In ancient times it was believed that the spirit of the corn ( "corn" meaning "grain") lived amongst the crop, and that the harvest made it effectively homeless. As the harvest progressed, the corn spirit retreated to the last sheaf left standing in the field. As a part of the harvest rituals, a"cage"was woven from the corn of this last sheaf to host the spirit, and protect the living force and fertility of the field. The corn spirit would then spend the dead season in that home until the "corn dolly" was ploughed into the first furrow of the new season, to allow the continuity of life from generation to generation.
This craft, that begun at the beginning of agriculture spread all over the world and each area had it's own designs.
In Palestine the farmers used to weave a "Baraka" (blessing) called "Musht"
and hang on the door as a charm to protect the crop and to ensure good luck.
With time corn dollies became a symbol of prosperity and an omen for the removal of evil as well as gifts of love.
My Corn Dollies
In the season of wheat harvest I take my sickle and look for the most beautiful looking wheat around. Usually I find it at the fields of arab farmers who grow small patches of heirloom varieties for bulgur or "Frikke".
With their permission I harvest the amount needed for the entire year, both for dollies and for classes. I hang the wheat as high as I can and hope the mice will spare me some..