In the Garden
Modern Cultivated Apple (Malus domestica syn.
M. pumila, Pyrus pumila)
Modern cultivated apple trees usually reach between fifteen and forty feet tall. Their short, crooked trunks are rough and fissured. The leaves are pointed and oval with finely serrated edges. They are yellowish green to dark green on top and pale, gray-green or whitish underneath. White to pinkish-white, five-petaled flowers are produced in clusters in the early spring. There are hundreds of modern apple cultivars.
While the crabapple is a favorite springtime tree with its stunning display of flowers (see the entry in “April”), the fruit of the modern cultivated apple is the essence of autumn. Although we can get apples year round from the supermarket, it’s nice to have our favorite local variety through the winter. If you want to store apples, pick them just before they are ripe. A ripe apple stem will come away from the tree easily when you give the fruit a sharp twist. Choose apples that look ripe but have a little resistance to picking. Wrap each fruit in tissue or newspaper. Store them in an open box or tray in a cool, dry place. According to my grandmother, layering and covering the apples with maple leaves enhances the flavor by preventing them from absorbing odors. Of course, chanting and visualizing the apples surrounded by magical energy while picking and storing helps, too.
One of the easiest ways to incorporate the power of apples into magic work and rituals is to cut one horizontally to reveal the five-pointed star pattern. This apple pentagram has been called the star of knowledge. Place both halves of a cut apple on your altar to represent the Lord and Lady. For an esbat ritual, leave the apple whole but carve the triple moon symbol (waxing, full, waning) into the skin. Eating an apple before magic work helps access ancient wisdom. Wash and clean some apple seeds, and then make a circle with them around the base of a candle on your altar for fertility spells.
Following are two methods for love divination with apples: To find the initials of your true love, gently twist the stem of an apple and say a letter of the alphabet (starting with A) for each twist. The letter at which the stem breaks is the initial of the person’s first name. Take the broken stem and poke it into the apple saying a letter at each poke. The letter at which the apple skin breaks is the initial of the person’s surname. The other way of finding your true love’s initials requires two apples. Carefully peel them, keeping the skin of each in one long strip. One at a time, throw them over your shoulders and then look for any initials formed by the peels.
The color of an apple can support magic work, too. Use a red apple for love, passion, and desires; a yellow/golden apple for success; and a green apple for abundance and prosperity. Also, burn a small piece of applewood to scent the home and attract abundance.
Apple is associated with the elements air and water. Its astrological influence comes from Venus. This tree is also associated with the following deities: Aphrodite, Apollo, Athena, Badb, Cailleach Bheur, Diana, Dionysus, Eros, Flora, Freya, Hera, Lugh, Macha, Manannan, Rhiannon, Venus, and Zeus.
Figure 32. Apple is associated with the ogham Quert (left) and the rune Inguz (right).