2006 CHEROKEE WOMAN'S CEREMONY

Welcome to the 2006 Woman's Ceremony. We are glad you are here. I want to take this opportunity to present you with this gift of corn meal in honor of Selu.

Who is Selu you ask? In Cherokee (Tsalagi) Creation Stories, Selu is First Woman - just as Eve is First Woman in the Creation Myths of the Hebrews. If we are going to understand who we are as a People and regain our rightful place in the Universe, then we must learn our own Creation Myths and Origin stories.

There are many versions of the birth of Selu - Corn Mother of us all. This one comes from Mary Chilotskey of the Eastern Band of Cherokee.

THE BIRTH OF SELU
Selu came into the world singing. From the top of the cornstalk she came - strong, ripe, tender. A grown woman.

Kanati, the First Man, heard the song. At first he didn't know where it was coming from, but he was glad to hear it. It sounded like company.

Kanati was lonely. Bored. As a hunter, mostly of deer, he'd always had plenty to do. That was the problem - he had too much. He killed too many of the animals, more than he needed. It seemed all he could think about was hunting - and sleeping in the sun.

The animals got sick and tired of his ways. Sick and tired! They met in council and decided to ask the Creator's help. "Kanati is killing too many of us," they said. "If he keeps on going like he is, there soon won't be any of us left."

The Creator pondered the situation, then sought out Kanati, who was sleeping in the sun, and caused a corn plant to grow up beside him, near his heart.

The stalk was tall and straight, the leaves curved and gleaming green. From the top of the stalk rose a beautiful brown, black - haired woman, the First Woman. From the top of the cornstalk she came - strong, ripe, tender. And singing....

Kanati woke up, looked around. Then he saw Selu....

Kanati had been lonely for such a long time that he might have been rude and in a rush. But he remembered the original courtesy - the sweetness of his own heart - that the Creator had given him. Respectfully, he asked Selu to come down and held up his hand to help her.

She smiled, but signaled him to wait....

Politely, Kanati waited while she reached behind her for an ear of corn, for Selu knew you must always take your heritage with you, wherever you go.

Then she gave Kanati her hand and stepped down. They went home together.

Selu took the corn and went into the kitchen. Soon the kettle was bubbling and Kanati smelled the most delicious aroma he'd ever known - the sweet heart of the corn......

Kanati felt in harmony with all that lives.

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Selu teaches us that all must be in balance -

Balance of forces - for continuance in the midst of change.

Balance of food - vegetables and meat.

Balance of relationships - taking and giving back with respect.

Today we gather at this Sacred Place, to offer our Love and Encouragement to the Earth Mother as she prepares to begin the ancient cycle of the seasons once again. We offer Her our help by planting and cultivating our gardens and by offering up prayers for peace, harmony and abundance in the Universe.

And in so doing, we must also honor Selu, Corn Mother of us all. For it is she who is calling each of us to remember our Sacred role as Women so that, through our understanding of Her, we can maintain the continuance of the Seasons through these uncertain times.

And so it begins - again.






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