The corn dolly fertility saga in Greece
Do you believe in luck? Do you have a lucky charm in your home, something you wear or carry around with you? I do. You see, when getting pregnant after miscarriage seemed to be taking longer than I’d expected, I became anxious and more than a little bit depressed. As each month passed, I would look for something to inspire me.
Now for centuries, people across all cultures have believed that certain symbols can help increase fertility. Whether these symbols can actually help you get pregnant is another matter, but it can’t hurt to have something to believe in! After all, believing in superstition can ease anxiety and create confidence when things feel out of your control.
Now after the miscarriage, my husband and I took a holiday to Rhodes in Greece to try to come to terms with what had happened. It was our first day and we had set off to explore the island. The morning scorch took us to the sea front, which tempted us with a cooling breeze. We sat and rested for a while, our feet dangling off the pier.
We hadn’t been there long, when an old Greek woman approached us. She seemed friendly and spoke a bit of English. She explained that her husband had died and she was now living in poverty, so she was selling corn dollies for good luck. She kept telling us how hard her life was having no money or help at all. We felt sorry for her and gave her the equivalent of £20 for a single corn dolly. She thanked us and left.
Now once we were back at the hotel, the corn dolly was put in the suitcase and we didn’t think about it any more until we unpacked back in Blighty. Since we were trying for a baby, I didn’t think it would do any harm to give it pride of place in the kitchen. After all, corn dollies were generally made as fertility symbols to insure prosperity and good luck in the next growing season.
My husband isn’t one for superstition and he tried to throw the corn dolly out a number of times after we returned from Greece. No matter how tatty or dusty it became, it always found its way back into our kitchen. I can’t explain the logic behind why I still keep it, but superstition just won’t let me throw it out!