Monday, January 28, 2013

Mysterious Monday: Tree Magic, Apple tree style

Photo credit: iMaffo / / CC BY

In magic, trees play an integral part—their wood, their fruit, leaves, and/or blossoms are all put to various uses. Most of us with any exposure to magic, even through Harry Potter, know of the importance of trees and have heard of wands made from ash or oak. But did you know that other trees are associated with magic, as well?

As I was looking through the list of magical trees, one in particular caught my attention. I grew up in New Hampshire, where apple trees were nearly as common as grass. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember hearing that apples were the witch’s fruit—not only were they associated with evil for supposedly being the lure that Eve used on Adam to tempt him to naughtiness (yeah, right—like her being naked had nothing to do with it!), but also, if you cut an apple in half crosswise instead of top to bottom, the seeds are exposed in a star-like formation. It’s no wonder that the apple tree is associated with evil in the Christian theology, particularly when one examines how important it was to the ancient pagans. For example, apples are very important in the feasts of Samhain and Mabon, two of the harvest festivals.

Samhain is one of the four major feasts (or Greater Sabbats), a celebration of our dead ancestors, associated today with Halloween. Apples were often seen as the proper food to serve the spirits of the deceased, and were buried in the ground to feed the dead. Mabon is the time of the autumnal equinox, a time that is neither high summer nor full autumn, thus making it a magical time. Mabon is celebrated between the 21st and 24th of September; the apple tree is associated with the tenth month of the Celtic Tree Calendar, which begins on the 2nd of September and ends on the 29th.

But apples are not just all about pagansapples are good for your health; I’m sure we have all heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apples can be ingested in many forms—raw, baked, fried, grilled, as a juice or made into a sauce or baked into something else. They are good to cure a wide range of ills, from constipation to mild depression, but as we all know, it’s the skin of the apple that contains most of the nutrients. Remember, though, I’m not a doctor, so any “cures” you see on my blog are either things that I have heard or read or experienced myself; they might not work for you. On a cool side note, eating an apple was said to allow one to transport to the “other realm”, usually the land of the fae. This could just be because, like many fruits that could be made into an alcoholic drink, apples were seen to be a fruit of the gods. Just something to think about the next time you're drinking hard cider.

The apple tree is symbolic of love, trust, and health, and its stones are the emerald and the rose quartz. Emerald is a stone of health, while rose quartz is often called the “love stone”.  Emeralds promote calming, harmony & balance, and are said to bring truthfulness and love, as well as filling one with positive energy. Rose quartz is associated with love of all sorts, from platonic to romantic, and is said to have the ability to heal a broken heart, as well as promoting calmness and tranquility.

To have these two stones as the representatives of the apple tree, which is associated with travel to the otherworld, was just too much coincidence for me; for those who don’t know, my WIP, Quantum Kiss, is a love story where the hero and heroine are from parallel worlds. They are also both living in the northeastern United States, an area that has long been associated with apples and apple trees; who doesn’t love to go to apple harvest celebrations in that area? I no longer live in the northeast, but I think I may go out tomorrow and get myself a bunch of apples—see if they help me with my weight loss and keep me calm for a meeting with my big "boss" tomorrow (knock wood, the love life's doing all right).

Photo credit: iMaffo / / CC BY


Alicia Coleman said...

Hi Lynne. I'm learning a lot from your Mysterious Monday posts. Apples are one of my favorite fruits.

Lynne Kensington said...

Mine, too! Thanks for commenting--I'm so glad that I'm not the only one learning some things. It's really re-sparking my interest in herbs, herbalism, gemstones, and natural healing. Maybe I could find a class somewhere--that would be totally awesome! :D