I must admit, autumn is not my favorite season. Winter is a difficult time for me, and the creeping cold and slowly receding light serve to remind me that this time is coming ever closer. But of course, there are some wonderful things about the fall! One of my favorite parts of the year is the apple harvest.
In my little bit of Nebraska, apples are a big deal. Arbor Day Farms, the home of Arbor Day, is just about an hour away from me. A couple weeks ago, my kids and I made the trek out to celebrate the Apple Jack Festival, a huge harvest party with parades and a carnival and apples everywhere. It’s really amazing, and one of my favorite events all year.
As also happens around this time of year, I began to get a tickling thought in the back of my head. Apples, red and shining, golden and round, green and brilliant, hidden in a wooden chest or displayed in a golden bowl. And the Goddess that holds them: Idunn, the Goddess who holds the apples, the keys to renewing life.Idunn is the keeper of sacred apples. We learn in the Prose Edda that when She is stolen away by the giant Thjazi (with a little help from Loki), the Gods begin to grow old and wither away. When She and Her apples are eventually rescued and returned (by Loki, what a surprise!) there is a huge celebration for the return of the Gods’ immortality.
I struggle with depression in my day to day life, and it tends to worsen seasonally as the hours of daylight grow shorter. Idunn carries such a message of hope for me in the autumn – like the trees on which Her apples grow, which fall barren each winter but throw out new shoots and flowers and fruit as soon as the weather warms, hope and happiness are also ever-renewing.
When these things are gone, it sometimes feels as if they can never return. But sometimes all we need is to bite into the metaphorical apple – whatever form that may take for you – and life and joy will be restored.
Hail Idunna, Keeper of the golden apples.
rejuvenating even the Gods.
Goddess, grant me good fortune,
and sweet fruit all through the dark winter.