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scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne, hester prynne, five pointed star, goddess venus

Apple Divination

Author: Cheryl Lynne Bradley

© Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2001, cannot be reproduced without author's consent.

We have all heard and used the expression "An apple a day keeps the doctor
away." This expression is based on a very old superstition and is one of many
associated with apples. I am quite sure that you have all held an apple in one
hand and twisted the stem while reciting the alphabet to ascertain the initial
of that "special someone" - the apple of our eye. I am equally as certain we
have all gotten happy feet and sang along with the Andrew's Sisters "Don't Sit
Under the Apple Tree With Anyone Else But Me". In "The Scarlet Letter" by
Nathaniel Hawthorne, we are moved and touched by the gracious and dignified
austerity of Hester Prynne's declaration "A is for Apple." There is a very long
tradition of prediction and divination with apples. A great many of them, of
course, are associated with love and relationships.

Apples were once considered to be the food of the gods - if you cut an apple
in half crosswise the centre is revealed as a five pointed star. The apple and
apple tree are symbolic of the guarantee of immortality in Irish tradition and
the apple tree is universally esteemed as a holy tree. The expression "apple of
the eye" has a biblical origin and means the pupil of the eye and something or
someone that is very precious and in need of protection, Deuteronomy 32:10,
Proverbs 7:2, Lamentations 2:18, Zechariah 2:8. In Norse mythology Idun is the
goddess who tends to the apples of eternal youth. Her apples prevent the gods
from aging rapidly.

Keep me as the apple of the eye,
hide me under the shadow of thy
Psalm 17:8

Traditional Christianity generally regards the apple as the fruit of the Tree
of Knowledge which Satan tempted Eve with in the Garden of Eden. Since that
time, superstition has dictated that to eat an apple without polishing it first
is a challenge to Satan. Carl Jung interpreted the same apple as a symbol of
life. Apples were also sacred to the goddess Venus and symbolized her, she "was
worshipped on one half of the apple as the evening star, Hesper,...and as
Lucifer, son of morning, on the other."

To dream of ripe, sweet, red and green apples is a promise of well deserved
reward and shows the achievement of harmonious balance in your life. If the
apples were green and bitter, it indicates that you could face a loss through
your own foolishness and fickle friendships. Red, ripe apples denote true,
dependable friendships.

If you dream of an apple which is rotten on the inside, it can indicate a
relationship with serious problems even if the surface appears perfect. Eating
apples with a friend or other people is a happy omen. Eating alone in a dream
generally indicates a need to protect yourself from loss of status and
friendships. Apple pie or baked apples in a dream can augur high expectations
leading to disappointments. To dream of apple trees in blossom or an orchard can
predict unexpected joys and prolonged advancement. A Crabapple tree is an
indication of a new experience approaching.

In keeping with the traditions of the Romany, a young lady wishing to dream
of her future husband was to obtain an apple from a widow on the Eve of St.
Andrew. No thanks were to be given. The young lady consumed half of the apple
before midnight and the other half after, which would ensure a dream of her

We have all played the childrens Hallowe'en game of bobbing for apples.
Traditionally speaking, the girls were to polish, mark and then float an apple
in the tub of water. The boy that retrieved her apple with his bite would be her
spouse. There is another apple game for boys called Snap Apple. Apples are hung
from the ceiling on strings, the boys leap and try to sink their teeth into
them. The first boy to bite into an apple would be the first to marry.

Peeling apples for a prediction has been popular for ages. This method was
used if someone had a very important question. The apple was peeled very
carefully so that the questioner ended up with a long unbroken peel. The
question was asked and the peel was thrown over the shoulder. The answer was
"No" if it fell in the shape of an "U" or an "O" and it was "Yes" if it was
anything else.

Another very popular form of a peeling prediction was one that allowed a girl
to find out who her future husband would be. The apple was peeled, again in one
long continuous piece, and thrown over her left shoulder. If the peel remained
unbroken, it would fall in the shape of the initial of her future spouse. If the
peel broke, she would remain unmarried.

The seeds and cores from the apple were often used to make difficult
decisions. There is a tradition in Europe for women who have several lovers and
are unable to choose. She is to take an apple core, state the name of one of the
men, and throw the pip in a fire. If the pip "pops" it means he is "bursting"
with love for her.

An Apple Spell for What the Heart Desires

Whatsoever your heart
Write it down in words of fire
Cut the Sacred Apple
Place your wish between the two

Seal with twigs from the
Lady's Tree
Place in a kiln until dried it be
Sleep upon it night or
Until good fortune comes your way

If you are having difficulty making up your mind between two people, places
or situations just take two apple seeds and assign one to each of your choices.
Stand in front of a mirror and stick the seeds on your forehead. The one that
falls off last is the right choice.

For people desiring to know the initial of the person who will be their next
relationship, take an apple seed and stick the seed to your forehead. Recite the
alphabet. The letter you are saying when the seed falls is the initial you seek.

Counting the seeds was also a form of divination. To find out what the future
held, people would cut an apple in half and count the seeds in the core. If the
seeds were even in number, good luck was coming. An odd number indicated a
disappointment and cutting one of the seeds in half indicated that the future
could hold hard lessons and uncertainty.

In Austria if a girl cut an apple in half on St. Thomas' Night it was
believed she would learn her future. An even number of seeds indicated that she
would marry soon but if one or more of the seeds was cut she would have troubles
in her future and be widowed.

Many cultures have interesting beliefs and traditions about apples. An apple
appearing in the grounds of your tea cup indicates an achievement. In Britain if
an apple tree comes into bloom out of season while still bearing fruit it was an
augury of a death in the family. In the rest of Europe this same event is viewed
as an omen of extremely good fortune. It is also good fortune to find any type
of fruit growing double. If you share it with a friend you will both receive a
wish. A pregnant woman eating one could have twins.

You were never to pick all the apples off the tree at harvest, some were to
be left for the birds. If any apples were left on the tree in spring, there
would be a death in the family within the year. It is also a good idea and
considered lucky to leave a fallen apple or two on the ground in the orchard to
keep any spirits who may be wandering through content. In Germany if the first
apple on a new tree is picked and eaten by a mother with many children, the tree
will be abundantly fertile as well.

I hope you have some fun with this and don't worry, only people who have read
this article will know how those two little dents in your forehead got there.
Only God can count the apples in a seed.


A Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions
by Philippa Waring
Press 1978
ISBN 0-965-63619-4

The Dreamer's Dictionary by Lady
Stearn Robinson & Tom Corbett
This is a companion book to the
from the same publisher

Secrets of Gypsy Dream Reading
Raymond Buckland
Llewellyn Publications 1990
ISBN 0-87542-086-9

Mammoth Dictionary of Symbols
by Nadia Julien
Robinson 1996

The Kids Guide to Fortune Telling
by Louise
Kids Can Press 1998
ISBN 1-55074-479-8

The Holy Bible
King James Version

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