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The Forbidden Fruit

If you live in a place like my hometown, you know the story of Adam and Eve. Most likely the Christian version. The other Abrahamic religions have their own versions, but the basics are the same.

If you don’t know this story, here’s a very short summary.

God created the world and everything else in 7 days. Adam was the first man made. Eve was the first woman made. God made a special tree called The Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil and was like, “Don’t eat from that tree.”

A random snake was like, “You should eat from that tree.” Eve was like, “okay.” Then Eve told Adam he could eat it and he was like, “okay.”

Then God was like, “NOT OKAY, WTF GUYS WE TALKED ABOUT THIS” and sent them out of paradise with some pretty irritating side effects, like painful childbirth and death.

(Since this post is specifically about the fruit on that special tree, I’ve glossed over a lot of other details, but I’m sure we’ll return to those later in another post.)

So… what’s the deal with this fruit? What was it exactly? Why was it so forbidden? Did God just not like sharing His favorite snacks?

Traditionally, the fruit itself is depicted as an apple. (If you keep up with the blog, you might remember I made a small post dedicated to apples here.) This is generally accepted as canon by most people, but based on where the story originated in the Middle East, apples are unlikely. The most likely theory is that the fruit of the story became accepted as an apple because the story was translated into Latin, in which the word “malum” means both “evil” and “apple.”

So what was the fruit originally? There are a lot of possibilities, it turns out. The most commonly accepted fruit seems to be the fig, based on the fact that Adam and Eve were specified as covering themselves with fig leaves. Now that I think of it, there was a story of Jesus cursing a fig tree... Hmm. Probably unrelated.

Another possibility is the pomegranate, which has connections with death from stories like that of Persephone.

You can find a list of possible forbidden fruit candidates here.

So what does this have to do with magic? Well... what doesn't it have to do with magic? Forbidden knowledge? Hello???

A representation of the forbidden fruit could make a great talisman for gathering information. Studying, gossiping, making informed decisions...

Fruit is, of course, a good offering for spirits, gods, or any other entity you might work with. A fruit associated with forbidden knowledge would make so much sense for underworld figures. It would also be good for a figure like Prometheus, who was punished by the gods for giving humans fire. Depending on who you ask, Lucifer can be seen as a very similar figure.

Apples can be used in divination, but many other fruits could be, as well. This suits the theme of forbidden knowledge. Count seeds, burn leaves, toss the peels. Get creative with it.

That's all for now.

Stay safe!

- me

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