The Corn Dolly - The Spirit Of The Grain 1
A woman carefully selects some sheafs of barley out of the wagon. To her delight the last harvest of the season has been wonderfully bountiful. She picks through the piles of the umber grain before her with great care, chooses long stalks free of insects or bad spots. They are perfect and true.
Her sister, a season older than her, passed on only a month before. Now she is the oldest female member of the tribe, and it is the first time the most important of jobs falls to her.
She carries her final selections herself back to the village and disappears into her home. She works for an hour, maybe longer, until the bending and tying of the grains begins to take the shape she hoped would honor the spirits. Her grandchildren stare wide-eyed as she works. She admires her craft…holds it up before the fire, turning it, making little adjustments and cuts until she is satisfied.
Her small figure is placed in the central meeting house, upon the tribal altar. Its round head and flowing skirts reflect the embodiment of Mother Earth herself. Everyone praises her work and promises to honor and protect what she has made.
After the long winter—this one not as harsh as some others in her fifty-six seasons on the earth—she returns to the meeting house. A small procession follows, anticipating. She carefully picks up her dried arrangement and carries it back to the field from where it came months before. She returns it to the ground. The farmers begin planting the seeds they had saved from the previous autumn. The cycle is beginning again, the “corn dolly”—the “spirit of the grain”—has made its safe journey, full circle. The members of the tribe celebrate the achievement, comforted that once again the gods have been honored and the promise of good harvest—like the seeds they sow—will come forth again this year.
• A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CORN DOLLY •
The story above is one possible journey of the “corn dolly” in the simplest form of the tradition. The word corn (as we know it today), is the name of a particular plant that bares food. In ancient times, the word "corn" really stood for the English equivalent of “grain.” Even the word “dolly” had a different meaning in ancient times: we’re not referring to the Raggedy-Ann or Barbie connotation of the word. The word “dolly” is most likely a slang for “idol,” which stems from the Greek word eidolon, which means “apparition,” or “spirit.” Hence, corn dolly really means “spirit of the grain.” Ancient cultures believed that this “spirit” would be homeless when the fields were harvested and barren, so the corn dolly was a way to give the spirit a comfortable home until the following spring.
Traditions vary from region to region in these times. Some, like the fictional example above, called for the oldest woman with children in the clan or tribe to create the corn dolly, and referred to their sympathetic magical poppet as a “Corn Mother.” Other early cultures may have set the task to the youngest female member, one who in a physical sense a woman, but still a virgin. These young girls who blossomed into women may have referred to their works as “Corn Maidens” instead. Which tradition is “right?” Which tradition came first? We may never know, and by and large, it doesn’t matter. The practice of carrying over fruits from a previous harvest as a sacrifice for the following sowing season is documented and was practiced all over the European lands. Even some prehistoric African tribal groups followed the tradition: the “Aruseh”—“Bride of the Corn”—is known from earliest recollections.
Even today the corn dolly tradition is followed particularly so in the UK, where most counties or geographical regions have their own designs and forms. The Stafford Knot, the Suffolk Horseshoe, the Yorkshire Spiral or Corn Drop are just a few of the ancient variations that survive today. While many of them don’t look like a typical “doll” in our sense of the word, their care and crafting are still imbibed with intent, a desire to protect the promise of the next growing season. Whatever shape or form they take, the “Spirit of the Grain” is still a potent Pagan custom and magical working, and you don’t even have to be a farmer to take advantage of its talismanic power. It can represent success and bounty, and the fervent hope the future will hold prosperity and abundance.
Our Lammas Sabbat Boxes included a corn dolly kit within to allow you to connect with the tradition of corn dolly making that our ancestors would partake in around the time of this Sabbat. What will your corn dolly represent? What promises, what hopes do you wish to manifest in the coming seasons? Will you make room at your altar or hearth for the “Spirit of the Grain” to ward off the lean times? The magickal power of the dolly is not merely the object itself, but the care and work put into it: a representation of the sacrifice we all make today to ensure a better tomorrow.
What better future do you work for? Whatever form of greater increase and prosperity you desire, perhaps keeping the “Spirit of the Grain” in a safe, warm place through times of lack and dormancy could help you stay opportunistic on your way to your bountiful harvest!
• HOW TO MAKE A CORN DOLLY FOR LAMMAS •
• PURCHASE A SABBAT BOX CORN DOLLY KIT •
Want to learn how to make a corn dolly? See our how to video that goes along with the corn husk doll kits we included in each Sabbat Box to learn how to make your own. Visit our You Tube channel here.
Discover The Lammas Sabbat Box - Reap • Sew • Magick - Detailed Breakdown 1
• Lammas/Lughnasadh Box - Sabbat Box Synopsis •
Greetings Sabbat Box Members,
It is that time again! Lammas is quickly coming upon us as the wheel turns once more. As we travel past Midsummer and tread toward the first harvest, the sun's light slowly starts to wane again. It is at this point where the Earth starts to share its bounty with us in order to start preparing for the coming cold. The dog days of summer will soon turn into the final days summer, leading us further into the fall and the coming seasonal harvests.
Within this Lammas Box, we wanted to include items that would pertain to the first harvest, hence the boxes theme, Reap • Sew • Magick. Magickally, throughout the beginning of the year, one could say that during our rites of Sabbat celebration, we tend to lay down a magickal foundation, in essence "sewing" our will and intent. It is at this point of the year where we start to determine what has come into fruition and what has not, reaping all that we wish to continue to transpire, and working more magick to continue to further manifest our will.
Inside this box was our very first exclusive product, as well as a custom made featured product. As we continue to grow Sabbat Box, we plan on offering you all even more unique and practical products that will bring you further magickal inspiration and even more tools to add to your craft.
• LUGHNASADH-RITUALS, RECIPES & LORE FOR LAMMAS •
ITEM 1: Lughnasadh, Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Lammas.........$11.99
• WHAT: Lughnasadh-Rituals, Recipes and Lore for Lammas (part of Llewellyn's Sabbat Essentials)
• WHO MAKES IT?: Llewellyn Worldwide & Authored By Melanie Marquis
• WHERE CAN I GET IT?: You can purchase copies via the Sabbat Box Store or via Llewellyn.
• WHY WOULD I WANT IT?: Llewellyn has been a trusted source for books on Paganism, Magick and New Age topics since 1901. This particular book features spells, recipes, lore, invocations, correspondences, crafts and rituals that will help to inspire you to celebrate Lammas in your own unique way.
Part of what we wish to do here at Sabbat Box is to provide further resources for our members pertaining to paganism, witchcraft and the Sabbats. The Sabbat Essentials series are wonderful resource books and will truly help you find inspiration on how to celebrate the Sabbat in your own special way. Some may say that these books are for beginners, but you would be surprised to read how much information is packed within these books, helpful for both seasoned practitioners as well as the novice! We decided to feature Llewellyn's Sabbat Essentials books when we started Sabbat Box as this line of books is a brand new to Llewellyn and they correlated perfectly with what Sabbat Box is. In fact, these first edition printings come out only a few weeks before we ship each Sabbat Box, which makes our members some of the first people to actually own and read them. The book’s author, Melanie Marquis, has written numerous books on Pagan lore and tradition, as well as contributing to many Llewellyn’s popular yearly publications like the Witches’ Datebook.
We believe that every Pagan can gain something from this collection of Lammas practices, or at least sew some seeds for your own ideas! You will find an array of fantastic information pertaining to Lammas, including plenty of rituals, spells and inspiration for your Lughnasadh celebrations.
An excerpt from the "Invocation of Danu" on page 137.
Dear Danu, great goddess!
Mother of the Tuatha!
Great Lady of the Water!
Great Ruler of the land!
Dear Danu, great goddess,
I invoke thee!
Fill me with your strength!
Fill me with your grace!
Fill me with your power!
May your eyes look through my face!
Mother of the River!
Mother of the Land!
Mother of the People!
Come into my hands!
Danu, I invoke thee!
Come to me now!
Great mother, great Danu, come into me now!
These books have been a great hit within the Sabbat Box community and we continue to plan on including the Sabbat Essentials series until Ostara of next year, which at that point we will have included each book from the series within each Sabbat Box for the first year.
• LAMMAS APPLE CINNAMON SCONE MIX KIT •
ITEM 2: Lammas Cinnamon Apple Scone Mix Kit.........$6.95
• WHAT: Lammas Cinnamon Apple Scone Mix Kit
• WHO MAKES IT?: Specially made for Sabbat Box by Rabbit Creek Gourmet.
• WHERE CAN I GET IT?: The Sabbat Box store. Find similar mixes via Rabbit Creek Gourmet.
• WHY WOULD I WANT IT?: This mix is perfect for someone who would like to bring the tradition and lore of working with the wheat of the first harvest into their Lammas/Lughnasadh sabbat celebration, especially if you want to try working with something different then plain old bread.
We included this scone mix as a way for our members to connect with and represent the crops of the first harvest by means of a little kitchen witchery. Food has played an important role in human celebrations of all kinds. In earlier times, our ancestors felt that the Earth and its bounty were manifestations of the divine, in essence making food sacred. With that being said, you could make the scones, consecrate them and use them ritually for "cakes and ale" or for the "red meal" during ritual...or you could use these scones as an offering to the divine. Much will and intent goes into cooking and baking, and what better way to incorporate the bounty of the earth and your magickal intent in your Lammas celebrations then with baking! Baking Instructions included on back of the tag.
Sabbat Box decided to feature mixes from Rabbit Creek Gourmet because they have been creating delicious, simple to use mixes for over 20 years. Though they are not a "Pagan" owned business, Rabbit Creek Gourmet shares the same values and standards of quality that we to believe in here at Sabbat Box. Sometimes, less is more when it comes to baking and Rabbit Creek Gourmet does a great job of making baking easy without jeopardizing the taste. Rabbit Creek specially formulated this Lammas scone mix, specially for our Sabbat Box members!
• LAMMAS • LUGHNASADH FIRST HARVEST CORN DOLLY KIT •
ITEM 3: Lammas • Lughnasadh First Harvest Corn Husk Doll Kit.........$6.50
• WHAT: Lammas - Lughnasadh First Harvest Corn Husk Doll Kit
• WHO MAKES IT?: You do!
• WHERE CAN I GET IT?: This is an exclusive kit made by Sabbat Box. Get yours at the Sabbat Box Store.
• WHY WOULD I WANT IT?: Corn husk dolls have long been a symbol of the abundance and prosperity of the first harvest. Corn husk dolls can be used to serve many magickal purposes and make for unique altar decor.
There is much lore and tradition surrounding Lammas and the corn dolly that we only thought it appropriate to include a corn dolly kit within your Lammas box. By creating your own corn dolly, this gives you the ability to lend your own will, intent and magick within it. There are few different ways you could use your corn husk dolly. Use it to adorn your Lammas altar, use it as a poppet, or use it as a way to represent the Earth and the divine during your Lammas rituals.
We have an entire blog article dedicated to the history and lore pertaining to the corn dolly. Be sure to check out that article to learn more about the origins and the significance of the corn dolly. We also have included a link to our instructional "how to" video with each corn husk doll kit. You can see the video below.
• HAND PAINTED/HAND DIPPED BEESWAX TAPER CANDLE •
ITEM 4: Hand Painted Beeswax Taper Candle.........$3.95
• WHAT: Hand Painted & Hand Dipped 10 Inch Beeswax Taper Candle
• WHO MAKES IT?: Aloha Bay Candle Company
• WHERE CAN I GET IT?: You can purchase these at the Sabbat Box Store or via Aloha Bay Candles.
• WHY WOULD I WANT IT? These gorgeous hand dipped, hand painted beeswax taper candles will make a beautiful addition to your Lammas altar. These candles can also be used as spell candles as well.
Many fellow cunning folk and fellow pagans prefer to use beeswax candles when working magick or conducting ritual. Natural beeswax has been used by virtually every civilization known to man to create various products, from candles to soaps and more. For bees to make one pound of beeswax, it requires 2,500 bees and 22 pounds of honey. This requires a tremendous amount of time and work from bees. Because of this, beeswax has been considered a valuable and treasured substance, both magickally and mundanely. If one were to look upon the amount of effort it takes for bees to create beeswax in a sympathetic form, some believe that beeswax holds the corresponding energies of the efforts and components that bees require to create beeswax.
With that being said, beeswax corresponds to manifestation, prosperity, will, energy, protection and healing. Because beeswax doesn't go "bad," its resilience leads many to use beeswax candles to clear sacred space and rid negativity. Compared to paraffin wax, beeswax burns cleaner and longer. In fact, beeswax candles burn about 5 times longer then regular paraffin candles.
Sabbat Box decided to include beeswax candles from Aloha Bay Candle Company for a few reasons. Aloha Bay is an eco friendly company that has been making candles with all natural components for over 20 years. Aloha Bay is dedicated to hand crafting and hand pouring each candle, which is a long process, but the end result adds to the beauty and uniqueness of their candle line. Aloha Bay also hand paints each and every beeswax candle they sell with all natural palm wax, keeping in line with their mission of providing handmade candles with all natural, fair trade and sustainable components.
Anoint your hand painted beeswax candle with the prosperity candle fixings included within your Sabbat Box. Use during your Lammas ritual or use separately as a spell candle.
• PROSPERITY CANDLE FIXING BLEND •
ITEM 5: Prosperity Candle Fixings.........$7.00
• WHAT IS IT: Prosperity Candle Fixing Blend
• WHO MAKES IT?: The Vodou Store
• WHERE CAN I GET IT?: The Sabbat Box Store or via The Vodou Store
• WHY WOULD I WANT IT?: Sometimes it is easier to purchase some the items you need in order to work candle magick. With the prosperity candle fixings from The Vodou Store, they are pre made and ready to dress a candle.
The Vodou Store was started back in 2010 by Docteur Caeli, an initiate of Haitian Voodoo, and his partner and fellow practicing witch, Hellfurian Liontari. Since then, the Docteur and the Witch have been creating and selling unique, high quality and authentic ritual and conjure supplies through The Vodou Store. Every item sold within the Vodou Store is hand crafted, using traditional formulae and magickal components, stemming from the owners' long history of practicing Voodoo as well as their extensive knowledge of other various magickal practice and lore.
There is a beautiful mix of Vodoo and witchcraft within each item they create, and one may notice the detail and passion placed within their products when actually using them. From the moment you open your candle fixing blend, you will immediately notice the quality of the fragrant and rare herbs and resins within. You will also quickly connect with the intent of their products based on the stunning artwork displayed outside of each item. One of the great things about the gorgeous artwork on their packaging is the fact that it lends you a magnificent visual aid, which will help assist you with visualizing your intended magickal result.
We chose to include their potent, proprietary blend of prosperity candle fixings because we felt that it would both pair well with your hand painted taper candle and that it would provide inspiration to add a little candle magick to your Lammas Ritual Celebrations.
HOW TO USE CANDLE FIXINGS:
Anoint your candle with anointing oil or consecrated ritual oil. For invoking or manifesting, rub the oil clockwise (Deosil) and upwards. For banishing or ridding, rub the oil counter-clockwise (widdershins) and downwards. Once that is done, you can then roll the candle within the candle fixings or lightly apply the fixings on the candle by hand. You may also wish to carve into your candle with a a porcupine quill (or other pointed object) sigils, runes or even words of intent as well to add to your candle magick.
• AMBER INCENSE •
ITEM 6: Hem, Hand Rolled Precious Amber Incense.........$2.00
WHAT IS IT?: Hand Rolled Cone Incense
WHO MAKES IT?: HEM
WHERE CAN I GET IT?: The Sabbat Box Store or via most other metaphysical suppliers.
WHY WOULD I WANT IT?: These incense, made by HEM, contain high quality oils, herbs and resins that have a long burning time and smell divine.
As we have stated in other breakdowns from previous boxes, we do our best at Sabbat Box to include an eclectic mix of products that will aid you in your magickal endeavors, as well as inspire your ritual practice. Our senses help us to become in tune with our surroundings and help us to form our mindset, especially our sense of smell. Many Pagans will burn incense that are comprised of components or ingredients that "correspond" to the action or intent in which they are desiring to manifest. Amber is said to correspond to protection, fertility, luck, abundance and prosperity, making it a great companion to go along with the Lammas Box. These hand rolled amber incense cones are perfect to use during ritual, meditation or just to freshen the air.
HOW TO BURN CONE INCENSE
1. Take the small metal cone holder that is included within your box of incense, place it within a heat proof vessel. You don't have to use the small metal holder if you do not want to. You could place the cone incense directly within any heat proof vessel. We do recommend you place some sort of insulation in the vessel to prevent heat damage (i.e. incense sand, lava rocks, etc.).
2. Light the cone incense at the top. Keep the flame lit upon the tip of the cone incense until it starts to smoke and actually "catch." You will know it has been caught when the tip starts to turn colors and ash.
3. Let your incense burn down. Be sure to never leave burning incense unattended.
• WHITE SAGE SMUDGE STICK •
ITEM 7: Fresh White Sage Smudge Stick.........$2.00
WHAT: Fresh White Sage Torch Style Smudge Stick
WHO MAKES IT?: Mother Earth
WHERE CAN I GET IT?: Via the Sabbat Box Store, or most metaphysical suppliers
WHY WOULD I WANT IT?: Sage is a common tool used in various ceremonial practice, including Wicca and Witchcraft.
White Sage has a long been a tool utilized by shamans, healers and cunning folk. It is common enough for most people to know that it was a sacred herb harvested and used by Native Americans and shamans for ritual and ceremonies. We decided to include a white sage smudge stick within the Lammas Sabbat Box because we wanted to further include items that are "of the land," as well as something that had a practical use, regardless of specific belief. This particular white sage is conveniently hand tied together in a small "torch style" bundle. This makes it easier to light and control when smudging. Various pantheons of belief may use different methods to "smudge" their sacred space. There are also entire ceremonies dedicated specifically to smudging as well.
It is believed that when one "smudges" their space, they are calling upon the spirits of the plant itself to aid in the ceremony. Sage is a versatile ritual herb and has many correspondences, but the most common correspondence would be that sage is said to banish negativity, purify/eliminate astral buildup and banish unwanted or negative entities. So you can see why this smudging has been adopted into the practice of witchcraft. Here is a great article with examples on when or how to smudge your home.
• PACKING & SHIPPING •
PACKING & SHIPPING: Part of the costs of your box include the box and the packing material itself. The items listed below account for a good portion of the overall costs for the Lammas Box. Each Lammas/Lughnasadh Sabbat Box is lined with paper padding and wrapping to add to the surprise of what we’ve curated for your box. Shipping is included in the total price—average cost to ship the Lammas Box: $8.00 alone. We here at Sabbat Box wish to be as environmentally friendly that we can be and do our best to source packing supplies and material from companies that have the same beliefs we do in that we want to make as little of an impact as possible on the environment.
BOXES: Your boxes where made from high quality corrugated paper and are 100% recyclable. Try to find another use for your box. They are 9x9x3 on the inside. You could decorate your box to hold some magical supplies or use it to again to ship something to someone or save it for another time when you may need it. If you must throw it away, try to recycle.
BROCHURE & COUPONS: Your brochures are printed on 100% recyclable 16pt paper ,which is sourced from sustainable forests. They are ECF (elemental chlorine free), helping to have less of an impact on the environment.
TISSUE PAPER & FILLING: The green tissue paper is made from 100% recycled paper and is recyclable. The filling is made from scraps of recycled "green" eco fill paper and is biodegradable.
STICKERS: The stickers found within your boxes where printed on vinyl with a gloss laminate.
WHEAT: The wheat sheaves that where included within your Sabbat Box are authentic, early harvest wheat.
• COUPONS •
Savings & Coupons:
Part of our goal is to provide a number of items to our members at a value far above what individuals can purchase on their own. When you add up all of the items as well as costs for shipping and packaging, you are saving over $9.39 with your Lammas Sabbat Box. We believe this to be another good reason to be a member. Also, each box we create helps to support Pagan run businesses and their employees. Sabbat Box looks forward to continuing to stay within our mission to work with other Pagan businesses to supply products for each box.
Coupons just add to the overall value of your box and are not included in the "total savings" specified on your information sheet/brochure.
• Total MSRP of items inside: $41.39
• Total Savings on this box: $1.44
• Total Shipping Savings: $7.95
• Grand Total In Savings: $9.39
~Our members helped to support 5 Pagan run businesses with their Sabbat Box membership! Unlike other Pagan Subscription Boxes (that only use their own products inside each of their boxes), we work with other Pagans and Pagan owned businesses within the community to purchase and supply the items featured within our boxes. In the end, we want to help the community grow and share our business with companies that share our same values and standards.
We take pride in assembling each and every Sabbat Box by hand, no matter the amount of time it takes. We don't just throw your items inside a flat rate priority mail box like our competitors. We want your Sabbat Box to be delivered to you as beautifully as it left us, and it takes a tremendous amount of time to complete this task.
This includes folding the boxes together, individually cutting each sheet of tissue paper by hand, weighing out the filler for each box, designing the flyers, coupons, stickers and brochures to be printed professionally by the printers, individually placing each candle within a bag, individually assembling the boxes, individually packing the tissue paper within each box by hand, taping each and every box by hand as well as individually printing each and every shipping label and sticking them to your boxes as well. This timeframe doesn't even include the efforts made to manage the website, the back end billing system, social media management, customer service inquiries, accounting, marketing, purchasing, and so on.
We really do believe in what it is we are doing and we sincerely hope that each and every one of you can see that the purest of intent and utmost care goes into curating your Sabbat Box.
• OFFICIAL LAMMAS • LUGHNASADH UNBOXING VIDEO •
We thank each and every one of our suppliers, vendors, customers and MOST IMPORTANTLY our members for making this possible. This wouldn't even be happening if it wasn't for our members. We really do look forward to shipping out the next boxes for Mabon. We also have so much more in the works here at Sabbat Box. We look forward to continuing to expand and bring about some exciting new ideas and implement new concepts that will continue to make Sabbat Box the premier subscription box for Pagans.
We look forward to continuing to serve the Pagan community at large. Blessed Sabbat!
Llyfer & Hugh
Founders of Sabbat Box & Eclectic Artisans LLC