Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Apple of Fate

I am at work and often at play in the deep mines of my old journals, excavating promising nuggets and buried treasures for a new book. I am fascinated to see how very much of the really good stuff came to me in states of hypnagogia, in the liminal zone that Tinker Bell called "the place between sleep and awake." Over several decades, this has very often been the launch pad for soul travel and lucid dreams, a place of rendezvous with inner guides and other interesting visitors, and a place of intensive training in what have become the core techniques of Active Dreaming.
     Mining all this material can be rather slow going. Frequently, instead of wanting to hurry back to the surface with a new find, I go ever deeper. Sometimes this is essential because there are mystery words and mysterious sigils and symbols I failed to understand at the time, and keys to other realms that I failed to turn or did not yet know how to use.
    One example:

On an October night in 1995, I lie down on my bed. As soon as I close my eyes, I see a form of the Great Earth Mother, vast and voluptuous. She rises before me, large as a mountain, and opens a fertile valley. I fly through this like a swallow, and come out in a world suffused by sourceless light.. There is a sense of being in a contained space, protected by translucent walls that are spirals of light. 

   There is a feminine presence. She lets me know she is willing to be a guide for me in this realm. She is very tall and slender, dressed in blue. Her name is of the North. Though the light is everywhere, she moves within a fine mist that makes her features hazy.
    She tells me this is a place of purification, of cleansing “down to the bone marrow.” She speaks to me of soul, and where it travels.“Where your desire goes, there you go in soul flight out of the body, and in the soul’s journey after death.”
    She shows me a ball fired high into the air, sailing up above the clouds. She tells me, “This is the Apple of Fate. When it returns to Earth, your present life will be over.” We agree I do not need to know the exact time or circumstances of its return.

Reading this, I am stirred again by the vision of the Apple of Fate. And I am surprised that I do not seem to have tracked this through the mists of myth and ancestral knowledge back in 1995. Well, there were many other clues to pursue in that season, when I was often recording more than a dozen dreams and visions and inner communications every day.
    So now I am considering goddesses known to my Northern ancestors who were especially fond of apples. Ildunn is a Nordic goddess who carries apples in a box crafted from ash wood. In the Prose Edda, when the gods start to feel old, they ask her to feed them her apples, which carry the magic of rejuvenation. This is why Ildunn's name means Ever Young. In a story of the goddess Frigg in the Volsung Saga, an apple from the goddess can produce a new birth as well as fresh juice. When king Renr prays for a child, Frigg's messenger, a crow, drops an apple in his lap, and soon his wife is pregnant. Then there are the Apples of Hel, They are mentioned in an 11th century poem by the skald Thorbrion Brunarson, who saw the apple as food of the dead.
    I do not find the phrase Apple of Fate in the Icelandic texts, or the excellent works of H.R.Ellis Davidson, the great English scholar of Nordic paganism. But I see that the intriguing Nehelennia is also depicted as carrying a supply of apples. With the breath of her name I feel a wind from the mythic ocean gusting through my study. Nehelennia, whose best-known temples were on the coast of the Netherlands, was a Celtic-Germanic goddess who was a special patron of voyagers, those traveling by sea or across the astral tides, and those making the crossing to the Otherworld and the afterworld.
    Apple of Fate is a term that could fit the apple in the Garden of Eden, or the apple in the story of Paris' choice between the three goddesses, since in each of those stories a choice involving an apple determined a fate. But those stories don't resonate with me in relation to the blue lady and what she showed me. And anyway, the apple of Eve and the apple of Paris weren't apples as we know them. Apples were unknown west of Kazakhstan until some of the soldiers of Alexander the Great brought them back from his campaigns; even then, these "apples" were only small and tart, like crabapples.
    I wonder where my Apple of Fate is now, flying or falling or bumping along the ground. As the lady in blue suggested, I don't need an exact fix on that, at least, not yet...

Ildunn by Arthur Rackham (1910)      


Worldbridger said...

An apple of discord is a reference to the Golden Apple of Discord (Greek: μῆλον τῆς Ἔριδος) which, according to Greek mythology, the goddess Eris (Gr. Ἔρις, "Strife") inscribed "to the fairest" and tossed in the midst of the festivities at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, thus sparking a vanity-fueled dispute between Hera, Athena and Aphrodite that eventually led to the Trojan War[1] (for the complete story, see The Judgement of Paris). Thus, "apple of discord" is used to signify the core, kernel, or crux of an argument, or a small matter that could lead to a bigger dispute.

Robert Moss said...

Not this apple, I think.

James Wilson said...

Hi Robert,
a few things come to mind after reading your article.

The falling apple (or a ball which is called an apple) made me think about Isaac Newton, and the story that a falling apple helped him to discover universal gravitation. At first he realized that the gravity of the earth makes the apple fall down. Later he realized that the power of gravity was not limited to a certain distance from earth, but that this power must extend much further than was usually thought. And if so it could influence the motion off the moon and perhaps keep her in her orbit.

“This is the Apple of Fate. When it returns to Earth, your present life will be over.”
Sounds a bit scary, but if this was my dream,
when I think about gravity, how it makes the Moon (a “big ball” in the sky) go in predictable cycles. (and also all the other celestial bodies) it would give me the feeling that it could mean a certain period (cycle) in my live comes to an end when the ball falls back to the ground. For instance a project or intention I have started/set in 1995.

Your following descriptions:
a world suffused by sourceless light, a woman dressed in blue, which tells you this is a place of purification, of cleansing “down to the bone marrow.”
And the fact it makes you think about the Netherlands, Nehelennia

Make me think about , Jomanda is a Dutch spiritualist who described herself as being "a healing medium." She claims to have psychic powers of clairvoyance, empathy and prescience, aided by her late father and other powers from the "world divine". Jomanda refers to herself as the Lady of the light. From 1992 - 1999 Jomanda held healings in the Event Hall in Tiel. Jomanda always wore a blue dress.

And a funny coincided. In Holland Tiel (and the area where it is located) is known for its fruit.

Robert Moss said...

Very interesting associations, James. I especially like your reflections on gravity and what keeps a ball as big as the Moon in the air. I was in the Netherlands quite often in the heyday of Jornanda, but don't remember hearing anything about her until now. So many leads to pursue, from 10 minutes in the hypnagogic zone.

Irene said...

During the 90's the Feminine energy wore a blue veil...peace, truth and helping spirit to guide many that wished to see beyond or within that which had bound their spirit throughout humanities history.

Teaching through voice such as you have done with ties to dream walking through the mystery deserved no less than the touch of the Feminiine - a blessing if you will.

Fate is governed by such blessings while Desitny is revealed by each moment of choice.

I focused on the messenger rather than the object of her attention getting which was the throwing of the ball - the mystery of the landing is now up to you rather than Fate alone. As it is for us all!

Thanks be to you that has created such a beautiful and enjoyable journey through the consciousness of humankind.

city said...

thanks for share....