After the seemingly endless Summer heat in Sayulita, the weather has shifted in the past few days and there is a hint of Autumn in the air. Though it is all palm trees and ocean here, my thoughts drift to the falling leaves and the harvest time in other places.
On past visits to the Huichol Center, I've been astonished by the sight of their blue corn harvest. It's a beautiful thing to behold.
The blue corn sustains the Huichol people both physically and spiritually. In Huichol Art and Culture: Balancing the World, Huichol Center director and anthropologist Susana Valadez writes the following about Tatei Niwetzika, the Corn Mother:
Her name signifies both mother (Tatei) and child (niwe) simultaneously. It is she who annually gives birth to the Corn Child, who then grows up to become the Corn Mother again, emulating the perpetual cycle of nature fulfilling and repeating itself every year. The relationship between corn and humans compares to the reciprocity between the Huichol spiritual and mundane worlds, as corn cannot exist without humans to seed the earth, thrive, and reproduce. Reciprocally, humans are then fed and nurtured, grown to maturity, and are able to reproduce because they are sustained throughout their lives by the spiritual Corn Mother. Nearly every aspect of the indigenous Huichol spiritual tradition either stems from her or reverts back to the Corn Mother, including the journey to the peyote desert Wirikuta and subsequent peyote rituals, the sacred deer hunt, the quests for shamanic powers, and the ceremonies for balance of rain and sun.
Huichol yarn-painter Gonzalo Hernandez explains, "We are the corn. We live in the heart of the Corn Mother, carry her essence and develop our lives simultaneously with her natural laws and cycles of life - that is why the word for mature corn, uki, and the word for man are one and the same."
+ + + May the corn be plentiful this year + + +