Corn Dolly

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Corn Dolly

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The Corn Mother is made from the harvest at Lughnasadh, and is laid to rest for the winter at Samhain. Three months later at Imbolc, this figure is taken up again to become the Maiden. Straws are plucked from the figure and fashioned into the Imbolc Corn Dolly, the Maiden aspect of the Mother Goddess. In Gaelic this is called Brídeóg, or the "Biddy."

The Corn Dolly figure is carried from the fields to the farmhouse with great ceremony. It is sometimes lowered to the ground with a great display of sorrow, or lifted high with cries of joy, signifying death and rebirth. The Corn Dolly is dressed and laid in a miniature bed made of corn and hay with Candles burning around it. A club representing the male energy of the God of Fertility is placed beside the bed.

In the Highlands of Scotland this Corn Dolly is an effigy of Bride, or Brigid, and was carried around the community while gifts were collected for the Bride Feast. A small bed as described above was placed near the door of the house. Bride was then invited into the house to prepare for the coming spring. The festival was strictly matriarchal, and the door of the feasting place was barred to the men of the community who had to plead humbly to honor Bride. This is similar to the Greek agricultural rites of Demeter and Kore, which were principally feminine and excluded males.

Some Corn Dollies are a crude representation of a human, but many are elaborate knots—intricate designs of braided corn stalks in spirals woven into squares or formed into crosses. In Germany the Dolly represented animals—pigs, goats, wolves, hares— and was referred to as the Corn Cock.

References in periodicals archive ?
It originally marked the bringing in of the harvest, and a large corn dolly would be made to last for the coming year, with the old one being burned.
Kern Baby, the five |metre corn dolly, in the grounds of Compton Verney art gallery and Sir Benjamin Stone's 1903 photograph entitled Northumberland Baal Fires: St John's Eve, the prepared faggots
Tempers were already at breaking point after a Corn Dolly batter had knocked over the posts at every base, confusing fielders and thwarting a run-out attempt.
The first step to making a corn dolly is choosing the wheat you'll use, and there are some basic rules to follow.
Today and tomorrow, a corn dolly maker will demonstrate her age old craft and on Sunday, a silhouette cutter will show off his skill.
An expert at the traditional art of corn dolly making, Philip would teach the skill for the University of the Third Age at Greenhead College.
Explore a fascinating display of horse-powered farm machinery nearby along with country crafts demonstrations of basket, corn dolly and harness making and traditional pole lathing.
Traditional rural skills from corn dolly making to dry stone walling, heavy horse turnout competitions and birds of prey displays will feature in the Countryside Showcase.
The corn dolly thus started life as a store for good fortune, but by the late-19th Century the weaving of elaborate shapes had developed into regionally distinctive designs.
Best corn dolly cut goes to Pontypridd flanker Richard Parks, who missed the haircut of the year award by having too many and splitting the voting.
Today and tomorrow Corn Dolly and Flower Festival to makr 170th anniversary of first harvest festival in 1843, St Cuthbert's, Hebron, today 11am-4pm, tomorrow noon-4pm.