In our tradition we divide the year not only by eight solar and agricultural holidays, but also by the Kalends. We celebrate twelve months of the year by the common calendar, plus a special thirteenth month for Samhain. These month cycles are associated with different totemic spirits. Each month is assigned an animal, a bird (or other flying creature), and a tree. August's totems are Horse, Apple, and Swan.
The totemic associations are as follows:
Horse (Each) – travel, power, freedom, civilization
Apple (Quert) – beauty, choices, love, inspiration
Swan (Eala) - shape-shifting, love, grace, beauty
Apple is a deciduous tree. The wild crab-apple is Britain’s only
indigenous type. It is related to the rose family, along with Hawthorn,
and so it develops thorns from spurs on its branches. It has gnarled
trunks, often growing at crazy angles to “hide” amongst other trees.
It’s leaves are almost heart-shaped, and its blossoms are deep pink with
a scent similar to honeysuckle, which attracts bees. Some types of
Apple trees can hold fruit on the branches throughout the winter.
tree represents the choice between similar and equally attractive
things. It is one of the “Seven Chieftain Trees” of the Celts. It’s
fruit and bark are used in tanning.
The Apple has long been sacred to the
Celts, as well. One of its sacred islands, Avalon, is named the “Isle of
Apples.” Old apple trees are more likely than other types of trees to
host mistletoe, making them sacred to Druids. Merlin also had a sacred
apple orchard. Apple cider was said to be the most sacred drink of the