It is ultimately strange to me how Eve’s fruit, which is a symbol of life, a beautiful red apple, has the biblical connotation of death…death through knowledge, and banishment from paradise upon consumption. The fruit of knowledge is the Goddess’s sacred heart of immortal life and was known as the apples of immortality. The Celts called the western paradise Avalon, or “Apple-land,” a country ruled by Morgan, the queen of the dead. Kings received the magic apples of Avalon and went to live in immortality under the sunset of Morgan’s land, King Arthur among them.
Greeks have a historic tradition about Mother Hera who kept a magic garden in the west where the Tree of Life was guarded by her sacred serpent. The whole story of Eve, Adam, and the serpent in the tree was purposely changed from icons showing the Great Goddess offering life to her worshipper, in the form of an apple, with the tree and the serpent in the background.
Romans gave the apple mother the name of Pomona. She symbolized all fruition. A Roman banquet = ab ova usque mala, from eggs to apples – the beginning or the symbol of creation and ending with the symbol of completion. It was recorded that King Herod finished every meal in the Roman style, with an apple.
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Source: Women’s Book of Myths and Secrets
The custom of burying relics of saints under an altar began with a misunderstanding of scripture: “I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God.” (Revelation 6:9) This was loosely based on a pagan teaching, that the souls of those who are enlightened will become stars in heaven. The most recently deceased stand on the border of the sky, under the constellation of the Altar, which lies close to the horizon as seen from Mediterranean latitudes.