Hopi Cornmeal Ceremony for Newborn

For some reason I just remembered the Hopi corn ceremony for firstborn, where the first thing a newborn baby sees is the rising sun:

“When a child was born his Corn Mother [an ear of perfect corn whose tip ends in four full kernels] was placed beside him, where it was kept for twenty days, and during this period he was kept in darkness; for while his newborn body was of this world, he was still under the protection of his universal parents. If the child was born at night, four lines were painted with cornmeal on each of the four walls and ceiling early next morning. If he was born during the day, the lines were painted the following morning. The lines signified that a spiritual home, as well as a temporal home, had been prepared for him on earth.

[Numerous small rituals were performed until] early in the morning of the twentieth day, [and] while it was still dark, all the aunts of the child arrived at the house, each carrying a Corn Mother… and wishing to be the child’s godmother….and each blessed the child and gave it a name from the clan of either the mother or father of the aunt. The yellow light was by then showing in the east. The mother, holding the child in her left arm and the Corn Mother in her right hand, and accompanied by her own mother– the child’s grandmother– left the house and walked toward the east. Then they stopped, facing east and prayed silently, casting pinches of cornmeal toward the rising sun.

When the sun cleared the horizon the mother stepped forward, held up the child to sun sun and said, “Father Sun, this is your child,” [then repeating] this [while] passing the Corn Mother over the child’s body as when she had named him…. The grandmother did the same thing when the mother had finished. Then they both marked a cornmeal path toward the sun for this new life.”

-From Book of the Hopi by Frank Waters, 1963.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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