October Lore — Apples

October Lore

Apples

This is the time of the apple harvest: winesaps, greenings, macintosh, red and yellow delicious, and the antique varieties of sops of wine, sheep nose and smokehouse.  There are apples to fill fruit bowls for immediate eating, apples that keep well for Winter storage, and apples that make the best pie ever.  The back porch smells of hot applesauce laced with cinnamon, which is canned by the case.

Apples have always been magically important.  The Celts “wassailed” their apple trees to insure a bountifull harvest in the coming year. Traditionally wassail was made of hard cider that was heated with spices and had apples floating on top.  These apples, when heated enough, would burst their skins, and the white flesh would form a froth on top of the wassail.  There is much reason to believe that wassailing was performed at Samhain or Halloween as it was at Yule. Samhain is the time of the apple harvest, and there are many traditions in which apples are very important.  Samhain was the New Year of the Celtic calendar, and probably several traditions got shifted to Yuletide when the calendar was changed.  Wassailing the apple trees, no doubt, was one of these.

Candy apples are a traditional trick or treat gift at Halloween. Another tradition is bobbing for apples, or “dooking,” as it is called in Scotland. (Description of how to dook…)  This game may have developed directly from the apples that floated on the wassail of earlier Halloweens.

Another traditional Halloween game is apple on a string. (Description) This game may have evolved from people playing a similar game while the apples still hung on the tree, and this may have been done in imitation of certain animals.  But it is more likely that these games developed in the spirit of fun and play that is the essence of Pagan celebration.

Apples also have a history of being used for healing (“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”), especially for curing warts.  The most typical method is to slice an apple in half and rub both halves over the wart or affliction to be cured. The put the two halves back together and bury them in the Earth while reciting an enchantment to the effect that as the apple wastes away, so will the wart or other affliction.

When an apple is sliced in half horizontally it reveals hidden within its core a five-pointed star.  When an apple is being cut in half for magical purposes it should be cut this way in order to take full advantage of the secret magical sign.  And of course it should be cut with the boline (magically charged white- handled knife).

The apple harvest can be celebrated on the day that it is completed with a meal that features apples, apple fritters, apple pie, or applesauce.  Select one tree to represent all of the apple trees in the orchard, whether it is the oldest, tallest, or most productive.  Draw and consecrate a Circle around the tree and stand within it facing the tree.  holding a cup of spiced cider or apple wine, anoint the tree by drawing a pentacle with a finger dipped in the cup of liquid. Draw the pentacle at eye level on the tree trunk or just below where all the branches begin.  Recite something such as:

Here’s to thee, Apple tree Flowers at Beltane Fruit at Samhain Apple tree, Blessed be!

Then drink a toast to the tree and pour a libation at its roots, and eat the food of the feast within the Circle.

The Magical Energy of Apples

The Magical Energy of Apples

By Patti Wigington

Apples are magical, especially around the time of the autumn harvest.

Apple Divination

Apples have always been popular tools for foretelling the future. There are a number of traditional methods in folklore for seeing who one’s lover might be.

  • Peel the apple, keeping the peel in one long piece. When the peel comes off, drop it on the floor. The letter it forms is the first initial of your true love’s name.
  • Wait until midnight and cut an apple into nine pieces. Take the pieces into a dark room with a mirror (either hanging on the wall or a hand-held one will do). At midnight, begin eating the pieces of apple while looking into the mirror. When you get to the ninth piece, throw it over your shoulder. The face of your lover should appear in the mirror.
  • If a girl has more than one potential lover, peel an apple and pull out the seeds. Place a wet seed on your cheek for each boyfriend. The last one left stuck to the skin represents the suitor who is the true love.

Apple Magic

Because of its associations with the harvest, the apple is perfect for Mabon magic. Try the Apple Harvest rite, or honor the goddess Pomona at the harvest.

  • Mabon Apple Harvest Rite: This harvest ritual is designed with solitary Wiccans and Pagans in mind, and uses the apple and its five-pointed star as the focus. Honor the ancient gods at Mabon with this harvest ritual.
  • Pomona, Goddess of Apples: Pomona was an obscure Roman goddess, but she still has significance when it comes to the blooming of orchards and fruit trees in the fall.
  • Magic of the Apple Blossoms: The apple is associated with immortality, but is also considered a food for the dead, which is why it often makes its appearance at Mabon celebrations.

Apple Crafts

In addition to being tasty and sweet, apples are perfect for craft projects. Try one of these to decorate your home with magical apple energy.

  • Apple Candleholders: Make a set of decorative candleholders by coring out the top of a pair of apples.
  • Apple Garlands: This easy-to-make craft not only looks pretty, but will leave your home smelling delicious and welcoming!
  • Apple Butter: Brew up a pot of delicious apple butter to celebrate the harvest.