Monday, August 26, 2013

Runes 401 - Rune Rituals - Idunn for joy and vitality

Over the weekend, my family and I went apple picking.  While we were in the orchard, the Norse goddess Idunn came immediately to mind.  We know a reasonable amount about her relative to many other Norse goddesses.  We know about her apples and how they keep the gods strong and healthy, and even stopped them from aging.  We learn this when Loki, the trickster, kidnaps Idunn and gives her to Thjazi the Jotun and all the gods and goddesses begin to lose their youthful beauty and become physically weak..  I tell this tale in my novel, The Son of Nine Sisters, and there are many versions of it in other sources too.

In the orchard, I could sense Idunn peeking out from behind the trees a couple of rows away with a smile on her face and fun-loving mischief in her heart.  In that moment, I felt good and happy, carefree, just as I envision her to be.  To that end, I decided to conduct a Rune ritual to her, focused on the joy and vitality she represents for the gods.

For this ritual, I encircled a bowl of apples, a bottle of apple wine (with the name "Jardin D'Eden" on the label, which means garden of Eden, but I prefer to interpret it as Idunn's garden or orchard), and three Runes with a ring of 24 apples (one for each letter of the Elder Futhark).  Before selecting the Runes, I sat with them for quite a while contemplating which ones would best honor the goddess I view as the epitome of innocence, good health, and fun.  I came up with three that felt right - Wunjo, Dagaz, and Gebo.  I chose these Runes not only for their individual meaning, but for the way they represent Idunn's essence together.  Wunjo is, perhaps, the most obvious choice, but here is my reasoning for all three.

As the Rune of joy and pleasure, choosing Wunjo for Idunn represents that child-like innocence that I sense from her.  More specifically, it serves as a reminder to lead not just a happy life, but one that is uncomplicated.  Keep it simple, because when we are not complicating our lives, we are keeping stress out of it, which makes being happy far easier to accomplish.

Dagaz supports the intent of this ritual by offering warmth and sunshine.  For when do children play and frolic more than on beautiful summer days?  As adults, we need to engage more fully in these opportunities.  Being active increases our energy and, in turn, our vitality.  In short, we feel alive when we are more active, especially if we are enjoying it in the carefree way we did in our youth.

Next to Thor's use of Mjolnir, Idunn provides the gods with perhaps their greatest gift - the apples that give them their vitality and good health - and she seems to do it without any expectation of receiving something in return.  Gebo represents this idea perfectly - give without expectation and be grateful for the basic gifts of life.  I also get the impression that not only does Idunn give the gods these apples, but that they are her apples; she grows and tends them.  She takes care of the orchards.

For the ritual itself, I set up the circle of apples, then placed the contents inside and, as I did so, I thought about each item as I set it down and chanted, "I make this circle to honor Idunn, my goddess, for her wonderful essence and energy.  May she spread good health, joy, and vitality.  May we, in return, be grateful not only for her apples, but for the example she sets for us to be giving and happy without expectation or complication."

I'm not sure how many times I repeated my request in honor of Idunn while setting up the circle, but once the circle was complete and I sat in front of it, I repeated it three more times and was struck by how natural the entire process felt and how much I wanted to do my part in this ritual.  Therefore, to honor my goddess, I commit to the very words I chanted, for this ritual helped me to realize the importance of what Idunn represents for me, my energy and vitality.

How do you honor your god/dess through rituals?


  1. A very powerful ritual and very profound. I thank you for sharing your ritual with us. Idunn to me is our ever sense of vitality and the understanding that if we lose this vitality we become stagnate (age and grow weak). We must never lose our youthful sense of vitality no matter how old our bodies become.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I couldn't agree more with your remarks about Idunn and our sense of youthfulness. despite representing youth, I find Idunn to be a very wise goddess.