Why The Apple?
It is often forgotten that the apple is a symbol of love. With so many other symbols of love that come to mind first, it gets lost in the dusty recesses of our minds. However, the apple has a rich history of symbolism in love, sexual desires and abundance. From ancient times to popular culture the apple thrives.
Venus, Cupid and The Golden Apple
The Apple and the Ancient Greeks
The ancient Greeks revered the apple as a symbol of love and sexual desires. A symbol associated with the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. It was believed that if a gentleman threw or tossed an apple to a maiden, he was confessing his love to her. If she in turn caught the apple, or at least attempted to, she was reciprocating her love to him.
The apple was also considered to bring abundance and fertility. It was customary on the wedding night for the bride to eat an apple, ensuring sexual desire, fertility to birth children and abundance within the marriage.
One the most well known mythological story about the apple is the story of how the Trojan War started. It was believed that the Goddess of Discord, Eris, was angered for not being invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, a sea-goddess. In her anger she wished to create what she was known for, discord, among the Gods. She threw upon the banquet table a golden apple, claiming whomever was the possessor of this beautiful, rare apple would be considered the fairest of all. The most beautiful Goddess.
Three Goddesses quickly moved to claim it: Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. However, Zeus intervened and appointed Paris, the man considered most handsome among mortal men to decide. The Goddesses in their quest to be picked each offered Paris something in return for the apple. Hera promised him power, Athena promised him riches and Aphrodite promised him the most beautiful mortal woman in the world to have as his wife.
Paris choose Aphrodite and in return she promised him Helen from Sparta. However, Helen was already wife to Menelaus; against the warnings from prophets, Paris sent sail anyway to claim his new bride. When he arrived in Sparta he was warmly welcomed by Menelaus, that quickly diminished when he abducted his wife Helen (although it is widely believed that Helen in fact chose to leave with Paris), thus igniting the Trojan War. Not only did the Golden Apple start a war it became a symbol of the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite.
The Apple and The Bible
The apple is widely known in Christian belief to be the forbidden fruit. It is a representation of forbidden pleasures; sexual desires and lust. It is with the apple that Eve tempts Adam, thus ending our time in the Garden of Eden.
According to the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve were provided everything they needed to live and live very comfortably, the only rule was to never eat the forbidden fruit from the tree. Eve does not listen to this rule, is tricked from the devil disguised as a snake to eat the apple, more so to persuade Adam to eat it. There are many beliefs and interpretations around this story, I do not claim to know them all.
The forbidden fruit; the apple, is a representation of sexual desire and even love. Adam trusts Eve, ultimately loves her which is part of why he gives into the temptation, the seduction of his mate Eve. Interestingly enough is it the opposite of the Greeks, in which it is the man who gives the apple to women and the women who eat it on the wedding night.
My New Apple Pendant
For the Venus in Your Life
Recently while shopping for a few pagan supplies to celebrate the pagan holiday Imbolc I came across these darling apple pendants and had to get one myself, to honor Aphrodite and love. Makes a beautiful gift for the Venus Goddess in your life.
The Apple and Paganism
The apple is a symbol of love, fertility, knowledge and abundance in paganism. Apples are associated to the Goddess Aphrodite and any Goddess of Fertility. The apple tree is considered a tree knowledge. Many plant apple trees as shrines to these Goddesses and for the fruit it bears both literally and figuratively. Apples are believed in general to be one of the most giving fruits from our Mother earth.
Apples can be used for a variety of rituals and intentions: those that honor Goddesses of love and fertility, love rituals, asking for abundance, and acquiring knowledge, or foretelling the future. In rituals apple seeds or bark from the tree may be ground up and used as incense, the peelings of an apple may also be burned during rituals. Apple juice can be imbibed, shared from a ritual cup or even eaten. Often times an apple will be cut horizontally to expose the seed cavity which opens up into a five pointed star.
There is a belief (and not only among pagans) that one way to discover the first letter of your true loves name is to peel an apple with a knife, keeping it as long as possible and in one piece. When the piece breaks off toss it to the floor and see what letter it closely resembles. You can also say each letter of the alphabet as you are peeling and if or when it breaks off, the letter you were on is the first letter of your loves name.
The Apple in Popular Culture
Fun Tidbits About The Apple
- There are over 800 varieties of apples.
- To dream of an apple - Can suggest sexual desires. A thriving within a friendship or relationship.
- Apples are packed with Vitamin C hence the saying "An apple a day, keeps the doctor away"
- Great for fighting tooth decay and killing bacteria in the mouth.
The Apple Today
Today the symbol of the apple is still prominent in our society. Just think about New York and its nickname the Big Apple. It is also difficult to not think of the corporation Apple Macintosh in today's day and age. Interestingly enough the Apple corporation is known to marketers for their successful use of marketing with a branding technique called "love marks".
The apple symbol goes deeper than consumerism with strong American roots.Take apple pie for example, a quintessential American dessert, often given as a welcoming gift for a new home or neighbor. Our teachers are often given apples as a gift for teachers; this seems to have originated because of the poor pay teachers received, and quite frankly still do.
We celebrate the harvest of apples with festivals, drink apple cider during Christmas and other celebrations. We eat them as part of a healthy diet, or not so healthy diet as candy apples, and we bob for them during Halloween.
One of the most popular references to the apple in modern times comes from the classic Disney animated film "Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs". The story is wonderfully woven with apple mythology. At the start, the evil Stepmother is constantly searching for the fairest in the land , a reference to how the Trojan War started with the Goddesses wishing to possess The Golden Apple, thus holding the title of being the fairest of all.
Then the evil stepmother/witch offers her a poisoned apple, claiming it is full of magic, fulfilling any wish her heart desires. Snow Whites wish is for love, finding her true prince, the reason why she is eventually tempted into biting the beautiful red apple. Love and temptation the key roles to her demise. In the end of course love conquers all.
Share Your Love of the Apple
Adrita Maze on November 17, 2019:
This article was very helpful. Really! I could relate a lot of movie scenes. Twilight, Death Note, Snowwhite, and many mores. Thanks!!!
Sonia Perozzi (author) from California on December 28, 2012:
WiccanSage I hope they find the information interesting. Apples are wonderful for altars, rituals, eating...:)
Mackenzie Sage Wright on December 23, 2012:
Wonderful; we often put apples on our altar in our house. I will share some of your research with my kids next time they do.
Sonia Perozzi (author) from California on May 07, 2012:
Hello Santosh it is believed that the apple according to the Book of Genesis was the forbidden fruit. However, across many beliefs it is often the fruit associated to Gods and Goddesses
santosh moholkar india on May 07, 2012:
it is true that apple is a fruit of heaven