Carl went on to acquire other traditional corn seed from these people whom he had befriended. This led to the further exchange of many ancient corns with numerous people around the country. To those that he met, he became known by his spiritual name, White Eagle. Through being of service in this way, Carl awakened to the more esoteric nature of corn and its mystical relationship to human beings. This led to many deep insights, which he shared widely, inspiring many people over the years. In this way, the Sacred Seed was doing its work.
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I first met Carl at a native plant and herb gathering in southwest Oklahoma in the fall of 1994. Carl had brought his portable display cases full of ears of traditional corns, which included several curious-looking, four- and five-inch ears, some of which seemed to literally have the whole spectrum of colors. I knew from the start there was something magical in that seed and that I needed to get to know Carl better.
The following spring I met with Carl again when he was visiting his brother near Oklahoma City, where I was living and had grown up. At that meeting Carl gave me a handful of the rainbow-colored seed, and I was honored and grateful to receive it. That was close to the time the Murrah Federal Building was bombed in Oklahoma City. I remember once, shortly after the bombing, I had that small handful of seeds with me and pulled them out of my pocket. At that moment it came to me loud and clear: “This seed is going to change things.”
That year I planted those first seeds in my backyard and during the next several years grew it in modest amounts in Oklahoma and New Mexico, after moving near Santa Fe in 1999.
Over those same years I acquired from Carl a number of additional seed samples of the rainbow corn that was to give rise to ‘Glass Gems,’ to ensure I had a broader genetic base. In addition, Carl gave me seed of a number of his larger traditional native flour corns. During this time my friendship with Carl had grown and I made many visits to his home. In a special room off his house he had shelves and cabinets of his jars, and displays of seed and ears of corn originating from many Native American peoples. The wisdom he shared with me and others who came to visit was the essence of the spirituality of the corn, as well as the sanctity of all seed. On those shelves, the corn became like scrolls of ancient manuscript, and the mere handling of it seemed to confer the transformative power it held. Carl would always remind us, saying: “The seed remembers.”
Preservation of ‘Carl’s Glass Gems’ Corn Seed
As for the rainbow corn, I continued to look for anything like it being sold at the farmer’s markets or in seed catalogs. Although I did see a lot of “ornamental” as well as traditional corn out there, some of it very impressive, I never saw anything that carried those specific tones of color that Carl’s corn did. The origin of this corn at first seemed obscure, as Carl had done experimentation with many kinds. But more recently, he shared with me that to his recollection the rainbow corn was derived from his crossings of Pawnee miniature corns with an Osage red flour corn and also another Osage corn called ‘Greyhorse.’ This was probably during the late 1980s. I once asked him where it really came from and he just replied, “Spirit.”