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Selu's (the Corn Mother) Temple


(larger than life size Statue in the Parking lot of the Cherokee NC casino, on a flat stonework pyramid shaped base atop a small earthen mound. It is quite a magical little temple...which is refreshing to see In Cherokee a mist all the Christian Churches that have over run the Worship of the Old Cherokee Gods almost completely...alas.

Selu is the Cherokee (Tsalagi language) name for the Corn Mother who is worshiped by nearly all Native American tribes. She is called by many names but almost all literally translate to "Corn Mother" "Corn Maiden" or "Corn Woman." often the name the Corn Mother Goddess is known by is used as the common word for 'corn' as well. Selu is the Goddess of the Harvest of course, but also wisdom, magic, hunting (as the wife of Kanati the God of the Hunt,) and various other domains. She was often the most honored "Mother" Goddess among many tribes including the Cherokee.

The Aztec tribe called her Chicomecoatl and She was their the Goddess of Corn and of all Fertility (of crops, livestock, wild animals, and people's own fertility.)During one month the Goddess of 'maize' (Corn) was the patron deity in the religious celebrations. The main corn blessing rite was led by many Priestesses each carrying seven ears of corn wrapped in fancy cloth on their backs, wearing fancy make-up and feather decorated dresses. At the setting of the sun the Priestesses threw colored corn into the crowds, symbolizing the Corn Goddess Chicomecoatl's blessing the tribe with fertility for the coming harvest season.

(Painting by unknown artist)

The Hopi tribe called Her 'Qocha Mana.' That tribe also has one of the most beautiful Corn Woman tales. They say that it took place long long ago. The men of the village had went out on a hunt. It was mid-winter and there was only a little food in left the village. The women and children stayed behind to wait their return. The men were due to return in three sunsets time but got lost in the snow storm. The menfolk were gone for 20 sunsets instead and when they returned home, all the children ran out to greet them. The men were happy to see the children but were perplexed that their wives and sweethearts were not coming out to greet them. As they entered the village, they found all of the women dead. They rationed the food out to only the children thus sacrificed themselves so that their children could live on. The village shaman told the men "We must dance the Dance of Thanksgiving, for the bounty we have returned with". The men protested, "How can we have a Thanksgiving Dance with all of our women dead?" The Shaman simply said, "Trust in the Gods." As the men prepared for the Thanksgiving Dance that night the Creator came to the Shaman. She told him to do something unbelievable. She told him to bury all of the women. Furthermore, She directed for the women to be buried together in a single shallow grave. The next morning all of the woman were buried as directed by the Mother Goddess. That night, the men and the children danced the Thanksgiving Dance with heavy hearts. The Creator caused a great sleep to come over the village and sent a wonderful God to the village. The God was tall handsome and entertaining comical fellow who played a flute. He went to the grave and started to play his flute. He bent over the grave and as he played, tears feel from his eyes. These tears became seeds of corn as he played and cried. At the end of 20 sunsets our Creator said to him, "Kokopelli, you shall forever remain hunched over as a tribute to the maidens who will forever be known as the Corn Women. Your tears of sympathy have become seeds of lifegiving corn. Thusly it is told that the hopi shall enver go hungry again for kokopelli and the Corn Women ahve given the tribe life through the sacred corn.

__ Tsalagi Wadulisi Selu Gadu (English translation; 'Cherokee Honey Corn bread') __

4 cups of yellow cornmeal
1 cup self rising flour
1 cup milk (or water)
1 cup honey
2 cups whole cut corn
2 eggs

Mix all items together, Form doughy batter into little round (wooden spoon-sized)balls.
Fry in butter or butter flavored shortening for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
You can also make it as a loaf, but add one stick of melted butter to the mixture in that case.
(Note: originally bear fat would have been used instead of the butter, eggs, and milk...but we never seem to have any of that in the fridge. LOL)

(Painting By Ginger Strivelli)

_______Traditional Cherokee Succotash_________

2 lb of small fresh or dry Lima beans
3 cups cut corn
4 wild onions minced (orginally ramps were used but I suggest pearl onions.)
2 Tbs melted bacon fat (originally bear fat)
2 pieces smoked ham hock(originally smoked bear meat)
3 Qts water
Soak beans, (if using dry limas) for 4 hours. Change the water then bring the water to a boil and add the beans back in. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes then add the corn, fat, meat, and onions. Then simmer for 1 hour to 2 hours.

_________Aztec Chocolate Corn Drink_________
(better than it sounds!)

1/4 cup dry corn, toasted and soaked overnight in 1 cup water
1 Mexican vanilla bean (cooked in 1 cup water)
1/4 lb. cocoa beans, dark-toasted
3/4 cup honey (more or less 'to taste' as they say...also peppers were traditionally added to taste, but like YUCK!)
the modern prep is MUCH easier than the traditional way it was made....Thank the Gods!...(the night before)Toast corn (or corn meal can be subituted)in a dry frying pan and soak overnight in a cup of water. Then the next day grind cocoa beans in the blender with enough hot water to form a sauce then mix in the honey. Boil vanilla bean in a cup of water for about 10 minutes and add that mixture to the corn mixture and the chocolate mixture. Blend all ingredients together with icy cold water. Back to CybertemplesMain menu