It’s brilliant flowers burst forth in the spring, usually
ranging from pink to white. These flowers have a light aroma that lifts the
spirit of all who pass by them. Ancient Celts would decorate bedchambers with
the apple blossoms as a fertility gesture and to tribute the beauty and bounty
life provides. After the glory of the blossoms, come the fruit of the apple.
Druids recognized the powerful transformative qualities experienced when
consuming the apple. It was thought the fruit could transport the eater to
other worlds, typically of a paradise-like ilk. Further altered states could be
induced by pressing the apples and allowing them to ferment over time, thus
producing a “hard cider.” Apples were highly valued by the ancient Celts
because of their ability to keep over a long period of time when stored in a
cool dry place. Celts recognized all of the features of the apple tree and
viewed it as pleasing in every way. It was even a symbol of creativity (as well
as creation) and was an emblem of art and poetry. The meaning of apple trees is
also associated with virtue, and the tree (as well as the fruit) is a symbol of
purity and motherhood. Even the formation of the tree trunk in her various
poses was said to have a female form to it, and was considered a beacon of
fertility. Indeed, apple wood was often burned during fertility rites and
festivals carried out in the winter months. These were demonstrations to beckon
bountiful abundance upon the return of spring as well as symbolically insure
continuation of large, healthy families.
Apple is used in Love, Healing, Garden, and Immortality magic. A common folk spell says to bury an Apple at midnight on Samhain eve to feed those waiting for rebirth. Also on Samhain it was traditional for a large Apple to be given to each member of the household to be eaten for good luck in the New Year. Wassailing the orchard-trees' on Yule Eve used to be a popular thing to do. Apples can be used for divination. The Apple can be peeled in one long continuous peeling. the peeling is then flung over the shoulder and whatever letter the peeling forms is said to be the first letter of the person that you will someday marry. The Apple seeds can also be looked at to foretell the future.
It is also the custodian of wisdom and tree of the soul. Freya, the goddess of wisdom walks through heaven dispensing golden apples to the gods which will give them the gift of wisdom and understanding and the day of the apple tree is Friday (Freya’s day). To grow an apple tree in the garden is a happy omen and the Celts believe that apple trees grow in the Celtic paradise. The apple tree man dwells in the middle of the apple trees and he is the guardian of their fertility and the fairy protector of the spirit of the goddess.
Ogham: STR - Straif
Discipline, Control, Perspective, Inevitability, Preparation, Constraint and Strife
Among the Celts, this sacred tree of the Ogham was
considered a portent of challenges ahead, but with the promise of improvement
once we push through those challenges. The Druids recognized portents struggle
intuitively in the formation of the blackthorn tree's growth. This tree has
some wicked thorns that are ominous looking at best. Indeed, when cut by these
thorns the human flesh can turn septic fairly rapidly. In autumn it turns a
sulfurous yellow and when these leaves drop they expose a contorted body. This
mangled imagery brought the concept of strife and suffering to the Celtic mind.
These visual observations made the blackthorn a symbol of the other half of
life that we often shrink back from. When the blackthorn showed itself in Ogham
oracle practices, it could be considered as a portent of war, illness or
discouragement. It was a sign to get ready and brace yourself. The blackthorn
is not all bad. On the contrary, the Celts observed that this tree produced
some of the sweetest berries among the sacred tribe of trees. However, these
berries were at their most succulent and sweetest after a hard frost. Here
again we see symbolism of strife – but in this light we are shown that the
blessing comes after the challenge.
It is a winter tree and its fruits, called "sloes", only ripen after the first frost. The wood of the Blackthorn is traditionally used to make the Irish shillelagh. It represents the influence of fate or outside influences.