Tag Archives: pagan

Apple

Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Powers: Abundance, Healing, Immortality, Love
Magical Uses and History: Sometimes referred to as the Witch’s Fruit because its seeds resemble a 5-pointed star, apple is ripe with history and folklore. The history of the magical and ritual uses of the apple is lengthy, dating back thousands of years. As early as 8,000 B.C., evidence from the Nile, Tigris, Euphrates, Indus, and Yellow River valleys suggests the apple was highly valued and cultivated crop. Furthermore, the apple plays a prominent role in myths from around the world, often being associated with magic, immortality, death, knowledge, and love. It has been called the Fruit of the Gods, Fruit of the Underworld, and the Silver Bough. In fact, the name Avalon is likely derived from the old Irish word meaning “the place of apples.”

In an old Scandinavian Saga, Edda, Idunn (or Iduna) kept apples that were eaten by the Gods to ensure eternal youth. A similar myth appears in Greek folklore where Hesperides guards the apple trees that provide the same gift of youth and immortality to those who eat them. Apples also played a prominent role in Diana’s Festival on August 13 in Greece where apples were prepared still on their boughs as part of the ritual meal. And while the Bible never explicitly states the tree of knowledge is an apple tree, it has long been believed to be so. In Celtic mythology, a branch of apple with buds, flowers, and ripened fruit, known as the Silver Bough, was thought to be a magical charm that would allow the bearer to walk between the land of the Gods and the Underworld freely. Apples are also mentioned in an old English ballad, Thomays the Rymour, where the Fairy Queen warns Thomas against eating any of the apples during the feast for to do so would mean he would not be able to walk among the living again. Finally, it is believed the Trojan war was started when the Goddess Eris threw an apple into the midst of a group of goddesses, claiming it was for “the fairest.”

Due to its association with death and the Underworld, apples often adorn Samhain altars or are buried as offerings to the Dead so they may have something to eat during the long winter months ahead. Strong cider brewed from apple is sometimes referred to as Witch’s Brew and placed on altars or poured on the ground for the same reasons. The wassailing tradition is still maintained in parts of England, especially Somerset, where on the Twelfth Night (Yule) cakes and cider are offered to the trees as libations for the spirits. Guns are often shot and pans banged together afterward to drive away evil and negative spirits.

The number of love spells using the apple is countless. Apple blossoms are added to love sachets, incense, and brews to increase spell potency and bring the caster love. Furthermore, an apple can be held in your hand until warm then given to your love interest. If they eat the apple, then they love you too. The most famous apple love spell, however, was popular among unmarried women across Europe. Simply peel an apple in one piece and throw the peel over your shoulder. The letter it forms is said to be the first letter of your future husband. Margaret Atwood brings light to this tradition in her book Alias, Grace where Mary and Grace try to figure out their future husbands. Mary is unable to peel multiple apples in a single go, foretelling her death in the near future. Other love spells include counting the seeds; even for marriage soon to come, odd for no marriage in the foreseeable future, a cut seed foretelling a tumultuous marriage, and two seeds cut foretelling widowhood. To ensure fidelity, cut an apple in half and have your lover eat one half while you eat the other.

Apples are also used in fertility spells. Barren women in Kirghizstan are said to roll around under an apple tree in order to become pregnant. In some parts of Europe, apple trees are planted at the birth of a son as an indicator of his health and virality. Furthermore, the apple is viewed as a life-giving fruit among the Celts and Welsh. Due to its potency of the drink created from fermented apples, they may have been linked to orgiastic rites.

The apple also has a long history of healing uses. The old Welsh proverb, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” rings with truth, as the apple contains properties that reduce fever, thus keeping the doctor away. An apple can also be cut into three pieces and rubbed on the affected area then buried during the waning of the Moon to banish illnesses. Gardeners would pour apple cider onto freshly-tilled soil to breathe life back into it prior to planting.

Apples can be used in a number of spells including:
Divination
Love Spells
Healing Magic
Prosperity Magic

Please note there are hundreds of other magical uses not mentioned here. The list is too lengthy to include in one post. 

Medicinal Uses: Apples are commonly used to reduce fever (and historically scurvy) due to high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C. Apple cider vinegar is also used to treat fevers and sunburns. Early research also suggests eating apples may reduce your chances of cancer, especially of the esophagus and larynx, diabetes, and lung cancer. Research also suggests eating three apples a day increases weight loss.

 

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PYRITE

Metaphysical Information for Abalone Shell

Traditionally, Pyrite is known as a stone of luck, abundance and good fortune because of its resemblance to the precious metal Gold.  Pyrite is an excellent shield of all negative energy, protecting us from absorbing negative energy, but also healing our own negative habits, thoughts and inhibiting patterns.  It enhances our willpower during challenging times and supports our wellbeing and growth.   It wants us to be successful in pursuit of our dreams and will assist by keeping us on the right path.  It encourages good physical health and emotional well being.  It will help increase our vitality when we are feeling overworked.  Meditating with Pyrite will help ground our higher frequencies into our physical world.

Celebrating Samhain

For Wiccans and other Pagans, Samhain is very much rooted in the ancient Celtic traditions. It is often described as the night when “the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest,” and many choose to honor their ancestors and other departed loved ones at this time. Food and drink are left out for any wandering spirits, and many Witches seek communication with the Other Side.

We do not fear mischief or retribution from the dead, as we know our ancestors don’t mean us harm, but we do honor and respect their presence. The Wiccan belief in reincarnation is also meditated upon at Samhain, as we recognize that the life/death/rebirth cycle applies to all living beings. We know that we do not return to the Other Side permanently, but rest and enjoy ourselves there until we’re ready to be reborn into the physical world.

Samhain is a key occasion for divination of all kinds, including scrying, Tarot, runes and I-Ching, as well as various uses of apples. For those who work with the faeries, this is definitely an important night to leave offerings for them!

In many traditions, Samhain is also considered the start of the new year, as it is believed that the Celtic year began on the evening of October 31st. Scholars disagree about whether there is sufficient evidence for this, but Samhain is listed in Irish medieval literature as the first of the four cross-quarter day festivals, so the association has stuck.

Whether your tradition considers the year to begin now or at Yule, however, Samhain is an excellent time to reflect on your life and any changes you wish to make during the year ahead. This is the time in between death and new life, as the Crone/Mother Goddess waits for the God to be reborn.

What in your personal world do you wish to allow to die, and what new developments would you like to give birth to? What has ended that you need to fully let go of in order to make room for the new?

Coven rituals at Samhain are often held outdoors, at night, around a sacred bonfire. The coven members may focus on letting go of bad habits and other unwanted energies, symbolically releasing them into the fire to be transformed. Other ritual themes may include bidding farewell to the Old God, tapping into the wisdom of the Crone, and formally honoring the dead.

And of course, any Wiccans who practice spellwork are certain to do so on this night, the most potent time of the entire year for magic! Any type of work is bound to be effective, but in keeping with the themes of this Sabbat, goals related to banishing, releasing, and strengthening your psychic abilities are especially appropriate.

On your Samhain altar, include photographs or mementos from deceased loved ones and light a votive candle specifically for them. Since this is the Sabbat most associated with Witchcraft, include symbols like cauldrons, besoms (ritual brooms), and pentacles, even if you don’t necessarily work with these tools regularly. As always, seasonal decorations of all kinds are key, but try to include a pumpkin if you can—carved and illuminated if possible!

Finally, be sure to give your sacred space a very thorough sweeping before beginning any ritual or spellwork. As you clean, visualize all unwanted energies and influences from the past year being swept away and out of your life.

The Lighting of the Balefire

The name “Beltane” has been traced back to an old Celtic word meaning “bright fire,” and is thought by some scholars to be related to the ancient Sun god Belenos, whose name has been translated as “bright shining one.” Belenos was worshipped throughout Celtic Europe and his feast day was on May 1st, so this connection seems logical, but is not universally accepted by historians.

For one thing, Belenos (also known as Bel or Beil) doesn’t make significant appearances in the mythology of the areas where Beltane was historically celebrated: Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Mann. In fact, he was much more significant to the Gaulish Celts of the European continent, where the May 1st festivals are known by different names. Nonetheless, the ritual importance of fire was a central focus of Beltane for the ancient Celts of the western-most islands, where the first references to the holiday are found.

The chief event at Beltane in ancient Ireland was the lighting of the balefire on the eve of May 1, the first fire of the light half of the Celtic year. In preparation for this event, every household hearth was extinguished.

Legend has it that tribal representatives from all over Ireland met at the hill of Uisneach, a sacred site where a giant bonfire was lit. Each representative would light a torch from the great fire, and carry it back to their village, where the people waited in the darkness. From the village torch, each household would then relight their home fires, so that all of Ireland was set alight from the same initial flame. In another version of this story, the fire at Uisneach could be seen from several miles away in every direction, signaling to the surrounding villages to light their own central fires, which was then spread throughout their communities. Either way, this act marked the beginning of summer, with hopes for plentiful sunshine throughout the season.

As a living symbol of the Sun, ritual fire was clearly seen as having magical powers. In many Celtic areas, the Beltane fires were also used for ritual purification of cattle before they were turned out into the summer pastures. The cattle were driven between two large bonfires, which were tended by Druids who used special incantations to imbue the fires with sacred energy.

The fire would clear the animals of any lingering winter disease and protect them from illness and accidents throughout the summer. People would also walk between the fires, or jump over them, for luck and fertility through the coming year. In some areas, the ashes from the smoldering fire would be sprinkled over crops, livestock, and the people themselves.

Over time, the annual Beltane fires grew into larger festivals, where people came to greet each other after the long winter. Dancing, music, games and great feasts became traditions, along with a free license for sexual promiscuity on this special occasion. Other customs observed at this time included eating “Beltane bannock”—a special oatcake that bestowed an abundant growing season and protection of livestock—and making a “May Bush,” a branch or bough from a tree decorated with brightly colored ribbons, flowers, and egg shells.

People would dance around the May Bush on Beltane, and then either place it by the front door for luck or burn it in the bonfire. This was believed to be a remnant of Druidic tradition, which held many trees to be sacred and possess magical qualities. A related custom was hanging a rowan branch over the hearth or weaving it into the ceiling to protect the house for the coming year.

Trees, herbs and flowers in general played a part at Beltane and at other May Day celebrations throughout Europe. Primrose flowers and hawthorne and hazel blossoms were gathered and placed at doors and windows, made into garlands, and even used to adorn cattle. Yellow flowers were prized for their association with the Sun.

Herbs gathered on this day were said to be especially potent for magic and healing, especially if gathered at dawn or while the morning dew was still on them. The “May dew” inspired a variety of traditions around beauty. Young women would roll naked in the dew or collect it to wash their faces with, as it was said to purify the skin, maintain youthful looks and help attract a love partner.