“White stars gathered
like wise blessings within my arms,
I show the Beauty
of Nature’s sweet charms.
Fountain of Knowledge and Youth;
I teach you how to find hidden Beauty in Truth.
Creation and Destruction lie cradled in my fruit,
Raven in my branches
and Snake at my root. ”
“We are the three young ravens whom you saved from starving; when we had grown big, and heard that you were seeking the Golden Apple, we flew over the sea to the end of the world, where the Tree of Life stands, and have brought you the apple.” ~Brothers Grimm, “The White Snake”
There are about 35 species of small deciduous tree and shrubs known as Apples growing wild in Northern America, all of which are of the more sour crab-type. There are an estimated 10,000 varieties of apple recognized commercially! Apple trees belong to the Family Rosaceae which includes roses, pears, quinces, loquats, almonds, peaches, apricots, plums, cherries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries which can all provide valuable information as near relatives to Apple.
Those called by this Teacher should also examine potential balancing energies as well as the rest of the Family Rosaceae. Raven is the traditional bird representing the quest for enlightenment and shamanic journey, perched in the Tree of Knowledge; just as the ancient wisdom represented by Snake lies coiled at her roots. Both make wonderful balancers for Apple.
Apples are associated with love, wisdom, creation and death, healing, choice, natural magic, beauty, temptation, gratitude, and abundance. The sheer amount of apples at harvest time invites us to open our own hearts with the trust that we are using a replenish-able energy. We will receive as much as we give! Apple is a reminder to be thankful for everything worthwhile in life. Apples are a natural remedy for the stomach, bowels and heart, the main organs of giving and receiving.
The malic and tartaric acids of the apple particularly benefit people of sedentary habits as they neutralize the acid products of indigestion, and an excellent aide for constipation. This is why it is so commonly used as a child’s first fruit or as part of the BRAT diet familiar to all mothers (bananas, rice, applesauce, tea and toast!). “Nature’s toothbrush” is wonderful for cleansing our teeth as we eat too! High in antioxidants, a good source of dietary fiber, and a natural immune booster, apples provide us with many health benefits.
Edred Thorsson in The Book of Ogham suggests that Quert (the Apple) is a sign of beauty and eternity, a kind of eternal perfection and symmetry. The spiritual warrior, one who is unafraid to make the journey to the Otherworld and back, one who is unafraid to face death or madness is drawn to Apple. Apple has a long association with wise women and shamans for this very reason, and the Raven who embodies this sensitive and wise soul is often found perched among it’s branches! In Norse traditions it was the Apples of Immortality that kept the Gods young and vital for all times, and it is also linked with Fae energy, especially Tir na nog, the fabled Celtic Land of the Ever Young.
The custom of celebrating Lughnasadh (from the Ancient Celtic) or Lammas (August 1-2 Harvest Festival) with the inclusion of an apple and berry pie symbolizing the magical union between Brighid and Lugh is one of many being revived by Neo-Pagans today. Evidence has shown that the apple has been eaten, and preserved by slicing and sun drying, during the Stone Age across Europe. This mighty Teacher has been growing on Earth for about 80 million years! Apple reminds us to give in abundance, and have faith that Creator and the Universe will provide for and replenish our needs in turn.
Apple also reminds us that we must be open to receive these gifts, and grateful. I find the phrase, “I am so grateful for all those gifts already on their way to me, even if I can’t see them right now.” helpful. Greediness or hoarding, bitterness, mysophobia (fear of dirt or contamination), low-self esteem or self-loathing, excessive fear of death, age, or sickness might be signs of unbalanced Apple energy. Exploration of the Native American concept of the Give Away ceremony might be useful to those called by this Teacher.
The magical pentagram, ancient symbol of magic and protection, emblem of Brighid, is found within the form of the apple blossom and in the apple seeds arrayed within the fruit. In many traditions it is the apple that most commonly represents the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. This reminds us that “with great power comes great responsibility.” The true road to Knowledge is a long and rocky one, full of temptations, but when we walk the path with heart, carrying beauty and gratitude with us, we will reach the true lessons of the mighty Apple tree. Apple trees are great friends for those seeking knowledge (especially of natural magic), inspiration, or protection for family and home. There are many myths, legends and traditions surrounding the beloved Apple around the world.
“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” Basil
Key Concepts: Beauty, Health, Natural Magic, Feminine energy and creativity, Life, Prosperity, Creation, Temptation, Knowledge/Wisdom, Youthfulness, Immortality (Life/Death/Rebirth), Fae energy, Home/Hearth, Abundance, Transformation, Creativity/Inspiration, Love, Balance, Shamanic Journey, Divination, Other worlds
Associated Gods/Goddesses or Popular and Mythic figures: Brigid, Indunna, Hera, Eris (goddess of discord), Eve, Snow White, Venus, Isaac Newton, Johnny Appleseed, Teachers, The Beatles, Avalon, Finn MacCumhail, King Cormac, Lugh Lamfada, The Sons of Tuirenn, Thomas the Rhymer, Pomona, The Hesperides, Hera, Gaea, Danu, Dagda, Dionysus, Bragi, Paris of Troy, William Tell
Potential Balancing Energies: snake, raven/crow, bear, deer, turkey, rabbit, horse, earthworm, bee, ant, wasp, raccoon, other trees like cedar, morel mushroom and other fungi, caterpillar, inch worm, wolf, fox, hummingbird, stars, winds
Each Who Sings Now? poem I have written is inspired by a Teacher found in Nature; a tree, star, animal, stone, etc. from which we can learn so many priceless lessons… if we only take the time to listen. Many people enjoy trying to guess which Teacher inspired the poem before going on to read about them in detail. Can you guess who is singing?