Monday, June 29, 2009

Goddess of the Week

Idun (also spelled Iðunn) is the Norse Goddess of springtime and youth Who keeps the golden apples that keep the Gods eternally young. Her name means "Ever-young" or "She Who Renews." She passes Her apples out at feasts, and no matter how many She takes from Her basket the same amount remain within.

She was once enticed out by one Loki to be captured by the jötunn (giant) Thjazi or Þjazi (Skaði's father, by the by) who desired the apples; though once imprisoned, to Thjazi's dismay, She refused to share them.

Without Idun the Gods soon began to age; and so they sent Loki out to retrieve Her on pain of death, which He did, though not without a bit of drama. But all was made right in the end, and She was returned unscathed; and the Gods were soon young and strong again.

There is another, though fragmentary legend about Idun: one day Idun accidentally slipped down into Niflheim, the land of mists and cold, where Hel's realm is located. Once there She fell into a stupor or coma; and though Her husband Bragi and other Gods tried to warm Her up by wrapping Her in furs She would not respond. The other Gods eventually left, but Bragi promised to remain with Her until She could be roused.

That's where that story breaks off; but we can see in both tales the common idea of youth and renewal being absent for a time, in much the way that winter and cold descend upon the land every year.

I don't think, however, that Her appearance now is connected with the actual seasons, given we just had a solstice and aren't particularly near springtime in either hemisphere; more likely this is a personal sort of renewal to be had this week. Perhaps something from your youth or childhood may be rekindled now, or may prove inspirational; how may you find renewal through such things?

Alternately, what have you been hoarding? What resources or energy have you been keeping close? There is no need to hoard; this energy is self-renewing and generous now. Remember that no matter how many apples Idun takes from Her basket, there are always the same amount left.

And so I ask Her, What do You have to say to us this week?

Hoard, hoard, spare a penny
I am one and I am many
Old is new and new is old
All the world will end in cold

Yes I am young, for spring is young. But likewise I am ancient too, for spring is the most ancient of all.

All lies within the apple. It is eternal; it is the food of the dead. Who are eternal, after all.

I am the living face of Hel. Where do you think I am in the winter?

It is more complicated than you think. I am not all shining blond hair and big blue eyes; I am the process by which the old becomes new. It is not a painless one. But you knew that, didn't you?

For to be eternally renewed, you must always be dying. Not so fun now, is it? But take it. It is your best, truest path.

And then She is gone, very very quickly, like a blast of the north wind.

That was not at all what I was expecting, and I am not sure what to do with that. What do you think? Any ideas?


Poppy Fields said...

Hmm. I don't know.
But I turn 33 on Thursday; another year closer to death, at least symbolically! :)

Thalia said...

Yes, but if you were a hobbit you'd finally be coming of age! :)

Wendy said...

Thanks, I didn't know much about this Goddess. Very interesting indeed.

Andygrrrl said...

The only thing that's occuring to me is the balance of dark and light. That seems to be an overall pattern with the cards you've drawn in the last weeks. I didn't realize Idunn had a connection to Hel or any darker aspects, but it certainly complicates the picture!

I'm reminded of two things, first, what you wrote for Kirke a while back:

"Oh. It is not 'both' or 'in-between' as in being half one thing and half another, but as in being both things, each complete and whole, at the same time."

And also something the writer Theodora Goss wrote once, that true beauty always holds a reminder of death. That this reminder of its very transience is what makes it beautiful. I can't quite articulate the connection my subconcious seems to be making, but I almost feel like pulling back and looking at all these recent cards in context would be illuminating.

Poppy Fields said...

"Yes, but if you were a hobbit you'd finally be coming of age! :)"

You know, it _feels_ like a coming of age! I'm calling it "1/3 of the way to 99" :)

Thalia said...

Andygrrrl, as far as I know Idun doesn't have any connection to Hel, save for some obscure ideas that apples may have been considered an underworld food that I read somewhere that I can't pin down now (of course).

I can't tell if it's just me being my anxiety-prone self, seeing all this darkness now in the season of light, or what. I am reminded, though, that besides at Samhain, at Midsummer the veil is traditionally known to be quite thin.

I was thinking I'd like to lay out all the Goddesses of the Week in order (maybe in a post) with dates to try to see a larger picture.

And 1/3 of the way to 99! Very nice. When I turned thirty my brother made me a card saying "Congratulations on entering your fourth decade!" Rotten bastard. He had the good sense to keep his mouth shut when I turned 40, though.

Thalia said...

To quote myself (isn't that illegal in some states?):

I can't tell if it's just me being my anxiety-prone self, seeing all this darkness now in the season of light, or what.

Or it could be the fact that this June (and so far, this July) has been some of the darkest rainiest most miserable weather I have ever seen here in New England? All the roses balled, there are mosquitoes the size of kittens, and the electric blanket is still on the bed. Though, my tomatoes are taller than I am.