1/26/09

Goddess of the Week: Pomona

Pomona is the Roman goddess of fruit trees, gardens, and orchards.  She is unusual in the Roman pantheon because she is entirely Roman; she is not based on any Greek goddess.  

Unfortunately, she was too gullible for her own good.  She had determined never to marry, but the Roman god of nature, Vertumnus, decided that she was so lovely he couldn't live without her.  He was a shape shifter, and he came to her orchard dressed as an old woman.  The old woman tried to convince Pomona that she should marry, that she was wasting her time living alone, that she could never be happy without a husband.  Then, when the old woman had gotten poor Pomona all stirred up, she told her to marry Vertumnus.  "Oh, he's so good looking," said the old woman.  "Oh, he can turn into a million shapes," said the old woman.  "Oh, will he shine some light on your lovely apples," said the old woman.  Then -- poof-- he turns back into Vertumnus and Pomona gets all flustered, and the next thing she knows she's married to a god who never met a flower he didn't want to pollinate.  

Still, Pomona does have a very good college named after her.  (I hear it's even harder to get into than Yale!)  Plus, the Pomona Fruit Growers Exchange used to make some very lovely citrus crate labels in her honor.  

Oh! And farmers might want to sacrifice a fruit-laden cornucopia to her if they want to ward off the Asian citrus psyllid that spreads citrus greening disease and that may just wipe out California's $1.2-billion citrus industry.

Channel this goddess: when your prized orange and lemon trees are threatened by pestilent insects or when your creativity needs some Miracle-Gro.  Do not expect much help from her if you're having relationship problems.  That's one field she can't even plow herself.  

8 comments:

Palm Axis said...

listen to Pasadena Adjacent

I was unaware that Pomona was strictly a Roman creation. Did you know our Miss Havisham hails from Pomona and not England? Anyhow"shape shifter" I like that. I also enjoy how your connecting the past to the present (Pomona and bugs). Something about oranges, must be in the air.

pasadenapio said...

All hail Goddess Pomona! My neighbor's orange trees have never been fuller.

Petrea said...

Great Goddess! My orange tree outdid my clementine tree this year. It's unheard of!

Cafe Observer said...

As 4 me, I've been dog boning up on The Goddesses Margaret, AltaHiker, PIO, et al.

altadenahiker said...

Alas poor Vertumnus, I knew him well. According to my other God (god of what I don't know), the goddess Pomona resides at the Pomona lah-brury.

JCK said...

Will she help those possessing THE BLACK THUMB?

Loved hearing about Pomona.

Margaret said...

Thanks for the visit, JCK. I hope she'll help those of us with black thumbs. Because that's me. I have a lemon tree that is always attacked by ants. I'm lucky if I get one lemon a year.

J&D said...



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