As I write, I am sipping organic apple cider and gazing at a most transcendent vision: a blossoming apple tree (Malus domestica) in my front yard. With pale pink and white petals; brand-new spring leaves in a cool, aventurine shade of green; and the promise of sweet, crisp, nourishing deep red fruits in the fall, it’s not difficult to imagine these trees—equal parts earthy and otherworldly—adorning the legendary Avalon, the sacred island of magic and power from the Arthurian legends (popularly believed to be synonymous with Glastonbury in Scotland). The fact that this tree was such an iconic resident of Avalon is demonstrated by the island’s alternative moniker: the Isle of Apples.
Blessings and Abundance
One of the most essential symbols of the harvest, and sacred to the earth and agriculture goddess Demeter, the apple represents an abundant crop and the enjoyment of the fruits of one’s labor. From September through Thanksgiving, the nourishing fruit shows up in seasonal imagery representing abundance, sustenance, and nourishment. A beautiful way to draw wealth and prosperity during these months is to display a bowl or a basket of apples in the home or on one’s altar. Enjoying apple cider (alcoholic or non) with friends during a fall barbecue or the holidays can be a similarly seamless way to celebrate the sweetness of life and, in so doing, draw even more blessings into your life experience.
The Norse goddess Idun presides over both apples and eternal youthfulness. Apparently, the other Norse deities relied on her apples to preserve their relative immortality. This legendary attribute is mirrored in the physical realm: apples support youthfulness through enhancing health. They’re rich in vitamins and minerals, support detoxification, improve digestion, and stimulate healthy fluid production in the lungs.
IDUN PETITION FOR YOUTHFULNESS
To increase your youthful appearance and personality, call on Idun. Offer her cinnamon incense and request that she infuse your apples with her magic. Then eat one daily.
In the Adam and Eve myth, the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is perhaps most often thought of—at least in the West—as an apple. According to our cultural heritage and the popular imagination, by picking and tasting the sweet and delicious “apple,” and then by convincing Adam to do so as well, Eve got herself and her partner cast out of the garden, and set in motion all of the pain and challenges humans experience. Isn’t that just like a woman (the unspoken story goes) to be shamefully seduced by the realm of the sensual and then to maliciously (or stupidly) deceive her partner into being seduced as well? (And of course it’s no coincidence that the snake was once a symbol of the feminine divine.)
Clearly, it’s time to let this archaic abhorrence of femininity die and reclaim our joy in feminine sensuality, wisdom, and independence. What better symbolism for doing so could there possibly be than for a woman to take a defiantly loud, sloppy, satisfying bite of a sweet, voluptuous apple? Indeed, I suggest that you seriously consider incorporating loud and unapologetic apple eating into rituals designed to reclaim cultural and/or personal feminine power.
The Five Elements
Perhaps you have cut an apple in half horizontally and viewed the five-pointed star normally hidden within. This symbol of the five elements—earth, air, fire, water, and spirit—shows up again and again in magical and alchemical literature, indicating the apple tree’s alignment with magic, the Goddess, and All That Is.
A member of the rose family and considered sacred to the archetypal love goddess Aphrodite, the apple offers both a gorgeous, heart-opening blossom and a sweet, juicy, sensual treat. Naturally, this makes the apple tree an abundant supplier of love-drawing magical ingredients of the highest caliber and potency. Employ apple seeds, fruit, and blossoms in love-drawing charms, sachets, and baths.
As one of the original thirty-eight Bach Flower Remedies, crabapple flower essence can be extremely helpful for cultivating sincere self-acceptance. In fact, when I was in my mid-twenties, crabapple flower essence helped me shift my inner dialogue from profound self-loathing to profound self-love. If you—like I once did—constantly berate yourself for your appearance, experience embarrassment about your complexion, or feel inexplicably dirty or grimy no matter how much you bathe and scrub, try taking two drops of crabapple essence three times per day under the tongue or in water. (You can find it at most health food stores and online.)
Alternatively, spending quality quiet time with a blossoming apple or crabapple tree can have a similar effect, especially when performed regularly while the blossoms are present.
In his excellent book The Botany of Desire, author Michael Pollan convincingly demonstrates that the very existence of the anciently cultivated apple tree can be wholly attributed to our human desire for sweetness. If you could use more sweetness in your life or if you’d like to sweeten your feelings toward another person, visualize an apple filled with bright pink light, request divine support in infusing it with the energy of sweetness, and then mindfully eat it. Similarly, if you’d like to bring out the sweetness in someone else’s disposition or cause them to take action on their existing feelings of sweetness toward you, bless an apple with sweetness in a similar way and give it to them as a gift.
Those with an affinity for unicorns will be pleased to know that, according to author Teresa Moorey in The Fairy Bible, “the unicorn lives underneath [the apple tree].” To be sure, there is nothing in the visual world that evokes the sweet, gentle magic of a unicorn quite like the ethereal beauty of a blossoming apple tree. Visit an apple tree in spring to commune with the realm of the unicorns.
Do you feel a kinship with the fae? If so, apple wood might be just the wand material for you. It’s said that fairies play beneath blossoming apple trees and that wands made of apple wood can open a portal between this world and the world of the fae.