Pagan Blog Project 2013, yep I’m trying again this year – here’s hoping I make it all the way through to Z this year!
Apples might seem to be an odd subject to write about from a pagan perspective, they’re a fruit right? What do they have to do with paganism? Well in Britain, as a Wiccan Witch, quite a lot. For the longest time, from a purely personal perspective, apples formed part of my ‘cakes and ale‘ and applejuice the other part. They were the easiest things for sixteen year old me to get hold of without spending money and apples have the advantage over other fruit as if you cut them in half crossways they have a five pointed star in their middle. The ability to eat ‘cakes’ ready marked with my religious symbol? Clearly magical!
But apart from my personal physical practice what part do apples play within paganism?
A friend pops into my mind at this point, I got to know him at uni and he was really interested in voodoo, until the voodoo spirits, not sure which ones told him he needed to look closer to home. He’s a heathen these days. Sometimes people within paganism can use that sort of thing as an excuse for racism and bigotry but the fact remains that to be pagan is to be aware of the land, the land in which you live and the land you came from. These things in and of themselves give no reason for bigotry. The land doesn’t care who connects with it, only that people do.
The land that I came from is very flat, though I come from the small hills that exist in it’s northern extremes but on a less descriptive and more informative level I come from Britain and the gods that I worship are gods of these islands. There are many gods and spirits walking through these isles at the moment, we have been a land of migrants for at least the last two thousand years and the gods come as well as the people. Some of the gods are of the land in the way that the white goddess is of the land, some of the gods make the land their own and some walk through unconcerned. All of them eat the apples though.
This is where I get poetic rather than literal.
Names play a great part in how you perceive the land around you, Albion is a name I’m perfectly happy with for this island – it could mean simply ‘Earth’ but mostly it gets translated as White Hills – and I grew up in chalk country so that suits me. Prydhein is another name which I’m happy with, mainly because it eventually ends up as Britain and I like continuity. Now I have read many, many weird and wonderful books of doubtful provenance whilst being a pagan and I wish I could remember which book it was in which I read this but one book was desperate to get an etymological connection between Avalon and Prydhein. Avalon being (as far as I’m concerned) the sacred heart of Britain and meaning The Isle of Apples.
Apples having a secret magical heart and being at the heart of my land makes sense to me. I do a lot of my religious and magical practice out in the hills and whilst when I’m in a ‘proper’ ritual I’ll make cakes for the cakes and ale one of the easiest things to take in your bag for an outdoor ritual is an apple.
Eating an apple to ground you after a ritual, when the apple is initimately connected to the place in which your eating it gives you a very solid feeling and a continual mystical/shamanic connection to the world around you. Or it does for me anyway.
Connection and understanding are very solid parts of my pagan practice and in some ways, for me that started with apples.