The Magical Energy of Apples

Woman holding basket with apples.
Apples are magical, especially around the time of the autumn harvest. Betsie Van der Meer / Getty Images

Apples are found in the mythology and legends of many cultures around the world. This shouldn't come as a surprise, since apples have been around for a very long time—petrified apple fragments dating back as far as five thousand years ago have been discovered! According to pomologists—scientists who study apples and their growth—most apple trees live about two centuries, and there are thousands of varieties in existence today.

Did You Know?

  • In many forms of folklore, apples are associated with divination, the underworld, and eternal life.
  • There are a number of deities connected to apples, including Eris, the goddess of discord, and Pomona, who watched over orchards.
  • The apple is a symbol of abundance and bounty in many cultures—a plentiful apple crop means the rest of your harvest will be prosperous.

Apple Mythology

Portrait Of Young Female Model Wearing Costume While Holding Golden Apple Against Black Background
Alexsey Emelyanov / EyeEm / Getty Images

In Norse mythology, apples were connected to the goddess Idunn, a spring goddess who was associated with springtime blossoms. According to legends, she fed young apples to the other deities to help them remain immortal. At one point, Loki the trickster fooled her into turning over her magical apples and so the other gods and goddesses lost some of their power; they got it back when Loki returned the apples to Idunn.

For the ancient Greeks, apples were to blame for most of the Trojan War. Eris, the goddess of choas, did not receive an invitation to a banquet with the rest of the gods and goddesses of Olympus. She decided to crash the event, and brought a fancy golden apple with her. It was decreed that the apple would go to whichever goddess—Hera, Aphrodite, or Athena—was judged the fairest by Paris, a prince of Troy. Paris chose Aphrodite as the fairest goddess, and she offered him the lovely Helen of Sparta, wife of King Menelaus, as a thank-you gift. Hera was displeased, so she decided that to pay Paris back by doing everything in her power to see Troy destroyed in the war—all over a golden apple.

If you've read any of the Arthurian legends, you probably know that Avalon means the island of apples, and it's the place where some pretty significant events take place. The mighty sword Excalibur is forged on Avalon; it's also where Arthur returns to when he's mortally wounded by his illegitimate son Mordred.

Apple Divination

Granny Smith apple peeled in a swirl
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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

Apple tree orchard during the harvest.
Photography René Bosch / Getty Images

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.

To include apples in your magical spells and rituals, consider adding them to your fall altars, placing them around your home in bowls and baskets, or cooking some of your favorite apple dishes to serve at mealtimes. Use the wood from an apple tree to craft runes, Ogham staves, or a wand or staff. If you're lucky enough to have a bit of land for planting, consider adding a few apple trees to your property; they'll start producing fruit when they're a few years old, and you can take advantage of their magic all year long!