Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Autumn Apple Seeds

When you cut an apple in half through its belly, at the center of the fruit sits a five-pointed star. This star, glistening beneath the surface of the skin, is a reflection, a mirror image of the stars in the sky above us. Where we normally look outward, into the night to see the light of that distant being, nature shows us to also look inward, into the core of the fruit of the earth to see the same image. What lives without also lives within.
If you want to speak to your ancestors, do not gaze up into the starry field of midnight sky and seek their names in the light of those heavenly bodies. Go into yourself, dive into the bloodstream towards those endpoints where memory lives. Speak to the voice of the ancestors alive in you. Speak into the darkness and they will listen. They will hear you. Find that edge, that meeting point of their footsteps and yours, and they will answer.
In the crisp and cooling air of autumn, the season is expressed in the crunching sound of dry leaves beneath feet. The orchards release a pungent and overwhelming fragrance. Apples taste best when plucked from the tree, when they are the same temperature of the cold mountain air around them. Nothing compares to fruit fresh off the tree. There is still so much life in the apple when it has been newly broken from its stem.
That crunch of teeth breaking the skin releases the sweet juice. Nectar runs down the flesh, and it is the purest liquid I have ever ingested. Synapses that had been sleeping since last winter begin firing and I can see the crisp edges of the world around me. I inhale them, feeding on them, until I am left with a knobby core filled with seeds.
There are a lot of meditations at this time of year, reflecting on the last of the harvest, and how we cannot escape the shadow of death as the landscape in the seasonal zones dries and crisps and is whipped into dust by the winds. Every year, on Samhain night, I swallow an apple seed as a reminder that death comes to everyone. Death is not unkind. Death is what takes us from the trauma of our failing bodies.
This is the season where we walk a long edge, where hallways to other worlds are everywhere. Close your eyes and whisper the name of your loved one who has passed. Remember the scent of them and the feel of their skin beneath your hand. Under closed lids, build that image of them and open a doorway, inviting them in. Be the lighthouse beacon that guides them to you. Feel your love for them and exhale, making it bigger each time, until it spills out past your periphery. Call them home. They will listen.

Rattling to the Edge
Every harvest season, I eat my apples down to the core, break it open and claim the seeds. I do this for all of the fresh apples from our local orchards. I keep them in a recycled aspirin bottle (washed and rinsed) and use it as my autumn rattle. The sound of the small seeds against the bottle is a gentle vibration that shakes the edges of my etheric body.
            Small seeds bounce against the container’s edge, blurring lines. I open to my ancestors. The world is turning towards the thinnest point between the layers of what is seen and what is unseen. What wisdoms do those who came before me carry that can help me through these dark months? What strength did they bear that I can tap into, plant in my core, and use as I grow?
            I rattle open a door.
            I rattle as the leaves whip up around me and the grey clouds roll in.
            I rattle as the earth sighs into slumber and in that sleep the spirits stir.

The Death inside the Seed
Apple seeds, or pips, contain a cyanide and sugar compound called amygdalin. When it is metabolized, it degrades into hydrogen cyanide (HCN). The tough outer coating of the seed protects us from the poison, and it from our digestive systems, so it can come back out and plant itself in the ground somewhere (theoretically). Unless the pips are pulverized or chewed, the amygdalin remains safely within the seed. Even so, our bodies can detoxify small doses of cyanide, so don’t fret if you have spent a lifetime swallowing apple pips.
Disclaimer: Death is not something to toy with. It’s not a game. Cyanide denies the blood its ability to carry oxygen and causes asphyxiation. There is no antidote for a lethal dose of cyanide and death takes minutes. The fact that ‘death’ lives in the heart of the apple seed is a reason I use it to symbolize death and rebirth. Speaking to the truth of something is in no way advocating for the use of it as such.

1 comment:

  1. Cyanide, believe it or not, is a dietary expectation within biologically rational quantities. Cyanide within the body is transformed into another substance called, 'thiocyanate'. Sickle cell anemia is a thiocyanate deficiency disease. Do you see what I'm getting at? Hundreds of foods we consume daily contain dietary cyanide. Provided that we don't overwhelm our natural capacities to process it safely, there is no danger. Cyanide is not an accumulative toxin.

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