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Thoughts: Chess, a game. Movement of pieces. Black and white, good and bad. Two Knights.
The white picket fence is an old American dream from the 50s: to own, to have, home sweet home with a white picket fence.










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Definitions are supplied to demystify symbolism (and the artwork in this studio).
Click here to return to the online symbolism dictionary.


The apple is a very rich symbol. Temptation is the first one that springs to mind. A very rich, and very old, image is that of a skeleton holding an apple: the temptations/sins that lead to death. The apple also has many American definitions (cultural layer interpretations): the 'Big Apple' refers to New York City, 'as American as apple pie' is one that's been around for a while, along with 'Johhny Appleseed' and his perpetual planting of apples (harvest connotations). A very successful computer company's logo also uses the fruit as a symbol for their product, a very recognizable logo that calls Apple(s) to mind. And we're just getting started on the subject of the apple...
Posted: October 06, 2003.


Shortcut links to the (expert) quotes below:
Vollman: The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Dream Symbols
Biedermann: Dictionary of Symbolism
Estés: Women Who Run With the Wolves


The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Dream Symbols, p. 32-33
Health and naturalness; also renewal of life and the symbol of immortality (the golden apple). Seduction and sexual symbol for breast. (The ideal in the Middle Ages was to have breasts like little apples.) Something that turns into something good (and deservedly so--for instance, William Tell's apple) or, less frequently, something that turns into something bad (see the Apple of Paris).

According to Freud, the apple, like almost every other FRUIT, is the symbol for breasts, particularly when there is more than one apple. In psychoanalysis apples are generally considered a typical sexual symbol. According to C. G. Jung, they are the symbol of life, an ancient fertility symbol (as are the pomegranate, fig, and quince).
Posted: January 17, 2004.

Dictionary of Symbolism, p. 16-17
A fruit with a core and multiple symbolic meanings. Wild crab-apples were gathered in ancient times, and full-sized varieties were already found in Central Europe in the Neolithic era. In ancient myth the god of intoxication Dionysys was the creator of the apple, which he presented to Aphrodite, goddess of love. Erotic associations liken apples to women's breasts, and the core of an apple cut in halves to the vulva. In this way the apple acquired a somewhat ambiguous symbolism. The goddess Eris called for "the judgment of Paris" when she threw down a golden apple marked "for the most beautiful" (the "apple of discord" that in other languages corresponds to the English "bone of contention"); Helen of Troy was Paris' reward for choosing Aphrodite, but his abduction of Helen led to the Trojan War. Hercules had to brave great danger to retrieve the apples of the Hesperides from the far reaches of the west (compare ISLANDS OF THE BLESSED). On the other hand, the earth-goddess Ge (or Gaea) gave Hera an apple as a symbol of fertility upon her engagement to Zeus. In Athens newlyweds divided and ate an apple when they entered the bridal chamber. Sending or tossing apples was a part of courtship. The Old Norse goddess Iduna guarded apples that brought eternal youth to whoever ate them. In the Celtic religion the apple was the symbol of knowledge handed down from ancestors.

Chinese symbology starts with the homonymy of the words for "apple" and "peace" (p'ing), but the word for disease (ping) is also similar, and thus it is considered inappropriate to bring apples to the sick. Apple blossoms, on the other hand, are a symbol of feminine beauty. In Europe the apple of the Garden of Eden, from the TREE of Good and Evil, is the symbol of temptation and original sin. In European representations of the Fall (see ADAM AND EVE) the serpent holds an apple in its mouth, although Genesis refers only to the "fruit"; our apple was unknown east of the Mediterranean. Various traditions replace the apple with a FIG, quince or POMEGRANATE. Paintings of Christ's birth show him reaching out for an apple, symbolically taking the sins of the world upon himself; apples on a European Christmas tree suggest that Christ's birth makes possible a return to the state of innocence that preceded the Fall. The enticing sweetness of the apple, however, was first associated with the enticements of sin, also in the surface similarity of the Latin words for "apple" (malus, malum) and for "bad, evil, sin" (malum). Thus in baroque art the skeleton of death often is holding an apple: the price of original sin is death.

In the secular realm the apple, with its almost perfectly spherical form, functions as a symbol for the cosmos; thus many emperors and KINGS hold an "imperial apple" along with their scepter. In ancient times some coins showed three spheres representing the three continents known to the emperor Augustus--Asia, Africa and Europe; the imperial apple was crowned by an image of the goddess of victory (Nike, in Latin Victoria). In the Christian era a CROSS assumed this role, so that the astronomical symbol for earth is a circle with a cross on it. In the legends of Celtic Britain, Avalon (Appleland) is a symbol for divine joy. Thus Robert Graves takes the apple as a symbol for springtime and lovers' bliss: "It grants admittance to the Elysian Fields, those apple orchards where only the soul of heroes may go... An apple is a gift of the three Hesperides to Hercules, and the gift of Eve, 'mother of all living,' to Adam. Finally, Nemesis, the goddess of the holy grove,...(go pick up a copy of the book to get the rest of the definition :)
Posted: October 06, 2003.
Expanded: January 17, 2004.

Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 421
Several fruits are used traditionally to represent the female womb, most often pears, apples, figs, and peaches, although generally any objects that have outer and inner forms, and at their center a seed that can grow into a living thing--eggs, for instance--can connotate this "life within a life" quality...
Posted: October 29, 2003.

Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 398-340
...a saying about apple trees: "Young in spring, bitter fruit: other side, sweet as ice." This meant the apple had a dual nature. In the late spring it looked as lovely and round and as though drizzled with sunrise. Yet it was too tart to eat; it would make all your nerves stand up and go awk! But, later in the season, to bite into the apple was like breaking open sweet candy running with juice.

The apple tree and the maiden are interchangeable symbols of the feminine Self, and the fruit is a symbol of nourishment and maturation of our knowledge of that Self. If our knowledge about the ways of our own soul is immature, we cannot be nourished from it, for the knowing is not yet ripe. As with apples, it takes time for maturation, and the roots must find their ground and at least a season must pass, sometimes several. If the maiden soul sense remains untested, nothing more can occur in our lives. But if we can gain underworld roots, we can become mature, nourishing to soul, Self, and psyche.
Posted: October 29, 2003.

Want to know more? Go out and pick up a copy of the book(s) quoted and expand your mind :) These are MY teachers, the people who teach me about symbolism :) I hope the supplied definitions help you understand the art found on this site.

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