Pomegranate, the fruit of life and death
For most people, the new year starts on the first of January. Many rituals take place on that day, and various other fortune and good luck spells take place on New Year’s Eve. However, for a witch, the year usually begins with the first fallen leaves, right at the beginning of September.
One could wisely think that Fall is the time when nature starts to get old and the end is inevitable, so it seems unlikely that anything good can start now. The old witches left anything they didn’t like behind and they paved the way for new, successful things they needed in their lives.
I remember, as a child, my parents used to get a pomegranate for New Year’s Eve. They stored it and then they broke it on the doorstep for good luck every first of January. I was determined to understand where this custom comes from. Why did they do that? So I researched the significance of the pomegranate in Greek tradition and folklore. Witchcraft is all about research, studying and adapting the spells and customs that are compatible with our souls. So here’s what I found!
The pomegranate New Year’s Custom
To invite good fortune and prosperity in your home, you pick a day in September. You check the calendar to see when the moon is waxing and then you buy, or you pluck a pomegranate from your own pomegranate tree if you are lucky enough to have one. It is important to choose a day that means something to you. In Asia Minor, for example, people would get a pomegranate on the 14th of September, when it is the Feast of the Cross for the Greek Orthodox Church. They would store it until New Year’s Eve. They took it to the church with them and after the morning service, they broke it at the doorstep of their house before they walked in.
Now, not everyone is religious that way or even a Christian. It doesn’t matter. Customs and spells are for those that want to use their imagination, to make their manifestations come true more effectively. And this is something we are going to talk about a lot in this blog. But for now, when you pick your pomegranate you store it until New Year’s Eve. It might look like it went bad on the outside. It looks dry and wrinkled. However, the seeds won’t go bad for at least the next three months.
By doing that, you indicate to your subconscious mind you are ready to leave anything you didn’t like behind and say goodbye to everything that can’t come back and you are ready to plant the seeds of new beginnings.
On New Year’s Eve, when the clock strikes midnight, you put the pomegranate in a plastic bag ( so you don’t stain your doorstep) and you break it on your doorstep to welcome good fortune.
Everything is about the subconscious. We just spice it up for better results!
But don’t leave it there. Pick up the seeds that have revealed themselves, separate the whole from the broken ones and, while you do that, think of all the good things you would like to have happened to you this year.
I am very excited to hear your ideas about new beginnings or any customs you use to welcome them and where they originate from. Also, if you decide to use this custom this year, Ι would love to hear your experience and how you liked it.
TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE POMEGRANATE
Let’s explore some of the Ancient Greek Myths and Greek Folklore stories to understand why pomegranate is considered a very powerful ingredient for the use of spells and customs.
The pomegranate symbolizes blood, fertility, life and death. In ancient myths, the opposing dynamics of life and death are ubiquitous. The fruit itself can carry these contradictions, literally, onto its skin. It is hard and inedible on the outside. In some cases, it looks like it has gone bad, but open it and you witness the miracle of its fresh seeds.
A very famous myth is that of Persephone. Hades fell in love with her and gave her a pomegranate to eat so that she could survive in the Underworld and stay as his consort. Her mother was devastated and she asked for her return, but Hades didn’t want to give her back. After mediation from Zeus, Hades made a compromise with Persephone to let her go back to her mother for half of every year. To make sure she remembered his love for her, he gave her seven pomegranate seeds to remind her that she had to go back at the end of Summer.
On the opposite side, the pomegranate was the symbol of the beginning of the Spring that was used at the Eleusinian Mysteries. It was one of the seven objects that were shown to those who were to be initiated by the hierophants. In Eleusinian Mysteries, Dimiter’s priests wore a crown of pomegranate leaves on their heads.
At the big feast of Thesmophoria, Dimiter’s celebration, the Athenian girls ate pomegranate seeds to welcome well-being and prosperity to their lives.
The pomegranate is also the symbol of the goddess Hera. In one of her sculptures she is depicted holding a scepter on one hand and a pomegranate on the other. Hera was the mother of the Olympian Gods and the protector of marriage and fertility. Side, Orion’s wife, was cursed by Hera to become a pomegranate tree, growing her roots in the Underworld, because she dared to compete with Hera in beauty.
Folklore and Christian Tradition
In Greek folklore, apart from the New Year’s eve custom we already talked about, there are plenty of other similar customs like the breaking of the pomegranate on the doorstep of a newlywed couple, to bring fertility and prosperity into their new life. Additionally, it is a standard ingredient of a dish, called Kolyva, that people make when a loved one departs. It is connected to the belief of the afterlife that goes back to the ancient greek religion when people offered pomegranates to the gods to request forgiveness for the deceased person.
There was also the assumption that when a pomegranate tree was growing on a grave, the tree contained the soul of the dead.
We also find references to the pomegranate in the Holy Books. ( 1Kings. 7: 18-20, Exod. 28,33-34). Pomegranates decorated the pillars of the Temple of King Solomon, and they still decorate the handles of Torah scrolls today. There are some theories that indicate the pomegranate as the forbidden fruit of Eden that Eve offered to Adam instead of an apple, as the Greek Christian tradition has it.
In Greek mythology and folklore, but also in modern greek customs one can find references to the pomegranate in love, fortune, prosperity, and fertility spells.
There is vast amounts of information out there, about the pomegranate and its use as a magical ingredient in different cultures.
We can continue talking about it in future articles.
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