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Mystic Symbols of the Harvest

Mystic Symbols of the Harvest

Even though most of us don’t do any actual harvesting, we place many symbols of the harvest around our homes and tables when we decorate for Thanksgiving and other autumn holidays. Those cornucopias, wheat sheaves, acorns, leaves, and other harvest icons have a mystic significance that goes back many centuries, helping us to connect with the ancient roots of this beautiful time of year.

Find out which symbols invite the mystic power of abundance, fertility, wisdom, letting go, and love into your home this harvest season.

Cornucopia
The word literally means “Horn of Plenty:“ from Cornu (horn) and Copiae (abundance, plenty). According to Greek myth, the baby god Zeus was nourished with milk from the goat goddess Amalthea. To reward her, the adult Zeus turned her into a constellation and gave one of her horns to the daughters of the King of Crete who had looked after him as an infant. This magical horn was perpetually filled with whatever food or drink its owners desired. The cornucopia was used to evoke abundance in ancient Greek and Roman art, and was usually shown overflowing with fruit, wheat, and flowers. If you want more abundance in your life, place a cornucopia overflowing with nuts, gourds, and other harvest fruits on your table and meditate on this affirmation: “In this moment, I have everything I need.”

Acorns
For millennia, the acorn has symbolized the potential for great power in a small but potent package. The shape of the acorn is undeniably male, and it is of course linked to the oak, a strong and virile tree associated with both the Roman god Jupiter and the Celtic Druids. The oak was thought by the ancients to be the only tree that could consistently survive being hit by lightning; this and the abundance of acorns in some years make the acorn a perfect symbol for power, fertility, and survival. If your year was a difficult one, strew a few acorns around your table and take heart: there is great power in those small packages.

Fallen Leaves
When they are no longer needed, the trees drop their leaves so gracefully, having first delighted us with their bright and fiery colors. Although nature seems dead in winter, the fallen leaves remind us that a rebirth in the form of new leaves will blossom once again when the time is right. But for now we can marvel and the intricacy and beauty of the leaves, and the wisdom of letting go of all that no longer serves us. As you place some leaves around your home, you may want to give some thought to any self-limiting beliefs or patterns you would like to let go of in the new year ahead.

Apples
Round, sweet, and perfect, with a tiny star of seeds hidden at its heart, the apple was originally an ancient symbol of the goddess of love, and of the sweetness of life. If you want to invite more feelings of love and sweetness into your life, apples are the symbol for you.

Wheat Sheaves
To early agricultural people, a good wheat harvest assured plenty of the bread that would keep the community alive throughout the winter. Wheat sheaves became symbols of the successful harvest, associated with all that is truly nourishing and life-affirming. A small sheaf of wheat would be a good choice for your home if you would like to feel more secure.

Nuts
The kernel of anything is thought to be its most condensed and powerful essence, and nuts have been symbols of deep wisdom to many people throughout the ages. The ancient Celts associated particularly hazel nuts with the salmon of wisdom whose flesh conferred instant knowing of all things. Invite more wisdom into your life by placing a few nuts in a bowl or in your cornucopia.

For a Native American approach to harvest decorating, see the Sacred Four Directions Harvest Table.

You may also want to check out Bringing Autumn Nature Magic In – Decorating How To and

Thanksgiving Decorating with Nature.

Read more: Crafts & Hobbies, Green Decorating, Green Home Decor, Holidays, Life, Spirit, Thanksgiving

By Cait Johnson, co-author of Celebrating the Great Mother, (Inner Traditions, 1995).

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Cait Johnson

Cait Johnson, MFA, is the author of six books, including Earth, Water, Fire, and Air: Essential Ways of Connecting to Spirit, Witch in the Kitchen, Celebrating the Great Mother and Tarot Games. She has been a counselor for more than 20 years, and teaches workshops on seasonal elemental approaches to self-healing, conscious eating, and soul-nurturing creativity.

Go to the Source

Celebrating the Great Mother

A handbook of earth-honoring activities for parents and children.buy now

15 comments

+ add your own
1:55AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

thanks...

1:14PM PDT on Jun 20, 2011

All very good saying in this topic, well experienced and environmentally good. Thanks for sharing with us. Very old but interested.
From
Shereen Rice Trading Company , Export of Rice Contact us khalik4455@gmail.com phone us 0092 3003800976 and 0092 3337755993. We think of environment We think of planet change We think of an end to hunger We want to protect our green zone We want to protect natural water.

9:36PM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

Wonderful expressions of abundance, thanks for the explanations!

1:49PM PDT on Sep 1, 2010

Autumn has always been my favorite time of year. Nature gives us a spectacular show of colorful leaves and awesome sunrises and sunsets to enjoy before we are plunged into long cold winter.

Yes the days get shorter and colder but we take comfort in the cozy sweaters, crackling fires and the heartwarming aromas that Autumn has to offer.

10:13AM PDT on Jul 26, 2010

blessed be

8:11PM PDT on Jul 24, 2010

I really appreciated running across this article by accident. Fall will be coming in just a few short months. I think I will begin preparing now for my autumn decorations. I will definitely incorporate most, if not all, of these symbols in my decor. Additionally, I now have some trivia to discuss with my guests when they comment on my decorations. Thanks.

8:04AM PST on Dec 7, 2009

Thanks!

6:19AM PST on Nov 28, 2009

Blessed be!

8:46AM PST on Nov 16, 2007

This makes me want to make a cornucopia.

4:31PM PDT on Aug 2, 2007

As Louis said, well stated, very clearly written. Good job writing this out, its a great beginning step. I'll have to check around for your book.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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