"And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the Moon the golden apples of the Sun."
~ William Butler Yeats
We have all heard and used the expression "An apple a day keeps the
Doctor away." This expression is based on a very old superstition and is
One of many associated with apples. I am quite sure that you have all
Held an apple in one hand and twisted the stem while reciting the
Alphabet to ascertain the initial of that 'special someone' - the apple
Of our eye. I am equally as certain we have all gotten happy feet and
Sang along with the Andrew's Sisters "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree
With Anyone Else But Me." In "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel
Hawthorne, we are moved and touched by the gracious and dignified
Austerity of Hester Prynne's declaration 'A is for Apple.' There is a
Very long tradition of prediction and divination with apples. A great
Many of them, of course, are associated with love and relationships.
Apples were once considered to be the food of the gods - if you cut an
Apple in half crosswise the centre is revealed as a five pointed star.
Merlin carried the orchard of Avalon, the magickal 'Apple-Land' or 'Isle
Of Apples' which received the dying King Arthur, with him on all his
Travels. The ignorant were not to eat of this fruit because the apple
Contained a Pythagorean Pentagram - cut widthways secrets were revealed
In the shape of its pips. This was how Aphrodite was chosen the most
Beautiful Goddess by Paris. The Apple of Discord, inscribed For the
Fairest, was given by Paris to Aphrodite, this caused a quarrel among
The goddesses and set the course for the Trojan War.
One of the Twelve Labours of Hercules was to obtain The Golden Apples of
The Hesperides. The tree where the sacred golden apples of Hera grew was
Guarded by the serpent Ladon in the garden of the Hesperides in the far
West. The Hesperides were three nymphs who were the daughters of Night
And Erebus. This garden was close to where the Titan Atlas supported the
World on his shoulders. Hercules was able to persuade Atlas to acquire
The apples for him, while he supported the world for Atlas. Apples were
Also sacred to the goddess Venus and symbolized her, she 'was worshipped
On one half of the apple as the evening star, Hesper,...and as Lucifer,
Son of morning, on the other.' Apples have their dark side as well, the
Apples of Sodam were beautiful to look at but ashes inside, and the
Apples of Istkahor were sweet on one side and bitter on the other. In
Snow White, the wicked queen poisons Snow White with an apple.
There is a similar story to The Labours of Hercules in Celtic mythology
Called The Punishment of the Children of Tuireann. The sons of Tuireann,
Their mother was Brighid, were assigned seven tasks by Lugh, the
Sun-God, to avenge the slaying of his father Cian. The first task was to
Obtain three apples from the Garden of Hisberna, in the east of the
World. The skin of these apples was the colour of honey, the taste could
Cure a warrior of all his wounds and they could be used as hurling
Weapons. Nothing could destroy them and they would always return to the
Thrower when commanded. The King of Hisberna had powerful guards on his
Garden as it had been prophesied that three young warriors from the west
Would arrive to steal them. The brothers shapeshifted into the form of
Hawks, each piercing one apple with his beak. The King had three
Daughters who shapeshifted into griffins and pursued them. One of the
Brothers using druidic sorcery turned himself and his brothers into fish
And they plummeted into the ocean away from the griffins.
The apple and apple tree are symbolic of the guarantee of immortality in
Irish tradition and the apple tree is universally esteemed as a holy
Tree. The apple tree is another sacred tree to the Druids. In their
Tradition it is said that you may cut an apple into three pieces, then
Rub the cut side on warts, saying:
"Out warts, into apple."
The pieces are buried and as they decay, the warts disappear. Apple
Cider is used by modern Witches/Wiccan practioners as a substitiute in
Old spells which called for blood or wine. Apples are indicative of
Choices and are often used for love and healing magick.
Mandrake, a small perennial of the potato family, is called the devil's
Apple because of the poisonous golf ball sized fruit they produce at the
Root. This is strange plant native to southern Europe and the
Mediterranean which has been a source of mystery and superstition for
Centuries. The fleshy root is said to shriek when pulled from the
Ground. It was used in ancient Greece to alleviate pain and as an
Aphrodisiac. American mandrake or may apple is an unrelated plant common
To woodlands and meadows.
Mother Goddesses are powerful female figures revered by many cultures.
They are often depicted dispensing apples, bread or coins symbolizing
wealth and the bounty of nature. In Irish and Welsh stories, apple trees
in The Otherworld were magical and always laden with fruit that had
magickal properties. The story of Mael Duin is the earliest known Celtic
travel myth. On his voyage into The Otherworld, three magick apples fed
his crew for 120 days. In the story of Conla, a woman from The
Otherworld gives him an apple which he eats from for one month. Cullwch,
who is the first great hero of Welsh mythology, had golden apples
embroidered on the corners of his purple cloak. The apple branch
represented the seeking of your heart's desire. King Cormac was given a
branch with nine apples of red gold on it which made a beautiful sound
when shaken. When the branch was shaken, no one had a want, a trouble or
In Norse mythology Idun is the goddess who tends to the apples of
eternal youth. Her apples prevent the gods from aging rapidly. The apple
has connections with Pomona, the Roman Goddess of fruit trees.
Hallowe'en cis derived from the festival for Pomona.
Traditional Christianity generally regards the apple as the fruit of the
Tree of Knowledge which Satan tempted Eve with in the Garden of Eden.
The Adam's Apple, the projection in the neck formed by the thyroid
cartilage, is supposed to have been caused by a piece of the apple
caught in Adam's throat. Since that time, superstition has dictated that
to eat an apple without polishing it first is a challenge to Satan. Carl
Jung interpreted the same apple as a symbol of life.
To dream of ripe, sweet, red and green apples is a promise of well
deserved reward and shows the achievement of harmonious balance in your
life. If the apples were green and bitter, it indicates that you could
face a loss through your own foolishness and fickle friendships. Red,
ripe apples denote true, dependable friendships.
If you dream of an apple which is rotten on the inside, it can indicate
a relationship with serious problems even if the surface appears
perfect. Eating apples with a friend or other people is a happy omen.
Eating alone in a dream generally indicates a need to protect yourself
from loss of status and friendships. Apple pie or baked apples in a
dream can augur high expectations leading to disappointments. To dream
of apple trees in blossom or an orchard can predict unexpected joys and
prolonged advancement. A Crabapple tree is an indication of a new
In keeping with the traditions of the Romany, a young lady wishing to
dream of her future husband was to obtain an apple from a widow on the
Eve of St. Andrew. No thanks were to be given. The young lady consumed
half of the apple before midnight and the other half after, which would
ensure a dream of her intended.
Another method used to discover the face of your future spouse was to
take an apple and a candle into a dark room just before midnight. While
standing in front of a mirror cut the apple into small pieces. Throw one
piece over your right shoulder and eat the rest while brushing your
hair. Do not look behind you. As midnight strikes, the face of your
future spouse will appear in the mirror. There are several variations on
this divination method. If you sit in front of a mirror in candlelight
and eat the apple while thinking about the boy or girl you like, he/she
will return the sentiment.
We have all played the childrens Samhain/Halloween game of bobbing for
apples. Games, such as apple-bobbing, called apple-dookin' in Scotland,
represent the journeys taken across water to obtain the magic apple by
Traditionally speaking, the girls were to polish, mark and then float an
apple in the tub of water. The boy that retrieved her apple with his
bite would be her spouse. If you bob for apples it is necessary to
concentrate on one so you may enjoy its sweetness in full. There is
another apple game for boys called Snap Apple. Apples are hung from the
ceiling on strings, the boys leap and try to sink their teeth into them.
The first boy to bite into an apple would be the first to marry. Another
tradition advises that if you share an apple with the one you love they
will love you in return.
Peeling apples for a prediction has been popular for ages. This method
was used if someone had a very important question. The apple was peeled
very carefully so that the questioner ended up with a long unbroken
peel. The question was asked and the peel was thrown over the shoulder.
The answer was 'No' if it fell in the shape of an 'U' or an 'O' and it
was 'Yes' if it was anything else.
Another very popular form of a peeling prediction was one that allowed a
girl to find out who her future husband would be. The apple was peeled,
again in one long continuous piece, and thrown over her left shoulder.
If the peel remained unbroken, it would fall in the shape of the initial
of her future spouse. If the peel broke, she would remain unmarried.
Some peeling predictions require the use of a silver knife to peel the
apple and others indicate that the divination be performed at midnight
on Hallowe'en. If a girl cuts an apple into nine pieces at midnight on
Samhain/Halloween in front of a mirror, then sticks each piece with the
knife and holds each piece one at a time over her left shoulder, as the
ninth piece hits the reflection in the mirror, she will see her future
husband. If a girl peels an apple at midnight on Samhain/Halloween and
hangs the peel on a nail by the front door, the initials of the first
man to enter will be the same as those of her unknown lover. Apple
peeling was also used see how long your life would be. The longer the
unbroken apple peel, the longer your life.
Samhain Apple Divinations
If a girl stands before a mirror while eating an apple and combing her
hair at midnight on Halloween, her future husbands' image will be
reflected in the glass over her left shoulder.
If a girl cuts an apple into nine pieces at midnight on Halloween in
front of a mirror, then sticks each piece with a knife and holds each
piece (one at a time) over her left shoulder, as the ninth piece hits
the reflection in the mirror, she will see her future husband.
If a girl peels an apple in one long piece at midnight on Halloween, and
then tosses the peel over her left shoulder or into a bowl of water, she
will be able to read the first initial of her future partners' name in
the shape assumed by the discarded peel.
If a girl peels an apple at midnight on Halloween and hangs the peel on
a nail by the front door, the initials of the first man to enter will be
the same as those of her unknown lover.
If a group of unmarried boys and girls each attach an apple to a string
and twirl the apple over a fire, the oder in shich the apples fall off
the string indicates the order in which they will all be married. The
owner of the last apple to drop will remain unmarried.
In a group of unmarried boys and girls, each person marks an apple and
places it in a large bucket of water, along with unmarked apples.
Without using their hands, the teens attempt to take bites out of the
apples floating in the water. The teen is fated to marry the person
whose apple they bite. Another variation of this custom consists of
hanging the apples from strings tied
to a tree.
The American custom of apple bobbing does not mark the apples. Whoever
snags an apple first will be wed first, and if a boy or girl puts the
apple they caught during the game under their pillow on Halloween Eve,
they will dream of their intended lover.
For the girl who has many suitors, the apple seed divination is a must.
The young woman peels and apple and places a wet seed named for each
boyfriend on her cheeks. The seed to fall off last will be her next
lover. Variations include sticking the seeds on the eyelids or forehead.
The girl can also put the seeds in a heavy pan on the stove. The first
seed to pop declares who will be (or is) unfaithful.
For a suitor to declare his bravery for his lady love at a party, the
young woman's apple is hung from a string on one side of a pole and a
lit candle hung on a string on the other side of the pole. As the pole
is spun amid cheers and laughter, the suitor must brave the flame to
catch the apple in his teeth. If he fails to do so, the couple will not
be a couple much longer.
Silver Ravenwolf -- "Halloween"
Customs, Spells, & Recipes