Welcome to a new series of articles I'm calling "Magical Alphabet", as you can see from the title, we're starting with "Apples".
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Apples and apple trees pop-up in a variety of magical traditions and Pagan beliefs... if you slice them in half they even have a pentacle at their core! For this reason apple recipes are often included at ritual meals.
One thing apples are said to be magically linked to is eternal youth or immortality. In Irish tradition the eating of apples is what kept those in the faery realm ever young ( Connla the Fair). This has similarities with the Norse stories of the Goddess Idunn, who fed apples to the gods to maintain their youth.
Apples are also linked to love... especially divination of romantic situations. It is said that if you peel an apple in a continuous strip and then drop it on the floor, it will fall to form the initial of your true love. Another practice is to cut an apple into 9 sections, eat the first 8 standing in front of a mirror and then throw the last one over your shoulder. When the last section is thrown, the face of your intended should appear to you in the mirror.
To ensure plentiful supplies of apples, wassailing apple trees is still practiced throughout many counties of England. This is a practice designed to awaken the apple trees and scare off bad spirits to ensure a good harvest. This is a rather jolly affair which involves lots of singing and cider drinking.
Here’s to thee, old apple tree,
Whence thou mayst bud
And whence thou mayst blow!
And whence thou mayst bear apples enow!
Hats full! Caps full!
And my pockets full too! Huzza!
-Gentleman's Magazine, 1791