Crab Apple

Shares its cycle with Coll

The Letter

Crab Apple
The Tree ~ Crab Apple
Color ~ Quair – mouse-colored

Bird ~ Querc – Hen
Note ~ #c
Planet ~ Eris
Word ogham ~ misfortune, shelter of a hind, force of man

The Salvation of Poets

“And the blessed wild apple,
Laughing for pride.
The tree most likely
To smile from beside the rock!”
“I am a lure from paradise”

“I fled as a Roebuck to the entangled thicket.”

The Roebuck hides in the thicket and the cuckoo utters, “where?”  The Roebuck hides at the apple tree – the noblest tree of all, it is the tree of immortality through wisdom, the wild apple tree of the Sacred Thicket, the tree that hides the Roebuck.

The Muses promise to the poet is …
“Seek patiently, and you shall find.”

The clue to the secret of the apple is to be found hidden within the apple.  When the apple was cut cross-wise by Cuchulain’s sword,”night fell”.  For when the apple is cut cross-wise each half shows a five pointed star in the center, emblem of immortality, which represents the Goddess in Her five stations from birth to death and back to birth again.

Birth, Initiation, Consummation, Repose, Death
“I am a lure from paradise”
Botanical name: Pyrus malus or communis
Family: malus/communis
The Apple tree is the oldest cultivated tree in Europe.

Crab Apple (Malus spp.)
The original British apple tree is a Crab Apple - a deciduous tree that flowers in April and May with a distinctive white or pink flower that gives off a wonderful scent similar to honeysuckle. The tree seldom grows larger than twenty-five feet high. Apple blossoms are a favorite of bees, who thrive on the nectar. These bees and other insects help pollinate the apple trees.  Unlike modern cultivated apple trees, the Crab Apple is a thorn bearing tree.

The bark of the Crab Apple is gnarly and angular.   The leaves are heart shaped, glossy and a medium green shade.  The fruit are developed by autumn and ready for harvest, some continuing to fruit into winter.

The apple has a star shaped core that is often used in Druid and Witches rituals as a natural pentagram.  Wild Apple (Malus sylvestris) is native to Europe and Western Asia. Petrified remains of apple slices on saucers have been found in tombs dating back over 5,000 years. The Greeks and Romans planted apple trees throughout their respective empires. The healing properties of apples were recognized by traditional healers wherever the tree appeared.

The Crab Apple is a member of the Rose family, which includes other magical British ogham trees, such as Rowan, Hawthorn and Blackthorn, as well as other fruit trees such as the Cherry, Plum and Pear trees.

A popular item of American and British folk art is the Apple Doll, which can still be seen in craft festivals and country stores throughout America.

To make one, you peel a large apple, leaving a little skin at the top and bottom to encourage the apple to dry in a rounded head shape. Carve shallow features, such as eyes, wide apart, for the head will shrink as it dries. Core the apple head and place it on a dowel or stick, letting it dry for three to four weeks. Form the body with cloth and wire, attaching the dried head. Yarn can be used for hair.

In Celtic tradition, the Otherwordly Avalon was also known as the Avallach, the Isle of Apples, ruled by Fairy Queen, Morgan le Fay.  This is the land of fairies and the dead, where King Arthur was taken to be healed by his sister, Morgan. Like their cousins to the North, the Celts attributed the power of healing and youth, or rebirth, to apples. Apples are one of the magical trees, part of the Celtic Ogham tree alphabet, and known as Quert.

Apples are sometimes buried in churchyards in an effort to feed the dead. Apples also symbolize rebirth.

Deities - Apples are associated with many: Morgan le Fay, Cerridwen, Olwen, Freyja, Aphrodite, Dionysus, Apollo, Hera, Gaia, Athena, Diana, Venus, Cupid, Jupiter, Ishtar, Shekinah, and Astarte.

The pentacle in its center is a potent talisman of protection.

For a love ritual, charge a small piece of rose quartz to your purpose, then place it in a red bag. With pink ribbon, tie the bag on a branch of an apple tree where it will not be disturbed. When your wish is fulfilled, bury the amulet near the tree, or throw it in the nearest body of water. A similar spell can be done for health or prosperity, by using a green stone (green quartz, emeralds, jade, aventurine, tourmaline, or peridot). Put it in a green bag, with green ribbon, and tie it onto a branch of your apple tree.

The Story of the Apple - A Promise Kept
Once upon a time, a very long time ago, when the Earth was very young, there lived a people, who were also very new to the Earth. They spent their days in lovely sunshine with abundant food and water, so that life was very good and they were very happy.
One day, when they woke up in the morning, the sky was not blue, but had turned dark and gray and a fierce wind was blowing all around. They had never seen anything like it and they were very afraid. The air was no longer warm and they were very cold and scurried around looking for something to keep them warm.

On the next day and the day after that, they awoke and found that the skies were still dark and the winds cold. They also saw that the beautiful green leaves were falling to the ground and they were very, very afraid. They had never experienced anything like this before and began to be afraid that all that they knew was ending.

Just at that moment when they were the most afraid, they looked above them into the clouds, and a beautiful spirit, came down to them traveling on a ray of sunlight. She was so beautiful that it took their breath away. She spoke to them and her voice was soft and kind.

She said, "Do not be afraid, my children. What you see is not the end, but merely a changing of the seasons. It is time for the Earth to rest, to be still for a while, so that it may replenish itself and grow strong again, so that when it is time, once more, she will give you fruits and grains, and rich tasty food to eat and warm sun upon your backs."
“I give to you this promise, that all this will come about, but I do not wish for you to be afraid.  Therefore, I will share a sign with you, so that each time you feel a little bit afraid, you may look and see that what I say is true."

She reached up into a beautiful tree and plucked from the branches, a rich, ripe, red apple and brought it down before them. She took her blade and sliced through the apple and twisting it apart, she said. "I give to you this blessing that all life is eternal, that what is born will fade away but will return again, as life renewed."

She held the apple up and showed them. In the very center of the apple there was a star and as they looked with amazement, she told them, "Each time you see this star, remember my promise, all life is eternal and everlasting, each ending is really a beginning and my love remains with you forever. “

“Behold the Sacred Promise"


W. B. Yeats reworked this archetypal theme in his famous poem, “The Song of Wandering Aengus:” 

I went out to the hazelwood,
Because a fire was in my head,
Cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
And gone to blow the fire aflame.
Something rustled on the floor.
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossoms in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran

And vanished in the brightening air.