Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Forbidden Fruit

Samhain or Halloween is fast approaching us. Among the the Jack-O-Lanterns, black cats, witches and ghost, the apple has also become a symbol of this Sacred holiday.
     The apple has a linked to the Celtic Otherworld, Annwn, where the tree is called the 'silver bough' and possesses magickal properties especially divination. This time of the year, when we attend our Halloween parties we have the game called bobbing for apples which in itself has a divination history to it.
     If you cut an apple horizonal, you will see the five pointed star made from the placement of the seed casings. This symbol is the pentagram is the symbol of Knowledge. The five pointed star is surrounded by the circular shape of the halved apple, the symbol then becomes a pentacle. This is a symbol of protection, the protection of Sacred Knowledge.
    The ancient symbol of knowledge was known to be sacred to the Celtic Goddess of death, Cailleach, the Crone, the Veiled One. Samhain is her time of the year.
     A type of cider named Verjuice was her drink at this time of the year. It was made by gathering ripe crab apples, laying them in one pile and leaving them to rot and sweat. The rotten fruit is then gathered into a bowl, then beaten to a pulp and pressed through a coarse cloth. The liquid is bottled and is ready with a month.
     Apples were also sacred to the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Eris, the greek goddess of discord, became angry because she wasn't invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. For revenge, she tossed a golden apple, which was written upon it the word Kalliste meaning, "For the most beautiful one" into the wedding party. Three goddesses claimed the apple: Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. Paris of Troy was selected to select the one that should receive the golden apple. After being bribed by Hera and Athena, Aphrodite tempted him with most beautiful woman in the world, the famous Helen of Sparta. He awarded the apple to Aphrodite thus causing the Trojan War. Some say it was Zeus who tempted Paris of Troy.
     Also Gaia or Mother Earth presented to Zeus and Hera a tree with golden apples as a wedding present. It was guarded by Ladon, a serpent who never slept and nine goddessess who formed a protective ring around it and sang sweet songs.
     In Norse myth, Iounn was a provider of apples to the gods that gave them eternal youthfulness. Vanir, a tribe of gods who were associated with fertility. Skirnir, the messenger of the major Vanir god, Freyr gave eleven golden apples to the beautiful Geror. The goddess Frigg sends King Rerir an apple after he prays to Oden for a child. Frigg's messenger in the shape of a crow drops an apple in his lap while he sat onto of a mound. His wife eats the apple and after 6 years of pregnancy the birth of their son, the hero Volsung.
     Since ancient times it was unwise to harm an apple tree. It was okay and healthy for the tree to be pruned. The pruned branches were then used for wands, magickal items, wreaths or pentagrams for the walls of homes.
     Among, the Celts, the fruit symbolized knowledge, magic and prophesy. The tree itself was of the Celtic Underworld and acted as a bridge between this world and the Underworld. The apple tree has close links to the shamans and wisewomen. It is used to undergo otherworld journeys. Celtic names one of these underworlds, Avalon, the Apple vale, where the hills were covered with apple trees. The word 'Avalon' is derived from the old Irish word 'Avaloch' meaning 'a place of apples." The word Avalon became more easily to pronounced.
     King Arthur, when he was wounded in the Battle of Camlan, was carried to the island of Avalon to be healed. Here the fruit of the tree brought healing and a dreamlike state to the king. In Avalon it was reported that the apple trees beared fruit all year long.
     People believed that apples would keep them young forever.  Notice how some people rub the apple clean before eating it, well people once believed if you didn't rub it clean before biting into an apple was a symbolic jesture of challenging the 'devil.'  To appease the spirits of the dead, people would bury a few apples, after the harvest.
     Apples are a natural remedy for the stomach, bowels and heart, the organs for giving and receiving. An apple before bedtime will cure constipation and sleeplessness. I need to try that! For sleeplessness, that is. LOL For Rheumatism, rub the area with a rotten apple. A cure for warts was rub the warts with the two halves of an apple and then bury it.
     An Anglo-Saxon remedy was to write a holy name on the apple, eat on it for three straight days to cure a fever.
     Apples were used for divination by counting apple pips, burning the  pips after naming each one with a young suitor's name and watching which one would explode or throwing the peel over the left shoulder to see it form the initial of an individual when it lands.
     If you wanted to attract an unicorn then bury an apple on the last day of October. Unicorns was know to lived under apple trees.
     The popular Halloween children's game, bobbing for apples is believed to be from an old Druidic rite of divination known as Ordeal by Water. Whoever catches an apple by it's stem between their teeth, is to take the apple home and place it under their pillow. Then that night as they sleep, they will dream of their future husband or wife.
    The Apple has been used by our ancient people and cultures for a very long time and was held very sacred.

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