Totally unrelated to the infamously poisonous plant (although reportedly possessing a similar scent), the intensely magical hemlock tree (Tsuga) is a gorgeous, lush, nontoxic evergreen, native to North America and Asia. Some hemlocks grow quite tall and can live up to 900 years.
The hemlock’s lovely scent and ancient, steadfast vibration lend themselves to the tree’s intense spiritual cleansing properties. A branch or wand of hemlock would be an excellent tool for any type of magic related to energetically cleansing a person, animal, object, or space.
When working magic involving an actual fire—such as a bonfire or a fireplace—try throwing a tiny pinch of dried hemlock needles on the fire and watch them spark up and awaken the spirit of the fire. Similarly, this can be done to activate any sort of energy when you empower the dried needles with your intention before casting them to the flames.
Secrets and Mysteries
Aligned with both the goddess Hecate and the god Pluto, the hemlock is powerfully associated with what is unseen, what is hidden, and all that lies beneath the obvious and the known. Spend time with a hemlock when it’s your intention to delve into your depths and to chip away at the mystery of who you really are. (What really motivates you? What is your spiritual lineage? Who have you been in previous lives?) Hemlock can also be an excellent ally for those times when you are exploring spiritual mysteries and unlocking the secrets of the stars.
Additionally, when you wish to cast a veil over your motives or shroud yourself in an enticing web of mystery, try bringing hemlock into your magical work. If, for example, you feel you need a little armor in the form of a magical disguise or a bit of a softening and smudging of the broader brushstrokes of your personality, or if you just want to appear charmingly mysterious for any given social occasion, try this:
VEIL OF MYSTERY CHANT
Visit a hemlock at night (if necessary, bring a flashlight to get there and a candle to light once you’re there) and offer her an entire bottle of chardonnay by pouring it around her roots. Then place your hands on her trunk. Feel yourself absorbing the tree’s mysterious majesty as you say:
Beloved Hemlock, for one night
Adorn my true and simple light.
Like your secret depths so rare
May my peculiar charm ensnare.
Thank the tree from your heart, then go forth and mesmerize! You have until sunrise the next morning. (And please be careful with your ability to enchant: you’ll want to be sure not to manipulate anyone into doing anything they wouldn’t normally do.)
Finally, the hemlock tree is a most superb ally when it comes to looking at the shadow: the part of our own personality made up of every true thing about ourselves that we deny or prefer not to claim. We all have a shadow, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of. But the more we bravely shine light into our shadow self, the more of our true power we reclaim. Over time, the relationship between the bright half and the shadow half becomes easier and more fluid, and we no longer have to dread looking into the dark. This is a key aspect to embodying the fullness of our joy, true destiny, and magical authority.
For support with bravely plumbing your shadowy depths, spend time with a hemlock tree, or bring hemlock into your visualizations. Additionally, you might light a fire and throw a bit of dried hemlock needles onto the flames in order to symbolize transforming the stuck and hidden parts of yourself into lightness, brightness, and power.