Dreams set us research assignments. A note on an assignment I was given in the hypagogic zone, on the cusp of sleep, when I lay down in the early hours:
January 2, 2021
The name comes through clearly the moment I close my eyes.. I know I am being given an assignment: to explore and report from the realm of the Norse goddess who keeps the apples of regeneration that keep the gods young. For a moment I am wafted into an enchanted apple orchard. I smell the apple blossom in the golden hair of a lovely young woman who seems sweet and innocent.
I let myself drift into sleep. In the final scene of my sleep dreams, I am driving far north, ever north, faster and faster with a young woman who seems to be both my daughter and my research partner. The wind rushes past us as the beating of great wings. We are excited because we have found the key to a mystery. We now need to use it and confirm the story we may bring to the world.
Clearly this sequence demanded immediate research in ordinary reality. I looked at the name, written as Iðunn in Old Norse and translated as "ever young" and "rejuvenator”. I went back to the books: to the Prose Edda for the story of Idun’s abduction and rescue (both the work of Loki), to Hilda Ellis Davidson’s treatment of Idun in Gods and Myths of the Viking Age, I looked again at the role of apples in many traditions (notably Celtic) as seeds of life and as passports to the Otherworld. I reflected on the nature of Idun’s husband Bragi, the skaldic god of poetry, who gave his name to the cup (bragarfull) with which toasts to the mighty Viking dead were raised.
Of course I drew Idun by an apple tree with apple blossom in her hair, holding her golden apples in a basket rather than an ashwood box because that is the way I see her. This assignment has just begun. Who knows how far the road may lead?
RM jounal drawing January 2, 2021