The apple can be found in love stories, in stories which connect it with death, but also with customs of healing. Also the most famous is the story of Adam and Eve, in which an apple is the source of the damnation of the human soul.
The faerie maiden lured Connla to the Land of Youth by throwing him an apple. After he ate it he pined for her so much that he willingly followed her into the faerie realm.
In England, after the apple harvest was turned into cider, some had the custom to drop some cider un the ground saying: “a drap to the owd mon”.
The apple tree was widely adored as a symbol of immortality and the apple was regarded as the sacred heart of the Goddess of eternal life. In celtic tradition the western paradise, where the souls of the Blessed go, was known as Avalon, the isle of Apples, guarded by Morgan, the Queen of the Dead. In Arthurian legend, the mythical isle of Avalon’s name is believed to mean ‘isle of apples’.
In Norse mythology, the goddess Iðunn was the appointed keeper of golden apples that kept the Æsir young (or immortal) forever. Iðunn was abducted by Þjazi the giant, who used Loki to lure Iðunn and her apples out of Ásgarðr. The Æsir began to age without Iðunn’s apples, so they coerced Loki into rescuing her. After borrowing Freyja’s falcon skin, Loki liberated Iðunn from Þjazi by transforming her into a nut for the flight back. Þjazi gave chase in the form of an eagle, whereupon reaching Ásgarðr he was set aflame by a bonfire lit by the Æsir. With the return of Iðunn’s apples, the Æsir regained their lost youth. Apple trees were the symbol of rebirth and beauty; the apple tree was sacred in Norse mythology.
Apple bopping games and other customs are remnants of ancient pagan traditions that allude to gaining eternal life of the soul.
In the poem “Apples of Hel” an 11th-century poem by the skald Thorbiorn Brúnarson, apples may be described as the food of the dead. Also the goddess Nehalennia is sometimes depicted with apples and that parallels exist in early Irish stories.
Soul, healing, love and immortality
The apple tree (Malus domestica) is a deciduous tree in the rose family best known for its sweet, pomaceous fruit, the apple. It is cultivated worldwide as a fruit tree, and is the most widely grown species in the genus Malus. The tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, and were brought to North America by European colonists. Apples have religious and mythological significance in many cultures, including Norse, Greek and European Christian traditions. The apple is generally standing 4.6 m tall in cultivation and up to 12 m in the wild.