“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, by Julia Clinton Jones, 1878
The golden apples of the goddess Iduna gave youth and beauty to the other Norse gods and goddesses. Their magical properties entranced the storm giant Thiassi, who found a way to kidnap Iduna and her fruit. After Iduna was rescued, Thiassi, in the form of an eagle, was burned. His eyes were thrown into the heavens to become constellations, continuing his life like a phoenix rising from flames.
Many ancient cultures valued fruit, some enough to bury apples with the deceased. The petrified remains of sliced apples have been found in tombs as much as 7,000 years old.
Apples became a symbol of youth and rebirth, perhaps in part because they keep so well through the winter.
In Christian lore, the apple represents redemption and sometimes is depicted in paintings of the Madonna and Christ Child, such as in “Madonna of the Apple” by 17th century artist Francisco de Zurbarán.
What could be more fitting than planting apple trees on Resurrection Sunday in memory of my son Tristan? One of the two trees is a type called “Gold Rush,” reminding me of Iduna’s gilded fruit that imparts new life. The trees are perfect gifts from my brother Jim and his wife Janet.
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
A basket of golden apples and a note about their significance would make a lovely gift to someone who has lost a loved one.
Valhalla: The Myths of Norseland; A Saga, in Twelve Parts, by Julia Clinton Jones, 1878, retrieved March 29, 2016 from http://www.odins-gift.com/pclass/valhalla_jones/valhalla_jones_4.htm