The symbolism behind the golden apple is profound and can be found in all mythologies. In Greek mythology, the eleventh labor of Herakles is to find the Gardens of the Hesperides and take a golden apple from a tree protected by a dragon. In Norse mythologies the golden apples keep the gods young. Judeo-Christian mystics say that the earth looks like an apple when viewed by angels. We all know the story of the serpent tempting Eve with the apple. In Chinese mythology we find similar tales, only golden apples are replaced with peaches of immortality.
In ancient times, Glastonbury was called the Isle of Avalon, or Ynys Afallach in Welsh (meaning the Island of Apples) and the fruit grew on the green slopes of Avalon in great abundance. Avalon was surrounded by marshland and mist, and was the home of Lady of the Lake. There are several reports of visitors to Avalon being offered a golden apple. The apples would link the taster to their innate wisdom. After eating it the visitor’s clairvoyant sight would open and they would perceive the astral plane and know they stood on the back of a dragon. This new perception would change their life forever, for they would have full knowledge of all of their lives (past, present and future) and be connected to cosmic intelligence.
In Arthurian myth the Holy Grail was hidden in or near the Chalice Well, near the Avalon orchards. There were regular apple trees and golden apple trees growing in Avalon. They all looked the same with normal sight, but once clairvoyance was opened in a person, they could perceive the difference between regular and magical apples. Seekers could place golden apples in the Grail cup, which would melt them, and then drink the resulting elixir. The promise was that a sip from the cup could bring wholeness, wisdom and immortality. In other words, the initiate would become God/Goddess-Realized.
A Story of Becoming came to me while I was resting by an apple tree in the Chalice Well Gardens. Perhaps it was a golden apple tree that I slept beneath, because she offered me a beautiful gift to share with the world. I believe she is a wishing tree, because I return to her each year I am able and thank her for all the wisdom and blessings that have been bestowed upon me.
Except from A Story of Becoming: “If you ever find yourself at the base of the miracle tree say, ‘Thank you,’ aloud, for she likes those words. Then give gratitude to the sun, the moon, the water, the soil, all the stars and to the wind. If you lay down under her branches, a dream might visit you with whispers from otherworldly places, where trees speak with silver faces. And if you are very lucky, a golden apple might roll off the highest branches that have been kissed every morning by the sun and the chorus of birds…”