Until recently I used to refer to the cultivation of corn as the foundation of Pre-Columbian civilization in Central and North American. I was wrong in my calculations and time frame. According to the book “Beautiful Corn”, by Anthony Boutard; as early as 1954 only in the United States, the corn-refining industry estimates that 50% of our diet was based on corn, and that number has continued to climb". Corn has been embraced by so many cultures around the world. How much percentage of human population currently depends directly or indirectly from this beautiful gift?
For thousands of years, Oral Native American Traditions honour the corn plant as a gift from the elements. Traditionally during the year, ceremonies are offered to enhance the agricultural practices as needed. The whole community gathers and concentrate their intentions in Ceremonial Dances offering and honouring the four elements and always asking for the well being of the whole community. To our Indigenous people, the power of our intentions, will, feelings, thoughts and voice it’s been known for millennia. Corn, beans and squash are traditionally inter-planted under these atmosphere and impulses. The “12 of Moon” (translation of “Doce de Luna” in Spanish), counted from the New Moon it is the preferred day to sow the seeds (which is the same as two days before the Full Moon mentioned by Rudolf Steiner). Prays are raised to obtain good harvest and if the weather is to wet and humid, prays and offerings are directed to the elements asking for dry weather patterns so the corn can mature, dry and store well.
The Three Sister System it is an Ancient Native American Tradition that embrace the Spiritual Scientific knowledge of the whole universe and applied it to what we currently call Companion Planting, Beneficial Plant Symbiosis, Agricultural Seasons, Planting Calendar, Full Moon Germinating Force, Intensive Inter-planting, Nitrogen fixing crops (the beans), Living mulching Crops (the squash), trellis (the corn) Non-till and non-Soil Compaction practices (hills/raised beds/path ways), etc, etc, etc.
On page 162 and 163 of the Agriculture Course translated by George Adams says: “You should investigate scientifically how important it is to plant horse radish along the edge of your potato fields, to have a sprinkling of cornflower in your corn field, and to exterminate the poppy… …Moreover, strange as it may sound to the Chemist and Biologist of to-day, your human and personal relation to the seed-corn is undoubtedly important. If you examine it thoroughly, you will find it makes a difference to the thriving of the corn, whether the sower simply takes the seed-corn out of a sack and throws it down roughly, or whether he has the habit of shaking it a little in his hand and throwing it gently, sprinkling it on the ground. These differences are of importance in relation to the manuring problem. It would be good for you to discuss these matters with farmers, who cannot but be interested in them. They have no little experience, only their experiences are eclipsed nowadays. Modern agriculture has such experience no longer. Altogether I should advise you- I think it will serve you well- to use old peasant-calendars in connection with manuring problems. They contain very curious instructions, some of which you will indeed be able to formulate in chemical terms”.
The bridge between Native American Oral Tradition and Rudolf Steiner teachings appears to me rock solid.
Corn, beans and squash are currently regarded as three out of the five most important survival crops all over the internet, since they store well, they can provide food all year around. The appropriate mix of corn and beans eaten together provide the full type and amount of amino acids so needed for proper human nutrition. The flowers, the flesh and specially the seeds of the squash are of exceptional value for human health. Other important crops like tomatoes, tomatillo and hot peppers are traditionally planted near by the Three Sisters. These are just the basic ones, but put a few more ingredients and you can start cooking Mexican dishes. There are dozens of animals, trees, vegetables, flowers and herbs indigenous of America and today are very popular and consumed all over the world.
Last year I saw corn plants for sale in a near by garden center!!! Consciously or not, I know that by the minute, more and more people are getting involved recovering Ancient Native American wisdom via Agriculture and eating tacos in the local Mexican Restaurant.
Article by Cesar Gomez, 2015