The Norse Goddess Idun
The once harsh winter winds transform to gentle breezes. Daffodils, Crocus and Tulips push through the newly thawed earth, barren trees begin to bud, animals are birthing their young, and the spring peepers serenade us with their throaty song. To this harmonious wonder we honor Idun.
Idun, “She who renews”, is known as the goddess of spring, eternal youth, health and life. It is said that she had no birth and is destined to never know death. At times she is known as a fair maiden, soft and delicate, and at others, sturdy and hard working. She is charged with tending the sacred orchard from which all fruits stem, blessing health and longevity for all who partake.
Idun’s constant care of the land and trees reminds us that working directly with the earth tends our bodies, our minds and our souls. Together with her beloved Bragi, god of poetry, they bring peace, health and abundance to our lives, filling our days with harmony and meaning.
But it is not only humans that depend on Idun’s blessings, for not all Norse gods and goddesses are immortal and they too require this special Goddess’s care. For them she reserves a never ending supply of golden apples, which she carries within her casket made of Ash wood. These not only ensure beauty and eternal youthfulness, but deter all injury and disease .
“Bright Iduna, Maid immortal!
Standing at Valhalla’s portal,
In her casket has rich store
Of rare apples, gilded o’er;
Those rare apples, not of Earth,
Ageing Æsir give fresh birth.”
-Valhalla: The Myths of Norseland
(1878, by Julia Clinton Jones)
You can honor Idun by tending orchards, gardens or potted plants, appreciating the beauty of early spring blooms, enjoying all fruits and garden vegetables, showing respect to land spirits, enjoying the tart delicacies of apple pies and ciders, and losing yourself in the words of a beautiful poem.
Watch closely those women who walk the stands of Farmer’s Markets, praise and twinkling in their eyes; for they might be Idun in a mortal disguise here to bring her blessings to all who partake of her delicious fruits!