Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Fruit (10/10/05)
TITLE: Behold the Apple
By Helga Doermer
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Behold the harvest, the fruits of autumn. In the palm of my hand, I hold a part of this years yield. Its spherical shape is cloaked in red satin, smooth to touch and tempting to eat. I sink my teeth into the firm white flesh. My tongue savors the texture, and sweet taste of this succulent fruit. Soon I encounter the core hidden within its center, a seed filled pentacle ensuring it progeny. This ancient fruit, one of the earliest gathered by humanity, has seeded symbols, myths, and rituals in the chronicles of time.
In myths of creation, the cosmic, or world apple tree rooted itself beneath the ocean floor and stretched limbs heavenward until its branches fingered the skies. It was the axis of Earth at the center of life. The spherical fruit it yielded was believed to be the sacred heart of immortality, essential to resurrection and to eternal life. It possessed knowledge, the mysteries of conception, and the key to transformation. It was a symbol of fruition and completion, witnessing within itself the cycle of birth and death.
The apple held a distinctive place in the ritual of a sacred marriage. Its red skin was symbolic of love. The fruit was cut on the horizontal to reveal the pentacle – a five point star. One half was given to the bride and the other half to the groom, which they ate to symbolize their unity. The delicate and fragrant apple blossom also graced the marriage ritual as representation of the virgin who, mature in womanhood, would bring forth fruit from her womb.
Today, only fragments of the lore remains. Apples continue to be associated with teachers, those whose role it is to instill knowledge in their pupils. And we still hear the familiar quote: “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. It is reminiscent of the ancient belief in the magical properties of this all too common fruit – the belief that to eat it was to know eternal life.
I sink my teeth through the red skin and into the crisp white flesh of my apple. My tongue savors the texture, and sweet taste of this succulent fruit. I consume it with contentment. Perhaps it is not surprising to discover that this seductive fruit has seeded many stories, and produced an abundant yield of folklore throughout its countless seasons.
The Continuum Encyclopedia of Symbols edited by Udo Becker
The Woman’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects by Barbara G. Walker
The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker
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