Pomona

Pomona

The Apple Queen

Origin:

Rome

Classification:

Nymph

Pomona is the spirit of fresh fruit and fruit trees, especially apples. Her name derives from the Latin pomum, similar to the French pomme or “apple.” The Romans were responsible for first domesticating wild apples, transforming sour fruit into today’s sweet, juicy apples. Presumably Pomona taught them the secret.

Pomona is not just a gardener or orchard keeper. Apples were considered sacred fruit, associated with love, magic, and death: all are under Pomona’s domain.

Pomona is a goddess of the harvest and also of enchantment. The eve of her feast day coincides with Halloween. Many scholars believe that at least some of the harvest-related aspects of the modern holiday are vestigial remnants of her old Roman feast.

Pomona is a solitary goddess but she is as tempting and desirable as her apples. Many sought after beautiful Pomona, including Pan, but she rejected them all, preferring to remain independent. She was finally wooed and won by Vertumnus, male spirit of the shifting seasons, now her consort. Vertumnus represents the year in its guise as shape-shifter. Pomona initially rejected him, too, until he gained her trust by approaching in the form of an old woman—a classic bit of ancient Halloween masquerading, or was it? Some theorize that Pomona prefers the love of women and Vertumnus prefers to be whomever Pomona desires.

Pomona is petitioned to transform the bitterness of existence into sweetness. She may be invoked to ensure the success of the many love spells utilizing apples.

Pomona’s namesake, Professor Pomona Sprout, esteemed Professor of Herbology, is the head of Hufflepuff House in J. K. Rowling’s series of Harry Potter novels.

Attribute:

Pruning knife

Spirit allies:

Pomona is often portrayed in the company of goddesses Diana and Flora.

Day: 1 November is the Pomonia, the ancient Roman Feast of Pomona.

Ritual: Bobbing for apples, now reduced to a Halloween party game, has its roots in divination rituals. Add some sort of fortune to each apple to receive Pomona’s messages.

Offerings:

Baskets of apples, apple pie and pastries, hard cider or apple juice

See Also:

Aphrodite; Diana; Flora; Hesperides; Nymph; Pan

Source:

Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.