Autumn 2023 by Sally Parker
Welcome to my Autumn blog. This season, I have featured highlights from the Fairy Festival – a wonderful event that took place at Burley Park in August. In the Healing Autumn Garden, I discuss the symbolic power of golden apples in visual art and stories.
Each season I will be featuring limited edition giclee prints (as featured in my book ‘Four Noble Ladies’) for sale. For more details, please click here
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FAIRY FESTIVAL (12TH/13TH AUGUST 2023)
The weekend festival in Burley Park restored summer vibes with lively music, diverse art, workshops, stalls and themed areas with a new addition this year — the healing garden. Colourful fairies and butterflies floated by as well as ethereal princesses and goddesses, elementals, mischievous elves, sorceresses, unicorns, creative fungi, imposing dragons and other mystical creatures. For me, it was a wonderful creative experience to take part in this joyful, magical atmosphere. A big thank you to all the organisers who worked tirelessly to make this event a reality.
For those who entered ArtQuartet’s realm, it was a pleasure to meet and speak with you. Thank you for all your lovely feedback after viewing my paintings, and to my customers who bought my artworks and books.
A special visitor unexpectedly visited ArtQuartet on Sunday morning – artist and visual story teller, Josephine Wall. Josephine spoke about her summer exhibition which took place in her Penn Hill gallery in early September.
‘Of all the minor creatures of mythology, fairies are the most beautiful, the most numerous, the most memorable.’
CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS
Did you miss buying a copy of my book at the Fairy Festival? Do you require some ideas to find that special Christmas gift? My book ‘Four Noble Ladies of the River Garden’ is available in paperback and hardback formats from Amazon.co.uk. They have received five-star reviews from my customers from the UK and USA. My customers have told me that their recipients were delighted with their unique gifts. Many are using the book for meditation purposes, whilst others keep it by their bedside to help clear their minds for a restful night’s sleep.
Limited edition giclee prints will be available to purchase next month, from my website ‘SHOP’ (as featured in my ‘Four Noble Ladies of the River Garden’ book). So, don’t miss out! Please read my October update for more details.
HEALING AUTUMN GARDEN: THE POWER OF GOLDEN APPLES
Golden apples have rolled around in mythology and fairy tales for many millennia. These ancient myths have passed from one generation to another around the world and have been transformed by a variety of media according to the teller’s culture, traditions and beliefs; Golden apples were a Celtic symbol in folk tales and connected to the Celtic Otherworld. Many European fairy tales featured golden apples for example ‘The Nine Peahens and the Golden Apples’ (Serbia). Artworks, poetry, literature, television, and even video games have featured the golden fruit.
So why have golden ‘apples’ been so enduring in our stories? Some of the poems and visual artworks in my book ‘Four Noble Ladies of the River Garden’ have been inspired by ancient myths and the associated symbolism of the golden fruit. There have been many debates as to whether the golden fruit is in fact apples. The classical Greek word ‘melon’ means tree fruit in general. It has been suggested that perhaps oranges or pomegranates have a more symbolic relationship with the ‘golden fruit’ in Greek myths.
Apples were grown in ancient Greek orchards as their healing properties were recognised by traditional healers. Today, we are aware that they contain fibre, vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants.
Gifts from Heaven
It is not surprising then that many Greek myths featured apples and particularly golden apples in their stories: Hera, Greek goddess, queen of the heavens was presented with an orchard of golden apples by Gaia (Mother Earth), on the island of Hesperides. The golden apples were the treasure of the gods as they contained the power of sunlight. Hence a guardian dragon with a hundred heads kept watch over them!
Love and Marriage
Apples and apple trees were sacred to the goddess of love Aphrodite. Three enchanted golden apples were gifted by Aphrodite to Melanion. He had to win a race against Atalanta, an outstanding athlete so that he could marry her. During the race, Atalanta slowed down to stop and pick up the valuable golden fruit which had been purposefully dropped by her suitor. She lost the race and had no choice but to marry the triumphant winner.
Golden Apples of Fate
The most significant myth which emphasises the powers of golden apples is known as ‘The Judgement of Paris’. Zeus had planned with Themis (goddess of divine law) to bring about the Trojan war. A golden apple inscribed ‘To the Fairest’ had been thrown into a crowd at Peleus’ and Thetis’ wedding. Incidentally, to throw an apple at someone was an ancient Greek tradition for a proposal of marriage.
However, this particular apple divided three goddesses namely Aphrodite, Hera and Athena. A shepherd prince from Troy, named Paris was chosen by Zeus to settle the argument and to choose a worthy winner. In early versions of the myth, Paris asked the three goddesses for a gift to improve his fortunes (later versions described it as a beauty contest). This is an unusual event as it was often the people who made offers and gifts to the gods, not the other way around. The golden apple was obviously influential to all! On this occasion, Aphrodite was the most persuasive and won the golden apple and its title ‘The Fairest’.
Powers of Immortality
Next time you pick up an apple to eat, just think about its humble beginnings; each flower blossom on an apple tree in spring has the potential to become an apple. Favourable weather conditions and the power of the honey bees are also required! Bees collect sweet nectar (food of the gods in myth) and pollen from the flowers. When they fly to other trees, cross-pollination occurs. The apple fruit grows from the fertilized flowers under the warmth of the summer sunlight. The centre of the apple contains the seeds — potential for new life. Hence, all apples and orchard fruits could be metaphors for immortal power within our creative stories due to their life cycles.
A joyful autumn equinox today (23rd September) for those of you who live in the northern hemisphere and a joyful spring equinox if you live in the southern hemisphere!
Wishing you all an enjoyable season filled with light!
- ArtQuartet News – Summer 2023
- ArtQuartet News – Winter 2023/2024