No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen. ~Epictetus (c. 50 – 120)
Every now and again I get glimpses of my Granny’s kitchen window. Her kitchen was red and white – red cherries on the curtains – I think. It was a small kitchen but always full of warmth and light, maybe because so much love came out of that tiny little room.
If you looked out of her window you were privy to an enchanted world, where dragonflies and fairies played among the leaves of an enormous fig tree. She was such a captivating woman that as children – her word was above any god. And she said that figs were fairy candy. So be it. We ate more figs than our stomach could handle. Those were the sweetest fruit!
Now I have a fig tree in my side yard….and ya’ know the dragonflies and fairies really do dance on the leaves…..and the birds chirp merrily as they nourish themselves on the freshly fallen figs, which makes the cats tail swish vehemently to and fro, which attracts the dogs…which inevitably causes havoc.
Figs are one of the oldest fruits recognized by man. It’s no wonder the fig has been enjoyed for centuries. Its sweet, delicious flesh, long used as a sweetener before the advent of refined sugars, enhances both savory dishes and desserts. High in potassium, iron, fiber and plant calcium, figs are also used for medicinal purposes as a diuretic and laxative.
Figs have been cultivated in the Eastern Mediterranean area for thousands of years. Archaeologists think it was one of the first fruits domesticated–as early as 4000 BC! Sumerian scribes writing on clay tablets around 2500 BC in the reign of King Drukagina mention figs, as do the earliest books in the Bible. Some scholars believe the forbidden fruit picked by Eve was a fig rather than an apple.
The fig tree figures in the founding of great cultures and religions. Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were suckled by a she-wolf under a fig tree, which later, in the time of Pliny, was revered as a sacred tree. While sitting under a fig tree, Siddhartha Gautama had the revelation that formed the foundations of Buddhism. Figs have been prized for both medicinal and dietary value. Mithridates, the Greek king of Pontus, heralded figs as an antidote for all ailments and instructed his physicians to consider its uses as a medicine. The early Greeks so highly prized figs that it was considered an honor to bestow the foliage and fruit. In the original Olympic games, winning athletes were crowned with fig wreaths and given figs to eat. Pliny of Rome said:
“Figs are restorative. The best food that can be eaten by those who are brought low by long sickness and are on the way to recovery. They increase the strength of young people, preserve the elderly in better health and make them look younger with fewer wrinkles”.
The fig tree can live as long as 100 years and grow to 100 feet tall ….. Aha! No wonder the fairies love that tree.
Stuffed Fresh Figs
Fill stemmed fresh figs with:
Cultured sour cream and grated orange peel
½ c. butter
1 c. molasses
2 c. dried figs
½ tsp grated lemon
1 c. buttermilk
½ c. chopped walnuts
2 ½ c. flour
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (ginger may be a substitute)
½ tsp nutmeg
Preheat oven to 325. Beat butter until soft. Add and beat eggs until fluffy, and molasses. Add finely chopped dried figs, grated lemon rind, and buttermilk and black walnuts. Sift all-purpose flour. Resift with baking soda. Add baking powder; salt, cinnamon (or ginger) and nutmeg. Stir the sifted ingredients into the pudding mixture. Bake in a greased 9-inch tube pan about one hour.
This recipe comes from my great-great grandmother. It is at least 100 years old.
5 lbs peeled figs
5 lbs sugar
1 lemon sliced
Peel and quarter figs, add sugar and sliced lemon. Let stand two or three hours to draw juice, stir occasionally.
When sugar has softened, begin cooking. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil 25-30 minutes, stirring constantly so liquid doesn’t stick to bottom of pot.
After foam disappears and juice has thickened, ladle into hot jars and seal.
Magikal Form: The Fig tree is androgynous. The fruit represents the feminine and the triple lobed leaves the masculine. Use for balance. Fig adds enlightenment, fecundity, love, power, and wisdom to beverages.
Deities: Isis and Ra
To cause a man to view his future bride
Mix together magnate dust; powdered coral with the blood of a white pigeon to form a dough. Enclose it in a large fig, wrap it in a piece of blue cloth, and then wear it around your neck when you go to sleep.
The Apsaras, also called Sky Dancers, are fig tree fairies – actually they are Devas, who come from Hindu mythology.
They bless humans at important stages of in their lives. They have been known to seduce scholars and scientists, and sexually exhaust them so that they will not discover things which are better left alone.
Evoke the Apsaras for blessings, sex magic, good luck and protection for gamblers.
And A Little Bit of Gypsy Magick
Write a question on a fig leaf. If the leaf dries slowly, the answer is yes, or it is a good omen. If it dries quickly, the meaning is no or a bad omen.
To charm the pants off of someone, give them a fig. As long as they keep the fig they will be spellbound by your presence.