Corn Dolly

The corn dolly is an ancient harvest custom, still widely practiced throughout Europe. In ancient Europe it was customary at harvest time to leave a small portion of the grain in the field, often twisted or tied into the shape of a man or the symbol of a god or goddess. Sometimes, it was even dressed in men’s or women’s clothes, kept in a cradle, or hung atop a pole.

This bundle or effigy (immortalized in Burns’ ballad of John Barleycorn) was believed to contain the essence of the spirit of the grains- a representation of the solar deity who would be burned and ‘reborn’ as the spring grain. At the end of the season (usually at the winter solstice), the bundle would be ritually sacrificed, burnt, or plowed under to ensure the year’s crops.

In later times, corn dollies evolved into a household tradition, with elaborate symbolic figures crafted from straw, which were usually hung over doors or in barns and burnt at Christmastime; sometimes small grain dolls were kept in cradles or given ‘pride of place’ in the home through the winter. Today the corn dollie is little more than a craft tradition, with each region ‘specializing’ with a particular design.


Traditional corn dolly


Related symbols:
Brigid's cross Jumis

See Also:Wicker Man

{ 2 trackbacks }

My Plans for Summer Solstice Ritual | The Pagan Princesses
June 17, 2011 at 10:00 am
Corn dolly | Oxygenin
July 25, 2011 at 10:33 am


Steel Garage June 1, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
The words in your content seem to be running off the screen in Chrome.
I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.
The style and design look great though! Hope
you get the problem resolved soon. Kudos

Jennifer June 2, 2013 at 7:27 am

Thanks for letting me know….I don’t seem to be able to replicate the issue, but I’ll look into it best I can!

celestial elf June 30, 2011 at 11:17 am

Great Post :D
Thought you might like my machinima film,
The Lammas Wickerman
Bright Blessings

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