Ancient cultures believed that the Spirit of the harvest would be homeless when the fields were harvested and barren; the corn dolly gave the spirit a comfortable home until the following spring. Some cultures refer to the dolly as the Corn Mother.
Early cultures gave the task of making dollies to the youngest maiden of the family; the “Corn Maidens”. Fruits and grains from the previous harvest were kept as a sacrifice or offering. Ancient African tribal groups followed the tradition: the “Aruseh”—“Bride of the Corn”. Scandinavian countries crafted corn goats (Julbock) as an offering to the Norse god Thor.
Today the corn dolly tradition is followed throughout England & the Celtic countries where different counties have their own traditional designs; all crafted with the intent to protect and ensure the next harvest bounty was abundant.
Dress a corn dolly with fresh flowers or ribbons for Imbolc to represent success, abundance & prosperity.