Apple trees in May: Heaven on Earth

Cease, wild winds, O, cease to blow!
Apple-blossom, fluttering, flying,
Palely on the green turf lying,
Vanishing like winter snow;
Swift as joy to come and go.

~Mathilde Blind “Apple Blossom”

The apples have just finished their flowering here, and my heart is in mourning now that the last petals have fallen and their blaze of white and pink has begun to fade from the landscape. Their ethereal beauty is made all the more precious because it is so fleeting, and I have spent the last week trying to drink them in fully, extracting every last drop of joy that I could from their sight, their sweet fragrance, their song of humming bees. There are truly few sights in the world as heavenly as an apple in full bloom in the spring sunshine.

Love has always been closely interwoven into the symbolism of the apple tree, and one glance at their flowers gives a strong impression for why this is so. The immense beauty of the apple blossom, their sweetness and the way that they elevate the spirits and enrapture us are so much like falling in love, the transience of the state infusing every moment with a significance and intensity that makes one not want to miss a single moment.

And how beautiful and befitting then, that the ethereal flowers should then produce a sweet, earthy and nurturing fruit, just in the same way that the heightened state of intense passion one feels when first in love should develop into the sweet, nurturing bond of companionship.

But this process is not limited to romantic love, but to all forms of passion and love in our lives. It is that fundamental process of taking an experience of the divine, of complete love – a feeling of transcendence, ecstasy and revelation – and converting it into something workable and sustaining in the realm of the everyday. We do this with all the forms we experience love – from religion and romance to the creative inspiration that fuels our live’s calling.

The apple also has many associations with the divine. In Christianity, it’s thought that the Tree of Knowledge growing in Eden was an apple, and in Saxon myth, the apple tree was created by Iduna, the Goddess of Spring, to supply the Gods with its fruits offering eternal life. In England, there is the myth of the Isle of Avalon – the Celtic paradise or isle of the blessed  where the mythical King Arthur passes on his death. The name Avalon derives from the Welsh word for Apple (afallen), and while the island itself is said to be shrouded from our view, it is thought to be located on the same spot as the apple orchards of Glastonbury.

In all of these myths, there is the same theme: the apple tree offering a taste of the divine to us here on the earthly realm, an ability to experience a little “heaven on earth.”  When split in half, the apple reveals a 5-pointed star:

which is seen in many religions as a symbol for the divine. Five is a sacred number as there are 5 elements (earth, air, fire, water, ether) that comprise the universe, thus the star represents the unity from which those 5 elements derived – the oneness of all things. The apple blossom also has 5 petals.

Of course, humans have always struggled with the gift of the apple. The taste of the divine leaves us hungry for more, and we become so obsessed with the ecstasy and intensity of that glimpse into the divine that we fail to transform it into an earthly, workable thing. We want to stay at that level of spiritual intensity all the time, we can become addicted to it. We might become addicted to falling in love with others, to falling in love with ideas, to falling in love with a religious belief.  It feels as though anything less than that divine state is worthless. Everything pales in comparison.

I was pondering all of this as I made my apple blossom flower essence while the blooms where at their climax. The essence, I thought, must be for that very process of helping us transform our glimpses of the divine into the earthly realm, making them workable and usable in our lives. Bach writes of it being used ,

For those who feel as if they had something not quite clean about themselves.”

He describes the apple blossom person as being one with very high expectations about their body and environment, wanting things to be flawless, perfect. They often feel disgust in their physical bodies, have poor self-image, and are plagued with feelings of things being impure – from their environment and body to their very thoughts and desires.

All of this, to me,  seems to stem from that resistance to transform spirit into the earthly plane. When you are obsessed with feelings of spiritual elation, then you come to resent your physical body and world, feeling that it traps you and contaminates your ability to experience the pure divine. On another level, however, I think that people can also become insecure in their ability to transmit that spiritual knowledge to others, that they will somehow contaminate it in the process. So a person might have a spiritual experience, or feel the sensation of pure love or inspiration, but they are afraid to express it, to transform it into something workable, lest they ruin it or are rejected by others.

So, apple flower essence is for helping us use that glimpse into the divine to create something workable and usable in our lives, helping us become like the apple – serving as a medium for the divine to be present in earthly form. It is used for times when one is unable to convert a spiritual experience or sensation of love into something workable and real – either due to insecurity, or an obsessive attachment to the experience itself.  By removing these blockages, it helps us to let the divine flow through us freely, transforming our experience into the fruit which will nurture others in the realm of the everyday.  It allows us to experience Heaven on Earth.

So, while I do dearly mourn those flowers, I know that their lovely energy will be with me through the summer, working its way  through me until the fall brings the sweet delight of the apples.

Oh, and I almost forgot! Before I sign off, someone was very offended that his picture wasn’t taken for the last apple installment, as he spends far more time in the apple tree than his Sister, and politely asked (demanded) that his photo be taken for this post, as he has a particular fondness for apple blossoms – especially chasing them as they fall from the tree. And, as he pointed out himself, he really is the perfect metaphor for heaven on earth.

Taliesin demonstrates how to be heaven on earth