can cover it with plastic to keep it warm. You should only plant one type of corn, especially if you plan to save the seeds to plant again next year.

Corn is wind-pollinated and can easily crossbreed. This should not be a problem if you’re just growing corn for eating that season, but if you wish to save seeds to grow again next year, it is recommended that fields be separated by at least 1/2 mile.

If you can’t manage that, trees, hills, and buildings between fields are helpful and you’ll want to collect seeds from the middle of your field. You may also get some benefit from hand pollinating, especially if your field is small. Just break off the male flowers at the top of the stalk and shake it over the silk of the female flowers; do this early and often.

Companion Planting

Traditional companions for corn are beans and squash. The corn provides a natural trellis for beans to climb while squash shades out the weeds and helps retain moisture in the soil. Meanwhile, the beans inject nitrogen into the soil to feed both the corn and the squash!

You can plant beans along your rows after the corn is about six inches tall and squash between the rows at the same time. Or you can plant your corn, beans and squash in hills.

Drop a few corn seeds into the top of the hill, after the corn sprouts, surround these with bean seeds and then plant squash seeds around the base of the hill! When choosing varieties of corn, beans, and squash to plant together, be sure to check the maturity dates on your package.

You’ll have an easier time if all of your crops are ready to harvest at the same time so your harvesting activities don’t damage your as yet immature crops.

Remember that corn needs corn to ripen, so make sure your rows of corn or rows of hills are at least five deep and five across. The more corn you have, the better it will ripen.

Harvesting & Storage

Your corn will be ready to harvest about 3 weeks after the corn silk appears. When the silks start to turn brown and dry out you know it’s time to check your corn harvest! Just pull back a bit of the husk and see how it looks to you.

Then, just twist and pull. Store your corn in the fridge and eat it as soon as possible for the best flavor.

If you are growing corn for making flour or to have dried kernels for decorative or ritual use or to plant again next year, or if you’re growing popcorn, you will want to wait until the ear is fully mature before harvesting.

It will be several weeks before the above-mentioned stage until the whole stalk is dry. Then you can pull off the cobs, pull off the husk and rub the cobs vigorously until all the hard seeds fall off.

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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